Skip to main content

Celebrating our 25th anniversary, the Rio Grande Art Association (RGAA) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the education and promotion of New Mexico artists. Membership is open to everyone. Traditional, classic, contemporary, or avant-garde artists at all levels are welcome!  Our focus is on creativity, originality, and the development of personal expression! RGAA Bylaws (updated July 2019)

To join RGAA, click the 'Member Signup' Tab.


We meet on the third Saturday of each month (except July and December) at UNM Continuing Education Conference Center, North Building, Classroom D, 1634 University Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87131. Guests are welcome to attend our monthly educational programs.

Image Credit: " Elysium" by Paul Murray, First Place Oil and Acrylics, MasterWorks 2024

Next RGAA Member Meeting


Saturday, August 17, 2024, 9 am - Noon
UNM Continuing Education, North Building, Classroom 123, 1634 University Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87131
Parking/ADA Access: Park in east lot behind building; enter through north door
Presentation by Alison Thomas

RGAA June Educational Program Presentation by Kathleen Keating  Summary below.

The session will include a brief historical overview of drawing training methods including: Giotto, the Italian Renaissance, the 19th century Ecole des Beaux Arts, and exploring the 21st Century’s resurgence of the realistic training curriculum for artists based upon the academic traditions. The “sight-size” method of drawing, as described in Charles Bargue’s Drawing Course, will be demonstrated and pros and cons will be discussed.

Kathleen has been conducting research on the academic drawing methods as a hobby since the early 1990’s. During the summer of 2004, she attended the Florence Academy of Art and found theory put into practice by taking two courses: “Renaissance Drawing” and “Academic Drawing”. This experience profoundly impacted her ability to draw accurately in a realistic manner.. After returning home, she continued to practice these techniques and continues to learn and explore all methods of realistic art creation. She currently resides in Edgewood, NM with her husband and one rascal canine.

Requested Summary of Kathleen's presentation:

Kathleen Keating gave a well-researched slide show of the ‘Sight-Size’ drawing techniques used in the Florence Academy of Art where she spent time on 3 separate occasions over 20 years and learned classic drawing techniques used by the 19th century L’Ecole des Beaux Arts.  I will summarize her key points and suggest we all try this using the link below.

She explained that historically Ateliers were studios, and Academies were clubs.  Both were necessary to get commissions in order to afford the practice of being an artist. The artists start by drawing  from casts, then copying master drawings, and finally using live models. (The use of casts for subjects diminished and by 1920s was hardly used after that.) Da Vinci, for example, spent 5 years studying the basics of drawing, then 5 more years where he became a journeyman who could obtain his own commissions but had to be signed off on by a Master. After one successfully completes this process they are permitted to paint.

She said that there was a hierarchy of painting subjects starting with most importantly historical works, portraits, allegorical works, landscape, animals, and at the bottom – still life. The French Salon was The place to be in order to get commissions and they had 7000 paintings submitted one year.  Many famous artists were repeatedly rejected and contributed to the Avant Garde movement of art. In 1874 the Impressionists put on their own non- juried show.  By 1897 women were finally allowed in L’Ecole des Beaux Artes.

Kathleen uses these tools in her technique: a vertical easel to better measure her subjects, a plumb line, a bbq skewer, a homemade cardboard frame with 1 inch grid made of string (5”x7” center) for gridding, a mirror, a black mirror, and Nitrum charcoal.  She draws a vertical line in the center of her copied image, maps the key landmarks with dots on the line, then dots around the outlines  of the design utilizing her measuring tools, then draws straight lines in Nitrum charcoal to outline the key shapes she is creating, then wipes it off entirely and goes back in to correctly draw the image. She was taught to stand 3x the size of the model away from the model and to make the object the same size as the drawing.  She refers to the links and books listed below as references.     This provides images to work with on your own.   This explains the classic drawing course free!

The second link explains the steps in drawing according the classic technique.  You might like to experiment with the step by step instructions on pages 20 - 24.  Most of the next 200 pages are plates of classic drawings, some very famous, and Appendix 2 describes the Sight-Size Technique method of measurement used prior to the 20th century.

Ackerman, Gerald. Charles Bargue with the collaboration of Jean-Leon Gerome Drawing Course 2003

Gammell, RH Ives. Twilight of Painting, 1946

Rousar, Darren. Cast Drawing: Using the Sight-Size Approach, 2007

Rousar, Darren. Memory Drawing: Perceptual training and Recall 2013

Speed, Harold. The Practice and Science of Drawing, 1917

You Tube Courses – Bargue Drawing with Stephen Bauman

The Da Vinci Initiative

Academy of Realist Art Boston



  9:00 – 9:30 am: Check-in at greeting table
 9:30 –10:00 am: Member social time: new member and guest meet and greet, announcements, and show-n-tell
 10:00 – 10:30 am: Short business meeting and board announcements
10:30 –  Noon: Educational program 
Noon: Door prize drawing and adjournment3/16/2024

Members: Forgot Your Logon User Name or Password?

Website Tech Tip: How to Retrieve Lost Password


Encantada Workshop Survey 2024

Scope of RGAA Survey 2024

Check out the our 
Facebook and Instagram pages!

An informal paint out is usually organized for Wednesdays.
Log on to the website and click to see the next scheduled paint out.

Note, this weeks paint out has been slid one day to Thursday 7/18

Informal Paint out


What We Do

  • Sponsor an annual Fall exhibition ¡Encantada!  ¡Encantada! 2023      
  • Co-sponsor MasterWorks of New Mexico each spring (more info MasterWorks of New Mexico).
  • Provide workshops and additional exhibition venues for our members. 
  • Publish The Palette, our monthly newsletter (current and archived copies: The Palette).
  • Present ten educational programs at member meetings per year, featuring professional demonstrations and lectures (more info Meetings / Presentations & Demos).


Membership Benefits

  • Qualifying for entry into MasterWorks, Encantada, and other RGAA-sponsored exhibitions
  • Ten inspiring educational meetings per year (no meetings July or December)
  • RGAA-sponsored educational programs and workshops
  • The Palette newsletter published ten times per year (no issues July or December)
  • Member website listing on the RGAA website
  • Virtual membership card access at