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.