NLAPW Events


Tolley paintingAlla Prima Oil Painting Workshop

Thursday, September 26, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Instructor: Judith (Jude) Tolley 

Location: Pen Arts Building

Alla prima, Italian for “at first attempt, is a painting technique in which layers of wet paint are applied to previously administered layers of wet paint. Jude Tolley provides directions and the basic steps for creating a quick still life oil painting in a single session by using the alla prima method. Following a short demo by the instructor, and a mini lesson about considering tones of light, medium, and dark, artists start with a fast blocking in of basic areas of shape, and then apply color while considering value, hue, and the shapes of highlights and shadows.

In this workshop, artists are encouraged to work with their own personal style, to incorporate “mistakes” as opportunities to learn, and to celebrate the act of creating with colors and shapes. Artists have their own style, and consideration is provided for artists to create in an upbeat, instructive, and nonjudgemental environment.

The workshop introduces participants to an expressive, efficient approach to painting, the alla prima single session painting. This approach results in a complete study of the still life by the end of the workshop. Furthermore, this method encourages experiential learning while producing a painting. The artists explore best practices for brushwork, mixing colors, incorporating warm and cool tones, accuracy of form and color, and compostion to express emotion. This workshop incorporates principles of quality and craftsmanship that Tolley learned from master painters Nelson Shanks and Dani Dawson.

An assortment of objects to paint will be provided, and students can also bring in their own still life subjects. Jude paints during the class, so students can learn from observation. Each participant will receive individualized attention and instruction. Group sizes are small, so each participant receives personalized attention.

This class is for all levels. Painters are welcome to bring their own setups. Please consider simplicity in the choice of objects as this workshop is designed for the artist to complete the painting in one day.

About the Artist

Judith “Jude” Tolley was born near Washington, D.C. She attended Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and has a BFA in Painting and Printmaking. Additionally, she has a Master’s Degree in Education. She studied portraiture with renowned artists Danni Dawson and Nelson Shanks. In addition to her painting career, Tolley worked at Walt Disney Feature Animation in Burbank, California, from 1995-2002. During this time she worked on five animated featured films. Currently she maintains a studio near San Jose, California.


Workshop Registration

Cost is $150 for class only, or $175 for class and materials. The material fee is optional. You may bring your own supplies, as listed below. 

Register via PayPal to reserve your spot for this workshop. Seats are limited due to the intimacy of the event and space in our Pen Arts Gallery.  Thank you for supporting the National League of American Pen Women Inc. Your participation supports women in the arts.

Chose your registration option

Suggested Materials If You Bring Your Own:

  • Cad Yellow, Cad Yellow Deep, Yellow Ochre, Orange, Cad Red Light, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Cerulean Blue, Permanent Green Light, Sap Green, Titanium White, Dioxazine Purple, and Paynes Grey
  • Odor free solvent (Terpenoid)
  • Refined Linseed Oil
  • Paper towels
  • 3 brushes (two bristle, small and med; one small brush for details)
  • Jars for cleaning brushes
  • Cups for holding medium
  • Suggested sizes for canvasses: 8×10, 10×10, 12×12, 10×12, or 16×20
  • Palette


First Fridays Art Walk

first friday flyer

The Pen Arts Gallery has been selected to participate in the Dupont Circle Art Walk!

Every First Friday of the month from 6 to 8 p.m., join us for live musical performances by local artists, refreshments, and mingling with other art lovers. View and buy art created from the 1900s to today by Pen Women and D.C. artists.

Follow @penartsDC on Instagram for more details!


Monthly Writers Circles 
New event hosted by the GROWN the web series

first friday flyer

All experience levels, types, and styles are welcome — come to receive feedback on your work. If you’re not a writer, but just want to see how the process works, we invite you as well!

To learn more and/or RSVP, click here.





First Friday Series Performance

Performance by Matt Dievendorf, presented by Strange Woman Records

6 p.m. Saturday, March 1

Threads album

As part of the First Friday Series, Strange Woman Records releases guitarist Matt Dievendorf’s “Threads” album, a flowing sextet of jazz instrumentals. The album is dedicated to his father, whose 65th birthday would have been on March 1, 2019. Dievendorf will perform a short set of his music, followed by a meet-and-greet celebration.

