Atelier Art Classes

“Everyone follows their own path with Nicole. She has the ability to know when the timing is right to introduce or re-introduce an exercise, tool, or technique. She can explain in more than one way, can break things down into simple steps so the novice does not get overwhelmed.” – Paulette

 

Read student testimonials here!

Do you want to learn how to draw and paint? Beginners are welcome, even (especially!) those who can only draw stick figures.

Are you already experienced and want to improve your skills? Experienced and advanced artists are also welcome. As artists our journey is full of continuous learning.

An atelier is an art studio that focuses on teaching representational (realism) drawing and painting, starting from the ground up. Students begin by learning foundational skills and progressing gradually to more advanced techniques. This is a thorough, classical approach that prioritizes building strong skills in drawing accuracy, light and shadow, and oil painting.

Weekly 3-hour classes focus on representational (realism) drawing and painting with a classical approach, where students learn to draw by studying techniques used by the Old Masters. An atelier-style environment and small class size (8 people max) foster rich learning and an in-depth understanding of the material. Mediums taught include pencil, charcoal, conte, ink, and oil paint.

Each student is taught individually, moving at their own pace and working on their own project. Beginners are in the same class as advanced students. Each person, if they choose, can listen to instruction given to another student and either get some review of previously learned concepts, or a preview of what’s to come. The structure is similar to a private lesson, but with 3 hours of time divided between 8 people.

All students begin with line drawing in pencil, and then progress to charcoal shading, before learning any other concept. Drawing and shading is prerequisite knowledge for many other art forms, including painting. If you already have experience drawing and shading, we may progress through these first two courses at a more rapid pace, and may skip some sections at my discretion. To learn more, please read the section on experience in the FAQ below.

FAQ:

What can I learn?
Can I see student testimonials?
Where are classes located?
Are materials provided?
What is the schedule?
How much are the classes?
How do I sign up?
How long does it take?
I’m already experienced/I want to learn to paint/can I skip drawing?
Are there figure drawing models in the class?
Can you/your classes help me prepare my portfolio for school applications?

What can I learn?

At first, you will learn how to draw, then how to add light and dark tones to your drawing using charcoal, and afterwards it is up to you. All students start with drawing, even if you have taken art classes in the past, since it is a necessary skill for learning any other medium. If you already have drawing experience, then we will move through this section fairly quickly.

After learning how to draw and how to use tones, there are a few different paths you can take. I teach the following subjects, all with a classical, representational realism approach:

– pencil drawing
– oil paint (including colour theory, glazing, impasto, etc)
– conte
– pen and ink
– charcoal
– portraiture
– anatomy

Watercolour, acrylic, pastel, and coloured pencil are not taught at the studio, but if you are looking for classes/an instructor, a referral can be provided.

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Can I see student testimonials?

Absolutely! Testimonials are available here, and examples of student work are available here.

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Where are classes located?

Classes are located at my studio, 302-549 1/2 Fisgard St., Victoria BC, Canada.  Please note there are two flights of stairs to reach the studio.

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Are materials provided?

Initial drawing materials are supplied for use free of charge. Once you progress from line drawing to charcoal shading and beyond, there are some materials to buy and a list will be provided.

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What is the schedule?

Wednesdays 1:00pm-4:00pm
Wednesdays 5:30-8:30pm
Saturdays 11:00am-2:00pm

The classes are all the same structure, so you can choose whatever time slot works best for you. There is a maximum of 8 students per class.

Classes are ongoing and booked month-to-month.  The instruction is individual and all levels are accepted in the classes – beginner to advanced. You are welcome to start at any time (space permitting), even midway through a month, and continue as long as you like. Students are taught at their own pace in the group classes, with a focus on learning the material thoroughly rather than progressing on a set timeline.

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How much are the classes?

There are three options for booking classes. All classes must be paid for in advance. Prices include 5% GST.

Single class $80 Space permitting, a single class can be booked and paid for in advance for a specific date. Space priority is given to monthly students. Once booked, a single class cannot be rescheduled or refunded in the event you are unable to attend.
Monthly booking $235/month for weekly classes A monthly booking is the same price each month and guarantees a space for you in the class time of your choosing for as long as you are registered. With a minimum of 24 hours notice, missed classes can be rescheduled, space permitting. Any additional classes you choose to book are $58.75/class. Months with fewer than 4 classes offered are prorated at $58.75/class.
4 month booking $846 for 4 consecutive months of weekly classes With prepayment for 4 consecutive months, you save 10% off the cost of monthly booking ($52.88/class).

Methods of payment accepted are credit card, e-transfer, cash, or cheque.

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How do I sign up?

To sign up, contact Nicole. Please include information about your art background (if any), artistic goals, and what class time you prefer.

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How long does it take?

The classes are set up so you can continue as long as you need to – there is no end date. If you progress quickly, then you move through the material quicker. If it takes a bit longer, then you get the time you need to learn the material thoroughly. The focus is always on learning the material thoroughly, not on progressing at a certain pace.

Generally speaking, it takes about 10-12 weeks for absolute beginners to go through the drawing section, though sometimes it is longer or shorter. The charcoal tones & shading section is usually a similar amount of time. However, these are rough guidelines only, and it depends on your goals and where you want to go.

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I’m already experienced/I want to learn to paint/can I skip drawing?

Students with experience are welcome in the atelier classes. Even if you have an art degree, former instruction, or a lot of self-taught experience, you will still begin by drawing in pencil, for several reasons. There might be some skills that you know very well, and others that are less familiar to you. Working through the drawing course, followed by the shading course, will fill in any gaps in your learning. It also ensures that we are on the same page with regards to drawing techniques and terminology. Drawing for design/illustration, sketching, and/or painting experience do not always overlap with drawing accurately and in detailed manner from life. Because the learning is at your pace, if you are already familiar with the concepts, the drawing and shading courses will go much quicker than if you were a beginner.

If, while working through the drawing and/or shading courses, you clearly demonstrate that you are able to easily accomplish the exercises and are ready to move on to more advanced, we may skip part of the course at my discretion.

If this doesn’t sound like a good fit for you and you are eager to start painting (or any other more advanced skill) right away, you may want to consider private lessons or attending a workshop. The atelier group classes follow a set course progression – with some flexibility – and are intended for those who want to build a strong set of classical art skills over time by regularly attending class.

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Are there figure drawing models in the class?

Drawing the figure is an area that students can focus on by learning artistic anatomy in the classes, and creating master studies of the figure using painting and drawing references from books in my library.

As each student works on a different project and subject, there are no figure drawing/life models in the class. If you are interested in classes with models, a referral can be provided.

Here is a link to a list of drop-in life drawing sessions in Victoria.

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Can these classes help me prepare my portfolio for art school applications?

The skills taught in my atelier classes are essential to any pursuit of art/design formal education – and are often not taught in modern post-secondary art schools. Drawing skills and an understanding of values/shading are applicable in many careers and help to convey your ideas with more accuracy.

While the techniques taught in the classes will no doubt help with your art skills and therefore with your portfolio, I am not able help directly with building it, nor offer portfolio advice or critique. If the work you do in class is appropriate for your portfolio, that is great. However, as the classes focus on technique and learning to draw/shade/paint accurately, the work you do will not be influenced by the requirements of your portfolio.

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