Classical Studio Training

About our Classical Studio Training

​Before you apply to join our Classical Studio Training Classes (registration link is at the borrow of this page), please take the time and familiarize yourself with the following class descriptions, schedules and recommendations. We would want for you to really enjoy our classes, starting by understanding exactly what our focus is and how we would love to help you succeed at your creative potential by teaching you amazing skills that will enable you to create any type of art, from abstract to representational, that you wish to pursue, with confidence, clarity, intelligence and competence.

Please read our Studio Practice Policy to familiarize yourself with the code of conduct we uphold in our studio.

We are the only Art Organization in the Boise and Meridian area, including the entire Treasure Valley, to make this type and level of training available to adult students.To participate in these classes is a privilege and an honor that we wish to make accessible to students who have the passion for in depth Fine Art training but who will need to travel far and wide to find this elsewhere in the surrounding area.

Classical Studio Training focuses on the advanced training of adults (ages 18+) who are more serious about wanting to learn a more sophisticated way of going about creating more advanced and highly skillful art according to the Classical Tradition of the Old Masters like Da Vinci and Michelangelo as well as the studio practice traditions of the Modern Masters like Vincent van Gogh and Henri Matisse.

The main focus is on traditional and contemporary fine art making and immersive skill-building in both Drawing and Painting. The focus is not to produce finished art works, but on training extensively and with great focus to master truly advanced skills that we cannot possibly teach in depth in typical recreational classroom settings. Each Module focuses on an aspect of this (more academic) approach to Fine Art in a fun, student-friendly way. Aspects of this type of highly academic artistic process include learning to draw from observation in great detail and with great accuracy, learning how to paint a variety of subjects in very specific Classical styles like Classical Realism and more Contemporary, Painterly styles like what is being taught at San Francisco and New York City Fine Art Academies and Art Institutes.

We focus on primarily painting and drawing since that is what our current studio setting allows, but we hope to someday offer classes and courses in sculpting as well. Our Classical Training takes a few steps into Contemporary Art making as to allow students more creative freedom and scope once basic skills are mastered, though our stylistic focus will remain representational as opposed to abstract as to ensure solid skill building and to allow for critical foundational principles, knowledge, applications and methods being established first.

We refer to Art History and use tried and true Art Historical examples and methodology as part of our instruction. Our students will find that we are far above and beyond a social club – they will actually learn on a much higher level than what most recreational art instructors are able to offer.

CST 1 (course starts seasonally – see time-table for current / future sign-up deadlines, dates and times) – beginner to intermediate.

Each module is 4 weeks in duration, each class is 2 hours long – entire program is 28 weeks in duration:

  • Module 1 – Foundations of Classical Drawing
  • Module 2 – Classical Still Life Drawing (part 1)
  • Module 3 – Classical Still Life Drawing (part 2)
  • Module 4 – Classical Cast Drawing (part 1)
  • Module 5 – Classical Cast Drawing (part 2)
  • Module 6 – Classical General Drawing (part 1)
  • Module 7 – Classical General Drawing (part 2)

Upon successful completion of first year: Certificate in Intermediate Classical Drawing


CST 2 (second course starts seasonally – see time-table for current / future sign-up deadlines, dates, and times) – must complete first year CST 1 course to do the second year program – intermediate to advanced.

Each module is 4 weeks in duration, each class is 2 hours long – entire program is 28 weeks in duration:

  • Module 1 – Paint Mixing and Color Theory (part 1)
Module 2 – Paint Mixing and Color Theory (part 2)
  • Module 3 – Classical Still Life Painting (part 1)
  • Module 4 – Classical Still Life Painting (part 2)
  • Module 5 – Classical Figure Drawing / Painting (part 1)
  • Module 6 – Classical Figure Drawing / Painting (part 2)
  • Module 7 – Final Student Project: Drawing / Painting

Upon successful completion of second year: Certificate in Intermediate Classical Painting


CST 3 (third course starts seasonally – see time-table for current / future sign-up deadlines, dates and times) – must complete both first and second year courses – CST 1 and CST 2 to do the third year program – advanced.

