ARA Ottawa Hosting Its First Open House

To celebrate the official opening of the Academy of Realist Art Ottawa, we are hosting an Open House on Saturday, December 1st from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Join Colleen and Fernando for real and virtual studio tours, complete with demos of Bargue Drawing, Cast Drawing and raffles for Art Instruction DVDs.
On Sunday we will also be featuring a Figure Drawing demonstration. Registration is limited to 14 participants so be sure to come early on Saturday to sign up and secure a space. And don’t forget to pass this invite along to your friends!
Here are the details:
MONART Art School of Ottawa
2445 St Laurent Blvd, Suite B2-244
Ottawa, Ontario
(Ph) 613-260-0483



A Cover Story for an ARA Student


ARA student Carey Alvez’ carbon pencil illustration “Tati with Attitude” will be gracing the cover of the newest edition of Strokes of Genius. The fourth release in the Best of Drawing series, this new book showcases 140 pieces in charcoal, pencil, pastel, ink and more by over 100 of the world’s best contemporary artists. Content also includes artist comments and discussions on their techniques. In this particular portrait of a friend’s daughter, Carey used carbon pencil on watercolor paper with an acrylic wash.

Strokes of Genius is scheduled for release October 25, 2012. It will be available through Amazon at

This is not the first time Carey’s work has been recognized within the international art community. Her portfolio also received an award of merit at The Portrait Society of America’s annual conference.

James Gurney draws capacity crowd at ARA

ARA had the pleasure of playing host to an evening with James Gurney. This is the second time that the noted author and illustrator – best known for his Dinotopia series – has presented at the studio. He spoke to the standing-room only audience on composition, referring to artists such as Repin, Howard Pyle, Sargent, N.C. Wyeth and other realist masters.

Gurney topped off his inspiring lecture with a portrait demo of Fernando Freitas to showcase his techniques for sketching people “in the wild” (i.e. in restaurants, subways, or concert halls).

Gurney’s works have been exhibited at The Smithsonian Institution and The Norman Rockwell Museum among others. His most recent book, Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter (2010) was Amazon’s #1 bestselling book on painting for over 52 weeks and is based on his daily blog

You can view the portrait demo by visiting: (URL).

ARA Graduate Katie Melanson a Finalist in the ARC 2012 Salon Competition

Everlasting Moments – Oil on linen – 14 X 16

ARA Graduate Katie Melanson was a finalist in the 2012 ARC Salon Competition in the Still Life Category.
Congratulations Katie!

James Gurney Lectures at ARA Toronto


Date & Time: July 30, 2012 @ 6:30 pm
Location: ARA Studios Toronto

“In this lively and informative presentation for art students and professionals, Dinotopia author and illustrator James Gurney looks at composition, focusing on the picture-making process of artist and illustrator Howard Pyle, who had a unique approach. Pyle talked about design, especially the arrangement of light and dark tones, but he placed a special emphasis on the story and the characters. This focus on human subjects rather than merely abstract design corresponds with surprising new research in the science of eye-tracking. Gurney will share practical tips and insights for artists interested in making compositions that communicate more effectively.”