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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Studio Arts: What's New

Studio Arts Course
Saturday, September 18, 2021 - 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET

Learn the secrets of plein air landscape oil painting working in the beautiful surroundings of Rock Creek Park. Students learn how to capture the spirit and essence of a fall landscape while developing strong observational painting techniques on location.

Studio Arts Course
Saturday, October 9, 2021 - 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET

Impressionist artists favored working in the vibrant medium of pastel because of its luminosity and color-layering effects. Working in the U.S. National Arboretum, capture the colors of nature and the interaction of light and shadows using Cezanne’s color-blocking style to produce brilliant and subtle effects. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Studio Arts Course
Saturday, October 9, 2021 - 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET

The nation’s capital is a perfect place to draw outdoors. It’s filled with countless subjects: magnificent monuments and memorials, exquisite architecture, numerous parks, and neighborhoods. Bring your sketchpad and explore the city’s sites with instructor Paul Glenshaw.

Studio Arts Course
Tuesday, October 12, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

Whether you are traveling, exploring, or just adventuring through your daily life, draw the things that are important to you and start noticing the small details around you. Learn to create illustrated art journals on paper, with drawings in pen and watercolors.

Studio Arts Course
Tuesday, October 12, 2021 - 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

Popular theory on right-side brain activity holds that the right brain is primarily responsible for the intuitive understanding of visual and spatial relationships. Designed to improve the way people see and record objects on paper, a set of visual exercises helps build the ability to draw. If you doubt your artistic ability or were told as a child that you could not draw, this is your opportunity to challenge that perception.

Studio Arts Course
Tuesday, October 12, 2021 - 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

Whether you want to work in digital or film, this course offers a solid foundation for new photographers ready to learn the basics. Topics include camera functions, exposure, metering, working with natural and artificial light, and composition.

Studio Arts Course
Tuesday, October 12, 2021 - 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Say goodbye to flat and boring painting as you learn to create patterns of light and dark in watercolor. Through demonstrations and hands-on exercises, you’ll gain confidence in creating these contrasting elements which add magic, excitement, and drama to your work. 

Studio Arts Course
Tuesday, October 12, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET

Lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on experimentation introduce the medium of oils. Working from museum masterpieces, still-life arrangements or your own favorite photos, explore basic painting techniques, including color-mixing, scumbling, and glazing to gain the technical background and experience you need to get started as a painter.

Studio Arts Course
Tuesday, October 12, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET

Whether you work digitally or in film, this course is ideal for students who are familiar with their cameras but are interested in expanding their understanding of photography fundamentals. Sessions focus on lighting, composition, shooting techniques, and gear, and photo-editing software is also discussed. 

Studio Arts Course
Tuesday, October 12, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET

Learn to see like a scientist as you use watercolor and ink to illustrate specimens from nature. Gain confidence in observing form while documenting and interpreting what you see.

Studio Arts Course
Tuesday, October 12, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Create a beautiful flower inspired by nature in the mosaic material of your choice. Sessions led by Bonnie Fitzgerald focus on principals of color, tone, perspective, classical and contemporary cutting techniques, and styles.

Studio Arts Course
Wednesday, October 13, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET

Photographers who want better picture quality and more control of the process are moving away from their phones to either digital SLRs or mirrorless cameras. Both provide a full range of ISO, shutter, and aperture controls, which makes the process of taking pictures much more interesting, and provides results that are clearer, sharper, and enriched with more delicate tones and colors. Learning to use an SLR or mirrorless camera is not complicated.

Studio Arts Course
Wednesday, October 13, 2021 - 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET

Log Cabin quilts—popular in the United States since the Civil War—are made of arrangements of a repeated single block pattern consisting of hand-pieced strips of fabric around a central square. Explore color and value contrast using this simple and familiar pieced block as a framework for spontaneous piecing—and be open to not knowing exactly how the finished piece will turn out!

Studio Arts Course
Wednesday, October 13, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Join floral artist Arrin Sutliff to explore the spectrum of floral design. Sourcing (with a focus on sustainability), making the most of seasonal flowers, creating centerpieces, wiring techniques, bouquet-making, and photographing your work are all among the practical areas covered. 

Studio Arts Course
Wednesday, October 13, 2021 - 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET

Get a grounding in the basics of this exciting medium in a course that will have you painting in vibrant new colors—and perhaps developing ideas for your other works. Group technique demonstrations and one-on-one instruction are part of the class, which welcomes both beginners and seasoned artists.

Studio Arts Course
Wednesday, October 13, 2021 - 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

In this course, students are introduced to the materials, tools, and technologies used in collage and assemblage. They find inspiration in artists who worked in collage including Joseph Cornell, Romare Bearden, and Gertrude Green, whose works are held in Smithsonian collections. Students express their observations by developing their own collage, mixed-media, or assemblage projects.

Studio Arts Course
Wednesday, October 13, 2021 - 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

This workshop is designed for students interested in sharpening their figure drawing skills by focusing on the most challenging and expressive details of the human figure. Working from photographs, students employ both wet and dry media to experiment with line, modeling, foreshortening, structure, expression, and varied rates of drawing.

