Classes and Open Studios

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Watercolor with Erica Qualey – 4 weeks – Sundays 1-4 – Starting Jan 25  – $180


This four week session is open to anyone with beginner or intermediate painting skills. We will focus on exploring and developing techniques, learning the characteristics of watercolor and the different tools commonly used, creating interesting compositions using sketches and reference photos, and the process of planning and creating a watercolor painting. Participants will have weekly demonstrations and participate in creating quick studies to help build technique. The majority of class time will be spent on individual projects with one-on-one instructor feedback.
Participants will receive a suggested materials list from the instructor and will be expected to bring their materials to the first class along with photos and/or sketches that they are interested in painting.


Ukranian Pysanky Egg decorating with Erica Qualey- March 15th  – 1 pm – 4pm


Pysanky egg decorating is an ancient method of dying eggs using batik techniques and rich, vivid dyes.  These eggs are rich with history and tradition, originally created as charms to bring good fortune to the object symbolized in the design. For example, an egg may be decorated with bees then placed under the hive to bring good health to the hive or adorned with wheat and buried in the field to bring a bountiful harvest.  The patterns and designs were also strongly influenced by Christianity and supposedly baskets of decorated eggs were brought to church by families to be blessed during Easter services.

During this class, students will learn how to use the kistky tool to layer wax and colors to create a finished pysanky egg. We will follow a traditional pattern and learn how to apply patterns to the three dimensional surface. Because a lot of the designs for traditional pysanky are very geometric it is easy for anyone, even those who don’t feel as though they have any artistic skills, to create amazing and beautifully patterned eggs. Anyone over the age of 12 is welcome to join us. Cost $25 for members and students…..$30 for non-members Materials fee:  $15……Each student will receive a kit including a kistky tool, beeswax, patterns, and a set of dye colors to take home with them.

Erica Qualey is an artist and illustrator living in South Bristol, Maine.  Over the past 10 years she has actively creating art and exhibiting watercolor paintings in group and solo art shows throughout Maine and New Hampshire. Her most recent show was an exhibit at Husson University in collaboration with a printmaker. Along with watercolor, Erica enjoys dabbling in many other mediums from wood block printing to Pysanky to felting.  You can view a collection of her watercolors on by visiting

Learn to paint in the language of COLOR THEORY-

Instructor – Kris Engman 8 Sessions – Saturdays 9 to 1 (first time students) 1-5 (Continuing Students)   February 28 – April 18  2015





Instructor: Kris Engman. Kerstin Engman exhibits at the Arden Gallery, Boston, and the Courthouse Gallery, Ellsworth, among other venues. She received her MFA from University of Pennsylvania, where she studied with Neil Welliver, and her BFA from Maine College of Art, with additional study at Rhode Island School of Design. Engman brings a rich and broad career in painting, drawing, sculpture and digital media to the instructor’s role. In her work she explores varied visions, media, materials and genres. In 1997 she became founder and director of Project Kalocsa, a cultural exchange between Hungary and the USA. She has also worked in arts education in Maine schools and in several New England colleges, including Maine College of Art, and is presently on the faculty of University of Maine. >

All are Welcome

$250 members/ $275 non-members


Shibori silk scarves – with Sandi Cirillo

Sunday, May 3 (just in time for Mother’s day) 3 hours  10-1 pm


In this hands on workshop, participants will learn about “shibori”, the Japanese resist method of creating designs on silk using a PVC pipe. This is a unique process as we wrap our scarves around the PVC pipe and watch as our creativity takes over, spilling onto the pipe in layer after layer of color. You will also be given the opportunity to paint directly on your scarves. Each person will complete two finished scarves in this class. The science of art and the creativity of the individual unite in this workshop to produce a finished product that can be worn with pride or given as a gift. Materials fee $10


Drawing the Head – Intensive – with Kris Engman
Sunday, March 1 and March 8 1-4 pm $100 members/$125 for non-members

The Human Head RA

‘If I could draw from only one subject from now until the end of my life, it would be the head … any head would do”

This workshop isn’t about capturing a likeness, although that could happen. It’s about the skull, the turn of the neck, the brow with features below, directed light on the surface of a cheek, a profile. It’s about measurement and proportion, how and where to make a mark, attention to detail, what to overlook, finding aesthetic balance. Instruction on anatomy, method and materials use. All are welcome.



