The Artworks In Progress Studio Session Painting Guide

         The Artworks In Progress Sessions Studio & Gallery hosts Studio Sessions on a regular basis. A schedule and contact information can be found on our website ( Most of the sessions have a small fee to share in the cost of the model. Fees collected during well-attended sessions will help with the fixed costs of the lightly-attended sessions. While there is no need to make a reservation, space can sometimes be limited. Arriving a little early can ensure that you have a good spot. Artists of all levels of experience are welcome.

         Many experienced artists believe there is no substitute for returning regularly to the challenge and discipline of painting from life. If you are new to painting portraits and figures from live models, you are in for a wonderful experience.


         Our sessions are divided into general subjects: portraits, clothed (costumed) figures, and life drawing (nude and draped models).

         Artists are invited to participate using all mediums, including oils, charcoal, pen and pencil, watercolors, or acrylics. Oil painters are cautioned that only odorless thinners and mediums may be used out of respect for all of the artists in the room.

         Very little more than a pencil, eraser and pad of drawing paper is needed to attend a studio session at Artworks In Progress. In fact, some artists will not want more than those basics.

Easels and Chairs
         We have a small number of simple, lightweight “A” Frame Easels in our Studio, available on a first come, first served basis. Please feel free to ask to use one anytime. Eventually, you may want to bring something a little sturdier of your own for use at home, in our studio, and even on a plein air outing. If you are looking to purchase an easel to carry back and forth to our studio sessions, we recommend you keep in mind its ease of breakdown or folding, weight and portability when you make your purchase. For a description of some types of portable easels, refer to our plein air guide. Feel free to bring your own French Easel or Pochade Box to set up in our studio. Though most artists stand while they paint or draw, for those of us who prefer to sit, we have a few chairs available.

Session Length
         Most sessions are two and one half hours, divided into one half hour segments. Sessions often start with warm-ups with the model striking quick poses for from 2 minutes to five minutes to allow the participants to ‘limber up’ with quick sketches. Some sessions will have the notation “short pose” or “long pose.” This indicates the length of the major poses for the session. For instance, a typical portrait session would be a “long pose”, meaning that after warm-ups the model will strike and hold a single pose for the entire session. Long pose sessions allow the artists time to paint as well as sketch or draw. On the other hand, some life sessions use the “short pose” meaning that the model will strike and hold many short poses of usually 10 to 20 minutes each during the session. Generally artists restrict themselves to drawing medium during short pose sessions.

         Artists under 18 are welcome at our life drawing sessions when accompanied by a parent or guardian or when arrangements have been made by the parent or guardian ahead of time. Out of respect for our life session models, non-participating visitors are discouraged.

Our Models
         Without models, we would not have painting and drawing sessions from life. They are our most valuable asset, and we want to treat them as such. Some of our models are professionals who do figure and portrait modeling on a regular basis. Some of our models may be our friends and neighbors from the community or even our fellow artists. In all cases, we are grateful for their assistance, patience and willingness to pose for us for hours on end. Please show each of our models the utmost respect and courtesy. We want them to return!

         Please also note that cameras are not permitted. This is the policy of Artworks In Progress. It is not a rule set by the model and it is not their decision to make or revise.

         Artworks In Progress is always interested in finding new models. Experience is not required. We are also especially interested in models who may have costumes or period clothing, including re-enactors, dancers, or mountain men and cowboys in western garb. Please contact us by phone or through our website to discuss the possibilities.


         Painting from life with other artists in a studio session is a wonderful experience that even the most accomplished artist returns to over and over again. The comradeship of other artists, all growing, learning and sharing, is not to be missed. Here are a few ‘tips’ that will make your first few studio session experiences the best they can be.

         Be aware of where you set up. It can get a little crowed in the studio. Be careful that you don’t block someone else’s view with your canvas or easel inadvertently.

         Be comfortable, but don’t spread supplies all over the studio. As already mentioned, space can be at a premium at some sessions. Respect the space needs of others.

Supply Etiquette
         Please come prepared with the supplies you’ll need for the session. If you happen to run out of something during the session, friends in the group are usually willing to share or sell you what you need, but don’t expect others to supply you with the basic equipment necessary for sketching or painting.

         Our gatherings are not for the purpose of individual instruction unless specifically noted on the schedule.

© Artworks In Progress