Each module is 4 weeks in duration, each class is 2 hours long – entire program is 28 weeks in duration:

  • Module 1 – Student Project Drawing
  • Module 2 – Student Project Painting
  • Module 3 – Advanced Studio Practice (Part 1)
Module 4 – Advanced Studio Practice (Part 2)
Module 5 – Studio Practice: Drawing / Painting (Part 1)
  • Module 6 – Studio Practice: Drawing / Painting (Part 2)
  • Module 7 – Studio Practice: Drawing / Painting (Part 3)

Upon successful completion of third year: Certificate in Advanced Studio Practice with Specialization (specialization TBD by student within parameters offered)


For costs, please refer to our TUITION AND FEES

Classical Studio Training Program Summary

First Year (CST 1) 

In our first year Classical Studio Training (CST1) program, we focus on basic skill building in the areas of Drawing Foundations and Classical Drawing. In the first year program we lay the cornerstone for high level art making and classical studio practices needed for a student to be able to show proficiency in being able to compile basic still lives and anatomically accurate cast drawings.

We draw with graphite pencil and we learn how to absolutely master our tools and refine our motor skills as artists. Because successful art making overall rests upon the level of our ability to subject our processes, tools and methods to our will in such a way that we may achieve our desired results, no artist will be able to achieve their potential in art making without first mastering beginner to intermediate drawing skills.

Second Year (CST 2)

During our second year Classical Studio Training (CST2) program we build on the skills we learned in our first year course (CST1). The second year program is designed to advance the student to an even higher level in terms of learning to be more sophisticated and methodical with their skills by introducing students to painting in a way that will take their work far above and beyond just a pretty picture.

We focus primarily on painting technique and “building the artwork” in this course. We learn how to create paintings from our drawings and do so by successfully applying Color Theory.

We learn a variety of ways in which to mix colors that create harmonious and intriguing paintings. We learn to use different brush strokes and how to do so in specific ways to different styles, from classically rendered styles to more expressive brush strokes.

Third Year (CST 3)

During our third year Classical Studio Training (CST3) program we build on the skills we learned in our first year course (CST2).

The main purpose of completing a third year program would be for a student to specialize and learn how to work on their own without the help of an instructor. Students will learn how to create their own, unique drawings and paintings, their own set-ups and their own themes or concepts for making Classical Art.

This year will also be great for students who, now having obtained more advanced skills, confidence, independence and insight into art making, wishes to experiment with alternative mediums and styles of art making while still having the advantage of guidance from an instructor. Students may wish to pursue more abstract work or maybe want to explore more sculptural elements in their work. Maybe a student would like to pursue a more in depth study of landscape art, color pencil or watercolor work – there would be a lot of freedom for a student to either continue with traditional art making, taking their work to the next level or add some newer, more daring experimental work to their repertoire.

Here are descriptions of some of our main Module Themes for CST1, CST2 AND CST 3

Each module lasts 4 weeks and costs $190 per student for each 4 week module – fee includes all supplies needed as well as a homework supply kit.

These classes are currently only held at our Meridian Studio location.
If you have questions or wish to arrange these or other class options elsewhere or at different times and dates, please contact us.

Check the days and times here

Foundations of Classical Drawing

Classical Drawing is the foundational skill that forms the basis of all art making when an artist is serious about developing their artistic ability to create with accuracy and imagination alike. Without in-depth development of advanced drawing skills, an artist will have a lot of gaps in their ability to create with ease and precision. This class will advance the student’s ability to create art on a far more sophisticated level than before and forms the basis on which professional classical artists are trained.

Our first module in our Classical Studio Training Classes is an in-depth study of classical drawing principles. The students will learn to render geometric forms. Emphasis is placed on careful analysis of light and shadow relationships. Through the use of line, tone, and modeling, students will learn to depict objects in 3d form.

Students will create drawings in graphite pencil and become well versed in graphite as a drawing medium also. If time allows we will also work in charcoal. Different types of drawing tools and paper will be discussed and the student will be exposed to classical methods of using their tools. The focus will be on getting to learn how to utilize drawing media as much as how to create a desirable end result.

