Learn the techniques associated with the classical academic method of drawing & painting at the Paul Richard James Atelier

326 Bold Street @ Locke Street Hamilton Ontario, Canada
(289) 396-0270

The Academic Method begins with a series of drawing exercises designed to develop the observational skills necessary to for realistic rendering. Both sight size and visual memory comparison measurements are used. Students explore Old Master techniques for creating solid form, distance, atmosphere, realistic flesh tones, and convincing surface textures to create the illusion of three-dimensions on a two-dimensional surface.

Subjects range from drawing from the flat, cast studies, and in the final step you will work on a full colour painting in Oils.

Listen to Paul describe the Atelier Method in this August 2014 interview on Art Waves - 101.5 The Hawk



This is a complete system of painting . The aim is to develop the student’s skill through traditional training and practice, using the same methods that were used to teach many of the great masters of the past. This is a tried and true method of teaching that was widely used until the modern period and is no longer taught at the University or College level. However, many of the “Modern” painters; Picasso, Van Gogh, Degas, and others were trained in this method and were able to use this technique to inform their own style.


Topics include how to:

  • See like the old masters: learn to generalize
  • Chiaroscuro: light the subject to create depth
  • Use constructs to simplify the form
  • Use colour charts and greys to match colours, value and chroma
  • Draw from the flat; The Barque Drawing System
  • Draw from the antique: cast drawing: learn to measure
  • Use Sight Size and the comparative method
  • Complete an Imprimatura: (tonal underpainting)
  • Create realistic flesh tones
  • Blend edges: work with lost edges
  • Use brushstrokes to create the illusion of form

Advanced Studies

After completing the Introductory Session of the Old Masters painting Class, students may wish to continue to learn more about the Academic Painting method or practice what has been taught by continuing to take classes at the Atelier. Students may wish to continue with another painting, or work on basic skills by completing a sight size cast drawing and grisaille study. Students may also wish to attempt the full Atelier training system as it has been taught for hundreds of years. The Introduction to The Old Masters Oil Painting Class is designed to give the student the knowledge and skills necessary for the student to continue on their own.


This is NOT a course in the materials used by the old masters. Students will not be making their own paint, black oil, varnish, or gesso. Due to time constraints, the focus of these sessions is on the actual techniques that will allow you to observe and paint what is “there”, as opposed to what you “think” is there. Recipes are available for those who wish to pursue the materials of the Old Masters.

“Excellent for both the beginner or the advanced painter”

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Still Have Questions?

Contact me and I'll be happy to answer whatever questions you have.

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