Saturday, December 31, 2011

Portrait Painting in Oil Demonstration

Portrait Painting in Oil
Part 1 Drawing
By Brian MacNeil

A 2-part painting demonstration prepared by Brian MacNeil. This outlines the drawing stages students will follow in preparation to paint a portrait in Brian's oil painting class. This class is held Saturday afternoons at the Academy of Realist Art, Boston.

Part 1 - Stages of Portrait Drawing

Initial Block-in: Here you see the largest most general statement of the portrait. Brian is establishing the proportions of the head and neck and how they relate to the shoulders. He locates the boundaries of these elements using slightly bowed straight-line segments. He does this as if he were building a shipping crate out of wood. He encloses the object without using too many wooden planks. Although this stage seems loose and casual it isn’t.  Brian makes certain that these constraining lines are representing his sitter’s posture and proportions.

Feature Placement:  In this drawing you see Brian darkening in some of his lines to illustrate important elements of drawing a representational portrait.

1.     Central line to position the tilt of the head and place the features within the head width that was blocked out in the last stage.
2.     Horizontal placement of the features. This sitter’s features fit in with the normal proportions we expect to find: chin to bottom of nose = bottom of nose to brow-line = brow-line to hair-line = ½ of hair-line to top of the head
3.     Vertical placement of features. Using lines parallel to the central line Brian determines the width of mouth, nose and eyes making certain these fall where he sees them on the model. Taking a larger proportional check he sees that his “mouth width” measurement is a little less than equal to his original “brow to bottom of nose” proportion. He also notes that his “mouth width” measurement carries over again to the ear on our left. It’s important to compare small form measurements as well as large measurements.

Specific Form Description: In this stage Brian refines the forms by breaking them down into more descriptive shapes. He still uses straight-line segments but just uses more of them.  This is best understood if you think of a stop sign shape. It is basically describing a circle using 6 straight-line segments. If you further refine the circle you will have an octagonal shape. You could continue to break it down with more segments until making a perfect circle.  In the portrait there are no perfect circles. So he looks for where curved lines make the most drastic change of direction. In this stage Brian is also placing generalized shadow edges.

Shadow and Light Pattern: This is the completed articulated construct. Brian goes from a general indication of his shadow edge to a descriptive (articulated) edge where he is using his form shadows to describe the anatomy of the sitter. The shadow is shaded revealing the big shadow and light pattern. This is when the drawing looks most like a puzzle. We clearly see the shapes fitted together.

This completes the drawing that Brian will use for the painted portrait. The next blog post “Part 2” will show the process of making the painting.

A painting can only be as good as the drawing. No matter how the paint goes on the canvas if the drawing is inadequate the painting will be as well. This is why we stress draftsmanship at the Academy of Realist Art, Boston. Strong draftsmanship comes from a combination of knowledge, practice and instructed correction.  Brian will be teaching two classes on Saturdays: Portrait Drawing 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. a class where students will solidify their drawing knowledge and then practice these concepts and Portrait Painting 2 – 5 p.m. where a strong drawing will be used to make an oil painting. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Anatomy of the Arm

Anatomy of the Arm

Studying anatomy can be daunting – there is a lot to learn. It helps to group anatomical information into easily understood ideas that students can use to help see the big picture.

Anatomy is like a puzzle, once you place all the pieces you can see the big picture. Most everyone who attacks a jigsaw puzzle starts by sorting the pieces out. The straight edged pieces (the border) are usually sorted first then large color separations are made, the sky is separated from architecture and landscape… These segregations make it easier and faster to successfully place the puzzle pieces.

One way we break anatomy down at the Academy of Realist Art, Boston is to learn muscle actions. This makes sense of where muscles are located on the bones and helps the artist to understand how to better describe a model’s gesture.

The image here shows one of the ways students learn the insertions and origins of muscles. A series of magnetic/rubber band muscle straps are placed on a skeletal model from their origin to their insertion.  Doing this exercise illustrates quickly how muscles can take on multiple roles or actions depending on where they attach to bones, how they cross the joints and what other muscles are at play.  For example; the biceps muscles can act to flex the elbow, flex the shoulder or supinate the forearm.

Anatomy classes are taught in small groups on Wednesdays 9:30 – 12:30 and 1:30 – 4:30.  A new series of anatomy classes begins January 9th

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Beginning Perspective - Parallel Projection

The Perspective class at the Academy of Realist Art, Boston begins with understanding and learning to use parallel projection. 

