SINGAPORE STUDIO OF
REALIST ART

Each class we offer has a specific set of learning goals for our students.

Follow the links below to find out more.

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studio
curriculum

historical painting techniques





This 10 week workshop offers students a chance to do an in-depth study of traditional oil painting mediums and paint application methods.

Learn about oils, varnishes, and a variety of other paint amendments that have been used throughout the history of oil painting. We’ll also explore brushes, paint surfaces, and a variety of traditional indirect painting methods that can be used to bring a whole new level of sophistication to your art.





information covered

  • Mediums: Oils, varnishes, solvents, wax, putty and powdered additives. What they do and how to use them in a painting medium.
  • Brushes: Shapes, bristle types, applications during the painting process. We’ll thoroughly cover all the when/why/how questions you might have about brush usage during the oil painting process.
  • Surfaces/Supports: Canvas, linen, wood, and the variations possible in their preparation for painting. The surface that you paint on plays a BIG role in the effects that you can achieve with oils. Discover a myriad of possibilities beyond ready made canvases.
  • Traditional paint application techniques: Learn about opaque, transparent, broken colour, smoothly blended, and multi-layered colour effects based on documented traditional methods.
  • Underpainting: Grisailles, ebauches, wipe outs, dead colouring. How to use them to construct a work through “indirect” painting methods.
  • Specialized traditional techniques: Glazing, velaturas, sfumato, impasto. Learn what these fancy terms mean and how to use them to create variety in your oil paintings.




classwork

We will be covering a lot of material in this course so the emphasis will be on understanding materials and process as opposed to focusing on creating one finished masterpiece. Students are expected to take notes, document their process through our exercises, and apply this body of knowledge to their own studio practice.





studio
curriculum

colour theory





In this workshop students will learn how to take control of colour in their artwork, whether it be through mixing, matching, or design.

Using the Munsell System, unmatched in it’s logic and simplicity, we’ll get to know the qualities of hue, value, and chroma, and how they can be used to clarify our understanding of colour.

Through in-class exercises and analysis of great works of art, we’ll explore colour as it is used for realistic rendering, impressionistic interpretation, and as a means to describe atmosphere and space in a painting. 





information covered

  • The history of colour theory and an introduction to the Munsell System.
  • Hue, value, and chroma: the identifiers of colour description.
  • Colour matching, a systematic approach: Learn in a logical and precise way how to mix any colour that you want.
  • Understanding palettes: Successful artist palettes can be comprised of any number of different colour combinations. We’ll look at a range of different palette options one might choose and help you decide which one is best suited for your artistic purposes.
  • What’s in that tube?: Learn how to choose your colours based on a knowledge of pigment properties.
  • Colour scheme basics: Triads, analogous colours, warm/cool, split compliments etc. We’ll explore these basics to make sure they’re solid in your understanding.
  • Colour Gamuts: Making a conscious choice regarding a picture’s colour range through gamut mapping helps an artist to choose which colours to utilize and importantly which colours to leave out of a work.
  • Controlling colour for realistic painting: When modelling form, an artist must logically map out colour in various tones. Achieving this without the colour going haywire can be a real challenge.  We’ll learn how to “control the local” so that there’s colour constancy across our rendered forms.
  • Impressionistic colour effects: No doubt about it, impressionistic colour effects can be very exciting to look at in a painting. Learn how to amplify colours, or logically deviate from reality using some tricks out of the impressionist playbook.
  • Learn how to observe colour: We’ll learn to use a conceptual approach to observing colour so that decisions about light, shadow, the colour of objects, and reflected light all make sense and work together.




classwork

All classwork will be based on direct observation or analysis of great works of art. For those of you that are more comfortable with working from photographs, we’ll wrap up the workshop with some practical tips for making better artistic interpretations of that kind of reference. Throughout the course we will work with a variety of still life reference and light sources to hone your colour observation, mixing, and paint application skills. The artwork created during the workshop will consist of:

1. A colour map, made to help students gain clarity of where their paint tube choices fit in colour space.

2. Poster studies to learn how basic, first impression colour sketches are vital to the artistic process.

3. Daily exercises covering: observational colour matching, form modelling, warm and cool light sources, realistic vs impressionistic colour interpretation, gamut mapping, and reflected light.

