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SRAL Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

The SRAL has several special interest groups (SIGs) of members who share a special interest in a certain area of art. Most of the groups meet in the studio at a regularly scheduled day and time. 

The SIGs shown below are currently active. Please check the Calendar (SIG Meetings is the Event Type) for dates and times. Other pertinent information as to meeting places and contact information is shared in our SRAL weekly eBlast.


SIGs needing a coordinator to become active again are: Assemblage, Desert Doodlers and Portrait. If you would like to become the coordinator for one of these groups or find out more about a particular SIG, please complete and submit the contact form (see menu item CONTACT above.) To skip to the Contact form, click here

Abstract BRIGGade 

Moderator - Nan Lux

Canyon Ridge abstract painting by Nan Lux

"Canyon Ridge" abstract by Nan Lux

The SRAL Abstract BRIGGade Group celebrates the unique field of all abstract arts.  They group meets monthly the first Monday of every month at 10 AM in the Studio. This begins with their October 3rd, 2022 meeting. When that’s not possible, the group meets occasionally on Zoom.  The Abstract Group has been an active part of SRAL for over a decade and many of the 40 or so regular members are professional artists and they happily share their experience.


A special abstract art exhibit happens every February. It’s called the “Eve Briggs Abstract Art Competition” and this event is the responsibility of this group to organize. The next exhibit is scheduled for February 2022.  The co-chairs and the show judge have already been selected.


There are no special skills required to join in with this friendly group. Meeting attendees always find artist support, often with live demos, workshops, and critiques either at our monthly get-togethers but also one on one.  

Acrylic and Collage/Mixed Media

Moderators - Susan Werner and Janet Johnson

Sue Werner Painting.jpg

Acrylic Masters Painting by Susan Werner

Acrylic paints were first developed in the late 19th century when acrylic resin was developed. They became popular in the 1930s and 1940s and widely used by artists since the 1960s. Due to their versatility and fast-drying nature, acrylics originally became an extremely popular painting medium for many artists seeking a fast drying alternative to oil paints. Today acrylic paints are used in a variety of applications and styles, from abstract pours to photorealistic paintings. Their water-based formulation allows the use of many additives and mediums to produce unique art effects. It is ideal in combination with paper collage to create mixed media pieces as well. The Acrylic Painting and Collage Mixed Media group is designed to encourage interested artists to explore this medium to create traditional art work, or work that employs any variety of media or collage for mixed pieces.


We welcome members of all skill levels for their inspiration and creativity. We encourage everyone to have fun and enjoy our time together

Assemblage Special Interest Group

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Let's Talk by Loralee Makela

Assemblage, in art, work produced by the incorporation of everyday objects into the composition. Although each non-art object, such as a piece of rope or newspaper, acquires aesthetic or symbolic meanings within the context of the whole work, it may retain something of its original identity. The term assemblage, as coined by the artist Jean Dubuffet in the 1950s, may refer to both planar and three-dimensional constructions. –Britannica


The Assemblage Group meets on the 2nd and 4th Mondays from 1:00 to 3:00 of every month in the Main Studio unless there is a class being presented and we then meet in Windowless Studio.


This is currently an informal group meeting for all who are interested creating three dimensional artworks and is open to any SRAL member.

Figure Drawing

Moderator - Nanci Sheppard

Nanci Nude Figure.jpg

Figure Drawing by Nanci Sheppard

Figure Drawing has been a staple for artists since Greek and Roman times. It is essential for learning the anatomy of the human figure and for drawing or painting people in any setting


Our sessions meet the first Saturday of each month from November through April from 9 am to noon in the studio at the Springs Recreation Center. A model is hired to pose for us and each artists is asked to pay $5.00 to defer the cost of hiring the model. Models are generally clothed

in requested tight fitting clothing like workout clothing or leotards in order to showcase the body.


We begin our session with short 3 minute poses to allow artists to loosen up. We then move on to longer poses with the last pose lasting 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the remaining time, to allow for a 

more finished drawing or painting. You may use any medium, however no turpentine is allowed in the studio. We can display our work at the end of the session in the quiet room of the studio, if one desires to do so.

Oil and Pastel

Moderator - Debbie Nealy

View from Steelman Road Nealy.jpg

Two of SRAL's favorite Special Interest Groups (the oil group and the pastel group) have been in need of a recharge after the COVID shutdown. In the past the oil group has been known as OPAL.

Debbie Nealy has volunteered to be the coordinator of the new joint Oil and Pastel SIG - the oil painters working in the ventilated studio and the pastel painters in the main studio. The two groups will meet jointly until another volunteer is willing to take on the oil painting group.


The joint sessions meet the first and third Thursday afternoons of each month from 3 pm to 5 pm in the SRAL studio.

These will be working sessions with plans to have members briefly share a technique or skill with the group at the beginning of each session with short critiques at the end of the sessions.

"View from Steelmanville Road"  Pastel by Debbie Nealy

Plein Air

Moderator - Nanci Sheppard

Nanci Plein Air Stream.JPG

Plein Air Painting Nanci Sheppard

Plein Air simply means painting outdoors.


Our group meets every Thursday at the scheduled destination and time with carpools suggested if drivers feel comfortable doing so. Or one can drive themselves. We travel all over So. Arizona with many painting opportunities such as desert landscapes, missions, historic buildings, gardens and ranches.


You will need a set up for your desired medium, protective clothing, sunscreen, water, a hat and sturdy shoes.


A schedule for the upcoming month will be sent out to participants near the end of the previous month.

Any medium is acceptable, oil, watercolor, pastel or just sketching with a pencil. We meet at the end of the session to have a show and tell and light critique. It’s fun to paint outdoors and to see what others have chosen to paint.

If you are a beginner you can learn a lot from others in the group. 

Portrait Group

Moderator - Bruce Summers

Portrait of Darilyn.JPG

The Portrait Group draws and paints from live model poses focusing on facial features during short and long poses.


All media are welcome except for oil paints. Water mixable oils are acceptable for the main studio.

Critiques and demonstrations may be available based on the groups' wishes.

The group meets on Tuesday afternoons from 1-3 pm in the main SRAL Studio. The group will meet December through April and may meet longer depending on the availability of a moderator.

All members are welcome regardless of experience.

Portrait of Model from Portrait Session

Printmakers Guild

Moderator - Karen Keim

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"Swirls Connected" Monotype and Collage by Karen Keim

The Printmakers Guild, now in its 10th year, meets in the SRAL Studio on the fourth Thursday of September through May, with an exception during the holidays. (Only one meeting is held for November through December, usually in the week after Thanksgiving.) The group meets from 9:30 am to noon. 

Between four and twelve members attend our meetings. We are primarily a working group with explanation or instruction as needed. Knowledge of Blick Press helpful. The Printmakers Guild has access to two Akua Pin Presses and a Blick Etching Press (12-inch bed) in the SRAL studio, which are available to members who have been trained to use them. Training is provided as needed. It is important that cleaning up be a priority with each use of equipment in the Studio.

No formal art instruction is provided other than group support, demos, mini workshops. There is no fee, but participants should bring their own paper for printing. When it comes to media, it is usually Akua inks, but also other water-based colors and screen-printing inks, depending on plans for meeting. We also use a variety of methods for printing and use of printed papers.

All SRAL members, with or without printing experience, are welcome to join this group. Come to our meetings to learn about printmaking as well as its use with other media. Guild members are encouraged to bring prints, ideas, and tools to share with the group. We offer a demonstration at each meeting, followed by an opportunity to participate in some printing.


Moderator - Valerie St. Marie

valerie Blind Shadows.JPG

"Blind Shadows" Watercolor by

Valerie St. Marie

The Watercolor SIG was originally started as an opportunity to get together and paint with fellow watercolorists. During COVID we learned just how important that is! The SIG kept going during the shutdown of the studio by meeting on Zoom. The group has resumed meeting on Friday mornings from 9 am to noon in person in the SRAL studio. There are approximately 20 active members and communication is via group email.


Our time together is an informal work session which provides our members a scheduled time to paint and to share ideas, techniques and suggestions about materials. Most of all we provide support to one another in our artistic endeavors with the exciting medium of watercolor.


There are no formal demos or formal instruction but members are generous with their help when needed. Occasionally we will ask a member to informally demonstrate a technique or material. There are no fees associated with the SIG. 

No skills or experience are needed – just a desire to paint in watercolor. While the group focuses on watercolor, mixing media is OK and all experience levels are welcome, from beginners and beyond. Some of our members were brand new to the medium and to painting in general when they joined the SIG, and they have done great things!

 It’s relatively inexpensive to get started in watercolor, you don’t need a lot of materials or space – a couple of brushes, paper, watercolor pigment, a bucket of water and your creativity.

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