Full-Time Atelier

Learn about the full-time program at Georgetown Atelier, in our own words.

Primary Instructor: Tenaya Sims
Assistant Instructors: Riley Doyle and Brandy Agun

The full-time program at Georgetown Atelier is designed for career artists. Our curriculum is a strategic blend of classical methodologies, formulated to provide a foundation of strength and flexibility. This approach, we believe, not only equips students with the ‘hard skills’ they need, but also maximizes their long-term creative potential.

The curriculum at Georgetown Atelier is a formulation of both observational and constructive methods, designed to provide a balanced education. The founding instructor has both extensive training as a classical artist and an industry professional, and modeled the curriculum from both territories.

Full-time atelier students attend Mon-Fri, 9:30am-4:30pm during academic quarter (Fall, Winter, Spring). Students work from the live model during the morning block (9:30am-12:30pm), break for lunch (12:30pm-1:30pm), and then from their individual stations during the afternoon block (1:30pm-4:30pm).

We are accepting applications for the 2017-18 academic year. View the Full-Time Atelier application here.


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Curriculum Progression

Students in the full-time program progress along the same general curriculum. However, particular assignments and timelines are adjusted to fit the individual student.

Tier I: Drawing Foundation
Tier II: Painting Foundation with optional Digital Painting
Tier III: Advanced Painting and Thesis Projects

The curriculum is calibrated approximately to a 3 year time-line. Generally, Tiers equate to years of study; Tier I aligns with year 1, etc. However, depending on the quality and quantity of student output, he or she may either progress faster between specific milestones, or extend length of study in areas in which more concentration is needed.


 Tier 1: Drawing Foundation

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Riley Doyle, Tier I student drawing, drawn from life-size cast. Danica Francian, Tier I student drawing, drawn from live model. Lauren Blake, Tier I student drawing, done from live models with invented environment.  (Click images to enlarge.)


The drawing portion of the curriculum forms the foundational pillars for everything that follows. Students learn the overarching subjects of design, construction, and rendering. The relative simplicity of materials allows students to learn critical practices such as constructive anatomy, perspective, shape simplification, among other subjects, without having to juggle paint complexities and color relationships.

  • Block-Ins, working broad to specific
  • Constructive Anatomy
  • Limited Value Studies
  • Rendering
  • Basic Composition
  • Creative Perspective
  • Drawing on Toned Paper


Tier II: Painting Foundation with optional Digital Painting

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Ginger Mills, Class of 2014, grisaille painting. Luke Ekblad, Tier II student, grisaille painting. Tenaya Sims, Instructor, painting progression demonstration. (Click on images to enlarge.)


While in Tier II , students learn how to paint in a broad, simplified manner, as well as with layered approaches. Broad painting is used to establish the ‘big picture’ in composition studies, working ‘alla-prima’, and during certain stages of layered paintings. Students first work in Grisaille (greyscale), and then move to color.

Students learn to employ two major classical approaches to layered painting, referred to at Georgetown Atelier as ‘System 1’ and ‘System 2’. System 1 relies more heavily on a preliminary drawing, which is then transferred onto canvas and built upon in stages. System 2 employs a broadly painted ‘rough draft’ at the base layer, and is refined in subsequent layers.

Students who have enrolled in the Digital Painting summer program, or who already have experience with the tools, are able to begin executing projects digitally, either in part or entirely, once adequate traditional skills have been demonstrated. A mix of digital and traditional media can often be an optimal approach, such as by working digitally during the experimental/planning stages, and then executing the a final product in oils.

  • Painting Materials and Mediums
  • Painting the ‘Big Picture’ with 6 Values
  • Layered Painting Process
  • Fundamentals of Color Temperature
  • Fundamentals of Full-Palette Painting


DI4  DI3  DI2 DI1

Tenaya Sims, Instructor, Studies for ‘Birth of Venus’: Drawing Study with Graphite on Paper,  Value Study ‘finger painting’ (ipad), Grisaille Digital Paint Study (photoshop/wacom tablet), Full Color Digital Paint Study (photoshop/wacom tablet). (Click on images to enlarge.)


Tier III: Advanced Painting and Thesis Projects

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Tenaya Sims, Instructor, Figure Painting Demonstrated at 3 Main Stages: Block-In, Underpainting, Finished Painting. (Click on images to enlarge.)


During Tier III, the priority shifts from learning artistic foundations, towards applying acquired skills to more creative and advanced projects. Advanced painting, working procedures, and materials are introduced to students.

Students begin to bridge the gap between student and professional, and express their creative potential through a series of projects intended for career use. These projects are planned with the instructors, and during their execution students are expected to perform within designated timelines reflecting the same expectations an art director or gallery owner would have.

In this stage, students also learn how to customize and design their own systems and materials, and build a working method designed around their strengths. Students finish with a graduation project that demonstrates the culmination of their training and creative ability.

  • Transitioning to an open palette while making use of value/color ‘strings’
  • Expanding the palette according to what the painting calls for
  • Advanced materials and mediums
  • Advanced composition
  • Advanced painting techniques: sculpting with paint, emulating the surface of the subject, building texture with impasto, glazes over impasto