COVID-19 updates

Our physical location has reopened and regular operating hours have resumed! Students are welcome to join us for Open Studio on Saturdays 11-5, Mondays 10-9, and Thursdays 10-4. Figure Classes will be held Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 1-4 and 6-9.

Contact Colleen at info@academyofrealistart.com or 416-766-1280 to schedule an appointment so we can ensure enough physical distance between you and your neighbours. We will not accept drop-ins at this time, and we ask anyone experiencing symptoms to stay home and self-isolate.

We are looking forward to welcoming you back to ARA.

ARA students and faculty shortlisted in 15th International ARC Salon Competition

Join us in congratulating 20 of our students, alumni, and faculty who have been shortlisted as semi-finalists in the 15th International Art Renewal Center (ARC) Salon Competition, for a combined total of 28 shortlisted entries! The finalists will be announced on December 9th, and the final results of the competition on January 13.

The ARC Salon is billed as the most prestigious realist art competition in the Americas and perhaps the world. In 2019, the ARC received 4,941 entries this year from 83 countries, with the top 40% being selected for the semi-finals. The competition offers over $100,000 in cash awards and international recognition through partnerships with prestigious magazines, galleries, museum exhibitions, and a strong online presence.

Congratulations to all the artists! Keep scrolling to see the semi-finalists from ARA, and our sister school ARA Boston.

Laura Abbott

Fork in the Road
Still Life

“I love the mystery of old master still life paintings. This led me to pursue academic painting at the ARA under the guidance of Fernando Freitas. I love the hunt for old objects that speak to me for my set ups. I am very pleased with this painting and am compelled to continue my studies. The pandemic is a bit of a hiccup! I look forward to returning to the studio!”

Laura Abbott - Fork in the Road


Denise Antaya

Evening Portal
Landscape

“The landscape I chose to paint is indicative of today’s troubles. The weeping willows, the scraggly reeds are all symbolic of the destruction and problems we face. But the bright setting sun coming through the trees is symbolic of better times, the opening into the light refers to a portal, to a way past these difficult times, to light and hope for our future. If we seek the light, past the darkness, good will prevail.” 

Denise Antaya - Evening Portal


From the Tower
Landscape

“From the Tower was based on a setting in Point Pelee National Park. It was sunrise and the picture on my computer screen was a guide. I did the drawing very carefully trying to get the right perspective. Plein air work is very important as it guides you in your studio practice. I also spend a great deal of time outdoors studying the colours and using oil studies as well as visual memory to create the effect I am after.”

Denise Antaya - From the Tower


Watching Over Us
Landscape

“This painting is a tribute I did for my sister and my boyfriend who passed away a day apart due to Covid. The day after my sister died my boyfriend took me for a drive to cheer me up. I took this image on my phone and said, I’m going to do a painting for Mick, a tribute to her. Little did I know a few short hours I would lose him as well, so the tribute was for them both. The way the light was coming through the trees and reflecting in the rutted field creating such beauty and glow I chose the title ‘Watching Over Us’, because that was how it felt. Even though I used a photo once again, for a few weeks beforehand I was doing quick sky studies at sunset which were a great help.”

Denise Antaya - Watching Over Us


Julie Beck

The Hundredth Monkey
Still Life

“This painting started as homage to the classic composition and symbolism of Dutch still life paintings. It evolved, fittingly so, into a painting that touches on human exploration and evolution of understanding of our worlds. These worlds are both internally and externally, micro and macro scale, and the painting includes symbols of the five senses (how we intake information and experience the world outside us).”

Julie Beck - The Hundredth Monkey


Nancy Calder

The Triplets
Still Life

“My painting ‘The Triplets’ is an allegorical comment on the weight, responsibility and evolution of raising a family. “

Nancy Calder - The Triplets


Rita Chlebus

Mysterious Apple Blossoms
Still Life

“The rare and mysterious red apple blossoms were the inspiration for this painting. I have a passion for flowers, gardening and nature. The white flower included in this composition for contrast is a dogwood flower.”

Rita Chlebus - Mysterious Apple Blossoms


Number 24
Still Life 

“My inspiration for this composition came from my older brother, who is a master carpenter and violin maker. This piece is of his 24th violin that he hand crafted utilizing the Stradivari-method. I was inspired to capture the beauty of the instrument and the music of a classical period in time.” 

Rita Chlebus - Number 24


Robyn Clayton

Venus
Still Life and Fully From Life

“This painting was inspired by a ceramic Venus de Milo statue I found at a thrift shop. I love finding beauty in the ordinary.”

Robyn Clayton - Venus


Lynne Crouch

Ma Cherie
Animals

“The challenge in painting ‘Ma Cherie’ was to portray an individual horse, not just a bay horse. The challenge resides in being scrupulous in the depiction of her colouring, her muscle definition and her body structure.Ma Cherie, an older mare, has been placed ahead of the darkness of a prairie storm which hurries her along threatening to overtake her.”

Lynne Crouch - Ma Cherie


Louise Daoust

Books and Poison 
Still Life

“This painting is a tribute to the murder mystery genre. The transition from darkness to light shows how a murderous intent is transformed into a poisonous act. The viewer goes through the same steps as a reader who wonders why, how and who is about to perpetrate this crime.”

Louise Daoust - Books and Poison

Tea Time 
Still Life

“A study in Red-Green depicting a humorous scene when your favourite tea time snack is about to be stolen.”

