Downtown Painting

Small classes with an individualized focus to bring out your personal style


I teach students to see in new ways and translate that onto canvas in a unique way for each artist.

Schedule & Signup

The current schedule of classes. New Brooklyn classes start soon. Sign up now!


We now have a space on the Upper West Side and a beautiful new studio space in Brooklyn's Navy Yard.

Private Lessons

Individual work with experienced amateurs, young artists creating art school portfolios, or pros looking to hone a technique or material

Student Work

My goal is to help students develop their own style. Some examples of their extraordinary talents.

About Charlotta

I have been showing my artwork and teaching for over twenty years. My solo shows have been reviewed in the New York Times, The New Yorker, and Art in America and more.


Oil painting is one of the oldest arts. It is alchemy: ground pigment, dug from earth or produced by pressing leaves and petals of plants, floating in pools of oil. The effects one can achieve with oils are as limitless as the techniques: translucent glazing, thickly textured impasto, wet on wet, collaging, and dry brush scumbling to name just a few.

For beginners, classes cover composition, drawing with paint, values, and mixing colors. Intermediate and advanced classes for those who have some (or a lot!) of experience with oils we experiment with more mediums, creating a multitude of textures and transparencies with paint. The goal is to develop an individual signature style that feels right for each student.

Classes are small, with no more than 9 students, so everyone gets plenty of hand-on individual attention at every stage of the process., with discussions of vision and technique going hand in hand. The goal is to give students the skills to translate what’s in their mind’s eye onto the canvas.

(Swan Image: Jamie Bankhead)

About Charlotta

I’m Charlotta Westergren. I’m a working artist as well as a dedicated teacher. Both of those matter immensely to me, and that should matter to you. Students come to me looking not just for help in mastering techniques, but for another set of eyes to develop their own vision.

My solo shows have been reviewed in the New York Times and the Huffington Post, and my work has been featured in Harper’s Bazaar, the New Yorker, and the Paris Review. While I’m mainly a painter, I’ve worked in all sorts of media, including installation and video. I started out as an architect, with a degree from Columbia, and then studied art at the Museum School in Boston.

I’ve taught at the New School, the School of Visual Arts, Tufts’ Museum School, and other programs. As a teacher, I always try to highlight my students’ work. But in case you’re interested, here are some examples of my own, and if you want to know more about my work and background, you’re welcome to check it out at

Welcome to Downtown Painting and thanks for getting here. I specialize in individual work with amateurs looking to extend their talents, young artists creating portfolios, or pros looking to hone a technique.

Private lessons can take place at a beautiful new studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, or at your own home or studio. You can use the email link in the Private Lessons section of the site site to get in touch to discuss what you’d like to achieve and plan the best way to get there.

Don't forget to use the code PRIVATE for $200 off your first session.

Schedule & Signup

Oil paints are lustrous and sumptuous, the gold standard of mediums throughout the history of art. They can also be intimidating, with their many pigments, oils, varnishes, turpentine and brushes. For beginners, Downtown Painting breaks down the fundamentals of oil painting into manageable blocks. It’s exciting to teach beginners; there is a tremendous learning curve.

For Intermediate/Advanced students, oil painting is a practice that one can continue to hone and develop throughout one’s life. Think of the resplendent transparent glazed portraits of Rembrandt to the thick wildly colored vibrant paintings of Van Gogh, to the tranquil moody pared down work of Hopper. At this level, students may be looking to develop their signature style or make a shift in their work and try something new.

I teach classes at both beginner and intermediate/advanced levels. Often I combine the groups in a Mixed Levels so beginners can see more advanced students at work. Many students learn faster watching others work, and find it inspiring to see where they might be headed. If you have any questiions or just want to find out more before signing up, you are welcome to email me at

Friday - Beginner/Intermediate Oil Painting - Brooklyn

Fridays 12-2:30 pm
Nov 1 to Dec 20 (no class Nov 29) / 7 sessions total / $525
The class is limited to a total of 9 students.
Materials are not included. A materials list will be provided or you can pay a $125 materials fee.

Saturday - Beginner/Intermediate Oil Painting - Brooklyn

Saturdays 12-3:00 pm
Nov 2 to Dec 7 (no class Nov 30) / 5 sessions total / $425
The class is limited to a total of 9 students.
Materials are not included. A materials list will be provided or you can pay a $125 materials fee.

Fall Oil Painting - Manhattan

Beginning and Intermediate/Advanced Oil Painting meet together Wednesdays, 7.30 - 10:00 pm.
Sept 18 to Dec 11 (no class Oct 9 and Nov 27) / 11 sessions total / $725
The combined class is limited to a total of 9 students.

Weekend Intensive - Brooklyn

October 26 and 27 (Saturday + Sunday)
11:00 am - 3:30 pm / $375
The class is limited to a total of 6 students.

An intensive class for oil painting beginners. Over two days you'll get all the information you need to start painting: how to mix your mediums, seeing values, colors you need to start and basic color theory, drawing with paint, composition, to name just a few. This may be just the thing to get you working at home or it will be the beginning of other oil painting classes.
Materials are not included. A materials list will be provided or you can pay a $50 materials fee.

All Downtown Painting classes come with a complete money-back guarantee. If you sign up for a class and it's not what you expected or you are unhappy with it it for any reason, you will get a refund, no questions asked.

If you prefer to pay a $150 deposit to save your spot and pay the balance at the first or second session, just use the code DEPOSIT when registering. (You'll still be able to use any discounts you have later.)

Private Lessons

Individual work with experienced amateurs, young artists creating art school portfolios, or pros looking to hone a technique or material. I get a specific understanding of your goals, then we design a plan just for you. Lessons can take place at in my studio in Brooklyn, or at your own home or studio.

An initial 3 hour private lesson is $450. Further lessons are generally $150 an hour, with discounts for packs of several sessions.

If you are considering private lessons I encourage you to email me -- -- so we can discuss exactly what you’d like to achieve as an artist and plan the best way to get there. Or you can register below and I will give you a call to design your plan.

Sign Up

As with all Downtown Painting classes, there is a money-back guarantee. If you are not happy with first three hour lesson, you get an immediate full refund, no questions asked.


We’re still called Downtown Painting but for now we’re not really downtown anymore. We just got a beautiful new space in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a creative environment surrounded by many working artists.

For those who prefer classes in Manhattan, there is also a once-a-week class on the Upper West Side, at 60 West 90th Street.


Black Swan by Jaime Bankhead

Thanks for signing up. You'll get regular updates and special deals in your inbox. If you ever change your mind, just look for the unsubscribe link at the bottom of each email. Hope to see you soon in the studio!

(Image: Courtesy of Abigail Gampel)

Downtown Painting

Private lessons in our beautiful
Brooklyn studio or your own space