Closure alert: COVID-19 updates

Dear ARA community

We want to thank each of you for your cooperation and patience as we work together to make a difference in the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe strongly that these temporary disruptions to our normal routines will help keep the most vulnerable people in our communities safe, and lessen the strain on our healthcare system.

In accordance with Ontario's ongoing state of emergency, the Academy of Realist Art will remain closed until March 31, 2020.

The situation continues to change rapidly, but we are committed to following the advice of our public health leadership. We will update you again on March 30 with next steps, including whether the closure will be extended.

Please continue to practice social distancing, wash your hands frequently, and be mindful of the things you touch. We also invite you to keep checking in with each other and with your extended networks to stay connected during these difficult times.

We look forward to welcoming you all back to ARA once it is safe to reopen our doors.

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Alla Prima Figure Painting

Workshop: alla-prima-figure-shane-wolf

Date: Jul 26, 2019 - Jul 28, 2019

Duration: 3 Days

Location: ARA Toronto

Instructor: Shane Wolf

Price: 450.00

Save your seat now for this workshop

$150.00 deposit is requested.

Please note: SPACE IS LIMITED. Registrations are not guaranteed until a deposit has been paid. If you require more information call 416-766-1280.


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**The workshop is now SOLD OUT – please email with your name and phone number to join our waitlist**

This 3-day workshop will focus on alla prima figure painting in oil from the live model. Students will explore many short pose sketches in oil (10 to 23 minute poses) as well as having longer poses of several hours for a more completed painting. Emphasis during this weekend workshop will be on accurate colour use, paint handling and palette management.

This workshop is ideal for those seeking to discover the efficiency and strength of alla prima painting as well as for those wishing to learn new aspects of paint handling and finish in their alla prima work. Students will be producing a rather large volume of work during these 3 intense days.

As is customary in his workshops, guest instructor Shane Wolf will be demonstrating various phases of painting, lecturing on anatomy and color theory, and providing close individual instruction.

Full workshop price is $450, and a $150 deposit is required to save your easel. The balance will be due on the first day of the workshop.


SHANE WOLF was born in 1976 in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in design in 2000 he joined Salomon SAS in Annecy, France, as a graphic designer. In 2004 he embarked on a 16-month around the world trip and kept a drawing journal of his travels. Naturally, his journey led him to Florence, the birth place of the Italian Renaissance.

In Florence he began passionately studying art at the Angel Academy of Art. From 2005 to 2009, he rigorously explored the fundamentals of art based on techniques used by the Old Masters who have all made their mark on art history since the Renaissance and through to today’s art. He received his Diploma of Excellence all the while being a teacher at this prestigious Italian art academy.

In 2010, he moved to Paris where he has been living and working since, driven by a vital desire to draw and share his humanist ideals that the human form inspires in him. Over the next 6 years, he would win numerous prizes and participate in many solo and group exhibitions in Europe and the USA. SHANE WOLF’s vertiginous ascent in the art world has attracted the keen interest of collectors and museums that acquire and assiduously follow his evolving art, certain of the major role he plays in the world of contemporary figurative art.


NOTE: All of the canvases for this workshop need to be prepared ahead of time with an imprimatur: a very thin, diluted coat of paint applied to the entire surface of the canvas in a neutral mid-tone gray matching the following sample:

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 successful award-winning 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.

Workshop hours

Most workshops are scheduled five days per week, Monday to Friday, with weekends free (unless otherwise noted). The hours are usually 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., but will occasionally go to 5:00 p.m.


If you are coming from out of town and need local accommodations, click here to see our list of inexpensive places to stay near the Academy.

Can’t make it this time?

We offer our workshops on a regular basis. Sign up for regular email workshop updates.

Where to buy art supplies?

Click here for a list of local art supply stores

Materials List

*An important note: Due to their toxicity no solvent or turpentine is allowed during the workshop, neither for medium use nor for cleaning brushes. During these workshops brush cleaning will be done by soaking dirty brushes in vegetable oil (note: buy linseed oil in the hardware store wherever they sell wood treatment products; super cheap!) then cleaned with soap and water. If you’ve never cleaned your brushes in this manner not only is it non-toxic but it’s also quite good for the bristles of the brushes.


Feel free to use the brands you like; just be sure that whatever brand they are they are “Extra Fine” quality and not student grade or other cheapened versions.

You may recognize that these colours are often referred to as the Zorn palette:

  • Titanium white (no other white)
  • Yellow Ochre (I use Old Holland)
  • Cadmium Red (I use Old Holland “Cad Red Light”)
  • Ivory Black (I use Old Holland)


  • palette (NO white disposable palettes; if you like using disposable palettes, avoid white)
  • medium cup(s)
  • palette knife
  • paper towels or rags
  • your favourite paintbrushes
  • your joie de vivre
  • a small bottle of linseed oil (something cheap; this is for cleaning
  • a jar or container of some sort to soak your brushes in

MEDIUMS (optional)

For this alla prima workshop feel free to use whatever medium you enjoy so long as there is no mineral spirits or turpentine or anything toxic in it. Two different mediums I often use for alla prima are 50/50 linseed oil/dammar varnish, or 5 parts stand oil to 1 part dammar varnish (this makes a very viscous medium). These mediums may be mixed prior to class if you would like to try them out.

You can also paint alla prima without any medium whatsoever, in which case you do not need any of the optional medium supplies:

  • a small bottle of linseed oil, ideally cold pressed (optional)
  • a small bottle of dammar varnish (optional)
  • a small bottle of stand oil (optional)


*all canvases need to be prepared with a neutral gray imprimatur prior to class (see the following instructions)*:

For the quick pose sketches, you will need:

  • 4 – 6 small canvases, approximately 18 x 12 cm (7 x 5 inches)
  • 6 – 10 canvases, approximately size 35 x 25cm (14 x 10 inches)

These canvas can also be part of one roll and cut up into smaller sections if you prefer.

For the long poses you will need:

  • at least 2 canvases approximately size 60 x 50cm (24 x 20 inches) or smaller

All canvases can either be in cotton or in linen, smooth, medium or heavy grain, as you prefer.


All of the canvases for this workshop need to be prepared ahead of time with an imprimatur: a very thin, diluted coat of paint that is applied to the entire surface of the canvas. Do your best to match the example colour provided above in the workshop description (of course each computer screen will have a slightly different variant of the colour, and that’s okay; our goal here is to kill the white of the canvas with a relatively neutral, mid-tone gray).

*For the imprimatur in OIL*: A simple mixture of titanium white plus ivory black is all that is necessary for this gray. Once the proper value is mixed, dilute the paint with odourless mineral spirits or turpentine until the consistency is almost as liquid as that of house paint (this requires a lot of mineral spirits/turpentine). Using a house painting brush, scrub this paint very thinly over the totality of the canvas. Set the canvas aside for at least 5 days to dry.

*For the imprimatur in ACRYLIC*: Attention: only canvas prepared with a synthetic, universal ground can be prepared with an acrylic imprimatur; oil ground canvases cannot (If you’re not certain if your canvas has a universal or oil ground, it is most likely a universal ground; oil ground canvases are becoming a rarity, thus the far majority of canvases bought in mainstream art stores are universal ground). The application process is the same as mentioned above, except the paint mixture is diluted with water instead of with odourless mineral spirits or turpentine. Dry time is reduced to just a few hours instead of days.