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Unique Learning Opportunity

Sweetwater is hosting a Master Class series led by skilled instructors who will share their knowledge, experience, and techniques with a group of aspiring artists. Each student will receive in-depth instruction, guidance, and feedback. Our Master Classes are designed to be interactive, allowing students to ask questions, engage in discussions, and receive personalized attention.

Upcoming Master Classes

From Slab to Fab: Creating and Utilizing Templates to make Repeatable Forms

Instructor: Jennifer Allen

Dates: April 26 – 28, 2024

Location: Sweetwater Art Center, Sewickley, PA

The focus of this workshop is to build confidence in creating slab built pottery from paper patterns. We will learn how to dress up slabs with handmade texture stamps, practice various techniques to alter forms, construct 3D sketches using clay, and design our own templates from our 3D clay sketches. Plan to leave with handfuls of new patterns (and 3D sketches in clay) as well as the knowledge and confidence to continue to design, repeat, and tweak your slab built pottery forms!

Artist Bio: Jennifer Allen received a BFA (2002) from the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and a MFA (2006) from Indiana University, BloomingtonFrom 1998-2002, she worked as a production assistant to Kris Bliss at Bliss Pottery in Anchorage, AK. In March 2008, the National Council for the Education of Ceramic Arts (NCECA) recognized Jennifer as an “Emerging Artist”Among other awards, she was the recipient of the 2006-2007 Taunt Fellowship at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, MTIn addition to keeping a home studio, Jennifer currently teaches ceramic classes at West Virginia University.  She lives in Morgantown, WV with her husband Shoji Satake, their two kids, Annelise and Finn, and their pup Margot. 

For more information and supply list, please click here.

Landscape & Light: 3-Day Studio Landscape Workshop for Oil and Pastel

Instructor: Barbara Jaenicke, OPA, AIS, IAPS-EP, PSA-MP

Dates: May 31-June 2, 2024

Location: Sweetwater Art Center, Sewickley, PA

Spend three days in an intensive study recognizing light in the landscape. Although this is a studio workshop, Barbara will discuss what to observe when outdoor painting  or simply gathering reference photos), and how to bring that knowledge into the studio. She’ll focus on how to “read” a reference photo and capture the genuine effects of various lighting situations in your studio landscape paintings, rather than duplicate a compromised photographic image.  On the first day, students will work from an instructor provided photo reference, and on the remaining days, students may choose to work from their own photos or instructor provided photos. Each day will begin with a demonstration, followed by student painting time in the afternoon. Students may work in oil, pastel, or both.

Artist bio: Barbara Jaenicke received early training from the late Juanita Crosby in Bordentown, NJ, during her high school and college years. Initially unaware that a career in fine art was possible, she pursued a degree in Art with a focus on Advertising and Design. Barbara spent her early career in advertising and corporate marketing communications, but she always knew she would eventually return to painting. In 2002, she fully committed to a fine art career. Working primarily with oil and pastel, Barbara strives to capture light-filled landscapes. Her award highlights include Third Place Overall in the June 2022 Plein Air Salon as well as multiple category awards in this competition; 2nd Place overall in the 2022 Pastel Journal’s Pastel 100 Competition; Silver Medal in the 2019 OPA Western Regional Juried Exhibition; 2nd Place in the 2018 AIS National Juried Show as well as the People’s Choice award in 2014; and multiple BoldBrush awards (Fine Art Studio Online) including First Place in November 2019, Best of Show in March 2015, and many Finalist awards. She has been featured in numerous art publications including Pastel Journal, Plein Air Magazine, Fine Art Connoisseur, Artists Magazine, and Southwest Art, and has served as a contributing writer for some of these publications.   Originally from New Jersey, Barbara later moved to Bend, Oregon, in pursuit of snowy landscapes.

All levels are welcome. For more information and supply list, please click here.

