Policies & Prospectus


General and Administrative Information & Detailed Course Information

You’ve decided to pursue your fine art studies and are now in search of a comprehensive program that offers superlative training and a traditional approach to classical drawing and painting. Academy of Realist Art (ARA) is a good choice because it emphasizes a 19th century, European atelier technique that has a proven record of success. Whether you are at an amateur or professional level, ARA instructors are dedicated to helping you fulfill your individual artistic goals. The curriculum is outlined below:


Your instructors are Fernando Freitas, Ryan Gauvin, Esteban Rodriguez, Miriam Rosenthal, and Marco Colangelo. At the senior student level, you will also benefit from demonstrations and instruction by “Living Masters” brought in by ARA. Guest lecturers are scheduled throughout the year.

ARA operates year-round and the year is divided into the following semesters:

Winter semester

January to April (closing Easter weekend)

Spring semester

May to August (closing for the Labour Day weekend)

Autumn semester

September to December (closing Christmas/New Years)

We are currently accepting new students. You are welcome to begin instruction at the start of any month, even after a semester is underway.

Weekly Schedules

To view our scheduled days and times for all semesters please download PDF here.

Fees & Materials

Tuition fees are as follows (see the Plan Details below):

Plan Open studio time Model time (hours) Total weekly (hours) Total/Month Total weeks of instruction
 A  6  3  9  $285  48
B 6 6 12 $385 48
C 12 6 18 $485 48
D Full Schedule Full Schedule Full Schedule $585 48


Plan D is the only plan that includes studio access during non-instructional periods.

Students registered under Plans A, B, and C are prohibited from use of the studio outside of instructional periods.

If you are a new student entering level 1, please download the materials list PDF here.

Our Curriculum

To ensure a high level of accuracy, ARA uses both the
 sight-size and comparative measurement techniques for drawing and painting.

Sight size allows the student to view a model or object from a selected position and execute it so that both visually appear the same size to the artist.

Comparative measure uses a system of units to enlarge or reduce an image as perceived by the student.


Students begin the program by copying a series of prepared lithographs from the Charles Bargue Drawing Course developed in the mid 19th century. These copies, executed in graphite (pencil), help the student to acquire an understanding of shape, 
proportion, value, and form.

Requirement: Three copied plates in graphite using one-to-one ratio and one using comparative measure.


The student progresses to working from a three-dimensional
 plaster cast, which is also referred to as working “in the round”. Using vine charcoal, the student will begin to understand how controlled light falls across a three-dimensional form. In addition,
it enables the student to translate a three-dimensional object to a two dimensional picture plane, while maintaining the illusion of space. Students are also introduced to the use of sight size-measurement and the concept of “big form modeling.”

Requirement: Two drawings from the cast in vine charcoal using 
the sight-size method.


The student continues to work from the cast, starting with a monochromatic painting in oils to learn the 
characteristics of the medium, and the stages of an academic painting. The element of colour is introduced for the second painted cast.

Requirement: Three paintings in oil from the cast, beginning with
a monochrome study and progressing to subtle colour studies using the sight-size method.


These skills culminate in the final level of the program, where students begin to explore composition through the arrangement of colour, lights and spatial relationships. Students are introduced to both direct and indirect painting methods to achieve realistic textures, colours, forms and depth.

Requirement: Three still-life paintings based on distinct criteria


From the very first week, students begin to work from the nude 
model. The human figure demands an understanding of gesture,
proportion, design, and subtle colour. Throughout the course, students consistently work from the live model, first in dry medium and then in paint, applying the skills learned from the program. In the last stage of the program, students are introduced to portraiture.


Artists can be limited by their tools and techniques so this area is
 explored throughout the curriculum. The techniques 
covered include:


Proper preparation and maintenance of materials
  • A proper drawing point
  • Ideal grounds for oil paint
  • Treating papers (hotpress and coldpress)
  • Working with media (graphite, charcoal, chalks, oils)
  • Layers of painting processes:
  ’fat over lean’, ‘thick over thin’, ‘wet over dry’
  • Direct painting
  • Glazing
  • Achieving archival results
  • Pigment properties
  • Varnishes


The business side of art is regarded by ARA as an integral aspect
in the development of an aspiring artist. Through the instructors provide students with hands-on assistance on how an artist exhibits and sells their work. 

ARA also arranges for yearly exhibits that are open to the public,
 providing students with a venue to display and sell their work.

Academy of Realist Art is ARC ApprovedSM

Enrollment Information

Artists of all levels of ability are welcome at ARA

Students can choose from short-term and part-time programs, workshops, trips and events, and summer sessions, as well as the full-time diploma program. Timetables can be structured to allow you to work or attend college/university during the day, while studying at the Academy on weekends and weekday evenings.

Download ARA policies.

Take the first step toward achieving your artistic goals. Sign up to our regular mailing list or enroll to the workshop of your choice, or by contacting us.

For a Tour of the Studio:

Please phone Ms. Colleen Johnston for an appointment (416-766-1280). Unfortunately we can’t provide unscheduled tours because they can disturb classes in progress, but we will be happy to make an appointment to suit your schedule.

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