The 2018 Boston Figure Painting Competition details coming soon.

2016 Boston Figure Painting Competition Details

10 participants will compete for 5 days from one sustained 30 hour nude female figure standing pose. One painting will be completed. 

Current Prizes:
1st Place: The Ellen Day Hale Award of $6000

2nd Place: New Wave Palette, $200 worth of RGH paints, Rosemary and Co Brush Bouquet, Gamblin Oil Color Set, EAS Custom Canvas Award Certificate

3rd Place: Rosemary and Co Brush Bouquet, Blue Ridge Oil Paint Gift Certificate, Gamblin Oil Color Set, EAS Custom Canvas Award Certificate

Viewers Choice Award: Gamblin Oil Color Set from Gamblin, EAS Custom Canvas Award Certificate

Swag Bags: The All New Miira Viewfinder

Viewers Choice Awards: The viewers choice award will be open for voting at the end of the working day on Friday and will close at noon on Saturday.

Dates and times: Monday, July 18th to Friday, July 22nd. 10:00 to 6:00 each day. Model hours: 10:00am - 1:00 and 3:00 - 6:00. Participants will also be allowed two hours per day to work on their pieces without the model posing. The competition room will be open daily for public viewing from 1:30 - 2:30 pm. The Judging will take place on Friday July 22nd after 6:00 PM. See info about our judges below.

Award Ceremony and Reception: July 23rd from 1:00 - 4:00 at the Guild of Boston Artists. This will be open to the public. All 10 paintings will be on view for the awards ceremony at the Guild

Medium and Support: This competition is for oil painters only. ARA Boston will provide an easel and a small working surface per participant. Size is up to the artist as it does not exceed 24 inches wide  and/or  42 inches tall. Pose will be a standing female nude.

Guidelines for BFPC 2016: ARA, Boston bases its instruction on the traditional techniques taught in 19th century French academies. We at the school feel strongly that academic training is indispensable and foundational. 

But in our contest, the organizers of the BFPC encourage the competitors to move beyond the academic, to proceed further than mere reproduction, to look past study to a greater realization of the nude in her environment, to think beyond "matching" to the higher aspiration of "making".

The figure is paramount, its basics— anatomical and proportional accuracy, gesture, likeness, body type and integrity of form— should remain integral to the competitor's conception of the whole. No less critical to the jury, though, will be the artist's point of view, her unique style, his ability to fully compose (and imagine?) a picture. Simply put, to the participants of the 2nd BFPC we say— Do your thing! 

How to Enter

Entires are now closed.

Info About Our 2016 Judges

Steven Assael, Artist  Steven Assael, born in New York City in 1957, is recognized nationally as one of the leading representational figurative artists of this generation. His portrayal of the human image is empathetic, ennobling, and psychologically penetrating. Assael's figure compositions reflect a love of painting and drawing that synthesize the characteristics of the past masters with a selective eye for the present. His compositions suffuse elements of naturalism and romanticism that blend the contemporary with the techniques of the old masters. Assael works from life and not photography, Arlene Raven has said of him, "Assael want the greater possibilities of duration. More variety, and a broader range of values and colors, a chronicle of the transformations of changing light, spent over real minutes and hours with his models."

Assael's work is included in public and private collections around the world. In 1999, his work was exhibited in a ten-year retrospective at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, Washington and CBS Sunday Morning ran a feature on the artist and the show. Born and Raised in New York, NY, Assael showed an enthusiasm for art at a young age, taking art classes at the Museum of Modern Art at the age of four. He attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and currently teaches at the School of Visual Arts, New York, NY and resides in New York City.

Elliot Davis, John Moors Cabot Chair, Art of the Americas, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Elliot Bostwick Davis, John Moors Cabot Chair of the Art of the Americas Department at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) since January 2001, came to the MFA from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.  In her position as Chair of the MFA’s Art of the Americas Department, Davis oversees the Museum’s extensive collection of art of the Americas, including one of the world’s pre-eminent collections of American paintings, decorative arts, and sculpture of approximately 15,000 works of art.  Her responsibilities included leading curatorial staff in the planning and reinstallation of the galleries for the new Art of the Americas Wing, opened in 2010, orchestrating important acquisitions and exhibitions, and researching the Art of the Americas collection.

Cindy MacMillan: Academy of Realist Art, Boston, Founder and Director Cindy is a practicing artist who divides her time between working in the studio and superintending ARA Boston academy operations. One of the first graduates of this program in Toronto she completed the rigorous program under the tutelage of Michael John Angel in 2002. She went on to earn a masters degree from the New York Academy of Art in 2007. Cindy has been the recipient of scholarships from the Art Renewal Center and the New York Academy of Art. Her work has won numerous awards and is collected internationally. 

About Our 2016 Sponsors:


New Wave Fine Art Products: At New Wave® our goal is simple; produce innovative products that help you paint more effectively.   We offer a unique selection of palettes that have been redesigned to meet the standards of today's artists.  We are sure to have a palette that caters to your style of painting. 

RGH Oil Paints: RGH Artists Oil Paints Inc. started in 1989. The idea to create the company grew out of a commitment to offer artists like myself a line of professional grade oil paints that were both affordable and of the highest professional quality.  RGH  makes and sells over 120 different colored paints,  also sell a large number of dry pigments.  They also perform customized jobs for individual artists requiring specific colors for themselves and their students.

Miira: Miira Artist Tools,™ LLC and its partners realize the value of art. It continues to inspire, cultivate and often impact our world more than words can. Our mission is to simplify the prepwork in the creative process by developing powerful and innovative tools for the visual artist, the designer, the architect, art student, art instructor — or anyone who wishes or needs to learn. 

View Frame by Miira Artist Tools is a Visual Tool for a Visual Language. View Frame is a modern view finding tool with removable & adjustable guides. It makes teaching and learning the foundations of art easy, fast and accurate. View Frame is patent pending.View Frame helps the artist and art instructor solve multiple problems: Understanding Linear Perspective, Measuring Proportions & Foreshortening, Composition & The Rule of Thirds, Grid System, Tilts and Angles

Blue Ridge Oil Paints is a family-run business in Asheville NC in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The business is operated from a hillside shop where the family has worked for three generations. Everyone in the family plays an important role in the company and live by a code of “if it is worth doing, it is worth doing right”. Blue Ridge sells its paint at a fair price due to keeping the overhead low and cutting out the middleman. Selling exclusively online has enabled Blue Ridge Oil Colors to reach artists around the globe who seek the best paint for their art. Blue Ridge believes artists shouldn’t have to sacrifice quality or limit their expression because of the material’s high cost.


Rosemary and Co Brushes: Rosemary and Co is a family owned business where each brush is made by hand. Many of our students and instructors, as well as many big hitters in the realist painting circles love to use Rosemary brushes. Check out their wide variety of brushes for any medium.  They also offer great starter sets so you can get a whole set all at once and are ready to paint!

Gamblin: At Gamblin, our mission is to lead oil painting and printmaking into the future. To us this means crafting materials as they ought to be, not just as they have been. Our luscious colors and contemporary mediums are true to historic working properties, yet safer and more permanent.

EAS Custom Canvas is a company selling handmade custom oil ground canvas.  Our goal is to offer a fully custom product for all oil painters.  The process for creating these grounds was codified in the 19th century and provides a superior surface to modern acrylic 'gesso' grounds.  Our standard products are created with Lead-Free ground, although lead grounds are also available. Products Available: Stretched canvas and canvas mounted on archival panel.