4. Colour studies of master works by great artists.

studio
curriculum

portrait sculpture
(live model)





In this class, students will work with water based clay to create portrait sculptures from a live model.

This class is open to everyone, even if you have never sculpted before. Students will be provided with comprehensive guidance on working three-dimensionally, learning to create form with both hand building techniques and sculpting tools.

Throughout the lessons, there will be individual guidance and group instruction on the anatomy of the human head and creating the features of the face with clay.





information covered

  • Building a Sculpture Armature: Students will begin the sculpting process by creating their own wire and wood frame to serve as a structural base for their clay forms. The sculptures in this workshop will be approximately 30cm tall.
  • Working with water-based clay: There are many different types of clay- porcelain, polymer, plasticene and ceramic. For this course we will use ceramic clay since it is the easiest to mold and offers great flexibility depending on how wet or dry it is. Students will begin to learn how to work with clay through exploring the concept of “sculpting in the round”. By creating basic simple forms with an eye to correctness of volume from all viewing angles they will learn that sculpture as a medium is absolutely distinct from any 2 dimensional mediums they may have worked with before.
  • Using tools to establish and refine three dimensional forms: The use of files, rakes, shaping tools, chisels, sponges, and loops will all be covered.
  • Basic volume statement: We’ll begin to approach the complexity of the human head by representing it at first with simple block-like forms. Beginning in this manner allows for the underlying structure of the skull and the basic anatomical positions of the features of the head to be accurately determined. Using construction markings, calipers, and some other sculpture tricks, we’ll learn how to assess the accuracy of our volumes.
  • Anatomy of the head: You can’t sculpt what you see unless you know what’s there. We’ll cover some basic anatomy of the head and features to help guide students as they make their own three-dimensional versions of these forms. We’ll also examine age, gender, and physical diversity and how they affect the forms of the face.
  • Features, step by step: specifics on how to sculpt the eyes, nose, mouth, ears, facial structure, and hair.
  • Refining techniques: Sculpting details and refining the clay surface to make a more polished work.




classwork

Students will create one portrait sculpture (approx 30cm tall) over the course of the workshop. We will be working with one live model for 7 sessions but will begin the first class building an armature and learning the basics of sculpture techniques without the model present. Please note: we will not be casting the sculptures in plaster. Students may keep their work but it will need to be covered in order to prevent it from drying out and cracking.

studio
curriculum

PASTEL DRAWING





This course is designed to introduce students to the vibrant world of chalk pastels, exploring their versatility, expressive potential, and unique medium characteristics.

Through a series of hands-on projects and demonstrations, students will learn fundamental techniques for working with chalk pastels, including layering, blending, and creating textures.

Emphasis will be placed on developing an understanding of colour theory, and the principles of light and shadow. Additionally, students will explore various surfaces for peparing and finishing their artwork using chalk pastels.





information covered

  • Pastel as a medium: Form factor- stick or pencil. Variation of hardness according to brand. Choices in using one type vs another.
  • Paper: Pastel mat, pastel card, velour, and Ingres to name a few. Each surface provides different opportunities for manipulating and building up colour and tone with the medium.
  • Application techniques: Using blending, layering, and hatching to build your surface.
  • Additional Tools: using blending stumps, brushes, and water to manipulate the medium.
  • Colour and the pastel medium: understanding colour range and the limits of mixing and tonal variation with chalk pastels
  • Realistic effects: Creating volume and light through rendering and colour control
  • Material Handling: Impressionist and realist approaches to colour and form.
  • How to: Students will learn how to use pastel to represent a variety of different surfaces, such as flowers, fur, skin, clouds, water etc.




classwork

Along with daily in class exercises, students can expect to complete at least three finished artworks utilizing different types of paper, pastels, and application techniques. Subject matter for these works can be chosen by the student.

studio
curriculum

figure DRAWING





Working with live models, students will learn the techniques for drawing realistic figure drawings with anatomical accuracy and form.

This course is open to beginners and intermediate students alike and is very much be a “how to” for the figure drawing process.

Drawing people in a life-like manner is hard, and so often in figure drawing courses, precious little, (if any) instruction is given regarding a step by step process to tackle the complexity of the subject.

