Bring home the beauty of the Smithsonian’s inventive botanical holiday decorations when you create a centerpiece guided by a horticulturist from Smithsonian Gardens.
Get a hands-on overview of how versatile colored pencils can bring illustration or fine art alive with rich, vibrant color and a range of effects.
Beginning students as well as experienced painters explore watercolor techniques and learn new approaches to painting through classroom demonstration, discussion, and experimentation.
Woodblock printing and linocut printing are ideal for creating bold images made up of patterns and textures. This course is an introduction to the relief print, from techniques of design and transfer through cutting and printing the block. Students design and produce their own editions, using nontoxic materials and employing both one-color and two-color techniques.
Painting is as much about how you think as it is the process of putting colors on canvas. Get a practical introduction to both the skills needed to paint in acrylics and how to observe and reflect the world around you like an artist.
Through lecture, demonstration, and hands-on experimentation, students enhance their experience of color as they learn about the color wheel, the Munsell color chart, and the attributes of value, chroma, and hue. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)
This course is designed for students who have completed Introduction to Black-and-White Photography and wish to refine their black-and-white printing skills and their understanding of 35mm camera operation.
This photography course is designed for those who want to learn how to create portraits of men and women, using the special lighting controls of the studio.
Whether you work digitally or on film, this course is ideal for students who are familiar with their cameras but are interested in expanding their understanding of photography fundamentals.
You’ve got a great portfolio of photos. What’s next? This valuable session covers how to prepare your images to exhibit or sell, get them seen by the public, and effectively market your work.
As an investigation of drawing beyond the introductory level, this course offers practice in using traditional media. Sessions focus on the four traditional subjects of drawing (still-life, landscape, portrait, and figure).
This course provides a thorough introduction to the 35mm camera and the basics of photo darkroom techniques. Students learn how to use the camera, compose a photograph, develop film, and make a print.
In this combination course, students work from still life, architectural interiors, and landscape to translate the world of three dimensions to two through the arts of drawing and painting.
Whether you want work in digital or film, this course offers a solid foundation for new photographers ready to learn the basics. Two on-location shoots offer chances to put your new skills into practice.
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.
If you’ve ever wanted to paint, here’s a class that offers the perfect introduction to the art—and will have you ready to pick up your brush with confidence.
This intermediate-level photography course offers a better understanding of compositional elements and practices—such as simplicity, balance, and natural lighting—that promote taking better and more unique photographs.
This introductory course teaches the basic skills needed for drawing. Working with a variety of materials and techniques, including charcoal and pencils, students explore the rendering of geometric forms, volume, and perspective, with an emphasis on personal gesture marks.
The elegant and enduring Italic script has a venerable legacy. Begin your study of these versatile hand-written alphabets, which translate well into many practical and artistic applications.
Both beginners and seasoned artists can learn to take advantage of the creative possibilities of this rich pigmented, vibrant, and versatile medium.
The elegance of hand-lettered calligraphy is unmatched by machine. This class gives students a chance to learn the basics of this graceful and stylish art in a relaxed and supportive setting.
This darkroom-focused class is geared for photographers with basic darkroom skills and beyond, who are interested in taking their work to the next level. Students benefit from small-group lectures, individual instruction, and independent work to gain confidence in a specific area.
In this course combining lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on experimentation, gain the technical background and experience you need to get started as a painter. Working from still-life arrangements, explore basic painting techniques, including color-mixing, scumbling, and glazing.
Discover a variety of methods for making and using image transfers and expanding your creative horizons with photo alteration. Both techniques can offer new dimensions and interest to your artworks.
Working on a personal project or from still-life and model arrangements, participants move beyond the basics to focus on discovering and developing their own unique painterly language.
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, this class provides a set of visual exercises to help build the ability to draw.
Learn the basics of hand-stitched quilt-making—including piecing, applique, and finishing techniques—as you work on a small-scale piece that can be used as a doll quilt or a wall hanging.
Explore the techniques of artists and schools from the early Renaissance to today as you practice the skills of the masters, using their exact colors, canvas types, and paint applications. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)
The beautiful decorations of religious and secular manuscripts are centuries-old Islamic traditions. Guided by a graduate of the Turquoise Mountain Institute, explore the elements of gold-leaf manuscript illumination in the Afghan tradition.
Discover the secrets of Claude Monet’s methods, materials, and brushwork, then create your own impressionist-style masterpiece. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)
This class gives students a chance to use Chinese brush and ink as they learn to write basic Chinese characters, short phrases, and poems.
Get the most out of your digital mirrorless or SLR camera by taking part in this one-day class, which includes a shooting session on the Mall; and an in-the-field discussion of technical elements along with composition, light, and other aesthetic considerations.
This non-darkroom course is designed for beginners who want to learn how to use their digital SLR camera as a creative tool. The goal is to gain skill in technical aspects of photography so that they can concentrate on composing beautiful images.
Working from still-life arrangements reminiscent of Cezanne’s in studio sessions, students learn to achieve the brilliant and subtle effects characteristic of the medium. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)
Great shoots start with great locations—and Washington offers plenty of unbeatable visual inspiration. Learn to capture this vibrant city and sharpen your way of thinking about shooting outdoors as you deploy a minimal amount of equipment and a lot of fresh perspective.
