Adult Workshops

Adult workshops in all media are scheduled in the Spring and Fall. Most of the workshops feature local instructors in their preferred media. Recent workshops have included abstract collage and acrylic, oil painting, water color, drawing, photography and ceramics. The workshops are generally two to four days. Many are on weekdays, but some are evening and weekends. Two or three times a year, we invite nationally and regionally well known artists to conduct special workshops that broaden the range of instruction.

Winter & Spring Workshops:

PDF list of workshops

Open Studio 

Instructor: Brenda M. Sylvia Monday nights beginning Jan 8th, 6-8:30pm
Open to artists of all levels to work in any medium except oils (unless you are not using solvents with them).  A still life will be set up for working from life and you are welcome to bring your own objects or photographs to work from.  Bring your own materials and refreshments.  Tabletop easels will be provided.  RAL artist Brenda Sylvia will be available for instruction, encouragement, and demonstrations. Come join us to have fun with your art in a nourishing, supportive environment.
Please sign up in advance. Restricted to 11 artists per session. Bring your own materials
$15 per night members / $20 per night non-member

Fundamentals Of Photography

Instructor: Bill Reckert
Tues and Thurs, March 6 - April 5, 10 -11:30am
When you take a picture, either you or your camera will make 5 basic choices: shutter speed, aperture, ISO, focal point and focal length. That’s it! Once you understand what these controls can do, you can make the photographs you’ve always dreamed of automatically, semi-automatically, or manually.
Instructor Bill Reckert has helped 1800+ students over 40 years see the light with plain language photography lectures reinforced with hands-on exercises and helpful critiques.  At the end of this course you’ll walk away with a copy of Bill’s Photography Rules of Thumb field guide and the know-how to take well-focused, well-exposed, well-composed photographs. 
“This class helped me see what my camera can do if properly set. My camera had been in the box for two years and now I am actually enjoying taking well-composed wild life photos.”
“This course taught me so much. It brought to light so much that I didn’t understand. Bill said everything in a way that was easily understood. I highly recommend the course.”
“Everything was explained very clearly and simply. Now I understand why the camera controls do what they do.”
“Thanks to your ‘no question is a stupid one’ I learned all about using my camera.”
$150 members / $175 for non-members. 
Min/Max enrollment: 6/12

Intermediate Pen and Ink

Instructor: Steph Brown
Wed, March 21, 10am – 4pm
This class is the next step in learning to create with pen and ink. Focused on details, textures, vignettes and practical problem solving, this one-day workshop will enable you to create finished pen and ink drawings with confidence. Bring with you a reference photo if you wish to start a project of your choosing. Completion of Intro to Pen and Ink Class is recommended prior to taking this one.
Sakura Pigma Micron Pens: Set Of 3 Point Sizes, Black - 
One each of 01 (0.25 mm), 03 (0.35 mm), and 05 (0.45 mm). 
9” x 12” Smooth Bristol Pad  
Kneaded Eraser
Drawing Pencil - 2B
If you are having difficulty finding materials, please contact Steph: 804-384-8661
Members $60 / Non-Members $70

Perspective and Proportion

Instructor: Steph Brown
Mon, Mar 26 and Wed, Mar 28, 10am – 3pm
In this 2-day workshop, we’ll focus on the fundamentals of perspective and proportion, exploring some of the basic concepts of 1 and 2 point perspective that work to create a sense of depth in an image. Foreshortening (why objects look different when we look at them from different viewing angles) and how to draw ellipses and cylinders in perspective will also be discussed and practiced. This class will provide a better understanding of how perspective works and you will be equipped with everything you need to create the illusion of depth in your drawings.
Graphite Drawing Pencils: (1 of each:) HB, 2B, 4B, 6B
9” x 12” Drawing Pad
Kneaded Eraser
Hand Held Pencil Sharpener
If you are having difficulty finding materials, please contact Steph: 804-384-8661
Members $100 / Non-Members $120