Using the foundations of architectural drafting; floor plans, elevation views and cross sections, students create 3-D representations of both objects and environments. 

Our first exercise is boxing in irregular objects and cutting out separate planes. The first image here shows the elevation plan of 3 letters of the alphabet.  Each of these letters is then placed in a cube turned to different angles, 30°/30°, 30°/60°, 45°/45°.  Image 2 shows each 3-D letter of the alphabet appearing to be turned at different angles to the viewer.

Understanding and learning to draw things in parallel projection helps students to think of form in 3 dimension and prepares them to create imaginative drawings of an environment using perspective.  These studies also help students when drawing observationally by illustrating concepts like the effective use of varied line weights.

A new class in perspective begins January 9th. We offer 2 classes; Mondays 9:30 - 12:30 and 1:30 - 4:30. For more information send an email to

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Plan your Paintings

I can’t remember where I read this quote or who said it but it goes something like this; “a painting worth making is a painting worth planning”.

When we are walking through museums in awe of the beautiful old master paintings that we see we tend to forget the amount of preparation and planning that was done in order to make them.  Preparatory drawings from the figure and landscape, compositional sketches and small oil sketches are all part of this process. Unfortunately old master preparatory studies are all too often squirreled away out of sight in museum storage. 

While travelling in Germany this year I got the chance to see a bunch of preparatory oil sketches by Rubens. Seeing them reinforces my conviction that much of a painting’s strength comes from it abstract elements: a strong composition and an interesting light effect.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

How to Become a Master

How does one become a master painter?

There is a difference between knowing something and being able to use this knowledge to perform.  Mastery requires both knowledge and performance.  How do we become “masters”? 

1. Seek knowledge – be passionate about learning.
2. Acquire skills – manual, visual and mental
3. Rehearse - practice, practice, practice
4. Seek out constructive critique
5. Correct deficits (think and practice)
6. Become increasing independent from critique
7. Perform masterfully
8. Use mastery for expressive purposes

The Academy of Realist Art, Boston helps students develop skills in draftsmanship and craftsmanship. We work hard at getting students to develop critical thinking skills. We want our graduates to put these elements together with their individual imaginative character and make compelling art.

1. Students come seeking knowledge. We have a systematic way that we introduce our skills; each progressive skill builds on the last skill acquired.

2. While students develop manual skills their visual acuity improves; they can actually see things they weren’t able to see before. This is learning by doing. For example by rendering very small shifts in the light value of an object students perceive subtle values that previously they didn’t even know were there.

3.  We have an ongoing dialog about thought process and visual analysis. For example we talk about the way the 2-dimensional paper may be used to create the illusion of a 3-dimensional world, convexity versus concavity, perspective...

4. Students learn to develop strategies to help them find the errors in their work. When students can self-correct they develop independence. An example of this is the use of anamorphic shapes.

5. Students regularly receive constructive critique from instructors. Additionally, fellow students are a great resource because everyone has done all the same assignments; they can share their problem solving strategies.

6. Introductory assignments in each level of the program teach students new concepts and skills. The last assignment in each level of the program offers the student the opportunity to demonstrate their independence and mastery.

7. A respectful, supportive environment encourages students to express their thoughts.   We look forward to having conversations that help individuals to develop their imagination.

The cold hard truth about great art is that it requires a lot of work and dedication. The only way a student can stick with it is if they have a passion for learning new things and a desire to be the best that they can. This mixed with imagination and intelligent thought makes an artist.  At the Academy we’re motivated by having the opportunity to help prepare students to make “masterful” paintings.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Figure Drawing - Boston

Drawing the human figure is one of the most challenging tasks an artist can confront.  All human faces are composed from the same limited number of features yet, we see each person as a recognizable individual. Human instinct makes us hard wired to perceive slight differences in human physiognomy. This makes the task of drawing the figure difficult.

At the Academy we teach a step-by-step method that helps students convincingly draw the human figure. Our students learn to accurately depict a figure’s proportion and gesture with a few basic lines in the early stage of their drawing (gestural construct). Once the proportions are correct these basic lines are broken down into a general description of the major forms of the body; torso, arms, legs etc. including a general indication of the light and shadow pattern (completed construct). Once the completed construct is accurate we articulate the anatomy; describing the musculature and the way the shadow describes these forms. The final stage of the drawing is to fill in the shadow shape with a general value. This helps us to evaluate our drawing as a large light and shadow pattern (articulated construct).

