• We offer several painting classes each quarter.
  • Most meet on the UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON campus in Seattle.
  • Our Seattle painting classes give you an easy and affordable way to learn the basics of a medium (such as watercolor, oils or acrylics) and see if you like it, while learning some fun things about painting. 
  • They’re designed for beginners, but everyone is welcome. You can take any or all of them, in any order.
  • NOTE: The colored pencil class is not technically painting, but we’ve included it in this list because it also involves working with color, and learning some colored pencil skills can also help your painting.
  • For DATES, TIMES and CLASS DESCRIPTIONS, click the titles or scroll down.

PAINTING CLASSES – Short Course Descriptions!


In this fun introductory class, you’ll learn how to mix and blend colors in acrylics; how to use brushes to create a variety of textures and patterns; how to start with a loose sketch or idea, and turn it into a lovely painting you can take home with you or give to a friend; and more. You’ll have fun, get comfortable working with acrylics, and you’ll learn techniques you can practice to develop your painting skills further in the future. Seattle: UW campus 


Looking for a colored pencil class in Seattle that’s easy, step-by-step, and designed for total beginners?  A class where you can learn how to draw in color using high quality pencils, in beautiful, vibrant hues? Our Colored Pencil for Beginners workshop is a good place to start. (This class usually meets at Artist and Craftsman Supply store, in the University District in Seattle)


In this class, students will learn how to work with water-miscible oil paints, using an easy step-by-step method that will have you falling in love with oils. (Water-miscible paints clean up with water, so you don’t need turpentine or dangerous chemicals.) You’ll learn how to paint some simple and easy shapes; how to mix and blend colors; how to paint some simple objects and make them look three-dimensional; and more. Plus: an easy approach for painting trees, mountains, and flowers. Seattle: UW campus 


Looking for a Seattle watercolor class that’s open to everyone, even those who’ve never painted before? “Watercolor Workshop” is a pleasant introduction to watercolor painting for anyone who enjoys color and wants to experience the joy of watching a painting of your own happen. By the end of the class, students will take home a variety of vibrant, fun paintings that you have created for yourself.  Seattle: UW campus 

Frequently asked questions

I’m a total beginner! (I’ve never painted before.) Which class should I take first?

If you’re brand new to painting, you may want to start with acrylics or watercolor, then try palette knife painting.   Each medium is different, so you may want to explore them all.

Can you tell me what’s different between oils, acrylics and watercolors, to help me decide?

Acrylics are bright and vibrant, and lend themselves to brilliant and striking images (but can also produce subtle gradations of color). Beginners tend to like them because they’re “forgiving,” i.e., if you make a mistake, you can just wait a few minutes for it to dry, then paint over it. They dry in just a few minutes to a beautiful permanent finish. (Or if you’d prefer to keep them wet and workable, you can just add a little acrylic retarder, which slows down the drying time.) Unlike oils, acrylics have almost no fumes.  Here’s an acrylic painting of a feather:


Oil paints are a beautiful traditional medium used by artists for centuries. They blend more easily than acrylics, and have wonderfully subtle colors. The paints stay wet and workable for a long time on your canvas, so you can mix and blend the colors to perfection.  (However, they do have fumes. To minimize fumes in the class, we use water-miscible oils so students don’t need to use turpentine (which is smelly) to wash their brushes.)  Note: if you are pregnant, we do not recommend working in oils.

Watercolors lend themselves to beautiful transparent effects in which the brightness of your paper or canvas shows through transparent layers of paint, which can give an almost luminous feeling to the painting. (See “Sketch of horses in watercolor,” below.) Like acrylics, they have no detectable fumes. They are not “forgiving” like oils; you can’t paint over mistakes; but they have a translucent quality oils and acrylics can’t match. Here’s a watercolor painting of some horses, by Robin Walker:


What should I wear to class?
Paint can splash on clothes, and some types (like acrylics) won’t wash out.  Even watercolors can stain some fabrics.  So wear something casual and fun, not your best formal evening wear.

Is it safe to take painting classes when you’re pregnant?
We recommend waiting… you have enough to think about!  Painting can be pleasant and relaxing, good things when you’re pregnant, but some paints off-gas fumes which may not be good for a pregnant woman to inhale.  And even some natural hues and pigments can be toxic.  So even if the danger may be minimal, to be on the safe side we recommend not taking painting classes when pregnant.

Other Art Classes:

Student Comments about our Seattle painting classes

I could not think of anything to improve, this was a perfect day for me.  (comment submitted online)

Instructor was patient and willing to help those who needed/wanted help, and he did not go to fast for the slowest in class (that would be me). Excellent intro to materials, ditto on the materials supplied.  (comment submitted online)

I’ve taken (Drawing for Absolute beginners), and liked it, so decided to try the painting class just for fun.  I liked it, it was a good start in learning to paint.  – Sarah T., Seattle

I just moved back to Seattle… yay! … and was looking for an introductory level course so I could get back into painting.  I just wanted to start with the basics again.  I love watercolors, but always had a hard time getting the results I wanted, so signed up for the Watercolor painting class.  It was fun and I learned a lot. I would recommend the class to others who are either just starting out or, like me, wanting to get back into painting after a break. – B.R., Lake Forest Park

Thanks for a wonderful, relaxing course. – Cheryl K., Seattle

Lots of hands-on time to apply the concepts we learned about. The instructor seemed interested in everyone’s experience and provided individual feedback and interaction. My favorite part, in addition to learning the content, was learning about this new medium, watercolor. All of your teachers are good…. I learned something useful in each of them.  I hope you’ll add oil painting classes soon. – Megan, Seattle

I’m amazed that we learned so much in one day… It was just fun, trying different things, mixing colors, the guided exercises, seeing the really surprising things that happened. I loved the information about mixing colors with their complements to create earth tones… – Mickey L., Bellevue

I took some painting classes from ______ …. they were good but a little too expensive. Your classes are affordable, and always seem to attract a fun group of people. – Shelly M., Tacoma

The instructor was organized, kept things moving at a good pace, covered all of the basics about color and answered all of the students’ questions. I would highly recommend his classes. – Terry L., Kent

The instructor seemed interested in everyone’s experience and provided individual feedback and interaction. My favorite part, in addition to learning the content, was learning about this new medium, watercolor.  – E.V., Seattle

An inspiring session for me…just what I was hoping for, and more!  – unsigned

Nils Osmar is excellent both with beginning students and with students who have some experience.   – J.C., Seattle

I liked the hands-on opportunities to play with paints and color- it really helped to understand how the colors work with each other and what happens when you mix two colors together. – S.J., Kent

It was fun, like all of your classes. – Maura H.

I took both the acrylic painting and watercolor painting classes in Seattle, from Nils Osmar and Robin Walker, in the spring of 2013.  Both classes were good.  I’ll be taking the collage classes next, if you offer them again. Thanks for offering them at such a reasonable price.  – J.L., Bellevue