Past Classes

Past Classes

Portrait Drawing with Raphael Sassi

RiverArts is proud to present a portrait drawing class with Raphael Sassi.  This class is a challenging class for all skill levels.  Mr. Sassi will deal with the basic formal components of illusionist or realistic image- making and visual representation while focusing on the portrait.  The class will focus on the essential structural anatomy, the fundamentals of achieving a likeness, the various approaches to the array of features and textures involved, the nature of light and form, and how to achieve the best results with a variety of tools, using drawing tools deliberately.

Raphael has returned to the Eastern Shore, where he grew up, after studying in Florence, Italy with the Syracuse University Abroad, receiving a BFA in drawing at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and an MFA from the Graduate School of Figurative Art, New York Academy of Art.   He has taught at the Pratt Institute, The School of Visual Arts, The Maryland Institute College of Art, and the Academy Art Museum in Easton.  We are indeed fortunate to have him teaching at RiverArts this spring.

Portrait Drawing will be offered in the Classroom Gallery at RiverArts on four consecutive Saturdays in May:  4, 11, 18, and 25.  Classes will run from 4 to 7 PM.  A fee of $135.00 covers all four sessions.  RiverArts members pay $115.00.

Class size is limited to 15, so register today for this exciting opportunity.  Go to, downloadthe registration form, and send it, along with your check, to RiverArts, 315 High Street, Suite 106, Chestertown, MD 21620.  You can also register by calling 410 778 6300, and giving us your credit card information over the phone, or stop by the gallery and register in person.  A materials list will be sent to all students after they register.For more information about Raphael, and to see samples of his extraordinary work, see the current
exhibit at the Massoni Gallery, open March 30 to May 4, 2013, or visit his website

RiverArts Presents Mondays with Marcy this May

Local artist Marcy Dunn Ramsey has had a rich and varied career, and it is her wealth of experience and multi-focused approach to art that makes talking with her so stimulating.  Marcy has agreed to share some of her thoughts, insights, and expertise with us through a series of three lectures at RiverArts this May.  Dates and topics are:

May 6 – What’s the Big Idea – Abstract, Representational, and Contemporary Art
How to look at and understand art that is non-representational, conceptual, or just plain weird.  A general view of the major movements in art since 1945.

May 13 – The Basics: Drawing, Color Theory, and Basic Composition
How to think about making art and understanding the nature of different media.  Finding your own ‘voice’ as an artist.

May 20 – Presentation and Portfolio; Marketing Your Work
Submitting art for shows and competitions.  Includes tips on framing and matting your work, and submitting digital images for judging.

Lectures will be given in the Classroom Gallery at RiverArts, from 1:00 to 3:00 PM.  Presentations will be complimented by interactive give-and-take.  Light refreshments will be served, and you will have the opportunity to talk with her informally.

Ms. Ramsey received a BA from Emmanuel College in Boston, and studied art at St. Mary’s College, Boston Museum School of Fine Arts, and Maryland Institute of Art.  She has been a successful portrait artist, teacher, graphic designer, illustrator, print-maker, and painter. She was recently awarded a fellowship to study at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.  With this background, these discussions are guaranteed to be thought-provoking and interesting.  Reserve your seat today!

Fee for attending each lecture is $15.00.  RiverArts members $10.00.  To register, go to,  download the class registration form, and send it to RiverArts at 315 High Street, Suite 106, Chestertown, MD 21620; call 410 778 6300 with your credit card information, or stop by the gallery to sign up in person.

For more information on Marcy and her work, visit the current exhibit at the Massoni Gallery, showing from March 30 to May 4, or go to Marcy’s website at .

Woodworking with Vicco vonVoss

Vicco von Voss, whose work is currently on display at the Massoni Gallery in Chestertown, is offering three woodworking classes through Chestertown RiverArts.  All three classes will be taught at Vicco’s workshop at 145 Island Creek Road, Centreville, MD.  The first two classes will be limited to 10 students, so register now to take advantage of this very special opportunity.  Email us at or call the office at 410 778  6300 Wednesday through Fridays, 11:00 to 4:00 or Saturdays, 9:00 to 3:00.

