Sharon McNeil
Salem, OR
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Sharon McNeil

Sharon M.

Salem, OR
Profile-background-check Background Check
This teacher successfully passed a thorough criminal background check with SterlingBackcheck. This badge verifies trusted teacher status.
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
There are so many reasons to learn to draw. Perhaps you are applying for college and want to strengthen your portfolio? Maybe you changing careers and need to strengthen your visual thinking? Or you may just want to learn to draw for fun. Whatever your reason is, I can help. I have been teaching drawing for 20 years and I’ve worked with students of all ages, from young adults to retirees. There seems to be a notion out there that “one must have a talent for art before they can learn to draw. ” One thing I can say for sure is that this absolutely NOT true. With the right knowledge, a strong desire to learn, and a willingness to try, anyone can learn to draw.

I teach students how to draw from a classical studies background, but I believe in nurturing the uniqueness of each student and honoring their learning style. Unlike a classroom setting, a private lesson frees us up to build the lessons specifically around the student's goals and needs.

About Sharon M.

Do you want to learn to draw/paint or improve your work?
Are you applying for college and need portfolio advice? Did you want to get back into doing art after many years without it? Are you a mid-career artist and just need some feedback and a new perspective? Are you changing careers and need to strengthen your visual thinking, design, and composition skills? Regardless of your skills and abilities, I’ve got you covered. I have been teaching for 20 years. I’ve taught at a university, several community colleges, and a prestigious art and design school and I’ve worked with adult students from 16 years old to retirees. There seems to be a notion out there that “one must have a talent for art before they can learn to draw or paint.” One thing I can say for sure is that this absolutely NOT true. With the right knowledge, a strong desire to learn, and a willingness to try, anyone can learn to draw or paint.

My Commitment as Your Teacher:
1. After listening to your goals, desires, and reviewing any work, if you have some to share with me, I will build a lesson plan to address your specific needs.
2. I will explain what we are doing, why, and how it is important to your goals.
3. I will demonstrate each technique we put into practice. (My goal in demonstrating is to break down the process so you can see how exactly something is done. This means I can stop, explain, re-demonstrate, and re-explain to help you understand.)
4. I will refer you to text, and pre-recorded videos that reinforce these concepts in the days between lessons. You may also have a recording of our lesson if you choose.
5. I will review your work and l offer you HONEST AND SENSITIVE feedback based on your comfort level. Honest because you need to know how you can improve and sensitive because it can be very emotional to have your work critiqued insensitively. Emotion can block your ability to absorb new information, so this is especially important.
6. If you want to learn more rapidly, I can offer you some specific assignments to do between classes. Sometimes even 15 minutes a day in a sketchbook can make a real difference.

My Advice:
1. Feel free to make mistakes. Mistakes are a critical part of learning and we need to learn how to embrace them.
2. Be patient with yourself. Not everyone learns at the same pace and how you develop as an artist will be unique to you and not always as you might expect.

My Background

I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. I earned a BA at Lewis and Clark College in Portland Oregon where I majored in Art and Theatre. I began my working life after college as a scenic artist in Seattle working for ACT, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and the Seattle Opera. While working full-time in the theatre I took classes at the Gage Academy which is where I honed my classical skills as an artist. Then I moved to California to attend graduate school and earned my MFA in Drawing and Painting. I have been teaching at the college level ever since, starting
with CSU Long Beach and some of the local community colleges. I recently moved back to Seattle from Georgia where I spent 10 years teaching at The Savannah College of Art and Design. So, I have worked with students from diverse backgrounds, with a variety of goals, and from ages 16 to 80.

Subjects Taught:
Drawing at all levels, life drawing, 2-D Design, Color Theory, Painting in Oil and Acrylic, Watercolor, Scenic Painting for the Theatre, and Travel Sketching (Sketchbook Practices).

figure drawing, portraiture, travel sketching, mural painting, faux finish and tromp l’oeil.


Write a Review
12 Reviews
Profile-location-online Online

Had my first lesson and I've already learned so much! The lesson was informative and Sharon also gave me a clear idea of what to practice in the meantime. I am confident that my drawing skills will improve!

Posted May 27, 2021
Profile-location-online Online

I had a great time and learned a lot painting with Sharon. This was my first painting lesson. She is patient, helpful and very passionate about watercolors. She is also very knowledgeable and answered all my questions.
Sharon will tailor your lesson to your goals. You do not need to be an artist to enjoy these lessons.

Posted Apr 22, 2021
Profile-location-online Online

Sharon was my introduction to watercolor painting! Her suggestions were very helpful. Her depth of knowledge and experience were stimulating and lead me to read and research artists and concepts. She was patient with this novice, and I look forward to more lessons.

Posted Apr 22, 2021
Huan W.
Profile-location-online Online

I held a virtual team painting event and invited Sharon to be our tutor. My team has a tight budget, but Sharon managed to fit the painting kit under the budget & the paint was high quality! She also made a video helping us prepare for the painting event: how to stain the palette, how to wash the brushes and how to coat the canvas.

In the painting event, we had a large group (~15 people), so it’s very difficult to coordinate. People had different questions every 5 mins, or people asked the same questions, or you had to wait for other people. Sharon was very patient to answer everyone’s questions. We even went overtime but Sharon was very nice that she continued finishing the painting with us.

