The Arts

The Arts

Art Appreciation lectures
Demonstrations by RI Local Artists / Conversation with the Artist / Hamilton House Gallery

Hands–on Workshops, such as Kite building, origami, paper making, floral design,
Water-Soluable Acrylics, Water color, Pastel, Photography, Museum Trips 

ZOOM Talking about Movies with Jerry DeSchepper – Mondays at 12 pm, February 1, 8, 15, 22; March 1, 8, 15, 22; April 5, 12, 19

A new ongoing film discussion group. Each week participants will choose a movie, which they will view on their own, in time for the group’s next meeting. Do you have a favorite you’d like to share? Old or New? American or International? Comedy or Tragedy? Join us and we will discuss it together. Led by Jerry DeSchepper. Class limit: 15  Please email Hamilton House to register. 

Painting for All Levels – Fridays at 10 am – March 5, 12, 19, 26 and April 9, 16, 23, 30

Nothing can compare to an in person class, but zoom painting classes are a good alternative! I can see student work and comment on it as the class progresses, and other students can see each other’s work, and have a dialogue as the class goes on.  After each class, students email me a photo of their work that I put together in an email and send around to the members of the class. The photos can show more color and texture than holding up the piece on zoom since everyone has different lighting in their rooms. I present an assignment for students to work on, or if a student has a particular project that they would like to work on, that is also something I can help with.    Fee: $48 per month – Payable directly to Ida Schmulowitz.  Register by emailing Hamilton House.

ZOOM Beginning Watercolor with Anne Werk – Mondays from 11am – 1pm – Beginning March 1

Have you always felt that watercolors were too hard? Tried them before, but felt frustrated? 

Leave those worries behind! This beginner watercolor class is designed for everyone. It is fun and relaxing, and doesn’t take much time to get a painting you’ll love. We will start by getting comfortable with the materials, and start learning different techniques, including washes, wet on wet, dry brush, etc. We will also touch on the basics of painting, including color, value, and composition. Each class will focus on a project as we build up our skills. I will show you how to correct mistakes, or use them to your advantage! 

I will cover: 

  • Best practices for getting watercolors to do what you want them to do

  • The importance of composition and making a value study

  • How to effectively use reference images, and work on our observation skills

  • How to fix or incorporate mistakes to make your painting better

Pour yourself a cup of tea, grab your watercolor materials, and let’s get painting!

Email: to register. Class limit: 10

ZOOM Needlework Circle – Tuesdays from 1pm – 3pm – March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 and April 6, 13, 20, 27

Do you have a needlework (knitting, crochet, needlepoint, embroidery, sewing) project that has been abandoned, neglected, forgotten? Or would you like to start a piece of needlework? Please join the Needlework Circle which gets together to help each other and share good conversation. Email Hamilton House to register.

ZOOM “Italian Masterpieces” with Dr. Rocky Ruggiero – Six Part Series – Alternate Fridays at 11 am (Dates provided below)

Friday 4/9:  Lecture 1 The Competition that Sparked the Renaissance – Lorenzo Ghiberi vs. Filippo Brunelleschi

The competition of 1401 for the contract for a set of bronze doors for Florence Baptistery is generally considered the event that kicked off the Renaissance. This lecture will explore how each artist brought his own unique vision and style to his work, and why sometimes losing actually means winning.

Friday 4/23:  Lecture 2 – Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise

Often described as the most beautiful and famous doors on the planet, the Gates of Paradise took nearly a full generation for their artist, Lorenzo Ghiberti, to complete. The ten richly- decorated-gilded-bronze panels depict Old Testament subject matter like pages from a picture book. 

Friday 5/7:  Lecture 3 – Donatello’s bronze David

Donatello’s bronze David was the first free-standing nude statue to be made since ancient Roman times. In addition to restoring sculpture to its place alongside architecture, and not simply as ornamentation for it, Donatello also caused quite a ripple in traditional Christian iconography. The eroticism of the sculpture is palpable. Combined with anomalous details such as boots and a hat (for which my students have appropriately nicknamed the statue the Puss in Boots David) the true meaning of the sculpture has eluded people in my business for many years. 

Friday 5/21:  Lecture 4 – Alessandro Botticelli’s Primavera and Birth of Venus

When Botticelli painted the Primavera in the 1470s, he opened up a veritable Pandora’s Box. No longer would Renaissance artists be limited to simply dressing Christian saints in togas and sandals, they could now gradually introduce the very literature, philosophy and religion of the ancient Greco-Roman world into their own art. This lecture will unpack Botticelli’s great allegorical painting by identifying its characters and their meaning; but it will also explore how the first Renaissance painting to ever depict a pagan subject was still loaded with Christianity.

