Our curriculum is a trimester system that takes 4 years to complete. Each program of our system is listed below. 

Drawing Program

Drawing is the foundation that everything else rests upon. 

Bargue

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The student begins by copying the plates of Charles Bargue. This gives an introduction to the sight size method, how to block in a drawing and how to proceed in a step-by-step process leading to a finished drawing. A series of Bargue plates are studied, going from simple to complex. 

From the Charles Bargue book

Figure

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Drawing by Richard Seaman

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Drawing by Brian Skol

Cast

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Studying from a live model, students will learn how to draw the figure using both sight-size and relative-size techniques. The figure represents a dynamic puzzle that requires creative problem solving to master, and that process is then applied to other aspects of picture making not obvious from the start of training. 

Drawing in the round has many challenges, studying a cast is the first step in being able to sit with those challenges, to fully understand light and how it relates to line and value. Cast drawing is done in stages from simple to complex casts, and on white paper to toned paper. As the student becomes more capable with these concepts the exercises become more challenging. 

Drawing by Richard Seaman

Anatomy

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Alongside studying the figure, students will be taught anatomy for artists. Anatomy is an important step in mastering the figure. The emphasis of this practice is on gaining an understanding of what the student is seeing and how that relates under the skin. To better capture something is to know how it works, this can only be done in learning how form follows the function of whatever object is being studied.  

By Jean Antoine Houdon

Perspective

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For many this is a dreaded but necessary step in the education of a well-rounded artist. The student will learn perspective geared specifically for artists and an understanding of the essential concepts. 1, 2, and 3 point perspective as well as atmospheric perspective will be covered. 

By Filippo Brunelleschi

Painting program

"Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do."

- Edgar Degas

Limited Palette

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The limited palette is the student's first contact with paint. This limitation is meant as an introduction in how to handle paint, and how to tackle cool and warm tones as they relate to value. The limited palette is used for both figure and cast work. 

Painting by Richard Seaman

Master copies

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Similar to Bargue plates, a master copy introduces a student to an artist of their choosing. With a master copy the student addresses how to work within a process, a similar type of approach that the master took to get the desired outcome for a picture. Master copies work best when the student has an expressed goal to learn in the study. 

Painting by Richard Seaman

Full Palette

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As the limited palette is understood, more colors are introduced until the student has a full palette to work with. This full palette is then applied to both the figure and still life work, allowing them to experiment with mixing color, understanding color harmony, and how these relationships work with form and value. 

Painting by Brian Skol

Lectures and Debates

"In order to become a good artist you have to live your life, get your heart broken, figure out who you are as a person. It's more than just making art."

- Frank Miller

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Making art is more than just being at the easel. A part of this process is understanding where the student sits in history as they relate to the past and the world around them. Art history overviews and how different eras thought about making art will be covered in regular lectures.

 

Other subjects are also vital to the student, such as group discussions where various topics related to art are debated in a controlled setting. Archival practices, and guest speakers bringing different perspectives to the practice is important for students to get a well rounded education.

Painting by Rembrandt. Aristotle with the bust of Homer.

Advanced program

After a solid foundation is established, special attention must be paid to how to apply those principles to picture making, it is not an obvious transition.

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Painting by Brian Skol

The advanced program allows students to dial in and focus on the areas of study they wish to pursue. This includes more advanced still life,  portraiture, imaginative and memory work, composition and narrative pictures, landscape painting both plein air and in the studio, as well as business practices in working with galleries and doing commissions.

Painting by Richard Seaman