This figure drawing demonstration prepared by Emmy De Musis shows the evolution of a figure study from the basic construct through the articulated construct.  This demo shows what a student works on when they attend figure drawing classes at the Academy of Realist Art, Boston.

New Figure Drawing Classes Soon!

Thursday, 6-9 p.m. Sept. 29th  – Nov. 17th  Cost $300 
Saturday, 10-1 p.m. Oct. 1st – Nov. 19th  Cost $300

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Portrait Drawing – Instructor Brian MacNeil

Saturdays Oct. 1 – Nov. 19 cost $300

In a systematic way students will learn to accurately construct, draw and render a portrait from the live model. In the first half of the course students will concentrate on understanding the structure, forms and planes of the head. In order to bring out a likeness of the model careful attention will be paid to proportion and the anatomy of facial features. In the second half of the course students will learn to observe tonal relationships, compress these values and use them to render the form conceptually. Lectures and demonstrations will be given to assist the class in mastering the use and application of drawing materials. Individual attention will be given to each student helping them to progress at their own speed and level.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Brian MacNeil joins the faculty at the Academy of Realist Art, Boston

The Academy of Realist Art, Boston would like to announce the addition of Brian MacNeil to our faculty. Brian is a graduate of the Angel Academy of Art in Florence. He has also studied with Marc Dalessio and Frank Covino. Brian has had a unique blend of artistic influences; he is a fine artist and a tattoo artist. You can discover more about Brian by visiting his website at

Brian is a dedicated learner – he continually seeks opportunities to learn . He is articulate and willing to share his knowledge with others, he has a lot to offer students at the Academy of Realist Art, Boston. The first class he will be offering at the Academy is Portrait Drawing on Saturday afternoons.

Welcome Brian!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Master copy of Edwin Landseer painting

Master copy of Edwin Landseer painting

I thought you might enjoy seeing one of the paintings from the master copy workshop. Julie Beck is copying the painting Dignity and Impudence,

1939 by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer. The original is part of the Tate Collection in Britain.

Landseer was one of the best-known and popular British animal painters in the 19th century. He was a prodigy, already exhibiting drawings of animals at the Royal Academy by the age of 13. It is said that Landseer could paint with both hands at the same time.

Here you see Julie’s painting in two stages – the first is the dry brush stage. It was done primarily to establish the drawing on the canvas. She also used it to mass in a few of the value notes. This was done in burnt umber (one of the fastest driers on her palette).

In the second photo you see Julies painting during the “first painting” stage. Here Julie is using mosaic-like patches of paint to describe the form. The idea with this stage is that there is no blending. The edges are soft and the paint notes are organically shaped. As the viewer stands further back from the painting these patches should blend optically and the painting should look exactly like the subject. In this stage of our layered painting method students can easily correct and adjust any passages that are out of context – the drawing is easily adjusted as are color or value notes. Next Julie will go on top of this layer and make all her fine blendings and add the calligraphic strokes that describe the hair of the dogs.

I have also included Julie’s palette showing the value strings she mixed (as described in the last post). Her palette consisted of Cremnitz White, Cadmium Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Raw Umber, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Red, Venetian Red, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Umber, Ultramarine Blue and Ivory Black (all greens are mixed).

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mixing color strings

Master copy workshop

We finished the oil painting master copy workshop a week ago. 11 students participated in this information packed class. We were pleased to have had one student join us after travelling all the way from Iceland.

Instructor Joseph Pfeiffer-Herbert started the class by introducing choices for supports to paint on, he worked his way through methods and mediums and finished the workshop with glazing.

One of the things students found helpful was mixing a string of values for each color on their palette. Once the strings were complete color mixing was a little less daunting. Students made admixtures between colors by first identifying the hue and value that was close to what they needed and then only mixing colors of the same value together in order to refine the color.

Everyone who participated in the workshop said they learned a lot. Our thanks go out to Joseph for doing such a great job and for giving students some great lectures.

Joseph is turning a new page in his life. He will no longer be teaching at the Academy of Realist Art, Boston. We all wish Joseph the best in his new endeavors

Monday, July 18, 2011

Anatomy class

Anatomy classes are taught on Wednesday afternoon at the Academy of Realist Art, Boston. For the past 12 weeks we have been studying the upper limb. Students are encouraged to apply this new knowledge to the projects they work on in school: figure studies, cast work or master copies. Here is an analysis done from a students Bargue copy of Plate I, 23 Man's arm, bent.

