Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Saturday Figure Construct Class

The Academy of Realist Art, Boston opened to students in January of 2009. At that time the school held Figure and Bargue drawing classes during the week. But as demand arose, ARA established, in September 2010, its Continuing Education program by offering a Saturday Figure Construct class.

Instructing in February, 2011

The Construct class addressed the specific problem of how to begin a figure drawing. With a new pose set each week, students were instructed in the school's approach towards accurately representing the proportion, gesture and body type of the model.

The class attracted novices - professionals from fields as diverse as medicine, real estate and education who had never taken art classes - but also experienced artists from the various Boston area studios who were looking for a classical academic point of view not offered at the local art colleges. Some of these students stayed on with the class over multiple terms while yet others, finding their niche, formally joined our regular atelier program.

The Gestural Construct 

The Figure Construct class deals mostly with what we call the Gestural Construct, the first step in ARA's methodology. The Gestural Construct addresses two main elements:

Firstly, it introduces students to ARA's comparative measuring technique. Over the years it has been exciting to see those students, with no prior figure drawing practice, embrace the system. Equally gratifying have been the numerous accounts from experienced students of how grateful they are to FINALLY have a systematic approach to figure drawing. For most of them, the past had been more of a "free for all" series of drawing courses lacking in direction. I'm always thrilled to hear that our method provides students with the self-assurance they've always sought from a drawing class.

Secondly, the class focuses on simplicity. This isn't easy! Students are challenged to sum up each pose with 15 or so lines, recognizing active and passive areas of the figure.

Our Gestural Construct synopsizes the long and detailed story of the pose. The many complexities and specificities that students see when they first look at the model are abbreviated, simplifying the pose to it's essentials. Once these basic elements are working together and the drawing has achieved a proportional and gestural likeness to the model, the student is able to move forward from this solid foundation and delve into smaller proportions and planar analyses. Most great drawing systems that I know, whether they be comparative, sight-size or otherwise, work from the large block-in to the smaller forms and no matter the project at ARA, Boston (figure, Bargue, cast, still-life or portrait), we employ that strategy. 

 The Figure Steps

In this class, students are introduced to unfamiliar tools such as plumb lines and knitting needles. By establishing vertical and horizontal alignments, these tools aid in capturing gesture, tracking model movement and assessing tilts and twists as well as guiding the student towards conquering foreshortening. In addition, mirrors provide a set of fresh eyes that reveal major proportional and gestural problems.

Even our pencils are uniquely prepared, sharpened to a very fine point and held in a specific manner that allows for the easy application of light, loose lines.

Pencils, plumb line, mirror, sharpening block, kneaded eraser, knitting needle, knife

Demonstration pieces are always available for viewing. 

Wall of demos

There are also optional outside projects to further the understanding of our method. 

Measuring homework

The academy has gone through multiple changes over the past five years: a model room renovation, the introduction of new classes, and summer workshops taught by distinguished visiting artists. 

 Students working in renovated model room (same view as above pic)

Opposite view

Taking some measurements

In Spring 2014, Kevin Gearns took over as instructor of the Construct class. Kevin works with each student individually and creates a calm and encouraging atmosphere. His attention to detail and superb preparation have won over the student body. 

Laura by Kevin Gearns

The winter term class runs on Saturdays from January 31st - March 21st, 1:30-4:30. Tuition is $375. For more info or to register online, please visit:

For questions, please email us at or call Julie at  617 426 3006. We would also invite you to tour the school so that we can answer any questions you may have in person. To make an appointment please call or email.

- Emmy

Friday, December 5, 2014

Scholarship Competition now accepting applications.

Our scholarship student for the 2014, 2015 school year just wrapped up his first semester and here are his thoughts on his experience so far:

"In just the first semester attending the Academy of Realist Art Boston I never would've thought how much a classical atelier training could open my eyes to new ideas and aspire to further refinement in my own personal work. I being a self taught artist would always delve into my studies with a loose direction, it wasn't until I started at ARA that my studies and focuses were narrowed in a definitive way with the "Charles Bargue, Jean Leon- Jerome Drawing Course" . The strive for accuracy and a true representation of a naturalistic drawing with the up-most dedication to every stage of the process from the gestural construct to the fall of light.

