The OAA Program


At the Ottawa Art Academy (OAA), we specialize in academic representational realism. We help students learn the foundations and fundamentals of drawing and painting realistically. If you can capture reality, then you are capable of creating anything you can imagine.

A lot of our techniques come from nineteenth century art schools, such as reproducing precise drawings of plaster casts, how we perceive and mix colours, and how we sharpen our pencils. This not only gives students tried and true methods to improve their drawing skills but also ensures these classic traditions can live on.

“Careful academic practices not only develop patience but also train the student to see mistakes and correct them. In addition, academic theory urges the student to make continuous reference to nature in order to avoid excessive personal expression or mannerisms.”

- Gerald M. Ackerman, Charles Bargue Drawing Course

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Are these classes for you?

Our philosophy at the academy is that with enough time, anyone can become a master. Our classes cater to a wide range of skill levels and age. From absolute beginners, seasoned artists, retiree’s, to teenagers just entering high school. Although the classroom has a mix of students, the instruction is individual. This ensures everyone gets the instruction they need, as well as being exposed to a variety of topics that they can listen in on.

Once a student has completed a few introductory projects, we begin to focus and tailor the projects towards the needs of the student. For instance, someone might wish to become a better-accomplished portrait artist. That student will then begin to work on portraits ranging from drawing in graphite, charcoal, and coloured chalks, to then painting with monochrome, limited palettes, and extended palettes. Furthering that students knowledge base on portraiture. This is an excellent way to develop portfolios whether for college, university or even job applications.

We use an easy to follow, step-by-step process for all our projects. As the student graduates from project to project, we then introduce new concepts and up the difficulty on the subject matter.