Art Courses

Foundations Program

We are dedicated to continuously growing and a part of that is developing our education program so we can offer artists the resources to flourish.  The Foundations Program is our newest development in education.

Foundations Program 2020

Now open for Registration!

2020_Foundations Program

Foundational art tools and skills are as important to a visual artist as grammar and spelling are to writers; its hard to write a compelling story with bad grammar and its difficult to communicate visually when you don’t understand colour theory or the principles of design. But you don’t need to go back to school to learn the skills you need. The Federation of Canadian Artists' Foundations Program offers you choice in how you approach your artistic development. It offers you a simpler, expedient, and more enjoyable path to get there; through practical, hands-on, foundational training.


You'll find that once you become confident in your foundational knowledge, the creative process becomes more enjoyable and successful too.


The Foundations Program is a series of 10 classes, taught by 10 different instructors, each focusing on 10 different foundational concepts of visual art. These classes provide a high-level overview of what every artist should know so you can review your own skillset, understand where you are within your personal practice, and be able to see where there is room for improvement.


Our Master Instructors have collaborated with each other to bring you this cohesive and progressive foundational program.


Program Options


Wednesday Evening 10-Week Program from March 4 2020 - May 13 2020

    Time: 6:30-9:00pm

    Location: Federation Gallery, 1241 Cartwright Street, Vancouver, BC

    Cost: $365 for Members / $415 for Non-Members




Monday Full-Day 10-Week Program from March 2 2019 - May 11 2019

    Time: 9:30am-4:30pm

    Location: Federation Gallery, 1241 Cartwright Street, Vancouver, BC

    Cost: $685 for Members / $735 for Non-Members



          Choose Your Program and Enroll by Clicking Below:




2020 Class Schedule


Week 1 - Elements of Design (The Tools to Make Art)

                Instructor: Jan Crawford, AFCA


Week 2 - Principles of Design (How to Use the Tools to Make Art)

                 Instructor: Lalita Hamill, AFCA


Week 3 - Drawing for Painting: The Art of Seeing

                 Instructor: Mark Anthony


Week 4 - Integrating Drawing and Painting Visual Elements

                 Instructor: Rick McDiarmid, SFCA


Week 5 - Tonal Values (30 Shades of Grey)

                 Instructor: Michael Abraham


Week 6 - Colour Theory & Mixing

                 Instructor: Gaye Adams, SFCA


Week 7 - Brushwork

                 Instructor: Paul Chizik


Week 8 - Backgrounds, Layering & Glazing

                 Instructor: Janice Robertson, SFCA


Week 9 - Visual Reference Sources

                 Instructor: Liza Visagie


Week 10 - Inspiration, Creativity, Expression, Narrative

                 Instructor: Leanne Christie, SFCA


Praise for Foundations 2018: 

"Mark was EXCELLENT!  I am getting so much out of these Foundations classes!  Hooray for the Federation designing and presenting this program!  Truthfully, I am learning more now than I was ever taught in the Second and first half of Third year of BFA classes at UBC in 1993-95, before I chose to drop out.  Really and truly!"

                                                                                              - Anonymous, 2018 Program


"Gaye's notes were great, her color mixing demo and involvement of the class was superb" 

                                                                                              - Anonymous, 2018 Program


"Liza was tremendous and caught us up on a lot of information that was needed as foundational."                                                                                                                    - Anonymous, 2018 Program


Instructor Biographies



Born in Montreal (1965), Michael Abraham studied drawing and compositional painting at the Ontario College of Art and Design (1984-88). He was teacher’s assistant at OCAD during a fifth year of postgraduate education in Florence, Italy (1990-91). Described as “hip” in Star magazine, Abraham has exhibited in numerous solo exhibitions, including the prestigious Jan Baum Gallery in Los Angeles, Gallery Jones in Vancouver, Bugera Matheson Gallery in Edmonton and Gallery 110 in Seattle. Commissioned artwork includes original paintings for the Vancouver Opera, large-scale outdoor sculpture, and hand painted theatre sets.

