Shane understands that everyone learns in their own way
many types of media and subject matter
work from life like the old masters, from photos, or from your
get feedback from your fellow students as well as from Shane
one-day concentrations on a topic are offered periodically
Ongoing Realistic Drawing/Painting Classes
Learn to create more impactful works of art!
Work individually at your own pace and on your own projects under
the guidance of Shane McDonald, a painter with more than 25 years
professional experience. Learn how use of light, color, texture,
line, contrast and perspective help create the illusion of space in
two dimensional representational artwork. This class is ideal for students who have
had some previous drawing or painting instruction and who want to
maintain their passion for art by improving their skills using oils, acrylics, pastels, charcoal, or
just about any media they choose.
Shane wants to cater his instruction to you. To get the most out of his class from the start, he invites you
to E-mail two or three images of your artwork (even doodles) and discuss your goals and what artwork
inspires you. He'll reply with some recommendations on your first project and list the best materials to
bring to your first class.
Check the calendar (button above) to see when classes are scheduled. One-day workshops outside the class times will also be
periodically scheduled, and those who sign-up on Shane's E-mail list will be notified when workshops are scheduled.
About Shane's Art Classes
Classes are ongoing and attended weekly at Shane's classroom studio. Shane mentors students working individually with every
student one-by-one on their personal unique projects. Prospective students who are not of a beginning
level are expected to bring their own ideas, sketches or photo references, and art materials to each
Periodically, 30-40 minutes into the first hour, he demonstrates a technique or concept for the class to
watch or follow as a group exercise. Shane will explain and demonstrate exercises and
techniques enabling each student's personal style to come through their work.
After the exercise, Shane walks from one student to another individually critiquing each student's progress
on his or her project. Each person receives instruction in the form of recommendations, encouraging
comments, and answers to questions. Sometimes Shane will quickly sketch ideas for students who have trouble
visualizing ways to solve artwork problems. If permission is granted by the student, Shane will also
demonstrate techniques on the students' work.
Every season Shane invites all levels of students to attend his ongoing classes. Prospective students who
consider themselves "beginners" are asked to attend one free introductory workshop at the beginning of the season.
Concepts covered periodically through group exercises in Shane's Ongoing Classes:
Values of light and dark on forms
Color wheel and color mixing
Color schemes - charting a small color study
Drawing features of the human head
Drawing features of the human body
Composing from more than one reference
Shane is a wonderful, supportive teacher. He's encouraging, knowledgeable and easygoing. Highly recommend!
Shane prepared my son for more challenging things in high
school. I believe that young people who are serious about
developing their artistic talents would benefit from receiving
instruction from Shane.
Shane is one of the most knowledgeable fine art teachers I
have ever known! His ability to share his knowledge in a
formative way helped me to hone in on each aspect of a
specific skill allowing me to complete one segment of learning
at a time. Whether it be drawing or painting, he allowed
plenty of time to exercise my newly found artistic expression
thus allowing the freedom be able to take the knowledge home
Recommended Art Materials for Shane's Ongoing Classes
If you're not new to taking art classes, please start the first
day with the materials you already own. Shane will give further
instructions based on what you need for your own projects. Most of
Shane's students either draw or paint with materials on this
general list of supplies. For a brief overview, tap to
reveal more information below:
Attracted to details?
Prefer to paint small? Shane recommends
oils. Oils are easier to use for detail because of their slower drying time, and when
using in small amounts, they are easier to control. Acrylics tend to become too viscous when working on
subtle details. PROS: tubes of paint last a long time, they're easy to blend, and they work great
for both small and large paintings. CONS: can be frustrating to try without instruction, more
expensive materials needed, mineral spirits can cause some users allergic reactions.
Get bored with painting slowly?
Not sure what you like? You'll probably feel a
more immediate acquaintance with acrylics than
with oils. Because of drying time constraints, students who use
acrylics tend to use the paint more liberally and abundantly—a
good thing. PROS: fast-drying, ideal for working large, clean-up with water and soap only.
CONS: the pigment dries noticeably darker, and smooth blending is difficult.
Shane encourages his students to paint standing-up because it
helps to keep from getting too close to the canvas (and from
getting to bogged-down on insignificant details.) Easels are
provided in class for up to 12 students. The following materials
are up to you to bring to class:
Shane also works in watercolor and gouache and likes it because the supplies are relatively compact and light-weight for transport and because the media is great for studies and visualizing ideas. Watercolor media pigments are bound with gum arabic, and the paint in dry form can be reconstituted and manipulated by adding water. It can be used to quickly learn about color mixing and the concepts of transparency and opacity. Watercolors can be a natural and often more economical step towards painting with oils if students are only accustomed to drawing with pencil.