If the student is able to focus and stick with it, building a great drawing foundation like this will be detrimental for the student in becoming far more skilled than their typical peers normally are. It can be hard for a young mind to realize the value of pursuing skills beyond just copying what has already been done, but the holy grail of Fine Art making still lies within the cradle of superior drawing and observation skills.

Learning to draw really well, with great accuracy, detail and sensitivity, from observation is a huge part of what students will learn in this class. However, attention is also being paid to academic approaches and sight-measuring principles in drawing as developed and utilized by artists like Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci during the Classical era. Artists who study these methods significantly increase their visual literacy and ability to control the media to get the results they desire.

Understanding light and shadows, how to render it with a visually literate approach, even just how to observe and portray subtle tonal values in art are critical skills that can only be developed in a highly focused setting such as this. What is learned in this class will apply to color rendering as well when we reach those modules.

At our Academy we are looking forward to immersing students into this level of training to increase their love and enjoyment of being able to truly create on a level that reflects their artistic potential.

Outcomes in Fine Art refer to what students will be able to do on a far more advanced level once they have immersed themselves in this training:

  • Sight measuring to enhance observation and visual literacy will be studied.
  • The traditional 5-value system of tonal rendering will be instilled.
  • Creating dynamic and convincing composition, value pattern, subtleties and types of shadows will be explored.
  • Obtaining a basic understanding and application of perspective, proportion, gesture, and foreshortening as implemented in Classical Art making.
Classical Still Life Drawing

Every prodigy or potential artist, however gifted, will find themselves never to be exempt from deeply studying the basics. And nobody creates amazing art without understanding (intuitively and logically) what Composition is really all about. Composition is a very important aspect of creating engaging Fine Art pieces. An in depth understanding of composition making will greatly increase the artist’s ability to come up with original and captivating art that can hold the viewer’s attention and lead the eye through the work. Composition in Fine Art functions the same way as Classical composition making in music: a classical musician would engage the music lover’s imagination with a piece of original, intricately composed music just as the Fine Artist would do visually.

The language of art works very much like the language of music: it has structure and principles than can be combined in endless ways, but to do so, the language must first be learned – a process that requires great commitment, focus and patience. As the serious musician needs to first learn how to read and write musical notes in order to compose deeply engaging pieces, so the Fine Artist must first learn to see and draw with deliberate intent and sophistication in order to compose truly incredible art.

The best way to learn engaging composition making is to learn how to draw intricate Still Lives in the truest of forms from structured observation. Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cezanne, Rembrandt and the Classical Masters were all extremely well versed in Still Life composition making and their famous works can be viewed in museums and art galleries all over the world, like the Tate Modern in the uk and the De Young Museum in San Francisco.

This type of skillset is not only built upon principles and rules though – as with most things in art making, a huge part of the equation is actually heightening the intuitive sensibilities of an artist to engage the subject, to create mood and juxtaposition, to play with angles and colors and perspective… these skills are developed by learning how to be creative and daring, dramatic or analytical with intent and confidence as part of the individual’s creative process.

We will learn compositional arrangement of the elements in the picture plane. Emphasis will be placed on drawing still life set ups from observation and analysis. Students will have the opportunity to set up and draw incredible compositions from real life and learn an enormous amount of Classical Skills in the process.

Our desired outcomes for this type of instruction are:

  • How to set up creative still life using bot the formal principles of doing so and the individual intuitive approach.
  • Students will learn how to make proportional thumbnail studies: a skill that is very critical in being able to environ compositional possibilities before tackling the actual creation of a piece.
  • Understanding the importance of the basic light/dark value pattern and how to use light. Chiaroscuro will be explained and analyzed visually.
  • Knowing the meaning of Line, Shapes, Space, and Direction and being able to observe and portray these elements accurately.
Classical Cast Drawing

It is absolutely fascinating to learn how to draw the human head by being able to draw from real life, actual facial casts of the sculptures of famous artists like Michelangelo or the limbs of actual human models. The main advantage of drawing from casts is far greater than drawing from an actual model: casts can actually stand completely still.