Intro to Pastels: Mark Making Without the Smudge

Instructor: Cate Kauffman
Sat, April 7, 9am – 3pm
Workshop Description: Many beginning pastelists go right to finger smudging and lose the beauty of the pastel marks which resemble brush strokes. Using sanded papers and soft, medium and hard pastels, and an alcohol wash, students will learn to use pastel safety, and employ various methods for building color and value in pastel painting without using their fingers or other tools to smudge the pastel. There will be discussion and information offered about proper framing, preservation and storage of pastel paintings. Materials fee will cover pastel paper samples. A materials list will be provided upon registration. A still life arrangement will be set up by the instructor before class begins.
Supply list available to RAL Art Center or call:  804-436-9309
Materials Fee payable to instructor: $15
Members $60 / Non-Members $75

Mix Media Collage

Instructor: Michelle Hoffman
Sat, April 14, 10am – 2pm
The workshop is to play and explore the possibilities of collage.  There will be examples and demonstrations of a few techniques I use but there is no limit to what you can create.  We will work with the elements and principles of design and strong composition choices to create one or more successful finished pieces.  There will be a short sharing of our work and experience at the end of the workshop. I will provide the surface for your collage(s) different sizes and shapes. Also, water containers, brushes and clean-up materials.  Large amounts of different types of papers, fabrics, acrylic paint, markers and a few surprises will be provided. 
Supply list: 
Old art work that did not work including oil paintings, photos and watercolors.  You can reinvent them to a new piece of art.
Please bring: scissors and glue. Any type white or school glue will do as long as it dries clear. I will provide some special glue. 
Please bring: a snack, drink and lunch. Come to have fun and enjoy
Members $75 / Non-Members $85

How to EASILY Paint Difficult Subjects in Watercolor

Instructor: Christopher Wynn
Fri & Sat, April 20 & 21, 10am – 4pm
Many artists say watercolor is the most difficult of all the mediums. Perhaps that is accurate. I have tried them all for decades, and I always return to my first love watercolor for one major reason: the paint always surprises me by what it does. But we need to counteract that serendipity by some measure of control, also. Watercolor is a technique driven media, and that’s where I can help you. I SHOW precisely the techniques of how to paint anything including difficult subjects like clouds, water reflections, rust, and many more. This is a perfect class for beginners to advanced painters in a fun, supportive, non-stressful environment.
Members $240  /  Non-Members $260

Glass-On-Glass Mosaics! 

Instructor: Sukey Starkey
Fri. & Sat, April 27 & 28, 10am – 3pm
Students will mosaic an 11X14” piece of glass using a variety of stained glass shapes and baubles. We will work on nipping and cutting skills and have an opportunity to use a glass grinder and a 3-ring saw to make specific shapes. Finished pieces will be framed and suitable for window display. 
Day 1: creating/gluing. Day 2: grouting/cleaning
Class size is limited to 8.
This workshop will be held at artist’s studio in Ophelia. 
From Kilmarnock take Rt. 200 N through Wicomico Church to Burgess.
At the traffic light in Burgess turn left onto 360 W.
Make your first right at the Fairfields UMC onto Hacks Neck Rd.
Travel 5.2 mi on Hacks Neck Rd. until you reach Afton UMC and turn right onto Flood Point Rd.
We are the first house on the right. 98 Flood Point Rd.
Tel. 804-453-5941
Materials Fee payable to instructor: $25
Members $90 / Non-Members $100

Uniquely Yours, A Reed and Seagrass Basket

Instructor: Judy Penry
Fri, April 27, 10am - 3pm
Students will make a rectangular reed basket (10”l x 6”w x 4”h). Materials are natural reeds, flat oval and round, and seagrass with a wooden base. The basket will be woven over a plastic mold. Basic basket skills and techniques will be learned and/or reviewed.
Design options and choices will be discussed.
The class size is limited to 6.
Materials Fee payable to instructor: $15
Members $45 / Non-Members $55

Get Out!  Three-Day Plein Air Painting Workshop

Instructor: Brenda M. Sylvia
Wed, Thur & Fri, May 9, 10 & 11, 9am – 4pm

This workshop is for all levels, but some painting experience will be helpful. If the weather permits, we will paint outside near the RAL Art Center in Kilmarnock and possibly at a local vineyard, marina, or park. You will learn how to simplify your paintings and work quickly while still capturing the feeling of a place. Our focus will be on creating interesting compositions by learning to see and rapidly paint the shapes, color, atmosphere, and changing light. Instruction will include lecture, demonstration, personal instruction, and group discussions of our paintings. We will work on 11x14 inch or smaller canvases or panels. Acrylics are recommended, but oil paints are also welcome. The first morning we will meet in the classroom to focus on the logistics and techniques of working outside. From then on, we will be outside as much as possible.  