Paint Tube Pigments
Oil, Acrylic and Watercolor Pigments (or their color
equivalents) listed below are necessary for limited-palette
paintings in most lighting situations. Students are welcome to purchase the often less-expensive "hue" versions of colors. They represent a warm and cool version of the primary colors plus some secondary
colors and useful neutrals. Other colors can be bought in
miniature tubes or later as needed...(Download a PDF showing
Shane's Limited Color Palette Layout and some helpful hints about color)
Titanium White (large tube)
Cadmium Yellow Light (warm)
Cadmium Red Light (warm)
Permanent Alizarin Crimson (cool and beautifully
These options are listed in Shane's preferential order.
A 12 X 16 inch sheet of glass purchased at a
home improvement/hardware store fits well within a
"Mastersons" plastic palette holder
(protects the wet paint during transport). The edges
of the glass should be taped and backed with
heavy-duty masking tape to the edges of an
equally-sized gray or neutral-colored mat board. The
tints and shades of colors are usually easier to see
on when not on white or black. The mat board also
strengthens the glass to prevent breakage.
Coated disposable paper palette (available at art
supply stores — preferred without a thumb hole)
These options are listed in Shane's preferential order.
"Mastersons" "Stay-wet" palette sponge and water-soaked palette paper for use in the "Mastersons" Palette works great for most students. The colors dry much slower (in a good way) when using this palette. To learn how to prepare this palette, watch about 2 minutes of this video, follow the instructions, and you'll be set for weeks!
A flat plastic, wood, or coated paper palette with a 12" X 16" area works fine.
Solvents and Painting Mediums
ACRYLICS: It's not necessary to bring any water or acrylic mediums if using acrylics. Shane will supply a water container for you. He may recommend the purchase of additional acrylic painting mediums for some rare projects.
OILS: Solvent and a container for it will be necessary.
Mineral Spirits (solvent for oil painting used for thinning and cleaning) in Shane's preferential order
Gamsol by Gamblin (has no odor at all)
No-Od by Utrect (may have very slight odor)
Turpenoid by Weber (may have very slight odor)
Container for Solvent in Shane's preferential order
metal "brush-washing" jar
small pickle jar with sealable lid
if working detailed and smaller than 11 x 14, a glass baby-food jar works fine
Shane will supply painting medium on the first day you need it, so don't by this until you see Shane about your options.
OILS: a mixture of stand linseed oil, varnish, and turpentine (for use with oils only).
ACRYLICS: a fine-misting spray bottle and acrylic gel medium. Shane will supply the acrylic gel medium on the first day you need it, so don't by this until you see Shane about your options.
Brushes and Painting Tools
rags (rather than paper towels)
Diamond-head Palette Knife (pick sizes for scraping the
palette of paint daubs and painting large and small areas). Please see photo above for an image of the type you need.
Brushes (Shane prefers long-bristled filberts and flats
for oils and acrylics.) A selection of 4-5 Sizes should
range from about 3/32 inch to about 1 inch (or larger if you
work large). Some brushes should be soft with thin-fibered bristles (for smooth areas and details), and others should be more stiff with thick-fibered bristles. (Brand new painters can use Shane's brushes at the first class to see the range needed before purchasing.)
A #0 round pointed round brush works well for finer
details, but this is likely not needed at a beginner's first class.
Painting Grounds (surface on which you paint)
The painting ground is best chosen by your specific goals in the class. Please Email Shane before purchasing new painting grounds such as stretched canvas.
canvas pads or thick paper primed with acrylic gesso
canvas boards or primed painting panels
loose pre-primed canvas (that can be taped to boards)
(stretched canvas/linen sizes 12" X 9" and larger for both oils and acrylics)
Drawing Media & Pastels
Although most students in Shane's classes paint, he believes
that painting is an extension of drawing—only in color.
Students who struggle with capturing the accurate representation
of objects are encouraged to use traditional drawing media as
much as possible. He encourages students to develop a habit of creating thumbnail sketches or color studies of their designs before proceeding on their larger drawing or painting projects. This serves as a tool to bring the elements of the design together at once, allowing potential hurdles to be discovered and solved before or while working on its relative project.