Abrahams’ paintings are featured in international corporate, private and public collections, including the Vancouver Art Gallery, Rockford Museum of Art, and the Courtney Cox & David Arquette Collection. Abraham has been painting full time since 1992, and has taught independently in his studio, at private schools and at artist guild workshops, and offers experience and an expert’s eye in the materials and techniques of painting and drawing, along with sculpting, outdoor art projects, printmaking, and understanding the art world.





Gaye Adams has been painting professionally and instructing painting for over 30 years.  She is passionate about painting the effects of light in a representational fashion, and the challenge of creating the illusion of light and its many presentations in the landscape and elsewhere keeps her returning to the easel. In this last decade, painting en plein air has turned into a consuming passion, as it involves painting an experience, with all senses involved, as opposed to painting a moment frozen in time by a photograph.

She is a believer in putting first things first when it comes to teaching students to develop their painting skills, starting with a strong foundation of basics in all aspects of art making in order to give students the tools they will need to fully express themselves as they move forward in their development as painters. Gaye is an award winning painter and shows her work locally, nationally and internationally. She teaches in Canada, the United States and abroad.










For over 30 years, Mark Anthony's great passion for artistic tradtion complimented with his own strong European roots has lead him into a career in representational drawing based  on the poetic charm of the old-world European  studio. His professional history  includes owning and operating a small Alberta based portrait studio/gallery, working with private, historical and municipal heritage projects, and teaching hundreds of students of all levels in the grand tradition of observational and classical drawing. Currently, Mark teaches regular classes in fundamental studies, traditional drawing and portraiture, on the North Shore.
















Paul Chizik's paintings are rooted in the classical tradition with a contemporary approach. He works in the custom of painting major scale canvasses in the studio as well as the plein-air custom of working directly outdoors in a variety of environments where the natural splendor or raw urban power is immediate.


His work ranges from landscapes, to portraiture, figurative narratives and still life. As artist, mentor and teacher Paul hopes to have the art of painting regain its role as an exciting, current and vibrant visual medium with a renewed urgency.










Urban Oil painter Leanne M Christie has a reputation for complex paintings, built with powerful brushwork and the sophisticated manipulation of white.

She paints full time in her Vancouver studio and her daily 50km cycling commute from her home in Coquitlam, gives Christie an intimate kinship with the flow and stories of the urban streets. The unrehearsed transitory moments provide the abundant source of her paintings.

Born and raised in South Africa, Christie moved to the Canadian West Coast in the late 2000’s after a period of 10 years abroad. A period that had originated as a 2 week holiday after the completion of her Bachelor of Fine Art from Rhodes University.

Christie’s paintings are at first understood by the viewer whose participation is then demanded by her relentless harnessing of the communicative properties unique to oil painting. The distilled open relationship between the painter and the slow drying oils is the unique characteristic of the medium that Christie burrows into to activate the complexity that the alchemy of passive and active time develops. Active time is dependant on the relationship that the viewer develops with the work.

Christie’s concept of complexity through the inclusion of active and passive time as a catalytic element in the paintings, finds the perfect partner in her urban subjects which are naturally founded on the complex relationships of the urban citizen and urban politics.






Jan Crawford was born in Vancouver but moved to Penticton where she was raised on an orchard setting. She holds a B.ED art major from the University of B.C.  a printmaking major from Emily Carr University and an AFCA Signature Status from the Federation of Canadian Artists. Jan spent twenty uears at Malaspina as a printmaker, there she produced over a 140 large colourful waterbased monotypes. Many of these prints are in galleries, wineries and private homes. A series of six large monotypes are apart of the Kelowna Art Galleries private collection. These prints were published in a book “Nexus” :Histories and communities. Today Jan works in acrylic . Her recent work focuses on “preserve”  giving attention to the iconic jars of the Okanagan. A symbol of cultural identity. Crawfords work can be seen in  Kelowna , Penticton, Calgary , the Vancouver International Airport , the Lakeside resort and Okanagan wineries. Jan has shown her work in Municipal as well as private Galleries. Recently Crawfords work was featured in Galleries West Magazine (summer addition 2016) under : “Artists to Collect”.