Woodworking for Women

Saturday, March 23, 2013
9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Class fee $150.00

This class is dedicated to women interested in woodworking.  In this beginner’s level class you will learn basic woodworking skills to build confidence in the medium.  The focus will be on the use of hand tools.  Students will become comfortable with hand sawing, planing and chiseling.

Class requirements: If you have a hand saw, sharp hand plane or chisel, please bring them; otherwise no tools or experience required. Please bring a bagged lunch.

Making Inlay

Saturday, April 27, 2013
9am- 3pm
Class fee $150.00

This class will explore several different methods of making inlays. Inlays can be used for repair or decoration. First we will create a repair inlay. Second will be a bow-tie inlay. Third we will use a router and templates.

For intermediate and experienced woodworkers.
Class requirements: a sharp chisel, a mallet, and an awl.  Please bring a bagged lunch.

Making a Template

Saturday, May 25, 2013
9 am to 3 pm
Class fee $150.00

This class is for experienced craftsmen who want to gain a better understanding of how to utilize templates in the woodworking shop.  We will be making templates for design, for repetitive cutting and for the hard to figure out woodworking problems.

Participants may bring a project that they are having difficult time with which would require the use of a template.  No other tools required.  Please bring a bagged lunch.

No limit to class size.


Create Your Own Hooked Rug with Betty Kerr

Betty Kerr is a certified McGown instructor for hooked rugs and has been teaching for over 25 years.  If you have been in the RiverArts gallery any time recently, you have seen her beautiful creations on the wall.

Betty is now offering a series of three workshops for beginners, and at the end, you will have your own 38” by 28” Grandma’s Rug.

Classes will be held in Betty’s lovely studio right outside of Chestertown, on three consecutive Mondays: April 1, 8, and 15. Sessions will go from 10 am to 3 pm, and all students are asked to bring a bagged lunch.  Betty will provide tea.

Class fee is $70.00 for members and $80.00 for nonmembers.  This covers all three sessions and the rug kit, instructions, and hook.  Students are asked to bring their own wool fabric (not yarn) salvaged or store bought, and an 18” quilting frame.  If you don’t have either, frames and wool can be purchased from Betty at her studio.

Maximum class size is 6 so each student will receive personal attention.  This means space will fill up fast, so register today! Go to the RiverArts website and download and complete the class registration form, call RiverArts at 410 778 6300, or email us at

For more information on Betty and her work, visit her website at .

Polymer Clay Classes 

The Chameleon Clay:  A Free Introduction to Polymer Clay
Friday, February 22, 2013,  10:00-11:00am

Ever wonder what exactly polymer clay is or what you can do with it?  In this free introductory session, instructor JoLecia Crowe will share the answers to those questions and more.  You’ll learn why polymer clay is known as the chameleon clay, get to sample various types of clay, and see examples of what you can do from the faux jade taught in the basics course, to imitating precious stones and minerals, glass, metal, wood,
and more.   Whether you’re considering taking a polymer clay course or you’re just curious, this is a perfect introduction.  All are welcome. 

Polymer Clay Group (Free)
Thursday, February 28, 9:00am-12:00pm

It’s time to play with clay!  Bring your own materials and whatever projects you’d like to work on or just come on by to hang out and see what others are creating and enjoy the lively conversation. Polymer clay instructor JoLecia Crowe will be on hand to answer questions.  She also brings an assortment of tools and equipment for participants to use during the session.  This play group is free and occurs the last Thursday of every month from 9am-12pm.  Bring a friend and join the fun!  Contact instructor with questions at or 410-699-1025. 

Polymer Clay Basics:  Faux Jade
Friday, March 15, 2013; 9:00am-3:00pm

From learning how to choose and condition your clay to creating various finishes, artist JoLecia Crowe will take you through all the basics in working with oven-cured polymer clay.   You’ll learn a simple technique for creating realistic faux jade along with a host of additional tips and tricks which will help you transform your jade into a finished piece of art jewelry all your own.   Since supplies must be ordered in advance, the registration deadline is Friday, March 8, 2013.

