***Note about private lessons: Due to maternity coupled with the Covid 19 situation, I am taking a temporary break from teaching. Please leave your information through the contact page, and I will let you know when I begin accepting new students. Thanks!***
Offering Private Instruction in Drawing & Painting Since 2009
You can study drawing and painting with professional artist and instructor, Michael Shelby Edwards.
Private lessons are held in Michael’s studio, located in the Mt. Baker neighborhood of Seattle. Lessons are based on university-level curriculum and tailored to address students individual needs and experience level. With the help of an expert, supportive instructor, students clarify learning goals, uncover personal blocks and fill knowledge-gaps to achieve stronger work. Students quickly improve their ability to see, and to understand what they see, through guided exercises, assignments, readings, examples, discussion and personal encouragement.
Simply by showing up for their lesson each week, students take a major step towards deepening their commitment to their artistic practice. The impact of private lessons on both experienced artists and beginners alike is that they grow personally, gain confidence, overcome obstacles and improve their work.
Private lessons in drawing and painting can help you...
...build up a strong portfolio so you can apply to art schools or universities that grant Certificate, BFA and MFA degrees, increase your chances of being accepted into more and better programs, compete for sholarships, awards and honors and succeed on the college art and arts career track.
...supplement your education with more in-depth training in classical and/or contempory drawing and painting, complete with theoretical and historical background, examples and readings, so you can become a more balanced, informed, and learned person; bringing these new skills and concepts to bear on your work and life.
...return to drawing and painting after a break (or begin the practice for the first time), and thrive in a situation of safety, support, and gentle challenge, so you can be yourself, take risks and fulfill your desire to make art.
...make time in your busy schedule to study drawing/painting, and benefit from the flexibility that private instruction allows, so you can take care of your responsibilties and still incorporate the artistic development you value into your life.
...master skills and conquer problems you've always struggled with in drawing and painting, so you can work towards greater personal, artistic, educational and career success.
"As a graduation gift, I received a series of private drawing and painting lessons with Michael. It was hands down one of the best gifts I have ever been given...There are not enough good things to say about Michael. Her humor and undeniable knowledge of the subject matter complements her complete professionalism and dedication to her students. I had taken a few drawing classes in the past and was absolutely shocked at how much more I had learned with Michael in such a short amount of time."
-Janna Leopki, student
How do I get started?
Contact Michael and set up a free consultation / portfolio reveiw. This friendly meeting will take about 30 minutes and can be scheduled at a time that is most convenient for you. You'll gain valuable information about your current work and find out if private lessons are right for you.
Call (206) 383-9655 or send a message via the contact page to set up a free consultation / portfolio review.
Who can take private lessons?
Private lessons with Michael are generally intended for adults. Teens who show special aptitude and dedication to artmaking may also benefit.
No portfolio? No problem. All experience levels, including absolute beginners, are welcome.
Fees and Scheduling:
There are several options available to accommodate everyone's needs. Each lesson is two hours long and normally takes place in the instructor's studio.
Individual Lessons : pay-as-you-go at full price
Multiple Lessons : pre-pay at a reduced price
Yes, there are gift certificates available for purchase! Contact Michael at (206) 383-9655 or send an email via the contact page to request a gift certificate for private lessons.
Regular teaching hours are Monday - Friday.
Lessons are generally scheduled in two-hour time slots:
10-12pm, 12-2pm, 2-4pm, 4-6pm, 6-8pm.
If you have special scheduling needs, feel free to ask about planning lessons outside of regular teaching hours.
Students are welcome to re-schedule lessons or defer lessons to a future date if needed. As a courtesy, please notify Michael of any changes to schedule at least 24 hours prior to original lesson time. There are no refunds available once payment is made. Thank you for your commitment.
Kelvin investigates materials, mark-making and spacial organization during a private lesson in drawing. Kelvin studies art as a part of his personal enrichment.
Group Lessons / Workshops
In addition to private lessons, you can explore the rewarding, meditative practice of drawing and painting with Michael alongside your friends, community or team members in a group setting.
All you need are three or more participants, some basic materials and a space in which to work.
Lon Marie and Riley enjoy a supportive, collegiate atmosphere as they study space, perspective, form and value with Michael at Artist & Craftsman's in the U-District.
Find out what some students have said about their experience...
"Michael, this was fabulous! Your teaching is excellent and the group is wonderful. I'm so glad to be a part of this. I learned so much from just this last lesson, I was up until midnight drawing afterwards!"
“I enjoyed this class. Michael knows her subject and is able to explain it and teach it so that one understands. Her demeanor is sort of relaxed (but not in bad way!) so that it makes a good working environment. She has a pleasing nature and personality to work with."
"I found this class to be really helpful and inspiring as someone with no prior experience. I enjoyed working with Michael. She is very knowledgeable."
"Michael has a relaxed, friendly style. Also, she was able to work well with people with very different levels of ability. I would recommend this class to anyone. I think anyone would get something out of it, whatever their experience level or areas of interest."
“Michael was very supportive. She explained the language of art. I learned more about perspective and looking at the ‘whole.’
“I found this class very helpful; lots of attention from the teacher. The things she referenced out side the classroom (readings, artists etc.) inspired me. One on one time made it easy to focus on expanding and improvement. I found how she critiqued/analyzed my work helpful. She showed me how I could improve instead of just telling me.”
