Adult Classes / Spring

Teenagers are welcome in adult classes. Unless otherwise specified, classes are designed for beginning and intermediate levels.

Personalized Programs

Open Studio

Bring your materials and enjoy working in a relaxed studio environment.
Mondays, ongoing, 1pm – 4pm
Free. No open studio on 5/26

The printing press will be available on select Mondays. Contact the education department to check for availability.

Monitored Figure Drawing & Painting

Doug Aaberg, Monitor

Maintain and improve your drawing and painting skills. A live model is provided each week.

Tuesdays, 6pm – 9pm
April 8 – June 3
1 session: Members $15 / Public $20
5 sessions: Members $65 / Public $80*
All season pass (10 sessions total): Members $120 / Public $140*
*Must pre-pay entire amount and choose specific dates to qualify for reduced fee.


Watercolor Essentials with Lisa Lyman Adams

Work from still lifes and other reference materials. Learn painting set-up skills, composition, and techniques for layering colors and creating light and shadow.

Mondays, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
March 31 – April 28
Members $110 / Public $130

Download class materials list

Painter’s Cookbook

Hone your painting skills in these special topics classes. Classes center on teacher demonstrations, and incorporate time to practice techniques. Painting experience recommended.

Classes can be taken individually or as a series of five
Mondays, 6pm – 9pm
May 12 – June 16 (No Class 5/26)
*Save by taking the whole series: Members $215 / Public $240

May 12: Canvas Stretching & Surface Preparation with Sheila Barbone
Learn techniques for preparing various substrates for painting in oil or acrylic. Demonstrations will be given on sizing raw canvas, priming canvas and boards, and doing a gallery-wrap of primed canvas on a wooden frame. Materials provided. A notebook is recommended.
Members $65 / Public $70

May 19: Classic Approach to Anatomy with Lisa Lyman Adams
Learn the basic measurements of the face and body to achieve correct proportions in your drawings and paintings. Class will work from a live model.
Members $45 / Public $50

Download class materials list

June 2: Alla Prima Portraiture with Doug Aaberg
Learn to paint an interesting portrait while keeping colors clean and lively, using direct painting (alla prima) techniques. Record initial gesture of the model and move quickly into form, value and color. Special attention will be given to the form and planes of the human head as well as paint application, color palette and brush work.
Members $45 / Public $50

Download class materials list

June 9: Animal Art with Lisa Lyman Adams
Discover techniques for incorporating animals into your paintings. Anatomy, composition, gesture and local color will be explored through the use of reference materials. Students will begin their animals in graphite, and then apply paint.
Members $35 / Public $40

Download class materials list

June 16: Mixed Media with Laura Gaffke
Explore and experiment with materials and concepts. A range of techniques will be covered, including creating layers with washes, texture and collaging.
the whole series:
Members $215 / Public $240­­­

Download class materials list

Digital Photography with Brenda De Los Santos

Learn composition, exposure, white balance, and depth of field using your digital SLR or point-and-shoot camera with manual capabilities. Discover how aperture, shutter speed, and ISO work together to create an image. Topics covered include nature, portrait, and action photography. Digital camera with full manual controls required.

Tuesdays, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
April 1 – 29
Members $110 / Public $130

Studies in Digital Photography with Brenda De Los Santos

Focus on a different aspect of digital photography each week. A digital camera with full manual controls is required for all classes, with a digital SLR recommended. Students must be comfortable using their cameras in manual mode and have previous digital photography experience.

Tuesdays, 6:15pm – 9:15pm
May 13 – June 10
Members $35 / Public $40 per class
Members $165 / Public $195 for the five-part series

May 13: Equipment and Accessories
Learn how to select the best lenses for different types of photography, and how to select and use other camera accessories such as flashes, white balance devices, and more.

May 20: Documenting Your Work
Discover the best techniques for photographing your art to present on websites, blogs, Etsy, and more.

