The Academy

Program Overview

Scottsdale Artists’ School has always had a mission to bring excellent art education to the community, and the Academy is the next step of that commitment.

While the Scottsdale Artists’ School traditionally has focused on weekly classes and workshops, the Southwest has been void of a structured program to equip students with a strong fundamental foundation in the understanding and techniques of traditional realism. The Academy is the solution.

Led by Instructor Tim Rees, The Academy at Scottsdale Artists’ School is a two-year training program focusing on the methods and information presented in 19thcentury ateliers and academies.  Unlike traditional schools, however, the program is condensed and structured in a way to encourage independent study aside from instructed class time.

The first year of the program is dedicated to drawing, and students will work primarily in charcoal, as it affords the broad range of lights and darks they will be dealing with while painting.  Aside from a technical proficiency in charcoal, students can expect to learn effective ways to handle other drawing mediums, such as pen, marker, and white chalk.  While students may execute studies and sketches with graphite, it will not be allowed for in class/final projects. Completion of all requirements for the first year will grant students the Classical Drawing Certificate.

The second year of the program will have students painting in oil.  They will begin monochromatically (one color), and advance to a limited palette.  If the student can successfully manage a limited palette, working in an advanced palette may be permitted. The subject of each class will be similar to the drawing year, and students will spend the majority of their time acquiring a technical proficiency in a variety of painting methods including direct, layered, glazing, scumbling, etc, and knowledge of various painting mediums. Completion of all requirements for the second year will grant students the Classical Painting Certificate.

Each of the two years is divided into three terms.  Each term is 10 weeks long, and students attend two studio classes and a lecture class per term. Students meet twice a week, one day for a three-hour studio class, and another day for a different three-hour studio class and a one-hour lecture. Because of the reduced amount of instructed class time, students are expected to cultivate their ability to work and study independently, a critical requirement for a practicing professional artist.  The amount of time outside of class the student must commit will vary by the individual, but the average expectation is 5 -10 hours per week the first term, 10-15 hours per week the second term, and 10-20 hours per week the third term.  This volume of time is expected to help the student develop good working habits as a transition is made into a more professional role. Those who cannot make this time commitment are far less likely to succeed with the program.  Advancement to each successive term is contingent upon the completion of an at-home final assignment.

The enrollment of each class is limited to 12 students, resulting in ample individual teacher-to-student interaction.  Also, each term has 4 start dates per year.  This allows the student the possibility of integrating the program into other facets of life requiring a brief sabbatical.  One may leave for 3, 6, or 9 months and return to pick up the program where it was left off.

Additionally, it is important to consider that while the program is structured for advancement into painting after 9 months of drawing, this should be considered an accelerated path.  The traditional timeline to a program of similar design is one to two years, and as such many students will need to repeat one or several terms until they have gained sufficient mastery.  This is not a sign of one’s inability to grasp the concept or become an artist, but a mark of the grave and challenging nature of the program. It is simply a sign that the student may require more than the brief 10 weeks to understand and use all of the information presented.

Students will learn large amounts of relevant information throughout the two-year program, and with the requirements of advancement will create six strong portfolio pieces.  The three drawings and three paintings of this portfolio will illustrate the skills gained in the course of study.  While they will be admirable, one should consider them demonstrations of skill more than the Art that will define the student’s career at a later time.  The Academy at Scottsdale Artists’ School is a fundamental program, intended to give the student the skills necessary to adapt and learn any of a broad range of styles and techniques.  In this respect perhaps the Academy is unique.  It does not make good Artists.  It gives students the skills necessary to get the most out of any class, artist, or workshop.  Unhindered by lack of ability to use materials and understand core concepts, Academy students can become some of the best Artists.

Cancellation Policy

If you cancel more than thirty (30) days before the start date of The Academy published in this schedule, the School will retain $100 of your tuition as a cancellation fee. If you cancel thirty (30) days or less before the start date, you will forfeit your entire tuition.  There are no refunds for no-shows or for withdrawal after a class begins.