Youth Classes at the Springfield Museums

Posted by mrssmythe on July 17, 2016 in Art, Museums |

The kids each got to select a week-long day camp to attend this summer. Pepper chose “Painting in Oils”, one of several teen art classes offered by the Springfield Museums. (For a complete listing of current classes, click HERE).

Before taking this class, Pepper had never had any sort of formal art instruction. She does like to sketch, though, and has spent a lot of time drawing over the years.  She’s also tinkered a bit with watercolors. Oils, though, were new to her.

On the first day, Piper did this:


It’s a “value study” of the still life the kids worked on throughout the week. This gave them an idea of the color values and shading they would be using in the painting. They started by painting the canvas red (to give it a warm glow), and then used browns for the rest.

For the next three days, the teens worked on their actual painting, Recreating on a larger canvas the study in browns, then going over it with colors. Afterward, they added shading and highlights.


They spent their final day of class working on something completely different – Japanese Brush Painting.


This actually turned out to be Pepper’s favorite part of the class. It wasn’t as complicated as the oil painting, and the brush and ink were very versatile. She liked that you could do a lot with just a few tools. Plus, Pepper really likes the “look” of this type of art.


As to working with oils, Pepper liked how those paints were very forgiving. Mistakes were very easily fixed. She did not, however, like how much care had to be taken with them – things like wearing gloves, the laborious cleaning of the brushes, and the smell. She probably won’t spend a lot of time in the future working with oils, but she’s glad she had a chance to learn about them.

When the teens weren’t painting, they were studying exhibits in the museum, getting insight into things like lighting and painting styles. Pepper says that having worked with oils, she now has all new appreciation for paintings done in that medium. The class also attended a marionette show, a planetarium show, and spent their lunch hours together eating on the Smith Museum veranda. Pepper says her teacher was really nice and that she knew a lot about the art in the museums. It was a really great week for Pepper, and she highly recommends similar museum classes to any kids interested in art. She’s looking forward to taking more museum art classes in the future.

From the dining room table, with CPT A upstairs doing yoga (are you surprised?),

Mrs. Smythe


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