“I really appreciate the theoretical side of drawing. Hearing many of these theories, and some of their opposing theories, really helped add a basis to refer back to when questioning my work. Michael is a wonderful instructor. Her strait-to-the-point criticism is most beneficial.”
If you would like to have Michael teach your group of three or more participants in your home, studio, community center or other space, please send a message via the 'contact' page of this website or call (206) 383-9655 and set up a free consultation.
Past Group Lessons/ Workshops:
Classical Drawing in Pencil
Probably the first drawing tool I ever picked up was a pencil. But it wasn’t until graduate school that I really learned how to use this classic medium to its best advantage. At the Pennsylvania Academy, my mentor, Professor Renee Foulks, took me under her wing and personally instructed me in ‘the subtle art of pencil drawing’. With this new understanding, I was amazed at how this familiar old tool came alive in my hands. Not only that, but learning to handle pencil properly revolutionized the way I approached other materials – even paint. Now I’m happy to share these valuable techniques with you.
In this four-week course, we walk through the stages of a classically rendered pencil-drawing, building form and light through the application of subtle layers of hatching. By the end of this course, students will have had the means to generate beautiful pencil drawings from simple still-life elements, and will come away with new skills to apply to future drawings as well as valuable insights to bring to other material processes.
To set up Classical Drawing in Pencil for your group, call (206) 383-9655 or message Michael through the 'contact' page of this website.
Classical Figure Drawing
By drawing the human figure we participate in a time-honored tradition that provides the best possible means of sharpening our perceptual skills. In this class we will draw from the live model beginning with shorter then gradually moving to longer poses; using principals of gesture, proportion, tonal-structure, anatomy and rendering to achieve luminous studies of the figure in pencil, charcoal and pastel. Whatever our artistic goals, incorporating the classical tradition of figure drawing into our work helps us to strengthen and develop our own unique voice and perspective.
To set up Classical Figure Drawing for your group, email Michael through the 'contact' page of this website or call (206) 383-9655.
Intensive Drawing for Beginners
A good drawing is like a fingerprint. It reveals something about nature and its maker. In this course we will focus the fundamental idea of ‘mark-making’ into four basic categories that are essential as an introduction to the practice of drawing: proportion, space, form and value. We will use classical drawing materials such as charcoal, graphite and ink to make direct studies that draw on the space around us. Through the practice of drawing we deepen our visual literacy, increasing our sensitivity to all forms of art and allowing us to engage more meaningfully with the natural world.
To set up Intensive Drawing For Beginners for your group, email Michael through the 'contact' page of this website or call (206) 383-9655.
Foundations Drawing / Painting
Each four-week series of Foundations is based around a particular theme, material, technique or subject matter that changes periodically. What remains constant in every Foundations lesson is that we are learning to uncover the underlying principles that govern our visual experience. Thus, we can better understand what makes our work stronger, more visually compelling - even more beautiful. The more familiar we become with these underlying principles, the better we can achieve our poetic aims through the intelligent use of visual language.
The philosophy behind Foundations presents drawing and painting as form of truth-seeking; open to change and discovery, yet rooted in a venerable tradition spanning centuries of thought. In the practice of art, we come face to face with an enduring aspect of what makes us human.
Although the content is high level, the small-group setting and short, four-week-at-a-time format allows for much flexibility and spontaneity. Whether you are an absolute beginner, or a more experienced artist, you will benefit from the relaxed, yet studious atmosphere of Foundations lessons.
Foundations is suitable for adults. This includes teens who are mature and motivated. Absolute beginners as well as those with experience in drawing/painting are encouraged to join. Foundations always returns to the fundamentals of visual language and is a great primer or supplement for any other art instruction you might try.
To set up Foundations Drawing / Painting for your group, email Michael through the 'contact' page of this website or call (206) 383-9655.
Have an Idea for a Group Lesson or Workshop?
Send a message! Group lessons are offered based on student demand. Contact Michael if there is something you want to learn about related to drawing and painting. Suggestions and requests are welcome!
For more information on or to set up a free consultation, call (206) 383-9655 or email Michael through the 'contact' page of this website.
Danielle has a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts. She takes painting and drawing lessons with Michael in order to develop her foundational skills further in preparation for graduate school.
About the Instructor:
Michael Shelby Edwards is a Seattle based artist who works primarily in oil, charcoal, graphite, pastel and ink. She holds an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and a BFA from the University of Washington. She has been exhibiting her work publically since 1996 in variety of venues including commercial galleries, alternative spaces and museums. Edwards has maintained an active teaching practice, conducting private lessons and workshops since 2009. Prior to that, she served as a Graduate Assistant for both Scott Noel and Renee Foulks during her studies at the Pennsylvania Academy, and worked as an assistant teacher at the Academy's Summer Art Camp. She has also conducted drawing workshops for homeless youth and young adults enrolled in the 'Zine Program at the University District Youth Center, a branch of Catholic Community Services of Western Washington. Her work and life appeared as the cover story in the December 2014 edition of Northwest Catholic magazine, a publication of the Archdiocese of Seattle.
Call (206) 383-9655 or send an email via the 'contact' page of this website for more information or to set up a free consultation.