Ongoing Realistic Drawing/Painting Classes

Learn how light, color, texture, line, contrast and perspective help create the illusion of space—and more impactful works of art!

Work individually at your own pace and on your own projects under the guidance of Shane McDonald, a painter with more than 25 years professional experience. This class is ideal for students who have had some previous drawing or painting instruction and who want to improve their skills using oils, acrylics, pastels, charcoal, or just about any media they choose.

2019 Fall Schedule
(October 6 - December 22, 2019)

Ages 13 - Adult Thursdays, 10 a.m - 1 p.m.
Sundays, 12 noon - 3 p.m.
(NO CLASS: Thursday 11/7, Thursday 11/14, Sunday 11/24, Thursday 11/28, Sunday 12/1)

$120 (for any 4 classes attended in the range above on either Thursdays or Sundays!)

NEW EVENING CLASS - Ages 13 - Adult (shorter duration)
Tuesdays, 7 - 9 p.m.
$80 (For 4 classes—Coming this fall, starting October 22!)  Email to get a personalized agenda for the class.

Classes are ongoing and the tuition pays for any 4 dates from rage of dates listed with the day of the class. Check the calendar below to see when classes are scheduled. One-day workshops are also periodically scheduled, and those who sign-up on Shane's Email list will be notified when workshops are scheduled.

General Agenda (click to view more)

While Shane provides instruction, mentoring, easels and small tables in the studio, prospective students are asked to bring their ideas, sketch or photo references, and art materials. Shane will explain and demonstrate exercises and techniques that will allow each student's personal style to come through their work.

Shane begins class by walking from one student to another individually critiquing each student's progress on his or her project. Each person receives instruction in the form of recommendations, encouraging comments, and answers to questions. Sometimes Shane will quickly sketch ideas for students who have trouble visualizing ways to solve artwork problems. If permission is granted by the student, Shane will also demonstrate techniques on the students' work.


It's good to periodically change the working process—and when the class agrees as a group, a mini-workshop is scheduled to enable the mutual benefit of working together step-by-step on a similar project. Group instruction or demonstrations on certain topics pertinent to realistic representation are offered. On some days a portrait or figure model will be hired and students participate the entire session working from the model. A model fee will be requested for figure sessions.

Anyone 13 or older who has previously taken a drawing or painting class with Shane or another instructor is eligible to participate.

Payment and Registration (click to view more)

$120 for 4 classes (select from a span of approximately 2 months)

Since the class is limited to around 8 people, it is best to Email Shane McDonald to let him know you're interested in the class before you arrive or pay. You may also call or text him on his mobile at (404) 502-6829. Students are welcome to attend both Sunday and Thursday classes.

Upon approval you may pay $120 by cash, check, or PayPal, Venmo, or credit card at the first class you attend. If you do not plan to attend for a couple of weeks, you may pay by check made out to Shane McDonald Studios and mail to:
585 Cobb Pkwy S, Studio K1
Marietta, GA 30060

Please attend all of the classes you pay for within the date range listed in the heading above. Each additional attended class beyond the first four will be $30.

Email to reserve your spot starting on a specific date.

$40 Drop-in (Please call in advance)

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Recommended Art Materials (click to view more)

If you're not new to taking art classes, please start the first day with the materials you already own. Shane will give further instructions based on what you need for your own projects. Most of Shane's students either draw or paint with this general list of supplies with an explanation of their use. For a brief overview, click to reveal more information below:

Oils & Acrylics

In Shane's classes, the new students who are most attracted to details and who prefer to paint small (16 x 20 inches or smaller) will probably want to use oils. Students who are not sure what they like will probably feel a more immediate acquaintance with acrylics than with oils. Because of drying time constraints, students who use acrylics tend to use the paint more liberally and abundantly. Plus—it's great for traveling!

