School Year Program ONLINE
You may join a class at any time.
About our Courses
The Big Program for ages 8 & up, teens, & adults
“What do your course names mean? As in Foundations, Creations, and Expressions?“
Since we take a long-term training approach, we have several levels of instruction. Our minimum sign-up is one school year, but our curriculum is designed to work for students for as long as they want – up to 12 years. We have three levels in our traditional art program. The first two levels have 2 years each. There are 72 lessons for each of these levels. After that, the training is focused on guiding the student towards their own vision, with a coaching approach.
Here’s how it breaks down.
First Two Years
We are a safe place for first-time artists, or anyone who has never had training before. More than that, at Firstlight, beginning artists discover and practice the critical things that make art work – the Foundations. The lessons are clear and simple. Our Foundations course, for your first 2 years, includes 72 individual lessons covering everything an artist needs to feel competent. Techniques are presented with detailed demonstrations and well-designed projects. Artists will use these foundational insights every day as their skills grow.
But these lessons are not scaled down or simplified. Our Foundations curriculum is based on college-level art school curriculum. We have made things easier to understand, and more concrete, but still robust. So Foundations is also important for intermediate level artists who have not been at Firstlight before.
We cover many insights, such as how to draw accurately, and color mixing. We learn all the most basic techniques in traditional media, keeping it simple to keep materials cost down. We also try to have as much artists’ choice as possible, allowing for personal expression.
Next Two Years
After the 2 years of Foundations, we have 2 years of Creations curriculum. We place these students in the same rooms as the Foundations classes. Students need to practice using the foundational lessons they’ve learned so they don’t lose the concepts. Being in the same room, they hear the lessons they took two years before, sometimes even helping the newer students. It’s been discovered recently that teaching helps you learn even better than repetition
The Creations students are given special instructions when they arrive. They have more challenging versions of similar projects using the same techniques – and more freedom too. The teacher helps them individually just like the Foundations students.
You can think of it as an athlete being able to lift more weight. You use the same tools and techniques every day, but you are becoming a stronger artist
This is why we have courses where both names are used: Foundations/Creations
Advanced With Coaching
Year 5 and beyond
Artists who want to move towards a higher level are encouraged to continue moving up to Expressions. Students work with their instructor to create a vision and work on their portfolio. The instructor coaches you through your projects. Artists who are working towards going to art school get help with admissions letters and portfolio requirements. Many of our advanced artists have been in the program for 8 years or more. Our ultimate goal is to see our students move away from needing lessons and into their own studio or gallery.
Learn more about our curriculum and approach further below on this page.
We have many sources of reference materials, including a small library, an image bank, and a still life object library. Subject matter is carefully chosen to facilitate a specific project.
Students are encouraged to bring other media and try new techniques, after their first two years, including Oil Paints, Digital Media, and Colored Pencils.
Cartooning is a different course. Please visit this page.