May 27: Photoshop Basics
Enhance and perfect your images in Adobe Photoshop. Basics like file size/resolution, cropping, levels, contrast, color balance, saturation, and sharpening will be covered. A laptop computer installed with 15 – 20 images you wish to edit and Adobe Photoshop Elements is required (a free 30-day trial can be downloaded at

June 3: Portrait Photography
Learn how to pose people to make them look natural in group portraits, and how to create “in the moment” lifestyle portraits.

June 10: Street Photography
Take a “photo walk” through downtown Mystic. Capture events as they happen, recording the mundane and extraordinary aspects of daily life.

Nuts & Bolts of Drawing with Lisa Lyman Adams

Learn set up, composition, and a variety of rendering and shading techniques for achieving different textures with pencil.

Wednesdays, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
April 9 – May 7
Members $110 / Public $130

Download class materials list

Photo to Canvas with Sarah Stifler Lucas

Bring your favorite photographs and learn how to create a work of art in acrylic or oils. Instructor demonstrations focus on design, composition and value. Previous painting experience recommended.

Wednesdays, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
April 9 – May 7 (no class 4/23)
Members $90 / Public $105 per session
May 14 – June 11
Members $110 / Public $130 per session

Thursdays, 9:30am – 12:30pm
April 10 – May 8
May 15 – June 12
Members $165 / Public $195 per session

Download class materials list

Portrait Painting with Jack Montmeat

Learn to paint a portrait, from start to finish. Demonstrations will be given on drawing the subject on the canvas and completing each part of the picture. Explanations on materials of painting, as well as strategies for color mixing in oil will also be given.

Thursdays, 6:30pm – 9pm
April 3 – May 8
Members $200 / Public $235

Download class materials list

Pastel for All Abilities with Jacqueline Phillips

Improve your drawing skills while working with pastels. New still life compositions and techniques will be introduced to challenge returning pastel painters.

Thursdays, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
May 15 – June 12
Members $110 / Public $130

Download class materials list

Featured Course

This Body of Land: An Introduction to Eco Art with Ana Flores

Combine art and earth history, studio practice and field work. Get an overview of Western artists who have been inspired by the natural world, from Leonardo Da Vinci to John James Audubon to contemporary artists. Explore relevant environmental issues, delve into our ever-changing relationship with nature and find creative means to probe and celebrate it. Students will work individually, but also collaboratively. Two class sessions are spent off-site, in the outdoors, rain or shine! To view more about Ana Flores, visit:

Mondays, 6pm – 8:30pm
May 5 – June 9 (no class May 26)­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­
Members $140 / Public $160

Workshops & Demos

Fashion Design & Construction with Candace French

Learn to make basic fitted garments and to create and use patterns as the foundation for your designs. Sew your final garment out of fabric you have chosen. Garments can range from a skirt to a top or dress. Some sewing experience is helpful, but not necessary.

Saturday and Sunday, April 26 & 27
9:30am – 4:30pm
Members $185 / Public $210

Download class materials list

Introduction to Relief Sculpture with Serena Bates

Learn the process for creating a clay relief sculpture, working from a live model. Focus on modelling different aspects of the human form, applying and molding the clay directly onto a wooden platform. Experience drawing from a model is recommended.

Saturday, May 3
10am – 4pm
Members $85 / Public $95

Introduction to Mold Making with Serena Bates

Learn basic techniques for making plaster or silicone block molds, working from the object of your choice, or one provided by the instructor. Students will make their own silicone mold and pull a copy from it. Basic patinas for surface finishing of the pieces will also be covered. Materials provided.

Saturday and Sunday, May 10 & 11
2pm – 5pm
Members $155 / Public $165

Children’s Picture-book Design with Lisa Lyman Adams

Learn standard industry guidelines, terminology, presentation tips, query writing and editing skills. Target information will be covered preparing you for a professional introduction to publishers. Participants should bring story drafts and sketches. This workshop will not cover basics of book writing or drawing.

Sunday, May 18
10:30am – 5pm
Members $70 / Public $80

Download class materials list

Canvas Stretching & Surface Prep with Sheila Barbone

Learn techniques for preparing various substrates for painting in oil or acrylic. Demonstrations will be given on sizing raw canvas, priming canvas and board, and a wooden frame. Materials provided. A notebook is recommended.