This workshop seeks to simplify the task of drawing a live figure, giving students a road map of what to do at each stage of the drawing process. This is not a “30 second gesture drawing, figure it out yourself” kind of class. We’ll give you knowledge and a plan, so that with your focus and practice you can succeed at becoming better at figure drawing.





information covered

  • Beginning your drawing: Should you start at the head? The feet? Scribble a line of action? Measure out how many heads tall the model is? So many questions… we’ll give you answers. Although there isn’t one right way to begin, we’ll give you some clear options so that you can choose what works best for you when starting your figure drawing.
  • Proportions and Anatomical Landmarks: Establishing size and position relationships amongst all the parts that make up a human figure is essential to our goal of making accurate, life-like drawings. We’ll take a look at the proportional measurements consistently present throughout a body and learn about the importance of recognizing anatomical landmarks. By spotting these important points and placing them correctly in our drawings, we will convey the natural connection between parts of the body, setting up the “gesture” of the model’s pose. 
  • Anatomy and Structure: Students will receive basic knowledge of human anatomy through class lectures, model demonstrations, and analysis of works of art. Being able to name off all the muscles in the body isn’t going to make you better at figure drawing, but having a basic understanding of the structure of the major muscle groups and how they work together absolutely will. We’ll look at the major components of the human body and learn ways to dynamically represent them on paper.
  • Linework and Rendering: the human body is an immensly subtle set of parts. Understanding how linework can help to convey (or kill) the living quality of a drawing is important. With a knowledge of structure and anatomy, students will be better positioned to portray the outer and inner contours of the body with line variation to represent overlapping forms. Once structure is established, it’s time to create volume with tonal mapping of bone, muscles, fascia, and fat. No easy task, but once we understand how light interacts with three-dimensional form, it becomes a reachable goal.




classwork

Each week students will work with live figures set up on a model platform with optimally positioned light. The model will take a variety of poses but please note that apart from shorter (15 minute) warm up exercises, the emphasis of this course is on long-pose figure drawing. One pose will span two classes so that students can develop their skills of observation and gain a better understanding of drawing human form. The mediums used will be graphite or charcoal depending on the preference of the student. Students will work on A2 sized paper in order to have a large enough format for detailed anatomical description.

studio
curriculum

BOTANICAL ILLUSTRATION





Petals, leaves, stems, roots, seeds… if you are interested in learning how to make pictures of the world of flowers and plants, then this is the class for you. Working from real plants or picture references (student choice) we’ll focus on drawing all parts of our subjects with accuracy.

Using a method called sight-size, each student will be able to easily check the accuracy of their drawing and in addition will receive daily helpful input from our instructor. Throughout the course, we’ll be using three different mediums: graphite, coloured pencil, and gouache.

Along the way, students will learn how to depict petals and leaves three-dimensionally through the use of light and dark, how build up precise colour layers with coloured pencils, and how to handle the opaque water-based painting medium of gouache. We’ll use a variety of surfaces for our work, including cotton rag paper, vellum, and primed paper.





information covered

  • Sight-size technique: What it is and how to use it to make your work accurate and free of drawing errors.
  • Blocking in, strategies for success: “Blocking in”, otherwise known as sketching is a really important stage in the successful development of a piece. Flowers and plants can be quite complex and making sense of what you’re seeing needs to be broken down and simplified for better understanding. We’ll show you how to use basic concepts of geometry to do just that. Using angles, one-to-one sizing with our references, point relationships, and simple shapes, we’ll be able to peel away the layers of complexity and understand how to replicate what we see.
  • Rendering: The delicate curving, twisting, overlapping, and turning of the plant world can only be represented through an understanding of light and shadow. Students will learn to logically interpret light and dark and map it out so that their pictures take on the illusion of having three-dimensional form.
  • Colour: You can’t talk about flowers without mentioning colour. It’s the aspect of botanical illustration that usually interests people the most. In this course we’ll start out with a conservative colour medium that most people have some experience with- coloured pencils. They offer a precision and control of build up that most people find relatively easy to control. Students will learn all about layering the medium to create richness of hue and gradations of light and dark. Special consideration to the intense hues and semi-transparent nature of flower petals will be given as these two characteristics together give rise to some interesting colour phenomina.
  • Painting: to get a broader colour range in our work, we will move on to using the water-based medium of gouache. An opaque medium, it’s much more forgiving than water colour. Students will learn how to build it up with hatching, blending, and layering to represent the soft colours of vegetation.




classwork

Students will create three to five pieces over the course of the workshop along with some quicker exercises to familiarize them with medium techniques. The emphasis throughout the 8 weeks is on technical precision, but we will also touch upon looser stylistic techniques for those that are interested. Students can expect to finish the course with richly coloured, three-dimensional works of art which express the beauty of the plant world in a precise manner.

studio
curriculum

COMPOSITION
AND DESIGN





In this class, students will learn how to take control of a picture’s visual message through a deep study of all the elements that go into a successful compositional design.

