Openings in the Little kids class on Thursdays

I am happy to announce that  we have a couple of openings for little kids (5-7) in the Thursday 5:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. art class starting April 27th. Some of you know that it is not often that we get openings so this is an excellent opportunity for a beginning at The Artists Playground.

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We started offering this class last year to handle the overflow of parents wanting  to send their kids with the understanding that they would have first pick to enter one of our regular classes when a spot opened up. Well, several of the children have moved into our Wed 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. class so that opens up room in the Thursday late afternoon class.

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                      Maddie                        Blair blog (1)

Please let us know if you or someone you know might be interested.

Thanks for reading! Contact me at

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Sketching on location–with Sandy Turner

Sandy Turner has always loved to sketch on location. Have you ever been outside and wished you could just sit down and draw what you see? Well, if you take Sandy’s sketching class on Saturday mornings starting April 1st you can learn how. Sandy wants to share her love, joy and knowledge of how to go about sketching on location.  You can read more about her on her web site

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                                          Sandy drawing

               Sandy flowers    Sandy Turner at easle doing wc

The first sketch, below left, Sandy did during one of our painting trips to Ogunquit. Notice the difference between it and the drawing on the right. The second drawing is more like a rendering or more finished drawing, more like an illustration that she does for her coloring books. But even something like that starts out more like the drawing on the left.


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The two lighthouse sketches were done years apart,  with different materials and different perspectives but you can see that they are sketches and not renderings. Sketching is fun! Rendering, on the other hand, is more like work. – more like the images in the  coloring books she has been working on of Newburyport, Plum Island, and the Cape.

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After you learn to sketch then you may want to add a watercolor wash like Sandy did below. They sure look like she had fun doing them. Sandy did them in Argentina.

Give us a call at 978-462-5366 or email if you would like to join Sandy sketching around town.

Sandys watercolor-2          SandyTurnerArt (45)

Thanks for reading and I hope we hear from you real soon.

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New Class Drawing for Painting

Rob Brun has been teaching our watercolor classes and sees that most of his students need to learn that drawing for painting is different than drawing for something like illustration. So he came up with this new class, “Drawing for Painting”. We both think it is going to be a  really good class for everyone whether they are doing oils, acrylics or watercolors. You still need an understanding of proportion and perspective but you only suggest the placement of the objects on the paper or canvas whether it is a landscape, still life or even the beginning of an abstracted arrangement of shapes. His flyer is below. Please let me know (  if you are interested in joining Rob.

                                         Drawing for Painting

I sure appreciate that so many of you read our blog. Thanks!

Posted in adults, artwork, classes, drawing, perspective, Rendering, Sketching, Watercolor | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Abstract Water based Mixed Media Demo was a Big Hit

Wow, I am still so excited from yesterdays demo with Gerry Willging. Below are some of the photos. She was her usual delightful and extraordinary self. She touched on the underlying structure of painting whether it be realistic  or abstract.

We got a preview of what she is going to be teaching in her class. Gerry is an incredible teacher, she has had over 45 years of experience and knowledge! I might have, in a previous post, mentioned that she has been in many national shows and won gold medals for her work. We already have 7 people signed up for the artistic adventure of their life. Even if everyone goes back to doing traditional work, it will never be the same after taking Gerry’s class. Their new work will take on an elevated or professional look.

                                                   Gerry Willging's demo Blog(13)

The piece above shows the four stages of Gerry’s work. The first stage takes only a little while – anywhere from 10 to 2o minutes. During the middle 2 stages she uses opaque and transparent paint, stamping, colored pencils and caran d’ache to decorate the underlying surface of the painting.  The last stage could take as long as 3 weeks. Look below. I cropped the above teaching aid so you could see her finished piece more clearly.

                                                              Gerry Willging's demo cropped(13)

Wow, isn’t it incredibly interesting to look at! No ho-hum here! No dreary passages. Nothing boring. Click on the pic and feel the excitement, prepare to delight your eye. 

 Gerry Willging's demo blog (9)     Gerry Willging's demo  Blog (7)

As you can see from the above photos, Gerry uses fabulous examples with which to teach. Gerry says she does not want people to paint like her. she is looking to help everyone  paint to express themselves. What she teaches is the underlying structure of collage and painting. If you want to read and see more about her go to our blog of September 2, 2013.

Please email if you would like to join the fun.

Thanks, as  always, for taking your time to read our blog.

Posted in acrylic painting, adults, artwork, Caran d'Ache, classes, collage, Colored Pencils, painting, stamping, Watercolor, Workshops | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Abstract and Water Media DEMO Presented by Gerry Willging

It is my absolute pleasure to let you all know that Gerry Willging is coming back to teach a 6 week class. Gerry is really expert in composition and design – not to mention energetic and enthusiastic.

If you haven’t already taken one of her weekend workshops, you are invited to come to the studio for a free demonstration.  You will love her and her work. Gerry is simply incredible! She is the best abstract artist I have ever meet. She teaches with strength and confidence plus lots of patience and compassion. Everything she says you will want to write down because it is so valuable and important – to both abstract and realistic work. Remember, composition is the underpinning of a good painting or drawing.