Working from live models, students are encouraged to draw accurate or aesthetically strong works based on the figure. Open to all levels.
Peries, XOX, and Boarders. These may sound like the names of rock bands, but in fact they are the patterns found in Fair Isle knitting. Students in this workshop focus on learning this stranding color technique.
In this six-session course held at the instructor's Washington studio, explore the mysteriously compelling qualities of neon light and create your own illuminated object.
Trace the development of photography in this unique course led by art historian and photographer Patricia Howard. Sessions are enhanced by a hands-on component in which students create their own imagery using the techniques and processes of the 19th and 20th centuries. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)
Adobe Lightroom is now the most useful (and user friendly) software for organizing and editing images. This two-session workshop offers users an overview of the program, with a focus on working with the essential Library and Develop modules.
Showcase your writing or art in a book as unique as you are. Book artist Sushmita Mazumdar guides students as they work with a variety of traditional and nontraditional materials to craft one-of-a kind storybooks.
Creating illustrations for a children’s manuscript is loads of fun once you get to know the basics. Learn the foundations of bringing a story to life through pictures.
Spend six Saturday afternoons developing your rendering and composition skills by drawing from both paintings and sculptures at the National Gallery of Art, Freer Gallery of Art, and Smithsonian American Art Museum. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)
This three-session 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)
Learn the fundamentals of knitting, including casting on, basic knit and purl stitches, increasing, decreasing, and binding off. Students learn by practice, and may start a knitting project during class.
Take fresh to look at those chipped plates, old ceramic figurines, and other odds ends that accumulate in your home. Learn to transform them into the raw materials for one-of-a-kind mosaic pieces assembled in the centuries-old folk art technique called pique assiette.
Take your skills beyond auto mode as you explore a myriad of your digital camera’s exposure options and features in this workshop designed for intermediate photographers.
This hands-on digital media workshop covers topics such as obtaining a good exposure; making exposure adjustments on an image; controlling color and tone as files are captured; understanding resolution, picture quality, and file formats such as JPEG and RAW; transferring files to the computer; and organizing files with a browser.
Explore the cultural history behind the vivid abstract quilts made in this distinctive rural Alabama community for generations, and try your hand at a quilting project in the Gee’s Bend spirit.
Shooting a great photo is just the beginning. Get ready to show off your work by learning how to get your digital images printed accurately and to cut custom-sized windows in mat board.
Guided by floral designer Sarah von Pollaro, modern-day romantics create a one-of-a-kind arrangement to gift to a loved one (or keep for themselves) as they enjoy champagne, strawberries, and chocolates.
Show off your photos like a pro and learn how to assemble a personal portfolio that reflects your best work and your distinctive vision as a photographer.
Tangled up in a knitting problem? From dropped stitches to difficult pattern instructions to twisted stitches and more, learn a protocol to follow when you’re stuck on a project.
Spend two sessions investigating new techniques as you have fun creating papers for collage and other art projects. Take home a glorious collection of one-of-a-kind papers accented by acrylic, inks, stamps, and other printmaking materials.
Put away your point-and-shoot camera. Learn to make the most of your iPhone’s camera, starting with essential photography basics and moving on to some of the best apps, camera accessories, and low-cost tools for editing and image management.
Pick up a silver stylus to learn a traditional drawing technique used by artists including da Vinci, Dürer, and Rembrandt—and that’s now experiencing a revival.
Explore the materials, tools, and techniques used in collage and assemblage as you create an artwork that’s uniquely yours. The workshop, ideal for both nonartists and those with experience, is a great way to spark your creativity in two forms that offer wide possibilities for inventive expression.
Explore the creative possibilities of combining wool with other decorative elements such as metal, beads, and stones to make distinctive necklaces, rings, pendants, earrings, and other jewelry.
Master basket weaver Lori VanKirk Schue guides students of all levels in creating a round spoke basket in a pattern that combines twining and braiding techniques.
Nuno, the Japanese word for fabric, lends itself to the name of one of the newest textile trends. Create a one-of-a-kind nuno-felted scarf and explore variations on this unique and versatile technique used to create accessories, jewelry, wall hangings, curtains, and other projects.
The encaustic method of painting combines the luminescence of watercolor, the rich color and thickness of oils, and the quick-drying benefits of acrylic. The medium can be molded, sculpted, combined with collage materials, and reworked at any time. In this workshop, ideal for all experience levels, learn to capture vibrant pigments using heated beeswax, as well as fusing and carving in wax.
Add three appliqué techniques to your quiltmaking skills as you create a fabric flower-garden wall hanging, and learn how a variety of edgings can give the perfect finishing touch to your projects.
Merge recent findings on visual perception with familiar elements of art to discover how your landscape and still-life paintings can take on new and fresh creative edges.
Love mixed media? This workshop offers the perfect way to expand your repertoire by creating an array of one-off prints using acrylic paints and other materials.
Whether you have never picked up a brush or haven’t painted in years, this 2-day workshop provides a solid foundation in the basics of working in oil. By the end of the weekend, you’ll be on your way to painting like a pro.