The Atelier Program is the signature program at OAoFA.  It is a sequenced, individualized program that allows a student to maximize their potential while working at their own pace.  The focus in the Atelier Program is to build mastery in three areas: fundamental skill execution, strong design and meaningful conceptual development.  The Atelier Program at OAoFA is inspired by the legendary atelier system of the past.  

What is an "Atelier"?


The atelier system has a rich history, most notably in 19th century France.  "Atelier" is a French term for workshop or studio, and often described a studio led by a professional artist who trained a small number of students in the fundamentals of drawing and painting.  Ateliers abounded in Paris and existed alongside the government sponsored art academies such as the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.  Students enrolled in the academy often gained supplemental instruction at the ateliers, and others studied at them in order to gain entrance to the academy.  While often historically characterized as being rowdy places, students none-the-less walked away with exceptional ability in representational drawing and painting due to a consistent system focusing on skill building and mastery of their mediums.   


Although this Program is designed for those who are serious about making great artwork, no experience in drawing or painting is required to apply.  The most important thing is to have a desire to get better.  Contact us to visit the studio and take a look!  Scroll down to learn more about the Atelier Program at OAoFA. 

Application Process

The first step in beginning the Atelier Program experience is to fill out and submit the online application.  The purpose of the application is to determine the desires of the student as well as set a baseline of skill.  Due to limited space in this program, students will be put on a wait list if no spots are currently available and notified as soon as one opens.  


Program Outline

After applying and a review of current work, the student and instructor will determine an appropriate level to jump into the Program.  It is recommended that students begin with the Classical Drawing Methods course, but they may jump in at other points after demonstrating a sufficient level of skill.  Students enrolled in the Atelier Program work through the curriculum at their own pace.  Students are encouraged to demonstrate mastery at their current level before moving up to the next.  Optional homework assignments are offered to continue the training outside of normal studio time.  The total amount of time it takes to complete the full curriculum varies from student to student due to the flexibility of the program.  Students who spend significant time outside class working on homework and grasp concepts quickly will progress faster than those who only work during specified class hours.  If enrolling for successive terms, the student will pick up where they left off the previous term in the curriculum. 

A unique aspect of the Atelier Program is a blending of 19th century curriculum with 21st century technology.  In addition to meeting during the scheduled studio time, students will be able to collaborate with one another and the instructor via an online classroom set up specifically for the program.  Resources, helpful links, instructional videos, and more will be posted by the instructor and accessible by all students.  For example, if a student is having trouble with a specific concept or technique, the instructor will be able to send them a video demonstrating how to do it properly thus efficiently providing feedback/instruction in the comfort of the student's home without having to make a trip to the studio.

Atelier Program students also have access to digital critiques each week.  If wanting feedback on a homework assignment students can send an image of their work to the instructor, who, using Apple Pencil/iPad technology, will record a digital critique complete with corrections and discussion, then send it back to the student for review.  To see an example of this, see the video below:



The curriculum is divided into three parts: 

1. Classical Drawing Methods

In this section students will build drawing skills by thoroughly covering key fundamentals and applying them in a number of exercises and assignments including the classical atelier staples of Bargue copies, cast drawing and the study of human form.  Assignment levels will get increasingly challenging, pushing the student towards new breakthroughs in skill and ability.  

2. Classical Painting Methods

In this section students will build on their foundation of drawing and develop skills in representational oil painting.  Students will become comfortable working in oils and execute a series of monochromatic and warm/cool exercises before moving on to discussions on color theory.  Students will conclude the section by executing a number of master copies and full color paintings.


3. Capstone Project

In this final section of the program students will apply their drawing and painting skills in new ways, prioritizing personal expression and voice.  Students will create a body of work that features not only quality skill execution but also effective design and a meaningful concept.  This final body of work is the culmination of the Atelier Program.


Schedule and Tuition


The Atelier Program runs on a quarter schedule, including two fall quarters, two spring quarters, and a summer session.  Each fall and spring quarter is nine weeks in length, while the summer is a shorter 5 weeks.  Students currently meet one evening per week for the duration of the term.  All class dates are final and will not be rescheduled, please ensure that you are able to make most of the scheduled dates.  

2018 Sessions

Fall I: 

  • Tuesday evenings, Aug. 14 - Oct. 16, 6:00-8:30pm... Full!

  • Thursday evenings, Aug. 16 - Oct. 18 6:00-8:30pm... Full!

Fall II: 

  • Tuesday evenings, Oct. 30 - Dec. 18, 6:00-8:30

  • Thursday evenings, Nov. 1 - Dec. 20, 6:00 - 8:30** Full!

**Taking Thursday, Nov. 22nd off for Thanksgiving


Tuition is paid by term, with the balance being due prior to the first session.  Refunds are not available for missed class sessions due to illness, schedule conflicts, etc.  

Fall I

  • Tuesdays (9 weeks) - $338

  • Thursdays (9 weeks) - $338

Fall II

  • Tuesdays (8 weeks), $300

  • Thursdays (7 weeks), $263

Students who enroll in the Atelier Program receive a 50% discount on life drawing sessions, a 20% discount on workshops, and a 10% discount for each successive term they are enrolled in after the first!