Members:  $80, Non-Members:  $95.  Additional fees to be paid at time of registration:  $18 for polymer clay basics toolkit.  Contact Chestertown RiverArts at 410-778-6300 for more information or to register. 

Polymer Clay Group (Free)
Thursday, March 28, 9:00am-12:00pm 

Polymer Clay Techniques – Mokume Gane
Friday, April 19, 2013; 9:00am-3:00pm

Originally an ancient Japanese metalworking technique, mokume gane or “wood-grained metal” has evolved into a polymer clay standard.  In this class, you’ll learn how to create rich organic patterns, delicate layers of color, and the illusion of depth with a surprisingly simple technique.  You’ll have a choice of small projects to apply it to and will learn how to finish the clay for a professional looking, glass-like finish.   Completion of Polymer Clay Basics Course is suggested but not required.  Since supplies must be ordered in advance, the registration deadline for this class is Friday, April 12, 2013.  Members:  $80, Non-Members:  $95. If you do not have one already, a  Polymer clay basics toolkit is available for $18 and should be paid for at the time of registration.  Contact Chestertown RiverArts at 410-778-6300 or for more information or to register. 

Polymer Clay Group (Free)
Thursday, April 25, 9:00am-12:00pm

Polymer Clay Techniques:  Mica Magic
Friday, May 17, 2013; 9:00am-3:00pm

Elegant patterns of light and dark, cat’s eye effects, nautilus shells, mysterious ghost images and more can be created from a single block of metallic polymer clay.  In this class you’ll learn about the mica shifting properties of metallic clays and how to manipulate single colors of clay to easily create beautiful patterns and effects that look deceptively complex.   In addition to basic jewelry construction, you’ll also learn finishing techniques to heighten the metallic effects.   Completion of Polymer Clay Basics Course is suggested but not required.  Since supplies must be ordered in advance, the registration deadline for this class is Friday, May 10, 2013.

Members:  $80, Non-Members:  $95. If you do not have one already, a  Polymer clay basics toolkit is available for $18 and should be paid for at the time of registration.  Contact Chestertown RiverArts at 410-778-6300 or for more information or to register.

Polymer Clay Group (Free)
Thursday, May 30, 9:00am-12:00pm

Creative Compositions and Digital Processing Techniques with Nikhil Bahl at Chestertown RiverArts on April 6 & 7

RiverArts is sponsoring a second photography class by Nikhil Bahl at the RiverArts Gallery. You can register and pay for this class by calling RiverArts at 410 778-6300 on Wednesday through Friday from 11:00 to 4:00 and on Saturday from 9:00 to 3:00 or by emailing

Date & Time: April 6-7, sunrise to sunset with a break for lunch
Tuition: $350 for Members; $375 for Non-Members
Limit: 10 participants

Description of Class

The digital revolution has changed photography in many ways, but composition is still an essential part of the creative photographer’s arsenal. It is the perspective and composition that can make a photograph unique.  However, the importance of the digital darkroom cannot be understated. Whether it is simple adjustments to color, contrast and sharpening, or the creative use of software filters and HDR techniques, the digital darkroom dictates the final rendition of the photograph. In the field and in the classroom, Nikhil will share his ideas on creative compositions and how photographers can push themselves to grow creatively.  He will also cover several digital darkroom techniques he uses to process and enhance his photographs. He will also introduce you to some plug-ins for Photoshop and Lightroom that are worth exploring. Be prepared for an intensive 2-day learning experience!

There will be field sessions in the morning and evening to take advantage of the best light. After a late morning break, classroom sessions will be held in the afternoon where attendees will get feedback on their photographs and processing tips and techniques will be shared.  Cost of the two day workshop is $350 for members and $375 for non-members.