PLEIN AIR WORKSHOPS with Kris Engman and Louise Bourne


Workshop I – May 20th, 21st — 10 to 4

Workshop II – August 19th and 20th — 10 to 4

15 students maximum $225 members $250 non-members/workshop

This workshop is about getting out of the studio and into the landscape. Painting outdoors, with your subject facing you with every turn of the head, is unique. It’s immediate, ever-changing, meditative, and a remote cousin of the studio experience. In the words of one artist, it’s a living and vibrant, moment-to-moment transformation of your observations with its shifts, permutations and deviations – all orchestrated by the passing of the day.

Each meeting will consist of 2 sessions – morning and afternoon. With attention to color, method and materials, we’ll spend two full days painting small works, with the idea a completing one or more paintings each session. It’s about LIGHT and COLOR. All are welcome. Instructors:

Kris Engman and
Louise Bourne


Figure Drawing and Anatomy with Kris Engman

Tuesdays – May 5 – June 9 2015    10-4

RA FigDrawing

$300 members $350  non-members

This course is designed to provide the draftsman with the supporting anatomical information that will give structure to his or her study of the figure. Initially, the course is dedicated to gaining an understanding of human (and occasionally animal)
architecture through the examination and study of the skeleton. There is a focus on proportion, measurement and the figure ( including linear perspective), figure/ground balance and the new ‘reality’ that is the drawing. !The student’s attention will also be directed to the musculature and its complexities – how the skeleton moves, how the muscles themselves function, the interaction of body parts due to the positioning of the figure, depth of field, foreshortening, and working to enhance visual interest through the well-articulated balance of contrasts.

Throughout the course, the introduction of a variety of materials is ongoing with emphasis placed on experimentation side by side with the developing of new skills. Formal drawing concepts rooted in the basic elements of drawing are addressed with the use of regular supplementary presentations, frequent handouts and daily critiques.


Beginning Feltmaking -  with Sandi Cirillo

Sunday June 7  -3 hours   10-1 pm

Beginning Feltmaking

Sandi won’t “pull the wool over your eyes” in this art workshop. Participants will learn how to create a beautiful piece of artwork(suitable for framing) using an ancient craft process known as feltmaking. Imagine what you can create using wool, soap and water and a little agitation! This is a “hands on” workshop so come prepared for lots of felted fun. We will learn about wet and needle felting techniques in this class. Materials fee  $8


Basic Drawing

Tuesdays  June 16 -July 21

This course introduces a fundamental approach to drawing which includes a broad-based definition of visual perception (the business of ‘seeing’). Over the 6 weeks, we will work to refine skills and concepts and develop a working use of the terms and concepts that address drawingnissues. In order to do this, there will be specific attention paid to making specific and clearnnmeasurements( proportion ), the integration of line with tone ( markmaking ), the well-balanced placement of information on the page ( arrangement ), and consideration of what should or should not be included in the drawing (editing). These issues will be at the forefront of class critiques. No experience necessary. All are welcome.


Nature Drawing with KRIS ENGMAN

Tuesdays  July 28th – August 18   10-4

ND for RA website
This course includes 3 basic areas of concentration: the Micro, the Macro, and the Panoramic !Over the course of 6 weeks, we’ll work outside from hilltops, lakesides, farms, gardens and
tidepools to observe and draw. From the large scale to the minute, we’ll have a chance to make a portrayal of all that we find beautiful in Nature. The student will study what a drawing needs to effectively bring the viewer into an intimate
experience – this includes using a variety of materials and methods, working out in the summer sunshine in choice locations. Attention given to a broad base of concepts and concerns related to drawing and composition. !No experience necessary. All are welcome.