Louise Daoust - Tea Time


Emanuela De Musis

Frigid
Portraiture


Eric Johnson

The Artist’s Daughter 
Portraiture

“This painting is of my only daughter Beatrice. Although only two years old, she has demonstrated a strong-willed thoughtfulness in the quiet moments between joy and laughter. This seemed most fitting for a painting, with plans for one to record each new year of her life.”

Eric Johnson - The Artist's Daughter


Christopher Laffin

Mark
Portraiture

“This portrait is of a friend and neighbour. He interested me as a man with intellectual and cultural pursuits who spends his days outdoors running one of the largest sheep farms in Ontario. I set myself the challenge of depicting all the details needed to make his image seem lifelike.”

Christopher Laffin - Mark


Juan Martínez

Celestials
Still Life

“This was actually a commissioned piece, but with no real direction from the patron, so it was quite a relaxing process for me. The bronze Chinese Flying horse — the main ‘celestial’ — belonged to the client but other than that, everything else in the painting was put there to try and create the best composition I could come up with which would still focus on the figurine.”


Liliya Muglia

Bananas for You
Still Life

“This is a playful piece telling a story from a life of a dance performer that only an imaginative mind can plot what happens after the show. This piece was created using all historical paints and impasto medium that I purchased from Natural pigments. Intricate ways of using glazing (indirect way of painting) were used to make the colours glow.”


Maryna Nemynushcha

Gifts of Spring
Portraiture

Maryna Nemynushcha - Gifts of Spring


Shadowdancer
Figurative and Drawing

Maryna Nemynushcha - Shadowdancer


Francis Nguyen

Pandemonium
Sculpture

“Pandemonium is the state of mankind in complete chaos, confusion and hysteria. I was inspired by a week-long trip to Italy to create the alter-ego of every idol, deity and hero as flawed human beings who have fallen from grace. Their continual descent into the depths of their own psyche reveals a terrifying fate – eternal damnation.”

Francis Nguyen - Pandemonium


Marlene Peltoniemi

Lina
Portraiture

“This is a drawing of my friend and fellow artist, Lina Barratin. It is done on hand tinted paper with charcoal and white chalk. Lina has very generously, and patiently, posed for me many times over the years as I study the art of portraiture. I hope I have captured some of her strength and dynamic spirit, as well as her wonderful sense of humour in my portrait.”

Marlene Peltoniemi - Lina


Summer Respite
Still Life

“I wanted to capture the welcome relief of a cool, shady retreat from the bright, intense heat of a summer’s day, through the use of strong temperature and chroma contrasts, as well as other compositional devices.”

Marlene Peltoniemi - Summer Respite


Margit Sampogna

A Snail’s Pace
Still Life

“This painting took three years to complete from inception to completion —simply my response to a gloomy grey winter day. I needed colour badly and hence my response — like little critters hence the addition of the bee, snail and ladybug.”

Margit Sampogna - A Snail's Pace


Anita Van Zeumeren

Failed Promises
Still Life and Fully From Life

“Those of us from European descent have had the tendency to look at treaties through the lens of the crown emphasizing the written text. (As portrayed through the flag, lamp, the written treaty and inkwell) Through this painting, I learned that an Indigenous view is much broader including not only the Creator but an understanding that by signing the treaty and solemnizing the process with the use of the sacred pipe, the ancestors of the Crown are seen as relatives in accordance with Indigenous laws of adoption.  

“No matter how egregious our failure to hold up Treaties with First Nations, an Indigenous view understands that the promises are never null or void. In the painting, I chose an owl’s feather for the pen. In Cree culture, an owl is a harbinger of death; a sign perhaps of a European lack of intention to honour our own written words?  There are raven feathers (symbol of honesty) running down the centre of Britain’s flag. Will we finally fulfill our solemn promises so maybe one day we will truly have an ‘enduring and lasting relationship’ with the First Peoples of this land?”

Anita Van Zeumeren - Failed Promises


The Face of the Future
Portraiture

“Colonialism has caused a deep disconnect between land and people. Land is seen as a commodity to be used and exploited for our use. If we have hope of a future for generations to come, we must find our way back to an Indigenous understanding of land. This is Norman Coleman, a traditional elder of Matachewan First Nation. In his gaze, I find the wisdom to stop, listen and learn.”

Anita Van Zeumeren - The Face of the Future


Bernadica Veselic

From the Heart
Portraiture

“This self portrait in oil was created from mirror observation and in many ways is autobiographical, hinting at my Slavic origins, modest personality, and love for painting. It represents an artist in her quiet moment during the painting process, just moments before dabbing into the paint or on canvas. The portrait is dressed up in a white linen blouse with laced sleeves and red ribbons that can often be seen in traditional Slavic attire.”

Bernadica Veselic - From the Heart


Sunny Harvest
Still Life

“As a painter in this still life I was mainly intrigued by correlations between light and shadow created by nearby trees. Presenting dfferent textures of materials like copper wood, laced drapery and perishables in their different stages of life were my main interest. Earthy palette sets mood of late summer or early Autumn sunny day that allowed me to create sense of air and space. I hope that this still life will inspire many warm memories.”

Bernadica Veselic - Sunny Harvest


Kari Visscher

Mentor
Figurative

“Mentorship is a cornerstone in the process of becoming a physician. Learning medicine is a long arduous journey that involves as much self-discovery as it does studying facts. Having trusted mentors to offer advice in navigating the nuances, offer encouragement, and provide extra teaching is invaluable. This piece depicts one such mentor skillfully instructing a radiology resident physician during a chest biopsy of a patient in the CT suite.”

Kari Visscher - Mentor

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