london atelier of representational art

Foundation in fine art Learn the grammar of drawing

Foundation in fine art
Learn the grammar of drawing

Technical proficiency underpins and supports creativity. LARA teaches technical proficiency through the development of draughtsmanship and a practical understanding of the materials and methods of the artist. These skills give LARA students creative self confidence.

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Course overview

  • 1 Year Full-time
  • Part-time possible
  • Master Drawing
  • Receive tailored tuition

Course Introduction

The London Atelier of Representational Art (LARA) was founded in response to continuing demand from students for a structured approach to learning. LARA teaches fundamentally important aspects of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture from life, through the 'Sight-Size' method, and uses a specific approach designed to teach the essential concepts of proportion, line, gesture, form and light. Inspired by the Atelier Method of instruction, LARA offers unique training in representing sustained poses of no less than one week and up to one month, giving students optimum time to observe and understand the figure. LARA's philosophy supports a return to discipline in art. By employing traditional, time-tested methods, LARA seeks not to return to the past, but rather to build upon it. We provide students with the opportunity to explore distinctive aspects of their chosen subject through the development of draughtsmanship, direct study of works and a practical understanding of the materials and methods of the artist. By this means and through the resulting identification of clear artistic objectives, students acquire creative self-confidence, and visual understanding with subtle and precise powers of description.

"Sight-size is like learning to drive. It's feels very mechanical to start with. Then it becomes second nature...fluid."

Travis Seymour, Tutor

The atelier system of learning

The atelier system is a time tested, highly-structured and systematic curriculum which is passed on from tutor to student. It emerged around the seventeenth century and later became the most common method of training painters. Students of differing standards and experience work together, each learning from the other, and with the tutor tailoring his critique to that of a student’s individual requirements.This is an extremely effective way of hastening the process of learning and getting results. Tasks are assigned like building blocks.  Each task must be completely mastered before moving on to the next.

The sight-size method

Simply put, the artist first sets a vantage point where the subject and the drawing surface appear to be the same size. Then, using a variety of measuring tools (which can include strings, sticks, mirrors, levels, and plumb-lines) the artist draws the subject so that, when viewed from the set vantage point, the drawing and the subject have exactly the same dimensions. When properly done, sight-size drawing can result in extremely accurate and realistic drawings. It can also be used to draw the exact dimensions for a subject in preparation for a painting. Professional painters will in time, develop an ‘eye’ that precludes the need for measuring devices and plumb-lines, but the observation method itself is not abandoned – instead it becomes second nature.

We teach the grammar of drawing. It’s the fundamental language that must be learnt.

Life models The source

Life models
The source

LARA's figure models are experienced at holding long poses for several hours at a time, sometimes over several weeks. This allows students plenty of time to study the figure in depth.

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Casts & Still Life Learning the principles

Casts & Still Life
Learning the principles

Cast drawing gives you an intimate understanding of the process involved in creating highly believable, naturalistic images. Still life painting is an opportunity to represent form as a combination of shapes with specific colour values.

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Foundation

in drawing

The one year foundation course is a proven means to improve your drawing skills. Whether you need to brush up your drawing before a degree course, hone your abilities after a degree, or improve a portfolio for industry, it is a suitable option for any starting level. LARA has welcomed mid-career artists, recent graduates and those developing portfolios for film, computer animation and concept art onto the one year course.

The drawing skills taught at LARA, and the ability to truly observe and understand how to see, will only improve your confidence and ability in whatever artistic discipline you pursue. Until relatively recently figure drawing has been the back bone of a western art training, whether fine art, graphic design or architecture. Our predecessors recognised the challenge of drawing the human form and how truly resolving the difficult drawing issues raised helped immeasurably in other aspects of their design training.

To achieve the LARA Drawing Certificate we expect students to meet our high standards when completing each assignment. The quality of the drawings you produce will determine how quickly you progress through the curriculum. Each assignment needs to be completed to the highest standard, with each of the fundamental elements of the exercise understood before moving on. In many cases you will be required to repeat an assignment, but we envisage students completing the assignments within a year.

