Academy of Realist Art

In the Studios of Caravaggio

16 Jul, 2022
22 Jul, 2022

Duration: 7 days
Location: ARA Toronto
Instructor: Fernando Freitas
Full Price: $800
Deposit Required: $200

In the Studios of Caravaggio


Come explore Caravaggio’s chiaroscuro approach, starting with his unique tri-tone approach to build the lights and establish the underpainting. Students will learn a specific step-by-step process to achieve an exact copy of a selected study.

9 in stock


Principal Instructor Fernando Freitas takes students through the stages of the Tenebrist approach to oil painting in this workshop. This program teaches the chiaroscuro approach (which means light/dark, or light and shade) used by artists like Rembrandt and Caravaggio.

Working from a selected study, students will start with Caravaggio’s unique tri-tone approach to build the lights and establish the underpainting. They will learn a specific step-by-step process to achieve an exact copy, as well as gain a clear understanding of the principles of oil painting, and the best techniques and materials to use. This workshop is suitable for all levels of experience.

The class will meet at our studio from 10 am – 4 pm ET each day.

Full workshop price is $800, and a $200 deposit is required to save your easel. The balance will be due on the first day of the workshop.


Oil Colours

Required colours
  • Titanium White
  • Cad Yellow Med
  • Yellow Ochre Light or Pale
  • Cad Red Med
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Burnt Umber
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Ivory Black or Lamp Black
Optional colours
  • Lead (Cremnitz) White
  • Red Umber (Williamsburg, Old Holland, Michael Harding)
Students who don't have an existing collection of paints can consider purchasing a starter kit like this one from Williamsburg and adding a tube of black to complete their palette for the workshop. Note: Purchase only Artist Grade paints. Do not use Winton or water soluble paints.


  • Odorless mineral spirits (GamSol). Turpentine is NOT permitted in the studio.


  • Primed acrylic panel or canvas 18″X24″ (panel preferred). Ampersand or Raymar are suggested brands.
NOTE: Your canvas for this workshop should be prepared ahead of time with a mid-value brown imprimatura: an initial mid-value stain of oil paint diluted with mineral spirits, and applied over the entire surface of the canvas. We suggest trying to match the swatch below as best you can using a mixture of burnt umber, white, and black, well mixed with a palette knife. You will need approximately half a ping pong ball-sized amount. You can transfer this to a disposable pie plate to dilute slowly with mineral spirits until the mixture is the consistency of house paint. Apply it with a brush over the entire canvas and set aside for at least 2 weeks to dry completely. To speed up drying, you can add a drying agent, like Liquin or another alkyd dryer, before applying.


  • Linseed oil


  • Palette (Select one of the following): Glass, wood or paper (Grey Matters)
  • 2 Palette knives; long blades
  • 2 Medium cups (small cups with lids for holding medium or mineral spirits)
  • 2 Small jars for cleaning brushes
  • Mahl stick (a ½ inch diameter dowel approximately 30 inches)
  • Rags or paper towels or shop towels
  • Knitting needle

Brushes (either natural or synthetic hair)

Note: No flats or round brushes needed; these are the minimum brush requirements – please feel free to bring more.
  • 2-3 Bristle hair filbert brushes – ranging in size from #2 to #8
  • 10-20 Soft hair filbert brushes – ranging in size from #2 to #12
    • 2-3 EACH of #2, #4, #6, and #8
    • 1 EACH of #10 and #12


About ARA Workshops

Each participant gets lots of one-on-one attention from our superb instructors. ARA instructors teach year round so, unlike many artists who offer summer/holiday workshops our instructors are professional teachers as well as accomplished artists. Whether you are an award-winning experienced artist or have never painted before, our instructors will tailor to your skill level. If you have any questions or are having trouble with online registration, please contact us. All participants will be required to follow our studio policies in effect to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

Proof of vaccination

All visitors to our Columbus Centre campus must be fully vaccinated to access the building. Please email proof of vaccination to for verification before your class or workshop begins.

Masks and hand hygiene on arrival

On entering the Columbus Centre, all visitors are expected to wear masks at all times. We will now be requiring students to wear a minimum of a 3-ply medical (surgical) mask. Please sign in at the front desk to assist with records for contact tracing, and use the hand sanitization stations in the lobby and elevator. Upon arriving on the 3rd floor, all arriving students are also expected to wash their hands in one of the sinks in the Figure and Workshop rooms.

Daily symptom screening

Please come see an instructor on arrival to have your temperature screened. We ask that any students who are feeling unwell, who have had recent close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, or who have recent travel history with a mandatory quarantine period, please stay home and self-isolate. As always, you can make up any missed classes at a later date.

Physical distancing

All horses and easels will be placed 6 feet apart. These are not to be moved, and extra distance is encouraged whenever possible. Students with stations will be scheduled to ensure that capacity limits are met. Instructors will practice physical distancing while instructing.

Sanitization stations and common areas

Frequent hand sanitization throughout your time in the school is asked. Sanitization stations are located outside of each studio. The lunch room will not be available, so please plan accordingly and follow physical distancing rules during breaks.