All my teammates produced very nice paintings! Majority of them have never painted before, but they created beautiful paintings under Sharon’s guidance. Thank you Sharon!

Posted Apr 21, 2021
Marcie W.
Profile-location-online Online

I am learning so much with Sharon! She is encouraging and helpful in her feedback, knowledgeable, talented, and has a warm and caring, presence.

Posted Jan 12, 2021
Profile-location-online Online

My lesson with Sharon was a fantastic start. I'm not entirely new to art but I am fairly new to acrylic painting. She tailored our first lesson to start me with a solid foundation. Very excited to set up my next lesson!


Posted Nov 9, 2020
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Sharon is the best art teacher I’ve ever had. She excels in explaining a concept verbally and then showing visual examples of it. With her positive and encouraging teaching style, Sharon guided me to better myself as a beginning artist. Her teaching technique is uncomplicated and easy to follow. When you take a class with her, not a single session goes by without learning something new. Without reservation, I would recommend taking an art class with Sharon.

Posted Apr 22, 2020
Profile-location-online Online

Sharon McNeil is a talented instructor. She is able to assist students in retaining crucial information regarding source of light, shadow placement and overall composition. She is skilled at color mixing. In our classes she set up large still life arrangements at the center of the room that were our focus. She provided painting demonstrations that helped put theory into action. A good teacher.

Posted Mar 30, 2020
Profile-location-online Online

Sharon is a fantastic teacher. She has a great eye for drawing and painting, and helped encourage me when I needed to push my art. I would highly reccomend any aspiring artist take her classes. She is patience, sweet, and incredibly intuitive.

Posted Mar 28, 2020
Stephanie Telemaque
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

My classes with Professor McNeil were amazing. While her courses are not easy, they are extremely rewarding. She has an uncanny ability to make otherwise difficult techniques achievable, easy to understand and fun to practice. While taking her classes, through her way of teaching I wanted to paint more, draw more and felt confident to do it. I cannot dream up a better teacher, she is patient, inspiring, and pushes you to try new techniques in a way that you don't realise until you're practicing them. If you take her classes you'll only want to take more.

Posted Mar 28, 2020
Profile-location-online Online

Highly skilled painter that encourages students to draw, look closely and make at least three thumbnails sketches in vale’s before painting. She always takes gently with students, ask questions to better understand the student and at times shows a more clear direction.

Posted Mar 27, 2020
Dr. Mike
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Sharon is an excellent instructor. She teaches a logical approach color theory through a series of assignments requiring a progression of limited color combinations. She emphasizes the importance of developing light and shadow to create and activate form. Anyone who wants to excel at painting will profit from her expertise.

Posted Mar 27, 2020

Photos & Videos

16 Photos & Videos


Professor of Art
Sep 2007 - May 2018

Savannah College of Art and Design

As a Professor of Art at SCAD, I taught Foundation Classes in Drawing, Design and Color Theory to prepare students for their major course of study. Interior Design, Architecture, Animation, Illustration, Fashion, and Graphic Design are just a few of the choices students had to major in but the foundation they needed for this was "visual Thinking." I also counseled students on how to improve their portfolio on days when we had student tour events.

Restoraton Artist
Jun 2015 - Aug 2015

The Seattle Opera/ Friends of the Astoria Column

This was one of the most enjoyable projects I have worked on. I was hired to work on the restoration/painting of the Astoria Column in Astoria Oregon. The column was built as a monument to the completion of the railroad and painted by Italian born Artist Attilio Pusterla in 1926. It is 125 feet tall and located on the highest his in Astoria, so the view is breath-taking but the elements ware very rough on the paint. It has been restored through the years, most recently in 1970 but this time they had decided to hire artists which they hadn't done in the past. This way we could better understand Pusterla 's original intention. It was a challenging and interesting process. I was digging through black and white photographs from the 1920s and in order to bring back his original work which had been faded and changed over the years.

Adjunct Faculty
Sep 2004 - May 2007

Cypress College

at Cypress College, I taught Painting and Drawing.

Adjunct Faculty
Sep 2001 - May 2007

Mount San Antonio College

At Mount Sac, I taught Watercolor and painting classes in acrylic paint.

Adjunct Faculty
Sep 1999 - May 2006

California State University Long Beach

I began teaching at CSU Long Beach as a graduate student and continued after graduation until 2006, teaching life Drawing and Life painting classes.

Charge Scenic Artist
Mar 1992 - Nov 1996

A Contemporary Theatre

Working as the Scenic Artist at A.C.T. was one of my favorite jobs. I enjoyed the shows we put on, the people I worked with, the location and the projects we did. As the Charge Scenic Artist, I was responsible for the painted look of the scenery which included 40 ft, backdrops of an old-growth forest, an English Countryside, and others. I created realistic textured brick as well as painted brick, I created faux finishes of marble, stone, and wood. It was really a fun job,


Master of Fine Art, Drawing and Painting
Sep 1998 - May 2001

California State University Long Beach

BA with a major in Art and Theatre
Sep 1983 - May 1987

Lewis and Clark College



Fluent / Native Proficiency


Presidential Fellowship for Professional Development
Mar 2010

Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah,

First Prize, Women's Fesitvial
Jun 2003

Second City Council, Long Beach, California

Marilyn Werby Memorial Scholarship
May 2000

California State University Long Beach

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