Painting and Drawing

Learn essential painting and drawing techniques and practice new skills in an exciting studio environment designed to inspire creativity and teach you—either as a beginning or an intermediate artist—how to express yourself through artistic practices.


In this course, students will learn and refine the fundamental practice of painting and drawing through an interactive, multifaceted approach that motivates them to learn new skills and methods, while expanding their knowledge of visual communication. The course encourages mastery of the basics and builds upon skills gained throughout the two weeks, culminating in an exciting final project. Taught by practicing artists and leaders in the contemporary art world, this course will provide students with guidance, techniques, and support to encourage them to develop their own creative vision, as well as insight into the realities of being a working artist today. Students will balance a variety of expert-led sessions, site visits, and lectures with guided practice to build and further develop artistic skills in a dynamic, supportive, and inspiring setting that allows for dialogue and trial-and-error.


This program is geared towards students eager to discover their artistic passions, try something new, and prepare for college. Through a compelling program of site visits, guest speakers, and a variety of hands-on activities, the program is curated to give students a newfound sense of direction for their future studies. While no studio art experience is required for this course, students who are preparing to take AP Studio Art or apply for college can benefit from the course’s focus on the fundamentals, as well as portfolio review sessions.


Site Visits

Visits will include a combination of trips to major New York City art museums and artists’ studios, as well as galleries and other places related to painting and drawing.


In the past, site visits have included:

  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • The Museum of Modern Art
  • The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
  • Top New York galleries, such as David Zwirner and Hauser & Wirth
  • Artists’ studios


Guest Speakers

Students will hear firsthand from contemporary artists, curators, and gallerists about the topics that shape our understanding of artistic practice in a variety of settings.


In the past, guest speakers have included:

  • Contemporary artists
  • Gallerists
  • Museum curators
  • Art critics


Activities and Projects May Include:

  • Practicing a variety of drawing techniques under guided studio time catered to the level of the student, followed by individualized feedback given by the instructor on the student’s work. 
  • Experimenting with and mastering the use of color through studies of the fundamentals that will benefit students working at any level. 
  • Learning about portraiture and narrative as practiced by contemporary artists, leading to creating an expressive self-portrait series using a variety of media.


Please note: This information is subject to change at any time at the discretion of Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

Term Dates

Term dates and course availability depend heavily on instructors’ schedules.

  • Term 1 July 7 to July 19

All courses are open to rising 10th – 12th graders and graduating seniors. Explore the full summer schedule.

View Summer Schedule

Course Highlights

Summer Institute enables students to dive deep into a course of study, sharpening skills for their academic and professional careers. Each course is carefully designed to suit student interests and encourage intellectual curiosity.

  • 1

    In an exciting and interactive studio practice, students will work on advancing their drawing skills and receive individualized feedback to help them take their creations to the next level, both technically and conceptually. Instruction will include a variety of drawing techniques that students will test to create a finished work of art, which they can use to start or add to an existing portfolio.

  • 2

    Students will work with water-based media to further understand the principles of painting, including approaches to color, line, value, composition, and scale. In-studio exercises will allow students time to develop their own approaches to expression using the techniques studied in class.

  • 3

    This course is ideal for students who are creatively inclined and searching for a supportive and instructional environment to help them develop or advance their drawing and painting talents. Under the guidance of studio art faculty, they will start a sketchbook diary for visual experimentation, develop new areas of artistic practice, and create examples of finished work to add to their portfolios. Students will practice guided critiques as are expected in the college studio art environment, and work with each other on portfolio review if desired.

Summer Institute Faculty

Our instructors are award-winning Sotheby's Institute faculty, recognized thought leaders and professional experts in the art world. Each faculty member structures their course around real-time conversations defining their professions and helps students master the unique forces at play in the art world.

Summer Institute Faculty

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