Friday 6/4:  Lecture 5  – Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper

Leonardo’s great masterpiece was painted in 1495 on a wall of the refectory of a Dominican convent in Milan, Italy, and is celebrated as the first work of the High Renaissance. Few people realize that Leonardo’s painting of the subject was the culmination of nearly 1000 years of iconographic tradition. Moreover, his depiction of Jesus and twelve (soon to be eleven) of his closest followers sharing their last meal together was one of dozens of Last Supper paintings to adorn refectory – or “dining hall” – walls in Italy. This lecture will explore the evolution of the subject of the Last Supper in Italian art, as well as explain why Leonardo’s Last Supper is perhaps the most perfect expression of form and content in Renaissance painting.

Friday 6/18:   Lecture 6 – Michelangelo’s Pietà

The Pietà was Michelangelo’s first “number one hit”. At the ripe old age of 23 years, he had produced one of the greatest statues of all time.  The innocence, sensitivity and stillness of this particular early work would never be achieved again in Michelangelo’s 72-year career. This lecture will explore the meaning and tradition of the “Pietà” subject in art and also address why Michelangelo’s is the most famous interpretation.

Floral Design with Sally Gruber – Tuesday, April 20 – Spring Beginnings

Welcome spring with a spectacular fresh floral arrangement! Each participant will receive a natural woven basket with an abundance of flowers, including daisy pom, miniature carnation and waxflower. Students will create a seasonal floral piece as they learn the elements of design. Please join this special celebration of spring!

Email Hamilton House to sign up. Fee: $20.00 per participant paid directly to Sally. Delivery times will be pre-arranged with students. 

ZOOM Painting for All Levels with Ida Schmulowitz – Fridays at 10 am – May 7, 14, 21, 28 and June 4, 11, 18, 25

May and June painting classes will be part zoom and part on location in the landscape. Whenever the weather permits, we will be painting outside at various locations, with social distance and mask wearing required. Other days the class will take place on zoom, with students setting up still lives according to a specific assignment that will be given. All levels are welcome. Beginners can opt to gain some experience by focusing on drawing instead of painting. Join us in the tradition of plein air painting or drawing. Experimentation and expression are encouraged!

Students must bring their own supplies. Email Ida for a list of paints or drawing supplies. ( When outdoors, students are also responsible for bringing a portable chair, and easel or table to work on, as well as a tray for their supplies. Ida Schmulowitz has been a professional artist  for over 45  years and holds a BFA in painting from RISD. Her work has been exhibited locally and nationally and is in corporate and private collections including the RISD Museum and Newport Art Museum. Her website is Fee: $48 per month – Payable directly to Ida Schmulowitz.  Register by emailing Hamilton House.

Floral Design with Sally Gruber – Tuesday, May 18 – Garden Party

When the days are warm and the flowers are in bloom, it’s the perfect time for a garden party! Reflecting Katherine Mansfield’s short story, “Garden Party,” we will create the setting for our own botanical gala. Participants will receive decorative pots and a wide selection of fresh plant materials, including blue delphinium, fuchsia carnation, and Italian ruscus. All participants will enjoy garden snacks as we celebrate one of America’s favorite outdoor pastimes.

I have a plan that presents a floral design program using personal delivery of materials to each student, along with an instruction sheet to guide you in creating your arrangement. I will call each participant to arrange a time for the doorstep drop-off of the materials at your home. Please email Hamilton House if you are interested.  Fee: $20.00 per participant paid directly to Sally. 

ZOOM “Collecting Folk Art: My Pastime, Passion or Obsession?” with George M. Goodwin, Ph.D. – Wednesday, June 2 at 1 pm

A native of Los Angeles, George studied art history at Lake Forest College and earned graduate degrees at Columbia and Stanford.  He taught art history for many years and conducted extensive oral history interviews with artists, collectors, and museum officials.  More recently, he coedited The Jews of Rhode Island, which was published by Brandeis University Press in 2004, and has edited Rhode Island Jewish Historical Notes for 18 years.  He has also written for this journal and many others.

George and his wife, Betsey, while living on the East Side for 33 years, have continued to build their huge collection of folk art from many parts of the world.  The largest portion consists of terra cotta and wooden sculptures from Mexico, but they also have Inuit soapstone carvings, prints, and wall hangings from Canada; paintings, papier-mâché masks, and metal cut-outs from Haiti and Jamaica; Hmong embroideries; and carpets from Afghanistan, India Iran, Morocco, and Turkey. 

By showing dozens of photos from the Goodwin family collection, George will try to answer a simple but perplexing question, “When is enough enough?”

Floral Design with Sally Gruber – Tuesday, June 22 – June is Busting Out All Over

It’s June! Let’s celebrate this favorite month with a favorite flower: the daisy. Symbol of June, this lovely blossom represents innocence and is often used in seasonal wedding ceremonies. Today we will use this traditional flower to create a cheerful daisy basket. Participants will finish their arrangements with a festive floral accent. You won’t want to miss this!

Email Hamilton House to sign up. Fee: $20.00 per participant paid directly to Sally. Delivery times will be pre-arranged with students. 

No refunds for cancellations of Art Classes.