What is Atelier Training?
Ateliers are schools that train students in realism skills. They are often lead by one teacher who inherited hundreds of years of collective artistic information from another atelier-trained artist.
For example, Paul Ingbretson currently runs an atelier in Manchester, New Hampshire. He trained with R.H. Ives Gammell, who trained under William McGregor Paxton, who trained under Jean-Léon Gérôme, whose lineage goes all the way back to Jacques-Louis David.
Contemporary atelier training often requires 2-6 years of full-time study. It is common for atelier students to spend 3-4 hours every day with a live figure model, and an additional 3-4 hours per day on still life and other projects.
Usually, students work only in charcoal for the first year of training. Drawing skills are honed during this time.
Second-year students often begin training in painting, sometimes in Grisaille. Grisaille is a method of painting in black and white. The idea is that students will master paint handling skills before adding the additional component of painting in color.
Third year students usually paint with a limited or full color palette. This warm/cool training is an integral part of the curriculum at many ateliers, including the Aristides Atelier in Seattle, Washington.
Most ateliers are not accredited. However some, such as The Florence Academy of Art, offer associate's degrees to their atelier students. Some are partnered with accredited colleges to offer credit for studying with them, such as Studio Incamminati in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Others, like the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art, incorporate some atelier training into their degree and certificate programs.
Anyone who is interested in learning how to paint in a realistic manner or in a classical tradition is highly encouraged to attend an atelier. The gaming industry, motion graphics industry, and fine art market judge artists based on portfolios. Serious students who intend to pursue these career paths should attend an atelier for their artistic training.
FIND AN ATELIER
You can find a list of schools that offer atelier training here.