September 23, 2015

Sketching the Great Outdoors – Sketchbook DC FAQ

By Kaity O’Reilly, Arlington Arts Center’s Education Intern

Sketching outdoorsFall has officially begun! It’s that perfect time of year to be outside enjoying the crisp, autumn air and all your favorite scenic DC spots.

Here at AAC we decided to take advantage of the outdoor opportunities fall offers, too!

For those of you who can’t get enough of that autumn air, we’re offering the perfect art class for you! Our Sketchbook DC class will have you out and about in the Metropolitan area, sketching and painting with watercolors, with our instructor Jenny Walton, to capture your favorite moments of fall.

If you have a few questions, look no further! We’ve explored some of the popular questions we’ve received to help you decide if this course is right for you.

What types of subject matter will we be working from?

Watercolor sketch of the Washington MonumentDrawing and sketching outdoors, as opposed to the traditional classroom setting, is partly to open up the possibilities of potential compositions. Exploring the DC Metro area offers a range of subject matter from iconic architecture to vast greenery to strangers on the street.

Our goal is to help you build your skills with familiar subjects, but to also challenge you with new subject matter. You’re sure to gain valuable experience and potential portfolio work!

Will the locations be difficult or far to reach? How will the cost of transportation be covered?

All locations will be within walking distance of a Metro stop, so as long as you have access to this, it shouldn’t be too far of a hike (so to speak). Students are responsible for mapping the distance from their closest Metro stop to the class location of the day, so plan ahead to make sure you arrive on time.

All students are responsible for covering the cost of transportation, but with the accessibility of the Metro, these costs should be manageable. We can guarantee these sketching opportunities will be priceless! (Literately – all the locations will be free of charge!)

How will I know what supplies to purchase?



Since this class will mostly be on the move, the amount of supplies should be light (in both weight and price).

The instructor will go over them in more detail on the first day of class (meeting here at AAC), but start out with an 8×10” sketchpad, with paper suitable for watercolor, and a set of 2B, 4B, and 6B pencils.


How would sketching outside benefit me as an artist?

woman sketching outdoor in an urban areaThe opportunities available to working outside are endless. Not only will it give you a release from the traditional cramped classroom to explore a space, but it also provides a nearly unlimited range of subject matter.

As opposed to sketching models and still lifes, you’ll be able to increase your skill set by working on capturing movement, color, and line in dynamic surroundings. Not only will you benefit as an artist, but you’ll also be exposed to the DC area in a way you’ve never been before!

If this sounds good, then sign up for Sketchbook DC today! Visit our website for more information on this class, and while you’re at it, check out the other adult classes coming up, as well as our awesome children’s classes and workshops!

Artist Talks with Andrew Barco and Elliot Doughtie

Saturday / October 21 / 1pm-3pm

Join artists Andrew Barco and Elliot Doughtie for conversations about their solo exhibitions currently on view at MoCA Arlington.

Neon Nights: Gala & Silent Auction

Wednesday / September 27 / 7pm

Join us on Wednesday, September 27 for a special gala and silent auction to benefit the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington. Tickets range from $250 to $500 and include a 3-course dinner, silent auction, and the joy you’ll feel knowing you’re supporting the museum! Can’t attend? Consider sponsoring an artist to attend in your place!

MoCA on the Move at Met Park

Sundays 10am-12pm

MoCA Arlington at Met Park
Fun for the whole family! No Experience Required offers playful art making activities for children (and their curious adults) every Sunday morning. There will be collaborative, community-built art works, and opportunities to “make and take” works, too.