Given a choice, Brenda’s preference is to paint on location to create her landscapes, and she has been working outdoors for more than 25 years. In 2004, she completed her MFA in painting at the George Washington University. Her thesis was titled “A Sense of Place” and included study of artists including Georgia O’Keeffe, Emily Carr, and the Canadian Group of Seven.  Her Thesis show included plein air oil paintings from 4 years of work at Carderock park in Maryland. In recent years, while living in the Virgin Islands, she’s been working on a series paintings of St Thomas beaches called called Beautiful on the Edges. Many of her newer paintings including her newest series called Trails and Trees have been done with acrylics. She has also taken painting trips to Joshua Tree National Park, Monument Valley, Colorado, Florida and Puerto Rico.

Materials: Bring your own materials (list will be available)
Members $200 / Non-Members $230


Instructor: Pat Dews -AWS D.F., NWS, an award winning, nationally recognized artist-instructor.
Wed thru Sat, May 16-19, 9am – 4pm

This is a fairly accurate description of what we will do each day in the workshop. Some variations may occur. There are no clones in my class. All will work on individual designs and all work will be unique. Students who have access to my books or video will have a better understanding of what to expect. See:

I begin the workshop by showing paintings that are finished and in progress, to get everyone on the same page. The student sees what we will be doing in class and what my work looks like in different stages. Each day I will do a demo and then the students will paint. All pieces will be on a table, so students can look at them. Leftover paint from each day will be used to paint pieces to use for collage.

Students are strongly encouraged to bring their own reference material. Please plan to bring your lunch each day.

Day 1
The first morning we will start 2–15” x 15” abstracts. Shape making, overlapping shapes, texture, color, composition, masking, spraying and dripping will be covered. I will be using watercolor, inks and acrylics. I will be using a brush, atomizer and spray bottle. As students paint, I circulate to give individual attention.
Using torn pieces of paper, I arrange and tape the pieces, in a cruciform design format, to a full sheet of paper. I paint and spray over these taped pieces, used as a mask, to reserve white shapes. After I demonstrate, students will tear their paper pieces (from a failed full sheet painting they bring to class) into large, medium and small shapes, to place on their paper in a cruciform design format. As students paint, I circulate and give individual attention.

Day 2
We use a viewfinder to find good design images or use an image I provide that is the design–full sheet painting. I demo and then students paint.
The next start/finish is created using a grid design or using a view finder image. I will completely alter the surface of a painting start (it will be one that I bring with me) using acrylic paint and acrylic paint techniques. Students will use one of the paintings they bring (must be a full sheet). If I decide it is not a failed painting, a failed painting start will be prepared. I circulate and give individual attention.

Day 3
I will give a video/slide presentation of my finished paintings. I will discuss color, design, form and content. I will be discussing design and the possibilities waiting to happen. There is a 10-minute break. I give a short demo on how to approach finishing the reserved white spaces. We quickly review the student’s pieces with the reserved white spaces. I will choose 2 starts to draw with a marker on waxed paper (used as tracing paper) so the student visualizes how to begin. Students begin to paint.
Students paint for the afternoon. I circulate and give individual attention.

Day 4
I demonstrate more techniques for the next stages in the painting process. I show collage samples and do a short demo on how to collage. We look at 1 start from each student and I give a few comments on the direction they can take. This takes time, but students tell me this is invaluable. Students paint on her/his starts until lunch. I circulate and talk to each student individually. I use colored construction paper for the critiques.
Students paint on their starts and paintings in progress. I circulate and use colored construction papers and papers I have painted to show changes, they may want to make. There is no demo the last day, unless the class has requests.

Students get input on their painting daily. Many paintings will be started and in different stages of completion. In a workshop it is important to try new techniques and get a lot of work going. Finishing pieces and finishing touches can come later, in the studio, as the student works quietly on his/her own. Students leave with many new ideas and new excitement. Most write later saying how their work has grown and that they will never work the same way again.
Materials list at RAL Art Center
Members Cost: $480, Non-Members Cost: $520