Ellen Martin Offers Photographing Artwork Class

Ellen Martin, a Lexington fine arts and commercial photographer, will be leading the Photographing Your Art Workshop on Saturday, July 21 from 10 to 12:00 at the Chestertown Arts League gallery.  Ellen will present the techniques and the equpment needed for an amateur to produce an acceptable image with good lighting and detail.  She will also cover getting images to the computer and resizing for a variety of purposes.  You can learn more about Ellen and her photography from her website:

Cost to participate in this workshop will be $20.00.  If you are interested in attending, please mail your name, contact information and a check made out to Chestertown RiverArts for $20.00 to Chestertown Arts League at 312 Cannon Street, Chestertown, MD 21620.  You may also call 410 778-5789 to pay by credit card when the gallery is open:  Thursday and Fridays from 12 to 4:00 and on Saturdays from 10 to 4:00.

Mike Rooney Offering Painting Workshops in Sept.

Mike Rooney, nationally renown North Carolina plain air artist and art instructor, will be teaching two workshops at RiverArts in September — an evening Paint Camp on September 19 and a two day Plein Air Workshop on September 20 and 21.  Mike, who is featured on the “Art” cover of Cape Cod Life 2012, teaches painting class up and down the east coast.

Mike Rooney prefers painting outside to a comfortable studio. Bugs, bystanders and bad weather are just a few of the inconveniences he endures to capture the colors and nuances of his coastal subjects.
He has painted in one form or another since childhood, and was once a sign painter and airbrush artist. Rooney also teaches painting workshops up and down the east coast and in Italy.

Painting in oil, Rooney’s subject matter varies, but he loves to show the effect of light on water, boats, and the beach environment from the salt marshes of Cape Cod and rugged coast of Maine, to the mangroves and turquoise waters of Key West. Mike is also a painting instructor teaching up and down the east coast and abroad. He has also filmed several how-to dvd’s on painting with brush and painting knives. Rooney is represented in galleries in several states and collected overseas.

His methodology is varied and he never follows a set way of starting a painting. He goes outside to paint, without a preconceived method or formula, approaching each painting differently, experimenting to shake things up a little. He has galleries representing him from Cape Cod to South Florida.

The blurs of color Rooney paints on-site are recognizable as boats, beach houses, and seas and they desire the great outdoors as much as the painter himself.
You can learn more about Mike, his art and workshops from his website: and blog:

If you are interested in attending either of Mike’s workshops, please
mail your name, contact information and a check made out to Chestertown RiverArts for the cost of the workshop to Chestertown Arts League at 312 Cannon Street, Chestertown, MD 21620. You may also call 410 778-5789 to pay by credit card when the gallery is open: Thursday and Fridays from 12 to 4:00 and on Saturdays from 10 to 4:00.

Paint Camp

Date:  September 19, 2012 from 6:30 to 9:00                                                                                                                                 Cost:  $35 for RiverArts members, $45 for non-members                                                                                                      Place:  RiverArts Gallery

Follow along with Mike’s step-by-step demonstra-tions, and leave with your very own painting even if you’ve never painted before.  Learn how to mix colors by using a limited palette of waterbased acrylic paint (dries in minutes) in red, yellow, blue, black and white, applied onto 9 x 12 inch primed canvas.  You’ll learn drawing and composition tips, brushwork tips, how to paint form, portray sunlight, and more!  All supplies are included.  Perfect for the complete beginner and novice painter up to intermediate experienced painters. Class is two and a half hours of paint-pushing fun enhanced with a glass of wine!

Plein Air Workshop

Date:  September 20 and 21 from 9:00 to 4:00                                                                                                                             Cost:  $150 for RiverArts members, $175 for non-members                                                                                                    Place:  RiverArts Gallery

This class is for the beginner through advanced intermediate plein air (outside) painter. You’ll cover the basics like how to only carry the most necessary gear, how to draw the scene by editing it down to the most essential elements. the ABC’s of value and how to get a value “blueprint” down quickly and accurately, as well as how to mix any color with a limited palette of red, yellow, blue and white. If you have never painted outside or don’t feel very confident about doing it, this class will take that fear away and make painting landscapes and scenes outdoors easy and fun!