Painting & Drawing
Classes & Workshops

Develop and improve your skills with 1,200 acres of natural inspiration!


watercolor of apple blossoms, Sonja Hutchinson

First Blush: Apple Blossoms in Watercolor (Online)

Select a session
Friday, May 7, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Friday, June 4, 9:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.
Sonja Hutchinson, Award-winning painter and long time watercolor painting instructor

Level: Some experience preferred
Supplies: Use-your-own, see supply list

Let spring blossom's inspire you in this live, interactive online class. You will paint the bright buds and translucent petals of our blushing apple trees.
  • Follow step-by-step instruction with supplied reference materials and clear demonstrations...all from the comfort of your home.
  • Learn to map the edges of defining shapes to set the stage for your painting
  • Discover how to mix soft neutral colors for subtle shading
  • Charge color into blooming washes for a smooth even transition of color
  • Build a geometric framework to finish the composition

A video recording of the entire class will be provided which allows students to review class techniques. No need to take notes! This recording is available for 60 days after class.

Supply List
  • Watercolors: Permanent Rose, Alizarin Crimson, Sap Green, Aureolin Yellow, New Gamboge, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue.
  • Paper - 140# Arches (9 x 12)
  • Watercolor Palette
  • #10 round brush
  • Paper towels
  • Small kitchen sponge
  • Transfer paper
  • Pencil and eraser

How it works: Registered participants will be emailed a link to join the class via Zoom, an online interactive platform hosted by Arboretum, which allows interaction, feedback and questions.

Limit 18, online via Zoom

WAITLIST
Sold out. Add your name to the waitlist, we will contact you if a spot opens. 
Friday, May 7, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
$49 member/$69 non-member,
you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Friday, June 4, 9:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.
$49 member/$69 non-member, 
you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

crop of "Swim with Lillies", artist Kim Russell

Exhibiting Artist Talk with Kim Russell: Seeing Birds through the Eyes of an Artist (Online)

Saturday, May 8th 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

About the Artist: Working for decades as a professional artist, Kim Russell creates stylized ink and acrylic drawings of birds that appear in botanical gardens, National Wildlife Refuges, the International Crane Foundation and a new installation of 34 life-sized flying birds in Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. Artist Kim Russell

Join Kim Russell, Reedy Gallery "Birds of a Feather" exhibiting artist, in a free online Zoom discussion moderated by Wendy DePaolis, Arboretum Curator of Art.

  • "Tour" the exhibit virtually to view the stylized drawings of native Midwestern species
  • Learn how the artist combines research and inspiration to capture the essence of each bird
  • Gain a wealth of fascinating facts about birds' biology with Kim's original artwork as a backdrop

Limit 500, online via Zoom


Free to attend (advance registration required). After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the free webinar.


plein air painting outside, watercolor: Jim Turner; photo: Chamille White/Shutterstock

Introduction to Plein Air Watercolor (Outdoors In-Person at the Arb)

Saturday, June 5, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
James Turner, Award-winning watermedia painter and experienced instructor

Level Some experience with painting and/or drawing preferred
Supplies Bring-your-own, see supply list below

Watercolor is a nearly perfect plein air (painting outdoors) medium: it is inexpensive, portable, and endlessly adaptable. Spread out on the lawns and natural spaces surrounding the Ordway picnic shelter, or enjoy cover from the elements in the open-air shelter as every sight, sound and smell becomes part of the artwork, surrounded by the Arboretum's spring beauty. Be amazed as you learn to see nature in a whole new way - through an artist's eyes.
  • Learn techniques to set up your own materials outdoors for the best possible painting experience
  • Watch a complete painting demonstration that includes discussion on subject matter, composition, simplification, and value study.
  • Learn how to take and use reference photos to complete your artwork at home if necessary.
  • Apply what you learn to a new plein air painting of your own. Jim will visit each student to provide help and support as your painting progresses.

Artist note "The most important thing to bring is an open mind, a desire to learn, and a sense of humor. If you aren't having fun, you're doing it wrong! I seldom do a great painting outdoors, the pleasure comes in the doing, not the result. Any painting you do outdoors will create in your mind a lasting memory, including sights, scents, the sound of the wind or birds and a connection to the spot that will outlast any photo you might take".