Gerry Demo

Posted in acrylic painting, adults, artwork, Caran D'Asche, classes, Creative idea, mini demo, painting, stamping, Watercolor, Workshops | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Example of our Creative Approach to Teaching

Haylie wanted to make a gift for her little brother for his 5th birthday. He loves Ninja Turtles and particularly the one below. She did the drawing to show us what it looked like and Wendy found a photo on her phone. Because the wire is hard to bend Wendy whipped it up with Haylie’s direction and approval. From there, Haylie chose the stuffing. She wanted it to be mostly soft and chose colored felt. She cut it into strips and wrapped it around the frame, gluing it down with the glue gun as she went along. Wendy had recently made an incredible stuffed Elephant like this for me for Christmas so she was a big help to Haylie. But for sure, Haylie is a gal who knows what she wants. She appreciates our support and encouragement but wants to do it herself.

                         Hailey's Ninja Turtle  1 (2)        Hailey's Ninja Turtle 2 (1)

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We recently saw an article in the Arts and Activities Magazine on the Choice-Based Art style of teaching.  We were so happy to see that there were actual words to describe the way we go about helping the kids in the studio. I’ll post the article on the bulletin board outside the studio if you would like to read it. Or you can click on the web site below.

                           Hailey's Ninja Turtle  (5)

Haylie looks really proud of her accomplishment. I am sure her brother is going to be over–the-top thrilled that she made this for him.

Thanks for taking the time to read our blog. We appreciate your kind and supportive encouragement.

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Extras for Creative Reuse

Look at all the art supplies Wendy picked up at Extra’s. They are an Arts & Crafts Store in Peabody, Massachusetts (see info at bottom of this blog) or check out their web site: 

Extra organizes and offers to the public these kinds of supplies for adults and kids to use creatively. Wendy is a member and she periodically picks interesting things up for the kids to use. Below are some of the things she brought back this week.


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Shelby was making a crate for her stuffed dogs. The row of stuff on the back wall is food and drinks. Aside from the ‘food and drinks’ and some foam core scraps for the roof, all was from Extras.

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Robbie was making a barn out of cork tiles. Except for the legos (that are shelves on the walls) and some foam core scraps for part of the roof, all was from Extras.

Look below at Gabby’s melted crayon heart picture. She looks so proud!

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From their website…..

Extras for Creative Reuse is a membership based community center where teachers, artist, families, college students, and community and cultural workers can find free materials and support for their creative projects, while helping the environment at the same time. Our waste recovery program, which saves materials from landfills (items like manufacturing left overs and by-products, overstocks, commercial swag, product samples, and reusable art, office, and school supplies), in turn helps to stock the shelves in our Imaginiarium, or free store. Our members are allowed to take materials from the center a certain number of times per year, depending on membership levels.

Thanks always for reading our blog!

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Sharon Bignell showing at the Firehouse

Sharon Bignell, a former student of the Artists Playground, is showing her most recent work at The Firehouse Center for the Arts In Newburyport.

January 4, 2017 –January 29, 2017

Some of you will remember Sharon from the Tuesday night class. She was one in a million, charging ahead like a locomotive. Sharon had enthusiasm, desire and motivation – enough for 10 of us. She set her goals and moved forward and now she is showing the results of her hard work. They are amazing!


Artist Statement:

“Art is my passion and I want to share it. I want to convey happiness and make people smile. The realism of my flower blossoms is captured by blending the oil paints into a creamy texture which also makes the flowers appear larger than life. I want the viewer to experience beauty and color within and through my paintings. I want my paintings to take the viewer’s mind to a different level. This exhibition of my art is a dream come true and my way to share the beauty of flowers and nature. I can only hope my paintings provide viewers with visions of delight.” (Bignell)


About the Exhibit:

“Brilliant Blooms” is an exhibit of oil paintings by Newburyport artist Sharon Bignell, is a series of finely executed, larger-than-life portraits of single flower blossoms. Bignell’s lovely collection celebrates the wildness and delicacy of roses, poppies, peonies and hibiscus in full bloom.

I hope you all get to go to the Firehouse and see Sharon’s beautiful flowers painted in oils. Great job Sharron! Congratulations for making it happen!

Posted in adults, artwork, classes, former students, Oil Painting, painting, Show | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Watercolor or Coloring—You pick

We have a watercolor class with Rob Brun and a coloring class with Sandy Turner, both starting in a couple of weeks. Let us know if either one strikes your fancy. You can read more about Sandy or Rob by typing their name in the search engine on the right. They are both incredible teachers and everyone raves about them.

                             Watercolor Class Flyer 01-17

                               Coloring Class for Blog

Thanks for reading. Hope you can join us.

Posted in adults, artwork, classes, Colored Pencils, Creative idea, painting, Sketching, teenager, Watercolor | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Outdoor Drawing & Perspective Class

Last Saturday was pretty with the sunshine and fall leaves on the ground but it was quite chilly, especially for the students who forgot to dress warmly.

Even though they tried to find little bits of sunshine the cold and wind made it challenging to sit for 2 hours drawing. However, there is nothing as educational as experiencing the subjects first hand rather than from a photograph. They all did a great job drawing and only complained about the cold a little bit!

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Perspective Class 2016 (1)


Perspective Class 2016 (6)

This last photo shows Cara with the most exaggerated perspective of all. She is one of our best draftsperson so I thought the challenge would be good for her.

Thanks so much for reading our blog. Hopefully, someday you will be outside drawing or painting with us.

Posted in adults, drawing, perspective, Pre-Teen, Sketching, teenager | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment