Summer Scene Painting


Develop your skills and gain significant confidence through this popular three-week intensive scene-painting course. Team-taught by Rachel Keebler and Jamie Clausius, you get hands on experience and insider tips to the trade of scene painting. This is a great course for helping you evaluate Scenic Painting as a career, or if you are a high school or college instructor who wishes to significantly improve your skills. If you are an instructor you may also check our shorter “Teacher’s Training for Scenic Painting” program. It is important to note that while this course teaches you the fundamentals of scenic art and is a great opportunity to explore the craft and develop your skills, it is not sufficient time to master the techniques needed to become a professional scenic painter. For someone who is already seriously considering scenic art as a career, see our Scenic Artist Training Program for the career track program.


ONE SESSION — July 15 – August 2, 2024


Rachel Keebler, Kimb Williamson and Jamie Clausius


Tuition and Room and Board are due at registration on the first day of class.

Application Fee: $150.00
Tuition: $1,500.00 (includes tools and materials)
Room & Board: $1,000.00
Brush Kit: (optional) $230.00 + tax ($248.40)

Use of Cobalt brushes, tools and all paint & fabric is included in the price of the seminar.
Cobalt Studios does offer students an opportunity to purchase their own Brush Kit. Brushes are tested by practical application here at Cobalt and are ordered from several different manufacturers. The kit consists of eight brushes: one each of a 4″ Bristle lay-in brush, a 3″, 2″, 1.5″ and .75″ scenic Fitch, a 1.75″Husky and both a 1″ & a 1.5″ angled Purdy.

We accept all major credit cards.

Enrollment Max:

Admission is open with a rolling admissions process so it’s never too early to apply! We are now accepting applications for 2024.

Admission Requirements & Accreditation

The course is inappropriate for students who are not yet seniors in high school.

If you are currently enrolled in an institution of higher learning this course has been used for credit by many attendees.


You have three ways to get an application:

  • Call (845) 583-7025
  • Email us at and let us know if you want it mailed or emailed to you.
  • Download our Summer Scene Painting Application
  • If we receive your application and the session is already filled, you have some options:
    -Get put on the waiting list and/or
    -Roll your application and fee over to the next year to be first on the list.


Coursework is minimally 7 1/2 hours a day, shooting for the hours between 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Mondays thru Fridays. No class work on weekends.

Week 1

The opening week we discuss the hierarchy of the paint shop and the skills and disposition we believe a successful, wonderful scenic artist must have. “What is paint?” and “Fabrics We Use” follow the opening session. Then we get you up on your feet for the “Bamboo Ballet”, learning the technique of painting scenery laid out on the floor using bamboo brush extensions. This section will include drawing tricks for drawing geometric shapes and large-scale drawings. We use all these skills to execute a team project; drawing an over-scaled picture.

We further explore covering flats, color theory, and color mixing. In the “Tools and Techniques” class you will use a myriad of paint applicators commonly used in theatrical painting followed by developing your expertise in lining. You then develop basic forms into 3-D on a 2-D surface using glazes.

Week 2

The second week will fly by with a section on perspective for scenic artists, woodgrain and marble for theatre, and a review of theatrical brick and stone. We enhance the techniques by adding trompe l’oeil moldings on our wood and marble samples. A drapery project and a presentation of stenciling fill out the week.

Week 3

In the final week we paint a foliage project and address skies and clouds. Additionally, there are two main projects in this final week; the first is a problem solving project called “You want me to paint WHAT on THAT?!” The second is an individual 6′ x 10′ translucent mini-drop, which come to life when we look at them under stage lighting. A nice finish to three productive and rewarding weeks with fellow theatre friends.

Arrival and Departure:

Plan to arrive on Sunday afternoon or evening. After the session has ended, you may stay until Sunday and take advantage of some of the fine things to do in the area.

Your Cobalt Experience

Located in White Lake, New York, two hours northwest of NYC, Cobalt Studios is situated on 28 acres of fields and woods. The farmhouse easily accommodates up to 12 people. Students and faculty both stay on the grounds. Kitchen and laundry facilities are large enough for all. The painting studio is a short walk from the house on a woodland path. Built specifically as a painting space the deck is a spacious 40′ x 135′ with good lighting. Other studio facilities include a library, a large paint mixing room, stockrooms and an office. Smoking is permitted outdoors only.

Cooking is an event when we have a house-full. For dinner everyone shares in a rotation schedule of preparation and cleanup for dinner, so some nights you just show up! If you think you can’t cook, relax, we’re flexible! It’s a wonderful and relaxed way to get to know everybody. Breakfast and lunch are “fix your own” and “clean your own”.

The nearest towns, Monticello and Liberty, are both about 15 minutes away. The surrounding area is a summer vacationland with plenty of lakes for fishing and boating. Swimming in the lakes may be a bit cool but it is also available.

We are located just 4 miles from Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, a state of the art concert venue. This is on the site of the historic 1969 Woodstock Festival. On the grounds there is a museum dedicated to the 1960s. Good for a Saturday or Sunday afternoon visit!

What to Bring

  • For starters…favorite recipes for dinner or desert
  • your favorite Pillow (We provide blankets, also sheets and towels)
  • Sleeping bag (if you want to sleep under the stars)
  • Alarm Clock
  • Paint clothes
  • Casual for evening
  • Clothes for special trips to NYC or any of the rest of the civilized world
  • Some warm clothes, as cool weather can show up at any time in the summer
  • Rain gear
  • Pictures of your work for show n tell
  • Any personal brushes you wish to bring (please mark all tools clearly)
  • It’s always a great idea to bring a camera