Plant Imprinting on Fabric with Sandi Cirillo

Sunday August 30  – 3 hours  10-1 pm


Join us as we celebrate the beauty of the world around us. This workshop will teach you to imprint a design on a canvas tote bag using a variety of natural plant materials. We will begin by experimenting on various fabric surfaces to see how color reproduces. Then we will move on to creating a finished tote bag that expresses a one-of-a-kind design. All materials are provided by the instructor. Participants are encouraged to bring favorite flowers or leaves from their own garden or yard. Just make sure they are kept in water until the workshop. Materials fee $7


Gourd Design class with Sandi Cirillo

Sunday. September 20     3 hours   10-1 pm


Gourds, which come in all shapes and sizes, can be painted, etched, drilled into, etc. for a variety of different effects. In this class, participants will explore surface design on their gourd using a variety of materials. Some small power tools may also be used. You will come away with a perfectly “gourdgeous” work of art that can enhance your home or be cherished as a gift. You are encouraged to bring anything you have at home to embellish your gourd(like bits of yarn, dried flowers, etc). Materials fee $8


Nuno Felted Scarf class – with Sandi Cirillo

Sunday October 18  3 hours…………10-1 pm

Cirillo - N Scarf

In this class, students will learn how to create a nuno felted scarf using bits and pieces of wool, soap and water, agitation and lovely silk scarves. Nuno felting requires some upper body strength but this class is for all ages, teens to adults. Nuno felted scarves are sold in many fine gift shops……’s your chance to make your own. Materials fee $8


Shibori silk Scarves with Sandi Cirillo

Sunday November 15 (in time for Christmas giving)

3 hours………10-1pm


In this hands on workshop, participants will learn about “shibori”, the Japanese resist method of creating designs on silk using a PVC pipe. This is a unique process as we wrap our scarves around the PVC pipe and watch as our creativity takes over, spilling onto the pipe in layer after layer of color. You will also be given the opportunity to paint directly on your scarves. Each person will complete two finished scarves in this class. The science of art and the creativity of the individual unite in this workshop to produce a finished product that can be worn with pride or given as a gift. Materials fee $10


Birch Bark Ornaments and other holiday stuff – with Sandi Cirillo  Sunday December 6    3 hours  10-1 pm


This workshop will offer participants the opportunity to create up to four holiday ornaments or simple 3-dimensional sculptures using birch bark provided by the instructor. You will learn various ways to cut and fold the birch bark to create unique pieces of art suitable for gift giving or to use in your own home for decoration. Participants are encouraged to bring in any dried flowers or other materials to this class to embellish their creations. Materials fee $7


Functional Pottery with Nathan Willever

Monday Evenings 5-7pm – 4 week sessions—-Next 4 week session starts Jan 12

River arts pottery class poster- cropped

This class will focus on making functional pottery for everyday use on the wheel. We will start developing our skills with the cup form and move onto more challenging forms such as the bowl, pitcher and plate. We will be working with cone 5 white stoneware to make durable, food safe pots. The class is open to all experience levels. $120 members – $135 non-members

Nathan Willever makes functional pottery on a slow turning, treadle style wheel in Damariscotta, Maine. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics from Maine College of Art and has assisted multiple workshops at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts.



Life sculpture

Life Sculpture Studio – 4 weeks – next session starts Jan 15

10am – 1 pm $80

A new 4-week session in life sculpture is starting Jan. 15 at River Arts Studio, 241 US Route 1 in Damariscotta. The sessions will run from 10 am to 1 pm, on Thursdays. The cost is $80. Participants will work, without instruction, from a long-term pose over a six week period. There are no formal critiques, but participants are free to ask other members or the monitor for help or advice whenever needed.

Everyone is encouraged to bring their own tools, armatures, and their preferred sculpting medium. Most participants use water based clay (self hardening or firing), or oil based clay (plasticine, plastilina), and some prefer wax. There are some tools and supplies available to borrow until you can get your own, but the selection is limited.

River Arts also offers open studios in life drawing and ceramics – times are listed on the website For more information email: or call 563-1507

River Arts Open Studio Schedule

Open Studio Ceramics: monitors Nate and Tessa

Tues 5-7, Wed 4-6 Thurs. & 4-6

$10/hour at the Route 1 Studio

Open Studio Life Drawing: monitor Roberta Goschke

Ongoing Wednesday evenings 6 – 9 pm$15 m/$20 n/m Studio at 241 US Route 1

Life Sculpture: monitor Rachel Oakes

Thursday mornings – 4 week sessions10am – 1 pm* Good idea to call ahead – 563-1507