Studio Arts Course
Wednesday, October 13, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET

Whether you want to work in digital or film, this course offers a solid foundation for new photographers ready to learn the basics. Topics include camera functions, exposure, metering, working with natural and artificial light, and composition.

Studio Arts Course
Wednesday, October 13, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET

Try new techniques as you have fun creating papers for collage and other art projects. Create a glorious collection of one-of-a-kind papers accented by acrylic, inks, stamps, and other printmaking materials.

Studio Arts Workshop
Wednesday, October 13, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET

This workshop is a comprehensive introduction to all aspects of exposure, and how to manipulate each element to positively affect your histogram. Topics covered include in-camera exposure meters, exposure compensation, and ISO/film speed.

Studio Arts Course
Wednesday, October 13, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET

With an emphasis on imagery from the natural world, explore the possibilities of collage: a highly versatile and accessible art technique that results in the playful combination of various and sometimes-unlikely materials.  Learn to sketch animals and objects found in nature, then combine your drawings with painting and additional elements and textures to create whimsical or serious mixed-media art.

Studio Arts Course
Thursday, October 14, 2021 - 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Composition is one of the most important of elements of any artwork. This workshop examines fundamental concepts of composition and their practical application in studio-art practice, offering participants tools to enrich their own work as well to analyze and appreciate visual art in general. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Studio Arts Course
Thursday, October 14, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET

Explore the basis of abstraction by studying color, line and shape as they relate to composition.  Learn to create exciting and innovative works of art using a series of drawing, painting, and collage exercises designed to examine nontraditional ways of handling traditional materials and subject matter. 

Studio Arts Course
Thursday, October 14, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Explore the basics of color theory including temperature, value, and harmony-creating color schemes. In three hands-on projects, learn to use a color wheel with tinting and toning, color charts, and color harmony studies.

Studio Arts Course
Thursday, October 14, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET

In this workshop designed for intermediate photographers, participants develop a greater understanding of the complex relationship among aperture, shutter speed, and ISO and how a camera’s exposure meter views a scene. Topics covered in depth include exposure modes, exposure compensation, filter exposure factors, bracketing, metering modes, histograms, the zone system, dynamic range, eliminating camera shake, tripods, and flash concepts.

Studio Arts Workshop
Saturday, October 16, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET

Put away your point-and-shoot camera and pull out your iPhone to create great images. Learn to make the most of your phone’s camera, starting with photography basics such as essential compositional skills and exposure, then moving on to an exploration of some of the best apps, camera accessories, and low-cost tools for editing and image management.

Studio Arts Workshop
Saturday, October 16, 2021 - 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

Explore creating unique mixed-media artworks by using food- and plant-based items, recycled materials, and household tools and implements to fashion colors, make stencils, and add textures.

Studio Arts Course
Saturday, October 16, 2021 - 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET

The elegant script, commonly known as Copperplate, is unmatched in its usefulness for social stationery. The rhythm and grace of the letterform is used on invitations, menus, and place cards, and can take your personal correspondence to a whole new level. This beautiful script will be explored methodically throughout these class sessions.

Studio Arts Course
Sunday, October 17, 2021 - 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET

The beautiful decorations of religious and secular manuscripts are centuries-old Islamic traditions. In this beginning course, Sughra Hussainy, a graduate of Turquoise Mountain Institute in Kabul, Afghanistan, teaches elements of gold-leaf manuscript illumination in the Afghan tradition.

Studio Arts Course
Sunday, October 17, 2021 - 10:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. ET

This course, a valuable introduction for beginners, teaches the basic skills needed as a strong foundation for drawing.

Studio Arts Course
Sunday, October 17, 2021 - 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

For centuries, religious and secular Islamic manuscripts have contained beautiful geometric decorations. Explore the history and construction of these traditional designs with Sughra Hussainy, a graduate of Turquoise Mountain Institute in Kabul, Afghanistan. 

Studio Arts Course
Monday, October 18, 2021 - 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

The most sculptural of all printmaking techniques, woodblock printing and linocut printing are ideal for creating bold images composed of patterns and textures. This course introduces the relief print, from techniques of design and transfer through cutting and printing the block.

Studio Arts Course
Monday, October 18, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET

Learn the basics of bobbin lacemaking, from winding the bobbins to making four small lace projects, in this introductory class. Colored threads are used to make it easier to see what is happening.

Studio Arts Course
Monday, October 18, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

Artists throughout the world and the centuries have developed practices that allow them to center themselves, find calm, and prepare for making art. The same techniques can be helpful in everyday life as well, offering both a quiet escape and a spark for your imagination.

Studio Arts Course
Monday, October 18, 2021 - 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET

Alcohol inks can be used on a variety of surfaces, including glossy paper, plastic, metal, and glass. Beginning painting students develop their artistic voice in classes that focus on materials and techniques. Students complete several note cards and a frameable print as they experiment with alcohol inks on a variety of surfaces.

Studio Arts Course
Monday, October 18, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET

Designed for beginners who want to learn how to use their digital or mirrorless camera as a creative tool, students will gain skill in technical aspects of photography so that they can concentrate on composing beautiful images.  Topics include aperture, shutter speed, ISO, the exposure triangle, focal length, metering, white balance, composition and more.