An integral part of learning to create accurate form and value in Fine Art, with a solid basis in foundational art skills is learning how to accurately convey the human form in figurative art. From as far back as the existence of humans on our planet we see the human form depicted in everything from cave paintings to carvings.

Art History is rich with examples of the human form forming the basis of the art and cultural expressions of every tribe and civilization imaginable: from the Aztecs to the Greeks to the African tribes to the Asian civilizations and all the wonders brought to us by the figurative Classical Masters like Michelangelo’s majestic marble-carved wonders and even the elegance of elongated proportions in the works of Botticelli or the romantic depictions of Rossetti, even the crude portrait expressions of movements like Art Brut and the playful, Primitivist engagements of Picasso, sculptural expressions of Rodin, heart-wrenching portraits of Frida Kahlo or the fascinating abstract interpretation of movement by Marcel Duchamp in “Nude Descending the Staircase”, there is no limit to the styles and possibilities of utilizing the human form in Fine Art.

Figurative and portraiture exploration in Fine Art starts by in depth analytical assessment of the human head at length and learning to portray it accurately in all its 3 dimensional glory. Being able to convey mood and emotion via intense or subtle facial expressions are key in creating convincing portraiture.

The same holds true for drawing a human being than what holds true for painting an animal or sculpting a fantasy creature: the viewer is engaged by means of the artist’s ability to depict emotion that resonates with the viewer. People relate to human or animal based subjects in art by seeing it sub-consciously as a mirror image of their own emotions or experiences. The artist that is able to captivate the viewer with the subtle nuances of mood in their portraiture is the artist that goes way beyond making pretty pictures. This is not easy task and to push portraiture beyond being generic a deeply developed visual comprehension of the subject is required.

This module is mainly focused on drawing the human head and establishing a thorough understanding of individual features of the human head: nose, eyes, lips, ears, cheeks etc. Analysis of head structure and traditional techniques are combined to provide students with the skills necessary to accurately draw the human head. We will use the classical approach of drawing from cast models.
Outcomes for learning Classical Cast Drawing are as such:

  • Students will learn the proportions of the head and gesture by learning the proportions of individual facial features and how to accurately incorporate gestural drawing into the creative process.
  • Drawing individual features of the head: nose, mouth, eyes ears.
  • Understanding of value and form in art making with more enhanced precision.
  • Being able to render shadow shapes and their edges with refined precision.
  • Appreciate the differences between light and shadow and being able to actually be visually literate enough to see it as it truly is in nature.
Paint Mixing & Color Theory

Themes centered around paint mixing and color theory, will introduce the student to words and terms of painting vocabulary as well as a very intricate comprehension of color in all its many forms and expressive qualities. The course will provide students with a visual, practical education in color. We will explore the color wheel and the meaning of hue, value, saturation and other qualities of paint and color. Several ideas of paint application and techniques will be taught.

A very big part of art has to do with observation and the ability to fuse observation with creativity and imagination in order to produce truly original, excellent and unique results. Learning accurate visual literacy and building up a seasoned visual memory are vital and take many years to develop. In fact, it takes a life time. These skills cannot be acquired by browsing the internet or watching how-to videos. These skills can only be obtained in a studio, spending time solving visual problems and learning how things like color and light work together.

People have very strong emotional responses to Color as Science has confirmed for us in a variety of studies over the years. Color can influence people’s moods or decisions in very significant ways. Since the language of art is a visual language, learning how to utilize a mature understanding of how color works is critical for the serious artist.

A monochromatic still life with a subtle light source will have a very different dynamic than a polychromatic street scene in high contrast. A figure painted in subtle tonal values is experienced very differently by the viewer than a red and green field of vibrant poppies. Using knowledge of color theory to their advantage, artists can learn to deliberately evoke, emphasize or neutralize certain subjects or themes in their art. Intent backed by a cultivated approach to color can bring any concept or subject to life in any type of art. But first the artist must learn the basic nuts and bolts of this way of creating.