The POWER of Pastel

Instructor: Christine Swann, PSA, IAPS-EP

Dates: August 23-25, 2024

Location: Sweetwater Art Center, Sewickley, PA

Artists will build a start-to -finish life portrait with Master and Eminent pastelist, Christine Swann. She will teach her step-by-step, five-layer process in the pastel medium which focuses on accuracy and light. Understanding the “Thirds of the Head” methodology will encourage any artist to become more accurate in portrait work and obtaining a likeness, whether working from photos or a model. The class will emphasize that understanding the Law of Light and its rules dictate how value and color are related when constructing the complex topography of the head. .

All Levels are welcome. For more information and supply list, please click here.

Figuring Out

Instructor: Kensuke Yamada (He / Him / His)

Dates: September 26 – 29, 2024

Location: Sweetwater Art Center, Sewickley, PA

Students will create figurative work using basic hand-building methods, such as coil, slab building, and pinching. Demonstrations include various hand-building techniques used in making figurative forms. Individual instruction helps you make your own unique narrative figure. We will discuss glazing techniques and how to personalize your piece.

Artist bio: Kensuke Yamada was born in Japan and came to the US to attend Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA where he received his BA. He continued his ceramics education at the University of Montana, receiving his MFA in 2009. Since then, he has been a Resident Artist at the Archie Bray Foundation, MT, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA, and Guest Artist/adjunct instructor at the Tyler School of Art, Temple University Philadelphia, A visiting Artist/Ceramics Studio Technician/ instructor at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, also visiting Assistant Professor at Centre College, Danville, KY. He is currently an instructor at University of Arkansas Little Rock, AR. 

All Levels are welcome. For more information and supply list, please click here.

They Will Remember You

Instructor: Samuel Dunson

Dates: October 25 – 27, 2024

Location: Sweetwater Art Center, Sewickley, PA

Over three engaging days, we’ll explore the fascinating intersection between art and memory in this unique workshop. Join us in crafting meaningful and evocative works of art that capture the essence of your unique memories. First, delve into research and creative brainstorming, followed by a hands-on studio session that brings memories to life through textile-based art. The workshop will conclude with a thoughtful and conversational critique session, fostering a collaborative and constructive environment. Personal photos and memorabilia related to cherished memories are encouraged. While drawing and painting skills are beneficial, they’re not mandatory, making this workshop accessible and inclusive for all levels of artistic experience.

Artist bio: The Arts have played a major role in my life since I was quite young. I was born in Dayton Oh, and was very fortunate to grow up in a household where exposure to the Arts was as important as academic study. I was part of an Arts club in middle school but concentrated more on sports in High School. My venture into Fine Art began due to a chance meeting with an Art Professor at my alma mater, Tennessee State University. After a brief conversation, he encouraged me to take a drawing course. That chance meeting changed my life for the better. Early in my academic and artistic pursuit, I chose to concentrate on 3D works, but soon thereafter, I moved towards painting and drawing. Upon receiving a BS in Studio Art in 1992, I searched and found gallery representation in Nashville, Tn., where I lived after college. For nearly six years, I built a favorable exhibition record while working a regular 9 to 5 job. In 1997, I made the decision to further my education by pursuing an MFA. In 1998 my wife and I moved to Hinesville, Ga as I was accepted into the Savannah College of Art and Design under a Presidential Fellowship award. In 2000, I received my MFA in painting and accepted an offer to teach at my undergraduate alma mater, Tennessee State University. I teach painting, drawing, 3D design, and Art Appreciation. I truly love teaching as it also allows me to continue creating and exhibiting my work in group and solo shows, all the while connecting with eager young creative minds. Learn more by clicking here.

All Levels are welcome. For more information and supply list, please click here.

All master class participants are invited to attend a welcoming reception on the Thursday evening before each class hosted by The Robyn Jones Group at Piatt Sotheby’s International Realty in the Sewickley Village. Mingle with other guests and the artist over refreshments and hors devours in a casual setting as you learn about the sights and attractions Sewickley, Pennsylvania has to offer. Thank you to The Robyn Jones Group and Piatt Sotheby’s for being our gracious hosts for these Thursday evening gatherings! 

Explore Sewickley


Distance from Downtown Pittsburgh

Distance from Pittsburgh International Airport

Our Master Class Series is generously supported by The Heinz Endowments.

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