How it works You will receive a bar-code ticket for entry to the Arboretum in your email purchase confirmation. Your ticket is valid for entry on the day of your class up to 30 minutes prior to your class start. Present your ticket to the gate attendant as you enter the Arboretum. You may stay at the Arboretum after class as long as you want during our operating hours. Review these Covid-19 safety protocols for attending in-person classes at the Arboretum.

Supply List
  • Watercolor paper block: The instructor will be demonstrating on a 14x20" arches rough or cold press board.
  • Brushes: whatever you have will probably work. There should be at least one large wash brush, a 1 1/2 or 2" flat or a #10 or larger round and an assortment of smaller brushes.
  • Paint: A minimum of 3 primaries. You should invest in professional-grade tube watercolors, student-grade pigments will give you consistently poor results. I have several plein air sets and will discuss the advantages of each in class. Recommended colors: Instructor will be using blues (cerulean and phthalo) yellows (gamboge and cad yellow light) and reds (alizarin crimson, cad red medium). I also like burnt sienna and yellow ochre, earth colors and yellow green and orchid (from American Journey) as secondary colors.
  • Any pallet with color wells you have should work as long as the paint is good quality.
  • Water container for paint
  • Paper towels
  • Pencil
  • A portable chair if you like
  • Appropriate clothes and outdoor supplies: We will be outside all day, so plan accordingly (sun screen, bug spray, umbrella, etc.)

Ordway Picnic Shelter, limit 16

WAITLIST Sold out. Add your name to the waitlist, we will contact you if a spot opens or another session is added! $89 member/$104 non-member, includes Arboretum admission

cormorants (crop of art), credit Emily Donovan

Exhibiting Artist Demonstration with Emily Donovan: Perspectives of an Artist-Birder - Finding Color, Meaning & Connection (Online)

Saturday, June 12th 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

About the Artist: A prolific artist with numerous exhibitions and awards, Emily Donovan creates paintings on paper with handmade dyes from natural materials using methods and recipes that are centuries old and shared by all cultures.

Join Emily Donovan, Reedy Gallery "Birds of a Feather" exhibit featured artist, in a free online Zoom art demonstration moderated by Wendy DePaolis, Arboretum Curator of Art.

  • Emily will demonstrate her art process to create wholly original multimedia paintings live from her backyard studio
  • Watch Emily use local native plant materials to make natural dye and pigment
  • Learn new ways of seeing flora and fauna through the artist's eyes
  • Understand through observation of seasonal change the symbiotic relationship between plants and birds.

Limit 500, online via Zoom


Free to attend (advance registration required). After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the free webinar.

accordian nature sketchbook with trees, Pam Luer

Nature sketchbooks with Pam Luer: Trees, Bark & Nests (Outdoors In-Person at the Arb)

Wednesday, July 28, 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Pam Luer, professional artist specializing in nature based motifs. A licensed product designer for the gift and home decor industry

Level Drawing experience preferred
Supplies Bring-your-own, see supply list below

Come celebrate the Summer of Trees at the Arboretum! What better way to learn to draw the Arboretum surroundings than under the guidance of a professional artist who specializes in natural-based designs? All you need is a love of nature, an inquisitive eye, and a few carefully selected drawing tools. This all-day workshop is for anyone who wants to add an element of art while "on the go" - in your backyard, park, or on your next vacation. Expand your understanding of the natural world while Pam teaches you to draw in new ways:
  • Begin class with a nature walk to sharpen your observational skills as you explore the Arboretum's trees
  • Look closely at all elements of the plants and trees - a skill essential to art in nature
  • New tips and techniques will allow you to become a more accomplished artist whether you have been at it for years or just beginning to draw from nature today
  • Take home the skills to be used right away and enjoy the rewards of documenting the everyday beauty that is all around.
Supply List
  • Pentalic Watercolor Accordian Fold Dream Catcher Sketch Book, 4x6" (as shown in class image) or if you would rather use a traditional sketchbook 9x12" or smaller, please be sure the paper has at least 25% cotton. Some of my favorites include: Nature Sketchbook by Pentalic and Strathmore 400 series Stillman & Birn Dela series.
  • If you have a variety of watercolor papers, bring them along to experiment with.
  • Derwent watercolor pencils (small collection)
  • Pentel Art Aquash water brush: you can find these on line at outlets such us Dick Blick or Amazon. May also be found at Wet Paint in St. Paul and at Michaels. They usually come in a set of three. Another option is to bring a couple brushes and a small water container.
  • Backpack or bag for all your materials. Keep it portable and easy- you'll be moving about with your gear!
  • Bring your own folding stools or borrow one from the Arboretum
  • Dress for the weather and comfortable shoes
  • Bring water bottle, snack/beverages and/or lunch as needed. Food and drinking water are not available at the class location.