The same rules that apply to grayscale drawing, also apply to color work. Only in color it becomes more complex as the ability to observe slight changes in light and shadow becomes critical in creating a finished product that reflects color unity while dealing with things like object reflections, cast shadows, reflected light and contrast in terms of color. It is a very competent way of creating art that speaks volumes to the viewer simply through the colors used by the artist. Other things may be harder to achieve in a subject, but if the colors work, half the battle is won.

Famous artists like Titian and Monet were Masters at understanding how to use color in a variety of deliberate ways to make their subjects come to life. The subject matter or style of art doest really change the fundamental requirements for understanding how color works. From Impressionism to Hyper Realism, the foundational skills as we teach in our Classical Studio Training modules are the same.

We are looking for some pretty skillful and fun outcomes in exploring painting this way:

  • Understanding different color schemes and being able to identify and apply them with intention.
  • Knowing the value of different colors and having the ability to create, using these values.
  • Increasing the student’s ability to make informed and optimal color choices in their art making.
  • Learn how to use a limited palette to mix a variety of colors.
  • Grisaille (Grayscale) Painting.
  • Techniques in brush control and paint application.
Still Life Painting

As we approach subjects like “Still Life painting” the focus will be the culmination of everything we have explored, analyzed and learned up to this point. The students will create works that showcase how far they have come in their skill development at this time. This is also the ideal time for the student to confidently create and develop their own vision for their own, unique creative process.

Moving way beyond just copying an Old Dutch Still Life Master, this is a comprehensive, in-depth study of the principles of composition, value, pattern, tone, staging, mood, and color theories and how to apply those principles to develop one’s own unique style and approaches to creativity. The focus will be on the creative process from concept to finished art. Creative compositional responses of the student are increased through the experience of painting. The student will be working from various means of references to include live still life and photographs. This will be a studio course exploring the variety of organizational and compositional approaches.

From formal principles to intuitive creations – as part of this course we truly put the artist in touch with the subject. One of the biggest and most difficult bridges to cross for any serious artist is to truly know why we create and not just how to create or what to create. These practical projects, along with our emphasis on theory will start opening up that depth of artistic development to the artist.

The student will also be taught how to critically analyze their own work in a way to improve consistently. The artistic path is a lifelong path of personal growth and skill building that flows together into the choices an artist makes about their creative process, subject matter and potentially even a career path in the arts should that be the desired outcome overall. After having spent so much time building foundations skills, the artist will now be able to take some next steps in cultivating their journey moving forward.

Fine Art is a form of communication and the student / artist needs to start asking intelligent questions about what it is that they want to communicate via or achieve through their work? The approach in this module will be far more individualized than previously so that the artist may experience the deep joy of truly becoming in touch with themselves as an autonomous creative in their own right.

Outcomes will be as follows:

  • Using thumbnail compositions in painting to create the most optimal of compositions.
  • High and low key compositions to be created – learning to use light and color in a varied, yet sensible manner with intention and creative flair
  • Skill in paint handling will be developed – how brushstrokes and technique can make or break a painting and much more.
  • Students learn to indicate simple form with a single light source.
  • Learning to paint form using light and different types of shadows in a deliberate way.
  • Understanding color temperature and atmospheric perspective so that compositions are convincing and exudes artistic authenticity.
  • Calling forth the journey of the artist as a unique, skilled creator in their own right.
  • Setting the artist up for future success and having enough immersive skills and creative discipline to embrace future, more advanced courses and opportunities offered via our academy.
Classical Figure Painting and Drawing

Avianne Academy of Arts are aiming to include some Classical Figure Painting and Drawing study within our Classical Studio Training courses. We feel that the Human figure has been such an integral part of all Classical Fine Art making and contexts, that we need to add this to our students’ awareness and skill set exploration.

For logistical, professional, personal and legal reasons, in order to provide an appropriate, religiously respectful, uplifting, ethical, gender-equal, honorable and non-distracting learning environment for all our students, we do not allow nude studies within our Academy but we do allow equally effective, alternative methods of study and portrayal. This theme is so vast and so powerful within the Fine Art industry that we will have a hard time narrowing it down, but we intend to ensure that our students get a lot of value out of this aspect of our course in terms of technique and practical implementation.