Graphite is the lead material used in our #2 yellow pencils used in elementary school. It's a good choice for quick sketching of ideas and thumbnail designs in our sketchbook. Shane prefers using this media on small projects because it tends not to spread over large paper surfaces as quickly. It can be used for highly detailed drawings because the pencil point can sharpened well. Shane prefers use of a kneaded eraser with pencil, and he recommends a range of weights if creating a tonal value drawing. Blending tools such as stumps/tortillons can be used for blending pencil strokes. Powdered graphite and slightly-pigmented sticks can also be purchased for use on larger works. Graphite is best used on smooth white papers because it has a sheen that can reduce contrast against colored papers.
Charcoals are Shane's black/white medium of choice. It's faster because the particles spread easily across the paper with many different types of tools and techniques. It's a great medium for grayscale (black/white) tonal drawings.
Graphite Pencil (weights/hardnesses: Ebony or 8B, 2B, HB, and 4H)
Kneaded Eraser Medium Size (not pink or gum eraser)
Range of different weights charcoal pencils (hard, medium, soft, extra soft)
Pack of different sized paper stumps (tortillons)
Vine charcoal sticks
18 or 24-inch straight edge/ruler
Drawing Ground: Start with a sketch book only. Bristol and/or charcoal pads can be purchased later.
Sketch Book (choose size 9 x 12 to 14 x 17 inches and between) with white paper
Bristol Pad (choose size 11 x 14 to 18 x 24 inches and between) with white paper
Charcoal Pad (choose size 12 x 16 to 18 x 24 inches and between) with toned gray or brownish paper
Soft pastels (sometimes referred to as chalk pastels) are a dry pigment medium formed into a crayon or stick. Each brand has a slight variation of softness and pigment variation, but they are usually interchangeable. They are applied in layers on paper that have a "tooth" (rougher surface) in the paper fibers or a sandy grit applied to the paper surface. Blending tools can be used to mix colors from various layers of color on the drawing/painting surface.
Want to learn about mixing colors? Pastels are a great way to learn about color mixing for those transitioning from monochromatic drawing media to color media—including paint! Pastellists
should bring a complete set of at least 24 colors in medium-to-soft (non-oil-based) pastels. Some pastel
pencils are also recommended. Contact Shane (E-mail)
for more information on purchasing and using pastels.
The easiest and best way Shane can help you achieve your desired effect in painting is through the use of references.
Your own photographs: Most of Shane's students use their own photos to inspire their projects in class. These references of places, animals, people, or things enable Shane to understand the student's vision for a particular project. Shane teaches how to see representational elements by helping to interpret the way forms are shaped, how the relative scale of objects changes in space, and how light affects tonal values and/or colors.
Reproductions of masterful paintings: While Shane emphasizes the importance of respecting copyright of images by others in his classes, he does acknowledge that a great way to learn technique is by copying and studying masterful artworks of the old masters.
Magazine pictures: Since images are plentiful in the pages of Magazines, looking at them to understand how things appear in different positions and lighting situations can help with their depiction in drawings and paintings. Clippings can be mixed and matched and applied as collage in some final projects as well. Shane encourages experimentation in his classes as there is no limit to the image-making possibilities.
Studies of ideas on paper: Your own sketches and doodles can offer plenty of inspiration for larger paintings and drawings. Why not try letting your imagination go wild? Use the elements and principles of design to bring exciting compositions to fruition.
Still-life objects: If space permits, you may bring your own simple objects to paint in a quick still-life setup (which must be taken down at the end of class) or you may use my collection of still-life objects. Please be prepared to light your setup on your own. You may take digital reference images of the still-life at the end of class.
Digital Media: Shane has some small easels that will hold digital tablets and laptop computers. More and more students use electronics to display their reference images.
Digital Reference Apps and Tools: Shane often uses human posing apps such as Art Pose, Art Model, and Handy, to aid in the understanding of human form when seen in different positions and lighting. These apps allow one to manipulate body positions in a virtual space. Shane also uses an iPad and the iPad app, Procreate, to make digital studies. It can also be used as an aide to quickly correct rendering problems in complex representational artwork. Notanizer is a great app to help simplify tonal values in a digital photograph.
Tote Container for Transport of Materials
Make it easy on yourself by keeping your supplies together. The
use of inexpensive rolling travel bags work well for the
transport of supplies.
Non-painters: any container for storage of
pencils, erasers, brushes, straight-edge, sharpener, etc.
Painters: a tackle box or a small rolling
suitcase that holds drawing materials, paints, gesso, brushes,
painting medium, brush cleaner, and other small tools is
Book a personal art lesson or video-conference consultation with Shane