How it works You will receive a bar-code ticket for entry to the Arboretum in your email purchase confirmation. Your ticket is valid for entry on the day of your class up to 30 minutes prior to your class start. Present your ticket to the gate attendant as you enter the Arboretum. You may stay at the Arboretum after class as long as you want during our operating hours. Review these Covid-19 safety protocols for attending in-person classes at the Arboretum.

Meet at the Ordway Picnic Shelter, limit 12

WAITLIST Sold out. Add your name to the waitlist, we will contact you if a spot opens! $89 member/$104 non-member, includes Arboretum admission


watercolor leafscapes of Black Walnut Tree, artist Sonja Hutchinson

Watercolor Workshop: Leafscapes of the Black Walnut Tree (Online OR In-Person at the Arb)

Thursday October 7, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Sonja Hutchinson, Award-winning painter and long time watercolor painting instructor

Level Some watercolor experience preferred
Supplies Bring-Your-Own, see supply list below
Register for your preferred attendance Choose to attend in-person in the Arboretum's Bee Center with your own work table and ample physical distance spacing, or attend online where you can watch, participate, and interact with the students and instructor just like you're there.

Don't miss this Arboretum-exclusive class where you will create a rhythmic painting featuring the leaf patterns and fruit orbs of the handsome Black Walnut tree. Sonja's accessible learning approach will keep the class fun and ensure you take your painting to the next level.
  • Enjoy and learn from step-by-step demonstrations
  • Practice new painting techniques including negative painting, mixing greens, paint handling, and composition
  • Develop a deeper understanding of the entire watercolor process
  • Receive photo references and drawings aids to guide you through the entire painting process and will be emailed in advance.
  • There will be an hour for a lunch break & plenty of time for Q&A with the instructor, whether you are in-person or live online via Zoom.
  • Everyone will have access to the recorded session available at no extra charge for a limited time in order to facilitate "at home" practice
Supply List
  • Watercolor paints: Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Aureolin Yellow, New Gamboge, Alizarin Crimson, Paynes Grey
  • #10 Round Brush
  • Arches 140lb paper* (9x12" or 11x15")
  • *Please note that you must have professional watercolor paper that is 100% cotton in order to achieve desired results.
  • Clear Acetate such as Dura Lar
  • Transfer Paper
  • Pencil
  • Masking Tape
  • Water and Sprayer
  • Hair Dryer
  • Palette or white Plastic Plate
In-Person option
  • In-person attendees will receive a bar-code ticket for entry to the Arboretum in your email purchase confirmation. Your ticket is valid for entry on the day of your class up to 30 minutes prior to your class start. Present your ticket to the gate attendant as you enter the Arboretum. You may stay at the Arboretum after class as long as you want during our operating hours. Review these Covid-19 safety protocols for attending in-person classes at the Arboretum.
  • Bring water bottle, snack/beverages and/or lunch as needed. Food and drinking water are not available at the class location.
Online option
  • Registered online participants will be emailed a link to join the class via Zoom, an online interactive platform hosted by Arboretum, which allows interaction, feedback and questions.
  • Arboretum Art Curator & Program Manager Wendy DePaolis will be facilitating this class live. For technical questions or assistance during class, contact Wendy at depao008@umn.edu or 952-334-4019.

In-Person limit 10, Tashjian Bee and Pollinator Discovery Center
$69 member/$84 non-member, includes Arboretum admission
Online limit 10
$69 member/$84 non-member, zoom link will be emailed to registered participants


River birch watercolor painting by Sonja Hutchinson

Watercolor Painting Workshop: River Birch Tree (Online OR In-Person at the Arb)

Friday, October 22, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Sonja Hutchinson, Award-winning painter and long time watercolor painting instructor

Level Advanced Beginner to Experienced; Some experience with the watercolor medium preferred.
Supplies Bring-Your-Own, see supply list below
Register for your preferred attendance Choose to attend in-person in the Arboretum's Bee Center with your own work table and ample physical distance spacing, or attend online where you can watch, participate, and interact with the students and instructor just like you're there.

