Continued Studies - Classical Realism
Atelier Student Blog
In 2013 I discovered something I had been looking for since my twenties - a means of studying the classical techniques of art that has always seemed a mystery to me, and quite taboo when I would mention them in art school and as how to learn that stuff. I tried to teach myself over the years but I was always left dissatisfied with any realist efforts that I made.
I started studying here in Santa Cruz with Florence Academy of Art trained artists, Lisa Silas and Matthew Riggs at the Neoteric Renaissance School of Art. Recently I also began online with Sadie Valerie's Atelier Online Program. I deal with a chronic health condition that keeps me on my toes in terms of coming up with creative and accessible ways to continue on this intense form of art practice. Right now I am focusing online with Sadie though I will always consider the Neoteric my art "home".
I cannot emphasize enough the difference that delving into a classical art practice has made on my sensibilities and skills. There is my art before classical studies and after. It is as simple as that.
A little history:
Atelier is the French word for workshop. For centuries students would study under a Master artist in their studio. Learning to paint or sculpt while working alongside of the Master. This study consisted of a very specific program and progression of learning for the student. Today, an atelier is a small school or studio that teaches these classical methods and traditional techniques passed down through generations of artists and always building on the generation before it.
In the mid to late 1800’s the concept of beauty in art changed from a classical understanding of form and technique to a focus on personal expression. The early artists of this movement, the impressionists had a strong background in classical aesthetics and combined that with a new found, non-traditional personal expression. As the years went by, the classical traditions and skill sets that were taught for generations were quite aggressively thrown out of the academies and “feeling or experience” based art replaced traditional skill based art. The pendulum swung and by the 21st century it was rare to find a traditional skill based arts education. The pendulum is swinging again. Students today are now looking to balance the purely expressive education found in most institutions with the classical techniques taught primarily in the Ateliers of today.
I keep a blog of my classical realist studies where I write about the process of realism, the study of art and the reality of being an artist. It is a diary of my struggles technically and philosophically with this amazing gift we have been given, the urge, and the ability to make art. I also have lots of step by step examples from my own exercises.