I have learned more in the first three months at ARA than my entire collective experiences of drawing and painting on my own. Although it is my duty to be a good student nothing can paramount a group of well established, knowledgeable and inspiring instructors; each with a unique commodity of knowledge to bring to the class regularly. I find it ever-more inspiring to see the instructors ambitiously yearning to surpass their selves and sharpen their own work, as they too are artists and we all never stop learning.

The environment of ARA is by-far one of my favorite things about the academy; the instructors and fellow student are energetic and humble. Everyone learns at their own pace and there is no real competitive nature to outdo the person next to you. The students are at ARA to undertake the strife for artistic growth and reach exceptional new heights with the help of a noteworthy band of instructors."

Monday, November 17, 2014


Currently on view at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is a marvelous show of 39 master drawings gathered in a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition: Donatello, Michelangelo, Cellini: Sculptors' Drawings from Renaissance Italy.

Coinciding with the exhibit, ARA Boston figure instructor Emanuela De Musis will be working from the live model in the museum's Tapestry Room during the Third Thursdays event, Draw Closer. Choosing a pose from one of the exhibit's pieces, Giambologna's Fountain of Oceanus, she will demo how we at ARA Boston construct a figure drawing.

In preparation for the event, Emmy created a "cartoon" in graphite which she transferred to toned paper and continued in carbon pencil, the same procedure students follow in our figure drawing program. 

This Thursday, November 20th from 6:00-8:30

Cartoon Detail

Drawing Detail

Monday, November 3, 2014

ARA Boston third annual scholarship competition is open!

The Academy of Realist Art, Boston launched its third annual scholarship competition for promising artists with a love for academic style painting and drawing.

The Academy is one of a select few art schools in the world that teaches the academic approach to figure drawing and painting. We model our curriculum and classical techniques on those used by 19th-century European academies to help students master fine art skills.

The scholarship to be awarded is for one year's free tuition for the school year, September 2015-June 2016. Equivalent value is up to $7,545 for our full-time program in Boston.

Applicants must be 18 years of age or older. Deadline for submission is March 15, 2015. Winners will be announced March 30, 2015.

For Rules and Submission information:

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

2013-2014 Scholarship Student Interview


Rachel Harrison

Tell us a little about yourself!

I am a young artist from Nashville, TN and the scholarship winner from 2013/2014. I am a very serious student; I care a lot about my education and am typically at school 7 days a week during the semester. I'm passionate about all forms of arts and sciences. My favorite painters are Rembrandt, Repin, and Caravaggio. And Ribera. And Zorn.

Where you familiar with Atelier Style Schools previous to competition?

Absolutely! I had been wanting to study at an atelier for years prior to coming to Boston; health issues and location being my main hinderance. I had studied with classically trained instructors but I was missing a consistent and challenging school environment.  

How was your experience different from what you initially expected?

I thought the school was all full time students! Thankfully, it is not a typical frustrating art school experience which completely dumbs down academic art and pushes arbitrary ideologies. The academy's focus is entirely dedicated to improving technical skill, which is exactly what I was looking for in order to express my personal interests through painting.

What do you like best about your first year at the school?

The environment is fantastic, maintaining a light atmosphere but remaining very serious. Seeing my progress and being around likeminded people. The Bougereau master copy drawing I did. The open studio option! Being able to work whenever I wanted was necessary to fostering independence. 

What was your biggest hurdle?

Simplification!! Also for me, just physically standing all day.

Do you plan to continue to study at ARA Boston?

Yes, as long as I keep seeing progress. Good work takes perseverance and repetition. The instructors here are wonderful and inspire me to push myself further. I would highly recommend the atelier program to any artist who wishes to improve their painting skills.

Your advice to future students or applicants?

Just do it! Even if you think your work isn't that great, that's the purpose of training. Draw from life as much as you can. Listen to your instructors and think before you draw. Be extremely self critical of your work. It's very important to be independent, make mistakes, find your likes and dislikes, and be receptive to critique. Always be reading about techniques and researching your favorite artists.

Anything else you would like to add?