It is very beneficial to make copies after master drawings or paintings. The most important part of making a master copy is not blindly making an exact copy but to take the time to think about what you can learn from it. Ask yourself if you understand the anatomy that is being described, how the general fall of light describes the form and how that affects the smaller forms, can you see evidence of the process used to make the image...

Being an artist requires advanced analysis - the more you know and understand the more you will see.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Oil Painting Workshop



MON. AUG. 9TH - FRI. AUG. 19TH 10:00 – 4:00

Instructor: Joseph Pfeiffer-Herbert

This workshop introduces oil painting from A - Z. We will be going over all the basic technical information essential to know about oil painting. We will talk about mediums, canvas, fat over lean, blendings, glazing, etc. Students will learn the 4-layer step-by-step method academy students use to make their paintings. We will provide a selection of 20 high quality master painting reproductions for students to copy. We will individually tutor each student in how to make an exact copy in oil. You will also learn about the differences in the Flemish, Italian Renaissance and Venetian painting techniques. Register online at Cost of the workshop is $975

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lucas Cranach

When I drive I have a lead foot. I’m always exceeding the speed limit and being worried that I am going to get a ticket. Each speeding ticket I’ve gotten came as a shock because I didn’t realize how fast I was going. Not a problem on the German autobahn. The speed limit is generally 75 miles an hour but the only cars moving at this speed are in the far right lane. I was driving the fastest our rental car could go on its’ “winter tires” which is 100 miles an hour. I was in the center lane. The left lane was reserved for the people who were really in a hurry. I don’t know how fast they were going but let’s just say the wind shear from some of the cars made my car vibrate as they passed. Travelling at these speeds only works if all drivers follow the rules and etiquette of the road and indeed they do. Driving here is a lot of fun.

I was headed from Cologne to Munich where I was going to attend the Lucas Cranach special exhibition “Cranach in Bayern” at the Alte Pinakothek. This was a selection of paintings that included portraiture, religious and mythological paintings.

My favorite paintings in this exhibit are the full-size female nude paintings Venus and Cupid and the Suicide of Lucretia. Cranach painted the female figure in a very limited range of values just hinting at anatomical forms. The figures appear to be almost doll-like. This contrasts with the handling of the hair and jewelry where he pays attention to the smallest of details like strands of hair and jewel settings. So we have the large simplified figure contrasting with the small well defined notes. This juxtaposition of large and small, general and specific serves to elevate the figure. She is a sensual being but she seems to rise above the carnal, she becomes an object of veneration. This idea becomes reinforced by the addition of the transparent fabric that drapes her body. It is so delicate it seems heavenly. The fact that it is so transparent seems to imply that she is otherworldly, not in need of having her sexual nature hidden from view. I adore these two paintings.

There is a U-tube video talking about Lucas Cranach and his work that was made in conjunction with the French exhibit The World of Lucas Cranach, An Artist in the Age of Durer, Titian & Metsys.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Kathe Kollwitz

I like German expressionism. The black and white woodcuts of Kathe Kollwitz are some of my favorite pieces.

Today I was looking at a small street map of the historic district in Cologne, Germany when right on the left edge of the map I saw an arrow with the words Kathe Kollwitz. I didn’t know how far I would have to walk or what I would find but I headed there anyways. What luck to stumble upon the Kathe Kollwitz Museum Cologne.

This museum has an impressive collection of the artist’s work, all the important series of her prints, some multi-colored lithographs, lots of drawings and some sculpture. It was great to see such a variety of work. While the works with the most appeal for me are those with politically charged imagery it was great to see them hanging near some of her more tender drawings.

Kathe Kollwitz wanted to exert influence during her lifetime. Her art involved taking stands against war and pushing for social justice. This wasn’t without consequences. Her work fell from favor and even into the 1970’s its’ reacceptance was dampened. She was excluded from the Prussian Academy of Arts in 1933, the same organization that had elected her as it’s first female inductee in 1919.

It’s inspiring to look at Kollwitz’s work. Understanding the personal fortitude required of her enhances the experience.

Boston Figurative Art Show

Come out to support our students this Friday at the Boston Figurative Art Center.

Three of the Academy's students Kate Bird, Steven Kivimaki, and Jonathan Lee all had their work accepted into the BFAC's Student Figurative Exhibition. Each has a number of portraits and figures in the show from their recent studies at the Academy.

The Exhibition will be at William Scott Gallery, 450 Harrison Avenue, Boston this Friday July 8th from 6pm until 9pm. The Show will also have a live model posing for anyone willing to pick up a pencil and try their hand at drawing from the figure.

