Academy of Realist Art


At the Academy of Realist Art – the only school of its kind in Canada – we teach students the academic skills for classical drawing and painting. Through our unique step-by-step process, you will master the skills and disciplines needed to create realistic fine art.

The ARA approach is designed to strengthen a student’s understanding of how the masters created their own works. These principles provide the academic foundation for beginner and experienced artists alike to gain proficiency in any artistic pursuit of their choosing.

We welcome students with all levels of experience, from professionals to absolute beginners. No portfolio or prior formal training in the arts is required for you to begin our 4-level fundamental program.

Level one

Students begin the program by copying a series of prepared lithographs from the Charles Bargue Drawing Course developed in the mid-19th century.

Working “in the flat” is the most straightforward way for students to learn the complete visual alphabet that they will use throughout the program. These copies, executed in graphite (pencil), help the student to acquire an understanding of shape, proportion, value, and form.
Download the Day 1 materials list

Requirement: Three copied plates in graphite using one-to-one ratio and one using comparative measure.

Level two

Students progress to working from a three-dimensional plaster cast, which is also referred to as working “in the round.”

Using vine charcoal, the student will begin to understand how controlled light falls across a three-dimensional form. In addition, it enables the student to translate a three-dimensional object to a two dimensional picture plane, while maintaining the illusion of space. Students are also introduced to the use of sight size-measurement and the concept of “big form modeling.”

Requirement: Two drawings from the cast in vine charcoal using the sight-size method.

Level three

Students continue to work from the cast, gaining their first exposure to paint.

Starting with a monochromatic painting in oils, students learn the characteristics of the medium and the stages of academic painting. The element of colour is progressively introduced in level three.

Requirement: Three paintings in oil from the cast, beginning with a monochrome study and progressing to subtle colour studies using the sight-size method.

Level four

These skills culminate in the final level of the program with still life painting.

Students begin to explore composition through the arrangement of colour, lights and spatial relationships. Students are introduced to both direct and indirect painting methods to achieve realistic textures, colours, forms and depth.

Requirement: Three still-life paintings based on distinct criteria

Tuition Fees

We offer flexible classes during the day, in the evenings, and on weekends, so whether you are pursuing art as a profession or a hobby there is a place for you at ARA.

PlanAnnual TotalMonthly InstalmentOpen StudioFigure Class
A$3,660$305One 6-hour
One 3-hour
B$4,800$400One 6-hour
Two 3-hour
C$6,000$500Two 6-hour sessions/weekTwo 3-hour sessions/week
(full time)
$7,020$585UnlimitedFour 3-hour

Only Plan D (full time) includes studio access during non-instructional periods. Plans A, B, and C are prohibited from use of the studio outside of instructional periods.

Payment is required prior to the 1st of every month by cash, debit, or cheque only.

Post-dated cheques are the preferred method of payment; cheques can be made payable to: ACADEMY OF REALIST ART LTD. A charge of $15 will be applied for any NSF cheques. Please contact Colleen for any adjustments if you have already submitted post-dated cheques.

Monthly fees are installments for an annual tuition, split into 12 equal payments.

Monthly payments are pro-rated to a 4-week period each, adding up to a total of 48 instructional weeks to account for holiday periods; the school actually operates on 50 weeks of instruction, providing two extra weeks of instruction as a bonus to students who enroll for a complete year.

Students may be asked to pay the difference if installments are missed and the tuition paid by the end of the year does not cover their actual studio use.

Students who fail to cover tuition fees for two consecutive months without prior arrangement will be considered to have withdrawn from the program, and their place will no longer be reserved. Any materials or artwork that remain at the school will become property of ARA if alternate arrangements have not been made.

Exceptions may be made to accommodate severe financial hardship caused by medical or personal emergencies if arranged with the Directors.

Missed periods can be made up at a later date, but will only be considered for intervals of a full day or more and do not extend to miscellaneous hours. Missed periods can be made up within the same semester: January – April | May – August | September – December.







No scheduled classes4:00pm



No scheduled classes
Open studio with instructionLife model sessions for students of all levelsLife model sessions for students of all levelsOpen studio with instructionOpen studio with instruction


The Academy closes to observe a holiday period for 2 weeks over Christmas/New Year’s Day (closed from December 21, 2020-January 2, 2021 inclusive). We are open on all other statutory holidays.