It’s not by accident that great works of art command our attention. The compelling visual stories they tell involves something beyond whatever style they are painted in or the scenes that they show. It’s the way that the parts of the picture are assembled by the artist that has a profound effect on our appreciation of the work.

Even if we can’t describe what makes a picture work with snobby art terms, the picture “just works”. Why is that? What is it that is happening and how can we as artists take control over how a viewer visually interacts with the painted world on our canvas?

This course will help unlock the secrets to compositional success and give students the tools to take control over decisions of visual arrangement.





information covered

  • Dynamics of the picture plane: Every canvas onto which we paint our picture has a specific ratio which governs the visual design that takes place between it’s edges. Learn how to best compose within different formats.
  • The basics – principles of design: Easy to learn, but take some practice to identify and utilize effectively. They are: balance, pattern, rhythm, emphasis, contrast, unity. We’ll analyze important works of art to hone our skills in understanding the building blocks of composition.
  • Compositional armatures: Similar to sculpture, in which an armature is used as a structure to guide the direction or movement of a piece. We will learn about 12 types of compositional armatures which set up the visual movement within a work.
  • Designing with abstract shapes: Even if a picture is “realistic”, it’s still comprised of an arrangement of flat shapes on a two-dimensional surface. Learn how to put the puzzle pieces together to establish a harmonious whole.
  • Selection: Choosing the right amount of information to suit the artistic aim of your work.
  • Center of interest: and balancing it with subdominant elements to create a harmonious visual arrangement.
  • Value: We’ll strip down the compositional process to its bare bones, by studying design through the use of notans or two value arrangements. Moving on to three value arrangements, we’ll analyze works of art and create our own works based on their design.
  • Colour: Hue schemes and temperature relationships. Although colour is not the most important element in compositional design, it does play a role which we will touch upon as the workshop wraps up.




classwork

Since there is a broad range of topics to be covered, the majority of classwork done will be shorter in duration. The only way to get a deep understanding of composition is to analyze and make many works. Longer term individual projects based off of class work can be initiated by students but is entirely optional. You won’t finish the class with one masterpiece, but you will most definitely be armed with a whole new body of knowledge to vastly improve your own work.

studio
curriculum

figure sculpture
(live model)





In this class, students will work with water based clay to create figure sculptures from a live model.

This class is open to everyone, even if you have never sculpted before. Students will be provided with comprehensive guidance on working three-dimensionally, learning to create form with both hand building techniques and sculpting tools.

Throughout the lessons, there will be individual guidance and group instruction on the anatomy and structure of the human body.





information covered

  • Building a Sculpture Armature: Students will begin the sculpting process by creating their own wire and wood frame to serve as a structural base for their clay forms. The sculptures in this workshop will be approximately 40cm tall.
  • Working with water-based clay: There are many different types of clay- porcelain, polymer, plasticene and ceramic. For this course we will use ceramic clay since it is the easiest to mold and offers great flexibility depending on how wet or dry it is. Students will begin their experience with “sculpting in the round” to create basic simple forms with the aim of correctness of volume from all viewing angles.
  • Using tools to establish and refine three dimensional forms: The use of files, rakes, shaping tools, chisels, sponges, and loops will all be covered.
  • Basic volume statement: We’ll begin to approach the complexity of the human body by representing it with simple block-like forms. By doing this the underlying structure and positioning of the rib cage, pelvis, limbs, and head can be accurately determined. We’ll use construction markings, calipers, and some other tricks to assess our work.
  • Anatomy of the body: You can’t sculpt what you see unless you know what’s there. We’ll cover some basic anatomy of the human body to help guide students as they make their own three-dimensional versions of these forms. We’ll also examine age, gender, and physical diversity and their role in making each body unique.
  • Body forms, step by step: specifics on how to sculpt the torso, pelvis, limbs, head, and hair.
  • Refining techniques: Sculpting details and refining the clay surface to make a more polished work.