Wednesday, May 21
1pm – 4pm
Members $65 / Public $70

Matting & Framing Your Work with Carol Dunn

Learn to measure and prepare work for framing. Instructor will review appropriate choices for mats and frames including archival materials and methods. Hands-on demonstrations focus on the use of a mat cutter, various hinging methods, and glass-cutting. Supplies provided, including a neutral-colored mat. Students will order and purchase frames from instructor. See supply list for sizing restrictions.

Saturdays, May 17 & 31
10am – 2:30pm
Members $125 / Public $140

Download class materials list

Plein Air Painting with Pamela Pike Gordinier

Capture the essence of the landscape by painting outdoors at Ender’s Island in Mystic. Teacher demonstrations will be in watercolor; however, drawing, acrylic and oil media are welcome. Critique at the end of each class. Rain location: MAC Studios.

June 11 – 13, 9:30am – 1pm
Members $100 / Public $120

Download class materials list

The Essential Artist

Advance your creative career with networking, educational workshops, and individual critiques.

Friday, April 11: Pecha Kucha Night
Kick off your immersive weekend with the latest event trend. Born in Japan, Pecha Kucha is a gathering of people making and witnessing presentations on various topics. Presentations are fast-paced: 20 slides at 20 seconds each. See PK in action, enjoy a drink or two, and mingle. Tonight’s presenters are: Helen Cantrell, Matthew Cassar, Mark Dixon, and Judith Osbourne.
5:30pm – 7:30pm

Saturday, April 12
Spend a morning learning how to fund and financially account for your artwork. Classes run about an hour each, with a coffee break around 10:15am.
9am – 11:45am

Opportunities for Artists: Fellowships & Public Art
Tamara Dimitri, Art in Public Spaces Coordinator, Department of Economic and Cultural Development

Tax Planning for Artists
Margaret Caster, Caster CPAs

$20 Members / $30 Public

Sunday, April 13: Portfolio Review Day
Make an appointment with a mentor of your choice for a 45 minute personal portfolio critique.  Call for your preferred time slot and reviewer (see list below).
By appointment between 9am – 4pm
$30 Members/ $40 Public

Portfolio Reviewers

Lisa Adams is an artist illustrator. Formerly based in Manhattan for 26 years, Lisa relocated to the Mystic area where she resumed her career as a fine artist. Lisa’s unique style – a mix of super-realism, collage, naive drawing, and artists’ handwriting –  has garnered recognition and awards.   Her illustration work can be consistently spotted in mainstream magazines, The New York Times, and teen book-jackets for global publishing houses. She is the creator of the babyGap Teddy bear store mascot and the author/illustrator of the popular holiday children’s book “The Twelve Days of Christmas in New York City”. Lisa holds a BFA from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.

Diane Birdsall is the director of the Diane Birdsall Gallery (DBG). The gallery, based in Old Lyme, exhibits established artists and exciting young talent showing representational and abstract work, painting, sculpture, mixed media and installations. DBG has been recognized by  local and national publications. Artists’ represented by DBG have been showcased in Architectural Digest, New York Spaces, the television show 30 Rock and HGTV as well as in featured articles of local newspapers and magazines. Diane received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Rhode Island School of Design. Following a career path from Fashion to Interior Design and Museum Media Events she opened the gallery with the intention to showcase art as an element of inspiration, beauty and excitement in our lives.

Ronald Cowie is a photographer specializing in large format photographs of people and the land, printed using the 19th century platinum process. He teaches at the New England School of Photography and taught a class on platinum printing at The George Eastman House. Ronald’s work has been featured in several group exhibitions across New England and in solo exhibitions at the University of Rhode Island and Alibi Fine Art, Chicago.

Scholarships available. Apply at

Deadline to register: Monday, April 7 Call 860.536.7601 x209

Featured Programs

Private Instruction with MAC Faculty

MAC offers private lessons for beginning and intermediate artists seeking individual guidance in a variety of media. A unique curriculum created for you personally can help with technical skills and artistic development. Contact the Education Department at 860.536.7601 x 213 for information and scheduling or complete the private lesson inquiry form.

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