Shane encourages his students to paint standing-up because it helps to keep from getting too close to the canvas (and from getting to bogged-down on insignificant details.) Easels are provided in class for up to 12 students. The following materials are up to you to bring to class:

  • Oil and Acrylic Colors (or their color equivalents) listed below are necessary for limited-palette paintings in most lighting situations. They represent a warm and cool version of the primary colors plus some secondary colors and useful neutrals. Other colors can be bought in miniature tubes or later as needed...(Download a PDF showing Shane's Limited Color Palette Layout and some helpful hints about color)
    • Titanium White (large tube)
    • Cadmium Yellow Pale or Light (cool)
    • Cadmium Yellow Medium (warm)
    • Cadmium Red Medium (warm)
    • Permanent Alizarin Crimson (cool and beautifully transparent!)
    • Ultramarine Blue (cool)
    • Cerulean Blue (warm)
    • Viridian Green (cool)
    • Sap Green (warm)
    • Toning colors: (Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna and Ivory Black)
  • Palette and More
    • OILS: (Listed in order of preference)
      • A 11-3/4 X 15-3/4 inch sheet of glass puchased at a home improvement/hardware store fits well within a "Mastersons" plastic palette holder (protects the wet paint during transport). The edges of the glass should be taped and backed with heavy-duty masking tape to the edges of an equally-sized gray or neutral-colored matt board. The tints and shades of colors are usually easier to see on when not on white or black. The mat board also strengthens the glass to prevent breakage.
      • Wooden palettes also work well because they tend to be lighter, but you'll want to use the pre-finished ones, otherwise, the wood will absorb the oil from your paint.
      • Coated disposable paper palette (available at art supply stores with or without a thumb hole)
    • ACRYLICS : A flat plastic, wood, or coated paper palette with a 12" X 16" area works fine.
  • Solvent, container for solvent, and rags (rather than paper towels)
    • OILS: Zero-odor Mineral Spirits (Gamsol has no odor at all) and large pickle jar large enough to fit a Silicoil wire in it
    • ACRYLICS: water and a quart-sized plastic container
  • Painting Medium
    • OILS: a mixture of stand linseed oil, varnish, and turpentine for use with oils only)
    • ACRYLICS: a fine-misting spray bottle and acrylic gel medium
  • Painting Tools
    • Diamond-head Palette Knife (pick sizes for scaping the palette of paint daubs and painting large and small areas)
    • Brushes (Shane prefers long-bristled filberts and flats for oils and acrylics.) A selection of 4-5 Sizes should range from about 3/32 inch to about 1 inch (or more if you work large) If you work with thick paint application, you'll probably want stiffer bristles (which tend to be less expensive.) If you work in smaller details, you'll definitely want to spend a little more money on good softer animal-hair brushes.
    • A #0 round pointed round brush works well for finer details
  • Painting Ground (stretched canvas sizes 16" X 12" and larger for both oils and acrylics)
Pastels & Drawing Media

Although most students in Shane's classes paint, he believes that painting is an extension of drawing—only in color. Students who struggle with capturing the accurate representation of objects are encouraged to use traditional drawing media as much as possible.

  • Pastellists should bring a complete set of at least 48 colors in medium-to-soft (non-oil-based) pastels. Some pastel pencils are also recommended. Contact Shane (Email) for more information on using pastels.
  • Ebony or 6B Graphite Pencil
  • Kneadable Eraser Medium Size (not pink or gum eraser)
  • Sketch Pad for notes and drawing/painting exercises
  • Drawing/Painting Ground (ready-to-use heavy-weight paper, stretched
    canvas, primed board, etc.)
Reference Materials

The easiest and best way Shane can help you achieve your desired effect in painting is through the use of references.

  • Painting ideas on paper: photos that you take yourself, your own sketches, magazine pictures, or reproductions of masterful paintings
  • Still-life objects: If space permits, you may bring your own simple objects to paint in a quick still-life setup (which must be taken down at the end of class) or you may use my collection of still-life objects. Please be prepared to light your setup on your own. You may take digital reference images of the still-life at the end of class.
Tote Container for Transport of Materials

Make it easy on yourself by keeping your supplies together. The use of inexpensive rolling travel bags work well for the transport of supplies.

  • Non-painters: any container for storage of pencils, erasers, brushes, straight-edge, sharpener, etc.
  • Painters: a tackle box or a small rolling suitcase that holds drawing materials, paints,gesso, brushes, painting medium, brush cleaner, and other small tools is ideal.

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