classwork

Students will create one figure sculpture (approx 40cm tall) over the course of the workshop. We will be working with one live model for 7 sessions but will begin the first class learning how to build an armature and the basics of sculpture techniques without the model present. Please note: we will not be casting the sculptures in plaster. Students may keep their work but it will need to be covered in order to prevent it from drying out and cracking.

studio
curriculum

PORTRAIT DRAWING
(LIVE MODEL)





In this class, students will have the opportunity to work with live models in order to experience portrait drawing from direct observation. Throughout the multi-class poses (same model, same setup, over the course of at least two sessions), students will create finished drawings in either graphite or charcoal that attempt to capture the sitter’s likeness in a realistic manner. Students will receive group instruction during the sessions focusing on anatomy and facial structure. Individual guidance will be given to each student throughout the class.





information covered

  • Setting up a live model with attention to point of view and lighting.
  • Beginning the drawing: strategies for starting a portrait and blocking in the proportions and gesture of your subject effectively at the beginning of the live model session.
  •  Working in stages: We’ll cover in-depth how to develop a drawing- going from broad sketch, to developed construction, to anatomical description, to individual features and details, and on to finished tonal statement.
  • Anatomy: Proportions, skull structure, features, musculature, gender, age, emotion.
  • Rendering: Understanding light and volume to create three-dimensional facial form and how to use pencil and charcoal in a technical manner when applying tone.




classwork

We will work with live models in each session. Students can expect to finish at least three portraits using either graphite or charcoal. Classwork may involve exercises alongside the longer term drawings.

studio
curriculum

ARTISTIC PERSPECTIVE





In this workshop, students will learn how to harness linear and atmospheric perspective to accurately depict objects, interiors, buildings, and the rest of the natural world in a believable, spacial way. This course is great for anyone that has an interest in architecture or urban sketching and will help to make your pictures look more realistic based on the mathematical rules of perspective. We’ll use both rulers and freehand approaches to cover the subject and will explore procedures for drawing almost anything you can think of in one, two, and three-point perspective.





information covered

  • The history of perspective: We’ll explore the origins of linear perspective as it was developed in the Renaissance and compare it to other systems of spacial illusion from that time.
  • Perspective basics: Eye level, station point, picture plane, cone of vision, vanishing points, orthoganals etc. There’s a lot of terminology in perspective, but it needn’t be overwhelming or confusing. Students will learn about all of the different elements necessary to create a proper perspective view.
  • One point perspective grid: Learn how to map out a view from a plan or from imagination. A perspective grid can help maintain spacial logic within a picture so that it appears as we see things in reality.
  • Two point perspective: Beginning from a plan, we will plot out a street view in perspective and learn how to place vanishing points and measure points to accurately depict buildings from a given viewpoint
  • Dividing, adding, and multiplying a construction: There’s a simple way to add on to or break down a geometric structure. We’ll show you how. A must for anyone that is interested in drawing buidings.
  • Sloping Planes, staircases, awnings, gables, and rooftops: Learn the basics of how to add angled elements to your perspective view.
  • Circles, elipses, arches, and curved surfaces: It takes some effort, but these can be precisely plotted with some simple perspective guidelines.
  • Shadows and reflections: Even the effects of light are subject to the rules of perspective. Learn how to accurately plot shadows and reflections in an accurate manner.
  • Atmospheric Perspective: Learn how to enhance the appearance of space in your picture with the help of some guidelines that can be relied upon to  create the illusion of atmospheric depth.




classwork

Students will create a series of drawings throughout the course covering all aspects of one, two, and (some) three point perspective. We will begin with a technical approach using rulers, t-squares, triangles, French curves, and protractors. Although it’s all a bit fussy, it’s best to start in a controlled way with these precision implements. We’ll make plan views and elevation drawings so that we can get really deep into the precision possible with a rigorous perspective approach. In the latter part of the course, students will switch to a more organic freehand application better suited to most artistic situations whether sketching on the street in your sketchbook, or working things out in a painting. The course will culminate with a final project in which students can either create a work from observation/reference, or plan out a visual scheme from their imagination- an excellent exercise for anyone interested in going into the field of animation.