Salon Concert

8 p.m. Saturday, March 23

performers Amy K. Bormet and Shana Tucker

The Washington Women in Jazz Festival presents a salon concert with pianist/vocalist Amy K. Bormet and ChamberSoul cellist and singer-songwriter Shana Tucker

Amy K. Bormet and Shana Tucker are powerful collaborators, from their first concert together in 2017 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, to dancing in the streets of New Orleans. Look forward to an energetic and intimate evening of new music and set list surprises.




A Million Mats @PenArts

Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, February 2

Yoga. Food Art. A 4-hour workshop for creative manifestation and healthy mindfulness.



The goal of A Million Mats is to empower women and promote wellness and creativity. Join us at Pen Arts for Karma Yoga, vision boarding (creative goal-setting using recycled magazines) and a plant-based lunch.

Admission is donation-based. Click here to see the complete agenda and to register.


clothing swap

Swap DC

3 p.m. Sunday, February 3

A creative recycling pop-up that fosters a fun and diverse community with residents who want to reduce, reuse, and exchange more than just currency

Here’s how it works:

• Bring gently worn clothes, shoes, books and accessories.

• At check-in, hand your items to one of our trusted volunteers.

• Clothes are sorted and hung or folded on site.

• Look through the racks and take home your favorite items!

Only $5 to participate. Proceeds support creative entrepreneurship and women in the arts.



Mixed Media Manifesto: Create Your Vision Board

2-5 p.m. Saturday, October 13, 2018
Pen Arts, 1300 17 Street NW, Washington, D.C.

Cost: By donation

When’s the last time you’ve created a vision board? Or updated your last one? Well, this Saturday, Pen Arts DC is opening its doors for you to step into a creative space to refocus and intentionally manifest what you want. Folks like Oprah and Ellen have accredited this practice to their success. 

We’ll provide magazines, but the more, the merrier! So if you’ve got some hanging around the house, please bring them. In addition to photos, quotes, or other personal images that you’d like to include on your board!

Supplies and snacks are included. No artistic background necessary, just come comfortable and ready to create!

About the instructor:

Johneé Wilson is an artist, yogi, and wellness coach. She guides people to discover their greatest selves and live their best life. Her artistry involves mixed media art, song writing, and acting. Follow her at @johnee_theartist on IG to learn more about her.



“Design Your Day” Fiber Arts Workshop
10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sunday, October 14, 2018
Pen Arts, 1300 17 Street NW, Washington, D.C.

Cost: $175


A crafty afternoon of fellowship, mindfulness, and centering self. Smithsonian instructor Lauren Kingsland will facilitate a course involving hand-sewing and design techniques, quilt-making, and the importance of finding balance for the creative mind. Each participant will create a beautiful piece to display on a tabletop, hang on a wall, or gift to another. No prior experience necessary! Lunch will be served and all materials provided.

About the instructor:

Lauren Kingsland has been making quilts professionally since 1988. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and shows and is in public and private collections throughout the country. She is dedicated to quiltmaking as a medium for storytelling, for building community and for healing and wellness. She is a visiting artist with the Arts and Humanities program of Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC.





‘Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II’

Book Discussion and Author Signing
5:30 p.m. September 1, 2018
Pen Arts, 1300 17 Street NW, Washington, D.C.


Join the National League of American Pen Women, Inc., for a discussion and book signing with New York Times bestselling author Liza Mundy, author of “Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II.” This event will be hosted in conjunction with the friends and family of Ms. Angeline Nanni — a former codebreaker herself — in celebration of her 100th birthday.

The event will take place on Saturday, September 1 at 5:30 p.m. at the N Street entrance of the Pen Arts Building. Come learn more about the American women who secretly served as codebreakers during WWII and connect with other readers and writers in the D.C. community.

Tickets are free but seats are limited, so please get them while they’re available. Click the link here to access the site.