Continuing Education Blog

PNCA offers evening and weekend classes for adults and young people. For adults we offer courses in art, craft, and design, as well as professional development classes. For children we have Saturday classes during the school year and week-long camps during the summer. In addition to our regular teen classes, we also offer immersive summer Pre-College Studios. Our blog below gives you an idea of some of the goings on, and you can see our full course catalogue online here.

Weekends in June

Botanical Illustration

Drawing by Lynn Kitagawa

Next weekend PNCA Continuing Education has group of classes starting including:

Online Portfolio In this weekend workshop build the structure and start the content of your online portfolio or personal website. More than just a basic web design class, this class will cover how to write about your work and yourself, marketing yourself and how to maintain your site. Using the Squarespace platform, you will be leave with an effective web presence and an understanding of this powerful web publishing tool.  Register

Illustrator Basics Whether taking as a stand alone weekend or part of the discounted Weekend Pack, learn the basics of the powerful design and digital illustration tool Adobe Illustrator. Taught by local artist Damien Gilley, you will learn the basic functions of the program: drawing and shape tools, type, text and color management. Register

Botanical Illustration In this four Saturday class learn the techniques to create Botanical Illustrations in pen and ink. Using live specimens, students create accurate and aesthetically pleasing images. The emphasis of the class will be on observation and drawing skills, as well as development of personal style. Register

Collography Spend four Saturdays in PNCA’s printlab creating collography prints. Using non-traditional and found materials to create printing plates, explore pattern and texture on the printing press. Prints created using collography are unique and beautiful and call for experimentation while also learning reinforcing the basics of printing on a press. Register

PNCA Continuing Education classes are open to the public for registration. All prerequisites are self managed by the student and do not require further proof before starting a class.

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Palmarin MergesChanto Variations (part of a diptych) 

Multiple Collagraph plates, oil paint 

25” x 38”
Palmarin Merges Collography

This Summer, CE instructor Palmarin Merges is teaching Collagraphy on Saturday mornings in June. Collography is a printmaking process that combines the elements of collage with drawing. Plates are built up with objects as diverse as gesso, fabric and found objects and printed on a press.

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Guitar Effect Pedals Week Three

Inside of Guitar Pedal
This is the Third Entry from PNCA Librarian Dan McClure on his adventures in the Continuing Education Guitar Effects Pedal class.

This is the inside of a tremolo pedal I’m hoping to replicate and improve. I’ve had this since 1996 but rarely use it on stage because the knobs are mounted on the side and there’s no LED light indicating that it’s on. It would be really nice if it had a volume knob and speed-doubling footswitch with a light too.

Ohms Image

Ohm’s law is where it started on the first night, and we keep coming back to it. It’s the third class and I sort of get it. Mostly. So many amps, so many Ohms.


Mark brought in an oscilloscope tonight and showed waveforms. He said he has a collection of oscilloscopes, mostly from Techtronics (like this one), right here in the Portland area. Apparently all of the secrets of the universe can be unveiled using a multimeter and an oscilloscope. I’m going to miss class next week because I’ll be in Washington D.C. I’ll try to post some interesting pictures of my trip anyway. When I come back we’ll really be in the thick of things, constructing pedals and refining circuits.

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Guitar Effect Pedals Week Two

This is the Second Entry from PNCA Librarian Dan McClure on his adventures in the Continuing Education Guitar Effects Pedal class.
Guitar Effect Parts
At the start of every class Mark gives away fun stuff he has lying around his shop. I took a Piezo microphone element, a vintage Bakelite earpiece and a mysterious op-amp circuit board. I’m sure I’ll make great use of these.
Guitar Pedal two
Mark goes over quite a bit of theory. This is a depiction of a resistor. He also discussed waveforms, capacitors and variable resisters during the second class.
Guitar Pedal Three
I’m getting ready for the third session tonight. Some of the supplies I’m bringing: some Carling switches, a soldering iron, a Hammond enclosure for one of my effects, some solder, a multimeter, some LED light bezels, an adjustable screwdriver and an old Schaller tremolo I might try to replicate and improve.

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The Youth Program is doing something very exciting? What is it you ask? We are collaborating with BodyVox to host Art.Play.Dance. A class inspired by artist Nick Cave’s Sound Suit work. Wanna know what a sound suit is? Check out this video from Nick Cave’s Residency at the Fowler Museum at UCLA.

Join the Youth Program as we offer Art.Play.Dance. This 4-week workshop allows students to bring sculpture to life! Structured for 7 to 11 year olds, this course partners PNCA with BodyVox for an exciting collaboration. Students will make work inspired by artist Nick Cave’s Sound Suits, wearable artworks that pair sculpture and dance. Students will make their suits using a variety of found materials, fabric, and more. Learn more about Art.Play.Dance. via our registration website:

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Guitar Effect Pedals Week One

This is the First Entry from Dan McClure on his adventures in the Guitar Effects Pedal class.
Guitar Effects Pedal ID
I’m taking the Guitar Effect Pedals class at PNCA taught by Mark Keppinger—this is going to be really fun. I took these photographs on the Wednesday, the first night of class. At the start of class Mark handed out this card, which makes it official and also doubles as a library card.
Mark Keppinger Teaching
This is Mark. He’s actually kind of a big star in the theremin community, where he’s known for his vacuum tube theremin designs. A whole section of the Theremin World site is devoted to his designs.
He’s featured on this youtube video discussing his theremin designs too:

There’s a theremin on his shirt too! Mark is a wonderful teacher. Very patient and knowledgeable, and he has a great sense of humor.
Guitar Effect Circuit Board
In this class we’ll be building effects pedals suitable for use with electrically amplified instruments such as keyboards, theremins—even guitars. This is a picture of some of Mark’s circuit boards. Mark has designed the circuits and also supplies almost all the parts. Class participants will supply the enclosures and a lot of sweat equity. Fun!

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Steel String Lap Ukulele

Steel String Uke

CE Instructor Frank Irby just finished this beautiful steel string lap ukulele. It sounds as nice as it looks and is amazing to play. Frank still has a couple of spots in this term’s Ukulele class.

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Painter’s Craft

Jerry Sumpter Teaching

Jerry Sumpter is teaching Painter’s Craft this term. The Strategies class is designed to assist students of painting to build beyond foundation knowledge—toward a more complete skill set. This class, we will focus on two very powerful , yet diverse painting strategies. The first four weeks of study are dedicated to employing techniques developed by the French Royal Academy. During the remaining four weeks attention shifts to the ideas and methods taken up by the Spanish and American “lyrical” Realists. As a whole, the class will focus on color, image construction and composition as it directly applies to the painter’s craft.

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Picture(s) of the Week - 3/8/2014

So, we had a busy day on Saturday. In addition to hosting our Saturday Reception for the Youth Program’s Making History exhibition, classrooms were quite active. Check out some sweet pictures of students working with clay, and some glue goodness.




Yep. Saturday was a little messy, too. But that comes with the territory. If you would like to see more images from this week’s classes, visit our Photo Archive on Flickr.

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Picture of the Week - 2/22/2014

We had a great second week of classes. Our MiniMasters class with MaryEllen Hartman finished up their self portraits!


If you would like to see more images from our Saturday classes, or check out what a finished self portrait looks like when completed by someone between the ages of 4 and 6, visit our Flickr Site.

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