the Academy

The goal of the CAS is to provide artists with an education that allows them to pursue and produce an art that serves the public, elevates society and reestablishes the standards of art as a visual language that can be understood and felt beyond any boundaries.  It is our belief that craft precedes artistry, knowledge precedes inspiration, observation precedes invention and a process-based art always yields a higher standard of work. Enrollment is open to all interested students

The Center for Academic Study and Naturalist Painting (CAS) is an answer to the growing need that a number of students find when seeking out traditional Academic Art instruction. This Academy teaches the same Classical techniques and methods of drawing and painting taught at the best ateliers and academies in the world. The curriculum at CAS includes lessons in Copy Drawing, Cast Drawing and Painting, Figure Drawing and Painting, Portrait Drawing and Painting, Still Life Painting, Artistic Anatomy, Art History, Theory, and Composition.

In an extremely regimented environment, students learn how to observe nature with a high degree of accuracy. The structure of the course allows for students to progress at their own rate of learning with no time constraints, grades, or due dates to contend with. Critiques are given daily to ensure that the students understand and become intimately familiar with the methods of seeing and interpreting a subject. In such a strict and organized learning environment, the rate of student progression is dramatically hastened. Students quickly develop discipline in drawing by expecting more from their work with raised awareness and standards. Over time, they gain the ability to self-critique—a skill necessary for any working professional. Students will also have access to certain Museums, which will allow them to create copies of master paintings as part of their studies.

our Director

Ryan S. Brown was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah.  By the time he was a senior in high school Ryan had decided to pursue art as a profession.  This pursuit led him to Brigham Young University where he studied Illustration, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2002.  While finishing his studies at BYU, Ryan became aware of the deficiencies in his University education.  Because his interests were in the academic and naturalist traditions of the nineteenth century, it became necessary for him to get the foundational drawing and painting training not offered at the university.  In his senior year at BYU, Ryan began studying with William Whitaker, a renowned portrait and figurative painter.  Soon after this, Ryan entered the Florence Academy of Art, where he received his first taste of Academic training.  The organized, intense and concise training of the Florence Academy provided Ryan with what he considers the beginning of his understanding of the craft of art.  This training not only gave Ryan a deep understanding and love of drawing, but also developed in him a strong self-discipline and work ethic, as well as an insatiable appetite for learning.

In 2003 Ryan returned home to Utah.  Upon his return, Ryan began producing work for galleries.  Ryan also began teaching academic principles at BYU, teaching figure drawing, observational and spatial drawing and cast drawing.  Ryan also opened his studio to students, establishing the Classical Drawing Academy in Springville, Utah.  During the three years this Academy was available to students, Ryan saw more than 80 students come through his studio to experience this training.  Ryan also taught part-time at Utah Valley State College.  Ryan was able to teach and pass on these academic principles until the end of 2006.  Ryan also taught at the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art sporadically between 2004 and 2006, culminating in an academic drawing workshop given in 2006.  An article in American Artist Workshop Magazine in the Winter 2006 issue covered this workshop.

In January, 2007 Ryan, his wife and three kids moved back to Florence in order to finish his studies at the Florence Academy of Art.

Ryan is living and working again in Utah and has established the Center for Academic Study and Naturalist Painting (CAS).  He is currently interviewing potential students and welcomes any application for study.

Ryan was the top award winner of the John F. and Anna Lee Stacey scholarship in 2004.  He also received third place in the Art Renewal Scholarship competition in 2005.  In 2006 Ryan was one of ten artists to be invited by American Artist Magazine to the Forbes Trinchera Ranch for a nine day retreat that was followed by a special article in the magazine and a showing of these select artist’s works at the Forbes Gallery in New York in March, 2007.  Ryan was also accepted into the Hudson River School for Landscape in its inaugural year, which he attended in the summer of 2007.  In 2007 Ryan also won Fourth Place in the Art Renewal Center Scholarship Competition.  Ryan was featured in the May, 2008 issue of Southwest Art as “A Rising Artist to Watch”.  Ryan won the “Best Painting of the Year” at the Florence Academy of Art in 2008.