Studio Arts Course
Monday, October 18, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET

Beginning students as well as experienced painters explore new materials and techniques in watercolor painting.

Studio Arts Course
Monday, October 18, 2021 - 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET

Learn how to paint expressive portraits as you improve your observational skills, the ability to see angles and shapes, and your understanding of color and value. The class emphasizes how to define a subject’s unique features by determining shapes of light and shadow.

Studio Arts Workshop
Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

This fun class is full of ideas to help boost your brain and spark your creativity. Award winning artist Lori VanKirk Schue will get your creative juices flowing again with the help of everyday materials and easy ideas.

Studio Arts Course
Wednesday, October 20, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET

The balance of tension in an image is fundamental in photography: When achieved successfully, well-made visual relationships are created. This course offers participants a better understanding of compositional elements and how best to apply them.

Studio Arts Course
Friday, October 22, 2021 - 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET

In this course, students are introduced to the materials, tools, and technologies used in collage and assemblage. They find inspiration in artists who worked in collage including Joseph Cornell, Romare Bearden, and Gertrude Green, whose works are held in Smithsonian collections. Students express their observations by developing their own collage, mixed-media, or assemblage projects.

Studio Arts Workshop
Saturday, October 23, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET

Delve into the fascinating history of photography as an art form in this unique program that combines a lecture with a hands-on project. Art historian and photographer Patricia Howard introduces the world of the photo surrealists—Man Ray, Laszlo Maholy Nagy, Hannah Höch and others—and explores how they pushed the boundaries of photographic imagery in the 1920s to 1940s. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Studio Arts Workshop
Saturday, October 23, 2021 - 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET

In this workshop, beginners are introduced to surface freestyle hand embroidery. In this style, the stitches are applied freely, disregarding the weave or structure of the ground cloth. Students learn how to select and prepare fabric using a simple design, ready their hoop, and begin stitching.

Studio Arts Workshop
Sunday, October 24, 2021 - 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

The nearly 2,000-year-old art of Coptic stitch binding is still used in contemporary book binding. Create a Coptic-bound journal and learn about Coptic language, literature, and book culture in a class that is perfect for beginners interested in art, history, and bookbinding.

Studio Arts Course
Monday, October 25, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET

Begin by learning basic tapestry weaving techniques and design. Then, create a miniature woven tapestry on a small frame loom. Techniques covered include warping the loom; color mixing and hatching; and how to create horizontal stripes, vertical lines, irregular shapes, shading, and contour.

Studio Arts Course
Tuesday, October 26, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET

Understanding how to fully utilize your camera’s flash is key for photographers wishing to take their photographic skill to the next level. This class, designed for digital photographers familiar with aperture, shutter speed, ISO and metering in manual mode, offers to do just that.

Studio Arts Course
Wednesday, October 27, 2021 - 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET

Explore a liberating style of abstract embroidery using an array of improvisational stitches on found fabric, specifically scraps of vintage kimono silk. Learn some of the principles of abstract art making, developing a language of marks through different stitches, and discuss color palettes, as well as how to “edit" what doesn't work in your composition.

Studio Arts Workshop
Saturday, October 30, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET

Some book forms also make whimsical toys. Learn to construct a Halloween Jacob’s Ladder (with box), smash books that become stars or caterpillars, miniature button books, and more in this enjoyable workshop.

Studio Arts Course
Monday, November 1, 2021 - 7:00 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. ET

Move beyond the technical "how to's" of photography and shift your focus to cultivating and strengthening your artistic vision. In a small group discussions and critiques, explore ways how to pinpoint the idea, concept, and feeling you want to communicate with your work

Studio Arts Course
Wednesday, November 3, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET

Learn the fundamentals of drawing the human body through an exploration of the skeleton, planes of motion, gesture, musculature, and other key elements. Virtual anatomy software, a digital figure drawing site, and a variety of props allow students to discover how to convey motion.

Studio Arts Course
Friday, November 5, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

With limited time and money, artists and other small business owners need an effective content strategy that makes posting quick, easy, and impactful. Learn to use every aspect of the Instagram app (reels, stories, IGTV, posts), optimize your profile, establish your brand, and create fun and engaging posts designed to retain and grow your following.

Studio Arts Workshop
Saturday, November 6, 2021 - 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Adobe Lightroom is the best program organizing and editing your photographs. You can work with either RAW or JPEG files. This two-session workshop offers users an excellent working understanding of the program.

Studio Arts Workshop
Saturday, November 6, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

This year, send friends and family bespoke holiday cards. From the decorated envelope to the personalized sentiment, paper crafter Karen Cadogan shares tips and demonstrates techniques for creating simply elegant, unique cards that will become a keepsake long after the season ends. 

Studio Arts Course
Saturday, November 6, 2021 - 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

The jewel-like pigment of soft pastels is perfect for capturing the glow of sunlight as it illuminates the landscape. Guided by a master pastel painter, create artworks as you learn the medium’s techniques and nuances.

Studio Arts Course
Monday, November 15, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET

Explore many new techniques and build new skills as you create four small projects in an intermediate-level course.