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BSOFA Academy Curriculum

The Academy at the Boulder School of Fine Art's program of classical art instruction teaches art students drawing and painting techiques by training their ability to observe nature and light and then render what they see with realism and personal style. The methods used are based on classical techniques practiced by the old masters but modified to be approachable and useful to artists of today. Students decide how many classes they wish to attend a week and can choose from weekday, weekend and evening classes to fit their schedules.


Students learn how to draw through a series of projects and how to paint by introductory painting projects and later through still life, master copies and painting the figure and portrait from life. Students are taught several ways to observe and draw accurately what they see by sight size, comparison measurement and careful observation. Teachers help students analyze and assess their work and point out the big and small changes necessary.

Art History and Art Appreciation lectures are offered once a month. Artistic anatomy classes, classical sculpture and ecorche will be scheduled in upcoming trimesters.

2024 Course of Study

Classical Drawing and Painting

The Classical Drawing and Painting class teaches the fundamental methods of classical technique through a series of self paced projects.

Master Copies


The Classical Drawing and Painting Class teaches the fundamental methods of classical techique.  Students begin by copying drawings made by Charles Bargue in the 19th century with pencil and  charcoal. 4-5 drawings should be completed before moving to Cast Drawing​

Cast Drawing


After completing Bargue Master Copies, students draw reproductions of antique sculptures in natural light with charcoal and white chalk.

Cast Painting


Students graduate to painting casts and busts in natural light using white, black and raw sienna oil paints.

Classical Life Drawing and Painting

The BSOFA Academy offers an extensive program of life drawing and painting using the same classical principles introduced in the Classical Drawing and Painting classes.

Figure Sketching


In Thursday Figure Sketching, students capture the gesture and block in shadow and light paying little attention to detail. The methods learned are utilized in first stages of Classical Figure Drawing and Painting. Students are encouraged to practice figure sketching skills and those enrolled in other Academy classes are given a discount when taking the Thursday evening figure sketching class.

Classical Figure


In Classical Figure, students have the option to focus drawing nude or costumed models use the sight size and comparison measurement techniques over multiple sessions to create drawings and paintings that are accurate in overall shape and true to life in value and color.

Sketches are first made to explore the gesture, shape and values of the subject, then a final finished drawing of charcoal on Roma paper is completed.

Classical Portraiture


Classical Portaiture features a model who poses for multiple sessions on Saturday afternoons. Students will explore the anatomical features of the face while working to create a likeness of the sitter. Advanced students may paint in oil paint.

Painting with color

Learning to draw with accuracy and mastery is the first step in learning how to paint. We believe that painting success depends on the ability to draw. Advanced students are welcome to paint figure, portrait, still lifes, and master copies with instructor permission.


The BSOFA Academy offers an Introduction to Oil Painting Class on Sundays,. Students are encouraged to develop basic painting skills by enrolling in one day per week of Introduction to Oil Painting. Advaced painting is incorporated into the figure and portraiture classes once instructors are confident that students have mastered drawing with charcoal.

Special Topics

BSOFA offers an assortment of classes throughout the year for young people as well as workshops and short term courses by visiting artists and staff.

Students are encouraged to attend Anatomy classes and monthly Second Friday Art History Slide Shows and Lectures

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