For more information check out their website at

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Everyone loves to visit an artist’s studio. It seems to offer a glimpse into their private world, it’s intimate, making us feel as if we know them better after being there. Unfortunately the house and studio of Peter Paul Rubens, “Rubenshuis” in Antwerp has little to help conjure up the artist. The house has been extensively renovated and doesn’t resemble the way it looked when Peter Paul Rubens lived there. Only the portico and the gardens look as they did originally. Despite this I learned a lot about Rubens during the visit.

Rubens only painted 4 self-portraits during his lifetime (what a contrast to Rembrandt), He never painted himself with a palette in hand, as a painter. He chose to represent himself as a gentleman. He did travel in distinguished circles, served as a court painter, made a couple of diplomatic missions and was knighted. He was married twice and on choosing a “commoner rather than a lady” for his second wife he is said to have remarked that he didn’t want his wife to be shocked seeing him with a paint brush in his hand.

Rubens owned one of the largest collections of art in the region. He had an astronomical collection of Roman sculptures. He lived daily with imagery that could inspire and educate him artistically. How great it is to be able to walk around a sculpture, see the gesture and anatomy from all sides. I’m sure he spent time looking and analyzing the form description the sculptors used, learning from the choices they made, searching to find what they exaggerated and what they edited out. As artists we should be going to museums regularly to look at and draw sculpture.

Today I traveled to the medieval center of Antwerp seeking out Peter Paul Rubens. I was looking to see his two famous triptychs "The Raising of the Cross” and "The Descent from the Cross”. These two works are in the Cathedral of Our Lady (Onze Lieve Vrouwe Kathedraal).

When we got to the cathedral we were surprised to find that it was full of altarpieces that were on loan from the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten during its’ renovation. There were about 20 altarpieces in the central nave of the cathedral. They were commissioned by a multitude of trade Guilds and were painted by a variety of accomplished Dutch artists. The paintings in these altarpieces were great but they were truly foreshadowed by the absolute genius shown in the two Rubens triptychs.

What made Rubens paintings stand above the others? His paintings are lush and active compared with the others but the most distinct difference was the very solid cohesive composition in the central panel and the central panels relationship to the two side panels.

When you look at the central panel of The Raising of the Cross the diagonal line of Christ’s body and the cross are very apparent. The strength of this diagonal could be overwhelming if Rubens hadn’t set it within the triangular arrangement of figures who are raising the cross. At the apex of this triangle we see the all-important face of Christ. The figures radiate out from the apex of the triangle. This alone is an impressive compositional feat but Rubens doesn’t stop there. He integrates this with the two side panels. The three panels together form a diamond shape that keeps our eye circling around the tryptych, it helps to contain the action of the central panel. The diamond starts at the bottom of the central panel at the foot of the dog, it carries up through the women and children on our left, changes direction at the center left edge, carries up the heads of Mary and John, follows Christ’s hands, changes direction and heads down the tree trunk to the horses head, changes direction down the side of the horses leg to the figure at the bottom right of the cross, hits his foot and we’re back at the dog.

There are no words to express how I felt standing in front of these paintings. Rubens rocks!

Friday, July 1, 2011

I am traveling in Belgium and Germany visiting cities that have paintings and architecture that I have wanted to see “in situ” for a long time. I feel fortunate to have a large collection of art books that I can reference in my endeavor to learn more about art and artists. My books coupled with the internet make for a large art resource. But this doesn’t come close to matching the experience one has in front of an original piece of artwork. This really hit home yesterday as I visited St. Bavo’s Cathedral in Ghent to see the great Ghent altarpiece painted by the early Flemish artists Hubert and Jan Van Eyck in 1432. (Sint Baafskathedral)

All but one of the 12 panels are original, one panel was stolen, hence a reproduction sits in its’ place. This altarpiece is so exquisitely painted that I was dumbstruck in front of it. The first thing that hit me was that at 579 years old the colors and painted ornamentation are crisp and vibrant while the flesh tones are soft and translucent. Most noticeably different when viewing the altarpiece in person rather than in a book is the trompe-l'oeil effect of the figures of Adam and Eve. Adam especially seems to be a three dimensional being tightly enclosed in a niche. His shoulder rests again the left edge of the niche while his arm and elbow project right out towards the viewer. The effect is enhanced by the illusion that his right foot is hanging over the bottom edge of the niche.