Thank you to all of the ARA Boston staff and students for being so welcoming. :)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Saturday Figure Construct Class

Our Saturday Figure Construct class starts in less than a month (September 6th)! This course is a great opportunity for artists of any level to build experience with the figure. If you wish to make great strides in your capability and thorough understanding in drawing the human form, check out this class! Interested students should view the course description and syllabus available on our website.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Long Pose Figure drawing

Long Pose Figure drawing is open for next semester.

Beginning in graphite, students complete a 'cartoon'. This is a preliminary drawing that establishes proportion, body type, gesture and the correct grouping of light and dark. This important phase creates a solid structure.

Students then transfer the cartoon to toned paper and the drawing continues in graphite and chalk. The instructor will assist students in choosing an area of the figure to fully render. Through the articulation of subtle plane changes and correct value assignments, the students work towards a naturalistic and volumetric drawing.

The instructor will provide individual critiques, demos and lectures.

Please note: The Figure Construct Class is a pre-requisite for this class.

Saturdays, September 20th - November 22nd 10:00 am - 1:00pm
Cost: $455.00
Instructor: Emmy DeMusis

Monday, June 16, 2014

Completed Spring Projects

Congratulations to all of our students who have passed Bargues and Casts this semester! Here is a small selection of some of our completed student works from the Spring 2014 Semester:

Keep up the great work students!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Color Study for the Figure

Color study class was a hit this semester! View some of our student's work below. To register for Color Study in September visit our website. Color study runs on Tuesday nights from 5 to 8.

Monday, June 9, 2014

New Bargue and Cast class options for fall and summer

Summer Drawing Class

We are offering Summer Drawing classes in the month of July. This is a great introduction to our atelier program. This four week course is available on Mondays and Wednesdays. You can either sign up for 8 classes ($350) or 16 classes ($675). If you are already enrolled, this will be the only opportunity for you to work on your bargues or casts within the school over the summer. Click here to sign up.

With the 8 class option you have the flexibility to take 2 full days for 2 weeks, just mornings (or afternoons) for 2 days a week for all 4 weeks, etc.

Fall Saturday Drawing Class

Starting September, will will be offering Bargue and cast classes on Saturdays from 1:30 to 4:30.  This class will be limited in size due to the weekend schedule. If you are signed up for classes already, it would be the cost of adding a class in the regular tuition structure. Click here to sign up.

Friday, April 4, 2014

2014 Spring/Summer Workshops

Check out our spring/summer workshops for 2014! 


Landscape Painting in Boston

Dates: June 21st and 22nd
Cost: $265
Guest Instructor: Leo Mancini-Hresko
Time: 8:30 to 12:30

Long Pose Painting and the Human Figure from Life

Dates: July 7th to July 11th
Cost: $650
Guest Instructor: Dan Thompson
Time: 9:30 to 4:30 with 1 hour break

Classical Portrait Painting with Anatomy - 10 days

Dates: August 18th to August 29th (Monday through Fridays)
Cost: $1150
Guest Instructor: Andrew Ameral
Time: 10:00 to 5:00 with 1 hour break

10-Day Still-Life Painting Workshop (WAIT LIST*)

Dates: July 21st to August 1st
Cost: $1150
Guest Instructor: Christina Mastrangelo
Time: 9:30 to 4:30 with 1 hour break

* This workshop is currently full. Please let us know if you would like to be added to the wait list.

Painting in the Manner of the Northern Renaissance

Dates: August 4th - August 15th (Monday through Friday)
Cost: $1150
Instructor: Garrett Vitanza
Time: 10:00 to 5:00 with 1 hour break

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

We're excited to welcome the winner of our second annual Scholarship Competition: Eric Johnson. Eric is a young and passionate artist from the Western New York area. He is primarily a self-taught artist, and is excited to start within our classical training program. He will begin attending in the Fall of this year. Congratulations, Eric!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Spring Semester Starts up soon!

Our Spring Semester starts April 7th. Interested in regular Atelier classes? You can sign up for those at any time.

All of our other classes you need to register before the semester begins:

We have an Alla Prima Portrait Painting workshop from March 31st to April 4th all day Monday through Friday over Spring Break.

We have a variety of evening painting or drawing classes you can enroll in.

We also have some figure drawing classes on Saturday.

Also our Scholarship Competition is open until March 15th!