Glasgow Academy of Fine Art

Home / Education / Ateliers

Glasgow Academy of Fine Art



135 Buchanan St, Suite 2.1, Glasgow, United Kingdom

  • Details
  • Faculty
  • Instructor Works
  • Student Works
  • Other Images

Our primary goal at The Glasgow Academy of Fine Art is to offer our students the highest quality training in traditional, representational techniques of drawing and oil painting. We believe that our job is to teach the means of making art, not the ends; through our curriculum we hope to give each student the fundamental skills they need to express their own creative ideas. Our goal is to prepare students for becoming practicing, professional artists; we aim to impart confidence in ability, mastery over technique, and a sound understanding of what it takes to become a professional artist in the current marketplace. 

Comprised of a series of carefully designed exercises, our curriculum starts by teaching the most basic, fundamental concepts of drawing representationally, and then progresses in a series of stages, growing increasingly more complex and sophisticated. Each stage of the process is predicated upon the knowledge gained from the previous stage; thus, students progress towards the goal of technical mastery in small, manageable steps.  

Our curriculum is designed to cater both to the individual, and to the group. We combine lectures addressed to the entire class that cover general principals with personalised, one-on-one critiques which address the individual needs of each student. Our instructors also teach by example, working alongside students on various projects to demonstrate particular visual concepts and to inspire students with the fruits of their own years of study.

Through our teaching style we aim to help the student solve the problem at hand, whilst also elucidating the underlying principles behind their particular conundrum. We hope to teach our students to self-analyse and self-critique, empowering them to find success beyond the confines of the classroom. 

In our studio, we seek to create a meditative, intimate environment for study, with an atmosphere conducive to deep levels of concentration and highly methodical work.  We believe that the order and beauty of the studio itself is paramount to achieving the quality of thought and of work that our students strive for. We also aim to make the studio a creative haven for our students—a rare place for peaceful contemplation and concentrated work amongst our busy, 21st-century lives.

Finally, we seek to create a lasting artistic community for our students and graduates. One of our highest goals is to unite those with a common passion for representational art. We hope that during their time with us, students will forge lasting bonds of friendship and establish enduring professional relationships.

Founded 2019
Course languages (Check multiple if applicable) English
Part-Time Instructors 2
Full-Time Instructors 2
Students 9
Accommodation No

Full time: GBP 2200 / semester

Glasgow Academy of Fine Art

135 Buchanan St, Suite 2.1

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Sarah Margaret Gibson

Academic Director

Sarah Margaret Gibson (b. 1988) is from Cincinnati, OH. Sarah Margaret is a contemporary realist artist, specializing in figurative works, portraits, and still-lifes. Characterized by a rich tenebrism, Gibson’s work often dramatically juxtaposes light against shadow. She believes that light, and all of its symbolic qualities, are better appreciated when contrasted against dark. Through her drawings and paintings, Gibson opens up a dialogue with nature, responding to what she finds beautiful and endeavoring to communicate this with her viewers. In 2008 Sarah Margaret travelled to Florence, Italy to receive her formal training in drawing and painting from the Angel Academy of Art and The Florence Academy of Art, from which she graduated in 2013. Over the course of her seven years in Florence, Gibson became profoundly influenced by the work and philosophy of the Old Masters and by the mentorship of great living artists such as Daniel Graves, founder of the Florence Academy. She taught at the Florence Academy's intermediate studio from 2012-2015. In 2015 Sarah Margaret moved to the west coast of Scotland, alongside her husband and fellow artist, Lee Craigmile. Together they opened the Glasgow Academy of Fine Art in 2019, where Gibson is acting as Academic Director. Gibson's work is shown throughout the U.S. and Europe and can be found in the New Britain Museum of American Art and in numerous private collections.

Lee Craigmile

Principal Instructor

Lee Craigmile (b.1985) is from Largs, Scotland. Lee Craigmile grew up in a seaside town on the west coast of Scotland, where he first developed his interest in the Scottish landscape and his passion for painting. From 2005 to 2012 Craigmile studied drawing and painting at the Glasgow School of Art in their continuing education department. He then moved to Florence, Italy in 2012 to receive his formal education in traditional drawing and painting at the prestigious Florence Academy of Art. Lee graduated from the Florence Academy in June of 2015, after which he returned to the west coast of Scotland along with his wife, Sarah Margaret Gibson. Lee currently splits his time between working on commissions in his personal studio, and teaching at the Glasgow Academy of Fine Art, which he co-founded with his wife. Lee hopes to inspire others—just as he himself was inspired as a youth—to realise the truth that one can achieve exceptional works of art through the mastery of traditional techniques and by looking to the beauty of nature and the great artists of the past. Lee’s work has been exhibited widely throughout the U.K., Europe, and The U.S. and can be found in numerous private collections.

'Portrait of Lee' by Sarah Margaret Gibson

'The Conversion of St. Paul' by Sarah Margaret Gibson

'Self Portrait Sketch' by Sarah Margaret Gibson

'Self Portrait Sketch'

'Glen Etive' by Lee Craigmile

'La Bagnante' by Sarah Margaret Gibson

'Johnny', by Sarah Margaret Gibson

'Self Portrait in Profile', by Sarah Margaret Gibson

'Magda', by Sarah Margaret Gibson

'The Old Man of Storr', by Lee Craigmile

"William", by Lee Craigmile

'Chloe', by Lee Craigmile

'Vanessa', by Sarah Margaret Gibson

'Still Life with Mandarins', by Sarah Margaret Gibson

'Blue Ridge Morning', by Lee Craigmile

'Leeks', by Lee Craigmile

'Figure Study' by Core Programme Student Emmanuel Capatos

'Cast Drawing of St. Andrew' by Angel Mitov

'Ecorche Torso Painting' by Emmanuelle Capatos

'Danna' by Ke Zhang

'Self Portrait' by advanced student Ke Zhang

'Master Copy after Van Dyck' by Ke Zhang

'Master Copy after Buland', by Ke Zhang

Academic Director Sarah Gibson giving a lecture in GAFA's north-lit model room.

GAFA students discussing grisaille painting technique.

Three students working on their master copies and casts.

Student, Ke Zhang, putting the finishing touches on her Van Dyck master copy.

Instructor, Lee Craigmile, teaching a group of students in our north-lit model room.

GAFA student, Fiona Longley, measuring using site-size technique.

A view of our beautiful north-facing windows from the corner of Buchanan and St. Vincent Streets.