Themes we will explore include the draped figure and detailed studies of limbs such as hands, arms, feet and legs. Composition and other skills learned in other drawing studies will certainly also come into play, which is why we include this area of study in our second year, building upon what we learned in the first year of study. We will mainly use the traditional methods of artists like Michelangelo and Donatello in achieving these objectives. We will also include certain aspects of more contemporary approaches and methods of study utilized by institutions such as the San Francisco Academy of Art, various other Art Universities and the George Barque method.

Since drawing and painting with precision, especially when it comes to accurately portraying the human form in art making, rely heavily on a sophisticated ability to measure with the eyes, we will practice our drawings and sketches from references, using both 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional sources. There will be a strong emphasis on developing the eye and brain connection in these studies as well as dealing with the highly intimate, emotive and personal nature of creating art based on the human form.

Of course it is not possible to learn everything about this subject in just a few short months, so we will aim to cover the basics and allow students to delve more deeply into this subject should they wish to specialize in this during their third year course with us.

As with most of our other themes and methods used, students will receive notes and homework with regard to studying the human form. Figurative work is usually not very easy for beginners, but we are confident that by the time our students reach their second year level, they will have enough basic measuring and observation skills to have a greater chance at success with such a complex subject as the human figure.

Students who wish to pursue figurative work as a focus during their third year may be required to supplement with extra workshops in order to overcome typical obstacles associated with this subject, learning even greater precision and more advanced approaches to the subject. The instructor may opt to arrange extra live figure drawing sessions for the opportunity to optimize sustained learning, stylistic development and technical progression.

Advanced Studio Practice

In the third year of study, students will be trained in, among other art practices, the apprentice methods of the Old Masters. There will be an opportunity to actually work alongside a professional artist to observe and be immersed in how the creative process works on a practical level. If our Academy does not have a good artist to match with a student, the student will be placed with a suitable artist outside of our Academy for this part of the course.

Part of this type of training also involves learning how to properly set-up a studio, some tricks of the trade in how to stay organized, work with a career plan if so desired, create a portfolio, set-up a decent website or on-line presence, write a biography, how to present work at a show or exhibition, which opportunities to look out for, typical pitfalls, how to remain inspired and many, many other aspects of running a successful studio and practicing on a more advanced level as an artist.

It is always surprising to Avianne how little these aspects of Fine Art Practice are being taught in even the most advanced and highly accredited art schools and universities in the USA and beyond. A successful artist is also an entrepreneur and for many people success can mean many different things. Artists typically do not become millionaires, but a clever, well schooled artist should not have to resort to desperate or sacrilegious work ethics to survive or feel like their art has a purpose.

Humans tend to seek out purpose in whatever they do. Fine Art, taught on a higher level, is a powerful way for an individual to discover how truly intelligent, creative and limitless they are in their ability to seek out personal passion, purpose and even self actualization. This aspect of the artistic journey is greatly neglected in today’s world or if it is taught at all, it is not made practical or relatable enough to the individual student.

Learning how to operate outside of the art boxes (be they elitist or down and dirty), learning how to speak and connect professionally within the art world, how to avoid being exploited, how to gain peer recognition and more, how to price and sell work, those are tremendously critical skills for artists to have, but unfortunately these are seldom taught in an accessible or practical way. These skills often mean the difference between having to starve, being nothing more than a hired brush who has to compromise one’s principles just to eat, settling for far less than our creative potential or achieving independent and sustainable success in an industry that may be tricky to navigate, especially for a new comer.

During this last year of study, students will be set-up for success in running a home based or industry space studio of their own. Eventually, the student needs to be able to practice their own art making in the way and style that optimize their own potential. The student needs to develop a unique voice, their own specialization(s) and the confidence to stand autonomously as an artist in their own right wherever they take their Fine Art next. A failure to plan is a plan to fail and we want our students to achieve everything they can in order to enjoy a lifelong, gratifying journey of practicing Fine Art, even exhibiting and selling their work if they are so inclined.

Please refer to the TIMETABLE for information about class dates and times.

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