The intriguing bark of the river birch enlivens our landscapes all year. Paint a young tree in rich warm color against a crisp Minnesota sky. Leave with a finished painting and the knowledge to take you further in your creative journey.
  • Enjoy live step-by-step demonstrations
  • Learn new painting techniques, from paint handling to composition
  • Develop a deeper understanding of the entire watercolor process
  • Take home reference materials which lead you through the painting process
Supply List
  • Watercolor Paints: Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Cerulean Blue, Raw Sienna or Yellow Ochre, Quinacridone Gold, Cadmium Red or Red Light, Paynes Grey
  • Masking Fluid and soap
  • Masking applicator (small brush or nib)
  • Rubber Cement Pickup/Eraser
  • Watercolor Brushes
  • #10 Round brush
  • Wash brush
  • Rigger or liner brush
  • Arches 140 lb paper*
  • *Please note that you must have professional watercolor paper that is 100% cotton in order to achieve desired results.
  • Painting support surface
  • Pencil
  • Transfer paper (if desired for drawing assistance)
In-Person option
  • In-person attendees will receive a bar-code ticket for entry to the Arboretum in your email purchase confirmation. Your ticket is valid for entry on the day of your class up to 30 minutes prior to your class start. Present your ticket to the gate attendant as you enter the Arboretum. You may stay at the Arboretum after class as long as you want during our operating hours. Review these Covid-19 safety protocols for attending in-person classes at the Arboretum.
  • Bring water bottle, snack/beverages and/or lunch as needed. Food and drinking water are not available at the class location.
Online option
  • Registered online participants will be emailed a link to join the class via Zoom, an online interactive platform hosted by Arboretum, which allows interaction, feedback and questions.
  • Arboretum Art Curator & Program Manager Wendy DePaolis will be facilitating this class live. For technical questions or assistance during class, contact Wendy at depao008@umn.edu or 952-334-4019.

In-Person limit 10, Tashjian Bee and Pollinator Discovery Center
$69 member/$84 non-member, includes Arboretum admission
Online limit 10
$69 member/$84 non-member, zoom link will be emailed to registered participants


woman with her graffiti art, photo Peyton Scott Russell
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Metro Regional Arts Council logo

Creative Aging for Ages 60+: Graffiti Arts 8-Week Series

MOVED TO FALL 2021, NEW DATES!
(8) Saturdays, 1-3:30 p.m., September 18 - November 6, 2021

Peyton Scott Russell, Accomplished artist, internationally-known instructor, and Bush Fellowship recipient, Peyton Scott Russell has been involved in graffiti arts for over 30 years.

No Experience Preferred!
Specially designed for ages 60 and over, this fun 8-week series will introduce you and fellow students (and soon-to-be friends) to graffiti/street art! No experience is necessary...in fact, no experience is preferred! If you feel like you have untapped creative potential and want to harness your creative voice together with similar people, this series is for you! Learn about the history and aesthetics of graffiti as you develop your aerosol arts skills. Integrate elements of the Arboretum grounds and natural environment into your art pieces. Practice a variety of art-making techniques including traditional art elements and design principles.

  • Signature-Tag™: Creation of a unique signature nickname that becomes one's tag.
  • Quickut™: A multimedia experience involving conceptual cutting of letter
  • Sprallage™: Spray/collage to create work of art 
  • Face Stencil: Use photo projection, drawing, cutting and stencils to make your own face!
  • Jam Walls™: Using name painting, sketch outlines, fill-ins & stencil

Discussion, reflection, evaluation and critique sessions each week lead to greater understanding of this unique art form, and provide an important opportunity for growth. Aprons are provided in class, but you will want to wear old clothing for painting.

Review these Covid-19 safety protocols for attending in-person classes at the Arboretum.
Limit 13, Marion Andrus Learning Center - Inside a Plant Lab


$199 member/$249 non-member, includes Arboretum admission for all (8) sessions and all supplies
 
Get an email notification when new art classes are added!
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Questions?
Arboretum Education Office
Mon - Fri, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.*
arbedu@umn.edu
612-301-1210*
*We are temporarily working from home during Covid-19, we may return phone messages from a home phone 

Cancellations & Exchanges

Cancellation policy

Some in-person programs: postponed or canceled
Find details at COVID-19 Arb Classes Updates

Waitlist
The best chance of being enrolled in a sold out class is to add your name to the waitlist. Click the orange "waitlist" button next to the class and complete the form. There is no obligation to register if a spot opens. If the waitlist shows enough demand, additional sessions may be added.

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