The curriculum is made of drawing classes and oil painting classes.  The drawing classes are split between figure life drawing and Bargues plates drawing.

The simplified forms of the Bargue Drawings allow students to learn the procedure very well, and develop skill in reproducing the outline, blocking out shapes, and refining line quality. They also begin to understand the importance of values in turning form. Students begin to learn how to see their subject, and gain precision through practice over many weeks, as well as skill in handling their materials and tools. The student should begin to transfer these concepts to drawing from the model.

Students are required to copy four Bargue drawings in pencil, and one in Charcoal; the level of difficulty of the Bargue drawings ranges from simple to complex. In order to pass these exercises, the student must correctly draw the subject's outline, proportion and shadow shape, and use skillfully his materials. This requires that the student sees his shapes correctly, applies the sight size method correctly, and fully controls his technique.

By the conclusion of Beginning Bargue Drawings the student will be able to:


The student is taught to keep in mind three principal concerns when looking at the live model: proportion, body type, and gesture. In order to achieve those elements, the student may approach the drawing in two ways: linear, whereby the student draws accurately the outline and shadow line, or mass, achieved through the comparison of light shapes vs. shadow shapes. As the student's drawing progresses from simple outline/shadow line or mass, he culls from his knowledge of anatomy to give the figure a sense of weight and balance. The student then addresses values in his drawing and keys them to what he sees in nature. The black mirror is used to help the student find the value-key of the figure in order to skillfully represent the impression of nature. By relating the values of the figure to the values in the background, the student gives a sense of space and atmosphere within the pictorial plane. (Light is form; shadow is atmosphere.) The last step in the drawing is working out the transitions in the edges in order to make the forms turn, and create a sense of atmosphere and three dimensions.

By thinking about how to render light by value, and the quality of the edges of the form, the student begins to think like a painter.

Pencil drawing reinforces the importance of learning to reproduce accurately the subject's outline and shadow line. By placing the model against a neutral background, students are limited to one flat even value in the shadow areas; they are not allowed to put background value into the drawing, nor may they include any values in their drawing, so the outcome is an outline and a flat, even shadow. Pencil drawing allows the student to understand how far he/she can take a drawing, from simple outline to dramatic gesture, while being precise and accurate with regard to proportion, body type and gesture on a small scale. It emphasizes the importance of line quality to rendering soft or hard edges thus turning form and creating atmosphere and focus.

By the conclusion of Beginning Figure Drawing the student will be able to:

Upon successful completion of the program, students will have acquired a very high practical ability, together with a deep insight into the theory and historical traditions of drawing.

Figure drawing from life will continue for the entirety of program.


The cast is a simplified, monochrome, stationary form, usually reproductions of classical statuary that help the student find similar shapes in nature; measurements, however, are no longer exclusively scientific: the sight-size method of measurement provides the student with a format, but accuracy in cast drawing depends on the eye. In a cast drawing, the instructor looks for accuracy in line, mass and values.

At this time, students are directed in how to set up their cast in order to create a strong focal point that should be prominent in the finished drawing. This is a fundamental concept: to select and draw an area in complete focus, leaving the peripheral area out of focus, as the eye would see in nature. Students also control the light to create and design interesting shadow shapes.

With regard to values of the cast, as the student begins to represent the impression of what he sees, he learns that the value-key must be lowered in his drawing to achieve an accurate impression of reality. The student learns there is a larger range of value from black to white in nature than in a drawing (the darks come close to being the same, but the whites do not). While drawing, he must compress the dark and light ends of the value scale to duplicate the optical effect of light in nature, and create the suggestion of the form turning on the picture plane, thus achieving a three dimensional quality. The student uses a black mirror as an aid to lower the value-key, and therefore represent the impression accurately. Although these values must be accurate in their relationships, and pleasing to the eye, the way students see and reproduce values may differ.

Students are required to copy three plaster casts; the level of difficulty of the casts is considered simple. In order to pass these exercises, the student must correctly draw the subject's outline, proportion and shadow shape, and use skillfully his materials (charcoal and paper). This requires that the student sees his shapes correctly, applies the sight size method correctly, and fully controls his technique.

By the conclusion of Beginning Cast Drawing you will be able to:



Objects must be chosen in a variety of textures and materials, beginning with three objects and moving to complex compositions. Moving from cast to the still life, the student must overcome difficulties in producing a balanced composition, with regard both to light, dark and color. 

A successful portrait encompasses all of the requirements of a figure painting, and in addition must show the character of the sitter and a perfect likeness. At the time students begin their first still life in oil, they also begin the portrait in charcoal. They are required to produce three portraits in charcoal before progressing to the portrait in oil. Third year students are required to produce a portrait with hands as their final graduation piece. Here the greater complexity of the subject allows students to deal with the psychology of the sitter and/or placing of the sitter in a specific setting or costume. The third year, students explore composition (line, rhythm, color, etc), themes and expression of an idea.

By the conclusion of Advanced Painting the student will be able to:


Students are required to paint in oil 2 successful nude figures in full color palette (they will be painting at least 6 figures during the year).

By the conclusion of Advanced Figure Painting you will be able to: