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!

An Adventure of Being

Extended to February 11, 2024

Smith & Meyer Galleries
Featured Artists: Vincent Cy Chen, Nicki Cherry, Jeremy Olson, and Stephanie J. Williams

An Adventure of Being explores blurred boundaries, physical breakdown, and states of in-between-ness. The painting, sculpture, and installations included in the exhibition incorporate materials and forms that bring to mind living beings.

2024 Art Classes for Kids, Teens, and Adults!

Register now! Classes begin January 21!

Whether you are giving the gift of creativity this year to a friend or family member, or you plan to set a new year’s resolution to get back into creating, sign up today to secure your spot in one of MoCA’s wonderful programs! From drawing and painting to ceramics and mixed media, you are sure to find an inspiring art class.

Zaq Landsberg: Reclining Liberty

August 5, 2023 - July 28, 2024

Front Lawn
MoCA Arlington and Arlington Public Art are thrilled to co-sponsor the installation of Zaq Landsberg’s celebrated Reclining Liberty on the Museum’s front lawn.