Academy of Realist Art

Still Life Painting

06 Aug, 2021
08 Aug, 2021

Duration: 3 days
Location: ARA Toronto
Instructor: Ryan Gauvin
Full Price: $350
Deposit Required: $100

Still Life Painting


Come learn a synthesis of painting techniques that allows for efficiency without compromising quality, craftsmanship, or draftsmanship.

6 in stock


This workshop introduces participants to an expressive, efficient approach to painting that can be called a direct method. The direct method allows the artist to explore the fundamental aspects of painting, including paint quality, warm and cool tones, expressive brushwork, accuracy of shape, form and colour, etc. The direct painting technique borrows somewhat from the layering methods used by most old masters, as well as from the modern alla prima style that features wet-into-wet paint application. Students will learn a synthesis of techniques that allows for efficiency of execution, but without compromising any of the principles of quality, craftsmanship, and draftsmanship.

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

Full workshop price is $350, and a $100 deposit is required to save your easel. The balance will be due on the first day of the workshop.


Painting Surface(s)

Either a 14 x 11 in. or 16 x 12 in. The most economical and simple surface to paint on is a standard stretched canvas with acrylic primer. Prepared panels are the best options as they are more portable, archival, and can have smoother finishes, which is preferable for both detail and painterly effects. Good quality prepared panels, such as Ampersand™, RayMar™, and Fredrix™ are available at art stores very nearby ARA: Aboveground Art Supplies and Articulations. Also panels from New Traditions™ or RealGesso™ or Art-Boards™ all are good choices, as well, but would have to be ordered online. If you wish to tone your canvas beforehand please do so early enough so that it is completely dry prior to the workshop. A mid-tone warm or neutral grey is ideal (Value #5 Munsell) mixed with black, white, and raw umber. You can use a premixed #5 acrylic paint instead to tone the canvas, as it dries quickly, but ensure that it is not applied too thickly; i.e, it should be transparent, like watercolour. Golden and Liquitex acrylics both sell tubes of Munsell value #5 Neutral Grey paints.

Colours (oil paint only)

  • Titanium White and Cremnitz (Lead) White (if available)
  • Cadmium Yellow Light
  • Yellow Ochre PALE (Winsor & Newton)
  • Cadmium Red Light (true Cadmium only, not “Hue”)
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Raw Umber
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Viridian Green
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Ivory Black


  • 6-10 hog’s bristle brushes (filbert), ranging in sizes from 1-10
  • 6-10 synthetic brushes (filbert), ranging in sizes from 1-10
  • 3-4 soft (synthetic or natural) round brushes, ranging in sizes from 0-1
  • Note: This is the minimum!

Medium / Thinners

Note: These will be provided for you if you cannot find the product or if you are travelling by air.
  • A small container of odourless mineral spirits (OMS). No turpentine or citreous please.


  • 2 small cups with lids for holding medium or mineral spirits. Available at art stores everywhere.
  • Palette knife — a narrow, long and flexible blade is best
  • Palette — Paper palettes (preferably a gray-toned palette) are quick and convenient, but a prepared (i.e., sealed) wooden palette is ideal.
  • For clean-up; a roll of paper towels, or Shop towels, or a Box of tissue, or Clean rag(s)
  • Masking tape, and 2 Bulldog clips
  • Mahlstick (a 1/2 in. diameter dowel, approx. 30 in. long is fine)


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:

Masks and hand hygiene on arrival

On entering the Columbus Centre, all visitors are expected to wear masks at all times. 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.  We will transfer your deposit to a future workshop.

Physical distancing

All horses and easels will be taped and placed 6 feet apart to ensure enough distance between you and your neighbours. These are not to be moved, and extra distance is encouraged whenever possible. Instructors will wear masks at all times and practice social 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 social distancing rules during breaks.