Core modules

Draw

Figure Drawing

Figure Drawing

Figure drawing is the basis of all good draftsmanship and drawing from life is the backbone of LARA’s process.

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Portrait Drawing

Portrait Drawing

Portrait drawing is an integral part of the LARA curriculum and students are encouraged to hire models throughout the program.

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Cast Drawing

Cast Drawing

Cast drawing informs all aspects of the curriculum and is where students learn foundational principals that apply to all aspects of their work.

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Gallery

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  • tutors

    James Napier

    James Napier (Director) studied art at Central St Martin’s School of Art in London followed by a degree in Architectural Design from Kingston University.

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    "Art is a vocation, it chooses you, you don’t choose it."

  • tutors

    Luca Indraccolo

    Luca Indraccolo graduated from LARA in 2010. In 2009 he moved to London to complete his student career at LARA and currently works in London and his work has been exhibited extensively.

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    "mastering the technique of painting is just the beginning. deciding what to do with it is the hard part."

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    Sally Jane Fuerst

    Sally Jane Fuerst graduated from LARA in 2010. Her work blurs the line between the classical and the contemporary, but painted with the skill and discipline that comes with years of atelier training.

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    "LARA has given me the skills necessary to realise my artistic vision. Now the question isn't "Will I be able to paint it?". Instead, the question is "What do I want to paint next?"."

  • tutors

    Luca Indraccolo

    Born in Naples, Luca Indraccolo left Italy at the age of 19 to start his advertising career ending up as a creative director for Saatchi & Saatchi London.

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    "Mastering the technique of painting is just the beginning. Deciding what to do with it is the hard part."

  • tutors

    Ed Haslam

    Ed Haslam spent three months studying at LARA. His paintings explore the boundaries of perceived reality, touching on the enigmatic horizon of the human disposition.

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    "I have loosened my paintwork and for that matter, shape work, to be more organic and psychological. Yet underneath it all is a framework that would not exist without the fundamental practices learnt at LARA."

  • tutors

    Travis Seymour

    Travis Seymour is an American still-life and figural artist based in London. He graduated with Bachelors Degrees in both Studio Art and Art History from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

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    "Sight-size is like learning to drive. It's feels very mechanical to start with. Then it becomes second nature...fluid."

  • tutors

    Tom Greenwood

    Tom first came to LARA as a student in 2010, after working as an analyst in investment research. Over a four year period of both part-time and full-time study at LARA he is now working as a privately commissioned portrait painter, based in London.

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    "lara's greatest strength is that it teaches everything a painter needs to know, without being prescriptive about personal style or taste. technical ability should free the artist, not constrain them"

  • tutors

    Anastasia Pollard

    Anastasia Pollard has been teaching at LARA since it’s conception and played an important part in LARA’s development and reputation of excellence in drawing and painting.

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    "Students learn as much from each other's critiques as from the tutors. It's the atelier way."

  • tutors

    Sofia Welch

    After struggling to find the classical training she craved in a highly conceptualised educational environment, Sofia found the London Atelier of Representational Art.

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    "Studying at LARA enabled me to acquire the fundamental visual skills, and gave me the confidence in both my work and myself, to pursue a career I had always dreamed of."

  • tutors

    Radoslav Topalov

    ​Being interested in art since an early age, Radoslav started his career as an illustrator at the age of nineteen. During that time, he studied at the New Bulgarian University in Sofia, later to receive his bachelor's degree in fine arts.

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    "It is hard to say what makes someone an accomplished visual artist, but mastering the craft of creating pictures is surely a step in the right direction."

  • tutors

    Andrew Gow

    Andrew Gow is a portrait painter based in London. He started his training at Williams College in Massachusetts, where he graduated Cum Laude, with Honours, winning the Peyzer Prize for painting.