Being able to view this well preserved altarpiece is all the more amazing considering it had to be rescued from Protestant church-wreckers in 1566, parts of it were removed by French soldiers in 1794, some parts were sold in 1816 and then it narrowly escaped a fire in 1822. I now believe in divine intervention!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New Student Blog

Darren Robert Bennett recently started a blog following his work as an artist. He is a skilled painter that focuses on Cityscapes out and around the Boston area. Take some time to check out his blog. This link will take you to it.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Students and Instructors' Blogs

A few of us at the academy have blogs that are worth checking out. We chronicle our painting and drawing adventures giving information about each piece we create as well as drop occasional bytes of wisdom. If anyone out there has a special request for a blog post let me know via comments and we will do our best to oblige.

Here are links to the ARA blogs out there on the web.

Joseph Pfeiffer-Herbert:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The drawing "Portrait of Thomas" by Joseph Pfeiffer-Herbert received honorable mention in the upcoming North River Arts Society's Focus on the Figure show. The show's opening is this Friday April 15th and runs from 7 - 10 pm at the NRAS gallery location in Marshfield Hills MA. The show will stay up until April 24th.

For information and directions visit the show's website.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A good friend of the Academy, Brian MacNeil, is having a show in Providence. As you can see from the flyer the show will be at the Royal Gallery in Providence, off of Attwells Avenue, starting today April 5th and running until May 21st.

Brian, like the head instructor at the Academy Cindy MacMillan, studied with John Michael Angel. The procedures used in Brian's paintings closely match the teachings that we at the ARA in Boston try to instill upon our students.

Please stop by the opening reception on April 14th at 5pm to get a chance to see a phenomenal artist's newest works.

Elise Zoller is a very industrious student attending the Academy of Realist Art, Boston. Elise has been attending the academy full-time while committing many hours in her studio at home. All this work has paid off. She had a one woman show in December and has participated in several group shows recently.

One of Elise's recent projects included illustrating the autobiography of Ron Strickland who is the founder of the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail.

In the 1970's, Ron launched a campaign to link Glacier National Park's alpine meadows to the Pacific Ocean via a 1,200 mile footpath across three national parks and seven national forests. It took him almost 40 years. In 2009 Congress added the Pacific Northwest Trail to the National Trails system.

The book, entitled "Pathfinder, Blazing a New Wilderness Trail in Modern America" is the story of how Ron and a few of his friends blazed this trail against all odds. It is being released at all major outlets this month and includes 29 pen and ink landscape illustrations by Elise.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bargue Muscles

Copying the Charles Bargue Drawing Course lithograph plates offers students many drawing lessons. At the Academy of Realist Art our students try to make as close to an exact copy as possible. This sharpens their ability to discern shapes, teaches many lessons about how a sculptor architecturalizes form and improves their perception of value shifts. Sometimes the Bargue plates are so subtle in their values that students have difficulty seeing some of the value shifts. In order to better "read" the values instructors frequently talk with students about the form that the values are describing. A great way to better understand the form is to take an anatomy book and try to assign muscles where you think they would be on the sculpture and then look at the Bargue lithograph to connect the values to this muscular structure. Here is an example of Stephen Kivimaki's Antique Torso copy and his muscular study. This had the added value of enhancing Stephen's knowledge of the anatomy - information that will come in handy during figure drawing class.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Academy of Realist Art, Boston student and instructor Emanuela De Musis was awarded a scholarship by the Portrait Society of America. Her scholarship covers tuition and housing expenses for her attendance at The Art of the Portrait 2011 Annual Conference in Atlanta Georgia. Emanuela is looking forward to participating in the classes, workshops and technical discussions featured at this years conference.

Emmy's scholarship application submission included the stunning dry brush painting she did of fellow student Sean at the beginning of fall semester. Congratulations Emmy!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Several paintings and drawings by Cindy MacMillan and Emanuela De Musis are currently on exhibit as part of "The Academy Way" exhibit at the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts Gallery in Hamilton, Ontario. The work will be on display through March 10th.

Figure drawing students spent a few days at the beginning of spring quarter drawing one another. Coupled with a series of lectures the emphasis of these small studies was to use flat planar values on the face to describe the volume of the head. You can see Stephens cartoon and 3" planar study of Lindsay. He is keeping the lightest and brightest values for areas of the forehead and upper cheek. The rest of the values progressively darken as they explain the planes that are farther away from the light. Lindsay took her 3" study of Stephen a step further by refining the conceptualized planar values. Both students will be working on an extended finished drawing of one another. We will post them when they are complete.