Lalita Hamill has been a professional artist for fourteen years.  She is described by students as being an enthusiastic, knowledgable person and born teacher who is able to appeal to all levels.  Lalita has a philosophy degree and learned traditional painting methods while attending the Vancouver Academy of Art.  She runs a successful atelier and art assessment program in the Fraser Valley.Lalita values high quality, technique, persistence, curiosity, courage, and artistic integrity.


I paint and teach to gently awaken in myself and others that which has been lost, hidden, or buried.”















“Although drawing was a favourite pastime during childhood, my education and much of my early adult life was spent working in a technical and industrial environment.   Many years have passed  since starting a study of painting and art history in 1970 and in spite of endless hours in the studio and thousands of paintings later, I am still driven to pick up a brush and push some paint around, to improve and fulfill what seems to be an ever elusive creative pursuit.”


Paintings include works in oils, acrylics and watermedia. Ideas are explored and interpreted in a range of creative expression including representational, semi-abstract and abstract.  The visual images are developed using  a variety of forming processes and randomness and explorative techniques are often employed to reveal unique surface elements and energy in the finished work. Subject matter most often integrates human activity and surroundings in a visual narrative that invites the viewer in, to discover and explore, to complete the story or continue the inner journey or experience.


Richard is a signature member of both the Federation of Canadian Artists (SFCA) and the Northwest Watercolor Society (NWWS) and was a member of Painters at Painters, a prestigious B.C. artist's peer group. He has served the Federation of Canadian Artists for many years in positions at the board level, VP level, and as the initator of numerous studio art educational programs within the organization as well as with other local arts organizations. Annual workshop instruction included activity in Canada, US, Britain, France and Spain. His many award winning paintings have been exhibited in solo shows, group shows and international shows including, The Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours, the Federation of Canadian Artists, and the Northwest Watercolour Society, to name a few. Examples of his paintings and articles have appeared in art publications including International Aritsts's Magazine. Richard's paintings can be found in commercial galleries and corporate and private collections in many countries worldwide.








Janice Robertson launched her career as a professional artist in 1989. She has received many awards over the years and is currently represented by six commercial galleries.

Janice is a signature member of the Federation of Canadian Artists, Artists for Conservation, Landscape Artists International and the Northwest Watercolor Society. She served as President of the Federation of Canadian Artists from 1999 to 2001. She is listed in Who’s Who in Canada and her paintings are in collections throughout the world. She is also a popular and well-respected workshop instructor, and the author of 2 instructional books on acrylic painting.

Janice lives in the historic village of Fort Langley BC, with her artist husband, Alan Wylie.


I love to paint light and the beauty of simple things. After over 30 years of painting, I am still learning and discovering new ways of expression. It is a privilege to be able to make a living at something that I find so joyful - I am very grateful"








Painting is a visual experience concerned with clarifying thought and to awaken in us the simplicity and unity of an impression. Liza applies traditional oil painting techniques along with investigative and innovative approaches within a modern and contemporary context. The structural and optical challenges of oil painting is at the forefront of her subject matter which ranges from site specific landscapes to narrative based still life. Liza's interest is in documenting the ever changing natural environment by working directly in nature and from her experience of studying various landscapes and cities around the globe.



Cancellation Policy

You may withdraw until 4 weeks prior to the workshop start date and receive a full refund. No refunds will be allowed after this date. We reserve the right to change or cancel any of the educational programs. if we cancel a workshop, a full refund will be given to all registrants. In the event the instructor is unavailable, either an alternate instructor with similar credentials or a make-up workshop may be arranged.