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    "the rigorous analytical observation and craft of classical drawing and painting learnt from the academic atelier method taught at LARA is an invaluable quality foundation, no matter what creative direction you end up pursuing as artist, craftsperson or designer. "

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    Olly Maughan

    Inspired by the Boston School impressionism Olly continued his training under Paul Ingbretson in New Hampshire USA.

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    ""

  • tutors

    Charlotte Tollman

    Lottie Tollman is a Chartered Surveyor and an Associate Director at DTZ, a global leader in property services.

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    ""

  • tutors

    Helen Masacz

    Helen Masacz is an established figurative painter who has exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, the Saffron Gallery in Battle and at the Mall Galleries in London.

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    "I chose LARA because the quality of the tutors' work was of a high standard and I wanted to learn from the best."

  • tutors

    John Amphlet

    John held a number of Senior Management positions throughout his career in industry. Upon retirement he devoted much of his time to mentoring small businesses through the Prince's Trust and local enterprise agencies, initially in Cambridge and more recently in London.

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    ""

  • tutors

    Lewis Hazelwood-Horner

    Lewis Hazelwood-Horner finds inspiration in the art residencies he's occupied, for companies as diverse as James Smith & Sons, the umbrella makers; Holland and Holland, the gunmakers and Lobbs the bespoke boot makers.

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    "LARA offered me a solid grounding of technique based training which I couldn't find available anywhere else in the country. With the grounding of the sight-size method I can execute works to a much higher degree than I ever could before. The act of whole-heartedly giving my attention to a work until it's finished was only made apparent to me after studying at LARA."

  • tutors

    Lewis Warner

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    "LARA offered me a solid grounding of technique based training which I couldn't find available anywhere else in the country."

  • tutors

    Lizet Dingemans

    ​Lizet Dingemans grew up in Helmond, the Netherlands. After studying Art and Illustration in the Netherlands she went to Florence which gave her the inspiration to continue her art career in London as a student at the LARA.

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    "LARA has helped me become confident as an artist."

  • tutors

    Matt McDonald

    Matthew is a qualified Chartered Accountant who has worked in investment banking since moving to the UK from Australia in 2004.

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    ""

  • tutors

    Philip Borg

    Philip is a visual effects artist in the film industry. He has worked on many films, including "Kingsman: The Secret Service", "The Monument Men" and Tim Burton's "The Corpse Bride". His personal work focuses on vintage style pin-up paintings and illustrations.

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    "My time at LARA was hugely important in terms of both technical improvement, personal fulfilment and for laying a way of approaching my work that has been carried through into everything else I do."

  • tutors

    Robert Neil

    Robert Neil has exhibited at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, Royal Institute of Painters, the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists and the BP Portrait Prize. Since 2012, Robert has also been the President of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists.

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    "The community at LARA gave me the confidence that there were other like-minded artists with a similar outlook, which was unexpectedly empowering. "

  • tutors

    Simon Bacon

    Simon Bacon lives and works in Wivenhoe, Essex. His work is mainly abstract figurative and he mostly works in bronze. His pieces have been exhibited in several solo and group shows.

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    "My time at LARA was simply transformative. What I learnt there, and the encouragement I was shown by the tutors, gave me the solid foundations and confidence to develop my own voice. I am very grateful for the support the school gave me."

Take the next step

how it works

We try to be flexible for our students so you can pay for our full-time courses either per year (SAVE £700) or per term. You can also choose to pay upfront (secures your place), or pay a (non-refundable) deposit to reserve your place. You will need to pay the balance 4 weeks before your start date to confirm your place. Simply change the quantity to book multiple years or terms. If you have any questions just get in touch.

Contact us >

any questions?

Choosing where to study is a big decision, so we're here to help. Give us a call on +44 (0)207 738 8884 to have a chat, send us a message or read our FAQs. You can also get a bite-size version of our site in PDF form to print, read and ponder.

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