An Introduction to Atelier Training (Ep. 368)

Despite its long history in the world of art, many art teachers do not know about atelier training–so it is time for an explainer episode! Mandy Theis, art educator and Director of the School of Atelier Arts, joins Tim today to share the ins and outs of atelier training. Listen as they discuss the history of atelier training, what contemporary atelier training is, strategies for how to teach realistic drawing and painting skills in the classroom, and opportunities available for both students and teachers.  Full episode transcript below.

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Tim Bogatz:
Welcome to Art Ed Radio, the podcast for art teachers. This show is produced by the Art of Education University, and I’m your host, Tim Bogatz.

A couple weeks back I was having a conversation with some colleagues about different options for kids, what they could do after high school. And one colleague mentioned that a couple of her students went on to do some atelier training. And another colleague remark that she had no idea what atelier training even was. And for those of you who haven’t heard of atelier training or don’t know what that is, atelier schools are basically specialty art schools that train students in realistic drawing, realistic painting skills. There’s long, long history of that, that we’ll kind of dive into today. And though they are few and far between, there are still atelier training opportunities out there. And in kind of a serendipitous occurrence, a couple of days before this conversation, I had just been in contact with Mandy Theis, who is the director of the School of Atelier Arts. Now she is a former art teacher, and I guess still an art teacher, professor at this point, but she’s interested in helping art teachers learn more about atelier training and showing them just some of the opportunities that are out there.

But as usual, my guest can explain all of this far better than I can. So, let me bring her on now and we can learn more about the atelier training.

All right. Mandy Theis is joining me now. Mandy, how are you?

Mandy Theis: I am well, thank you so much.

Tim Bogatz: All right. Well, I am really excited to have you on the show to talk about all things atelier related. But I guess to begin with, can you just give us a quick introduction? Tell us who you are, what you do, maybe a little bit about your journey as an educator.

Mandy Theis: Absolutely. So as you said, my name is Mandy Theis. I’m currently the director of the School of Atelier Arts, and I run a master’s degree program in partnership with the Florence Academy of Art. And I’m a professor there in that program. And my art education journey, like many of us, has been twisted and turned and has a lot of interesting points along the journey. So, I graduated from Montana State University in 2007 with a double degree in graphic design and art education. I taught in Montana at some very small rural schools, like 100 kids K12. So, it was a really fun experience though because you’d have kindergarten and then you’d have your seniors, and then you’d have middle schoolers. So, most of any other job I ever had I really got to learn what is it that kids can learn at what age? Because I had this laboratory. So, sometimes I’d just finished a high school lesson and my second-graders would come in and be like, “Oh, what are you doing?”

And I’d end up teaching some high school lessons to second-graders, and I’m like, “Wait a minute.” But the problem with this is that if you teach all your high school lessons to these elementary kids, then you run out of lessons quickly-

Tim Bogatz: I was going to say, what are you going to do when they get to high school?

Mandy Theis: Exactly. So, I found myself a few years into my career being like, “Oh my gosh, I think I’ve taught my kids everything that I know about art that took me 16 years to learn. What am I going to teach them next?” And so, I really started looking for books or things. And a question that had come up a lot in my first few years of teaching is, “Miss Theis, how do I make this look real? I want it to look real.” So, I was particularly interested in trying to answer that question for my kids because I felt like they were looking to me for help with something that was really important to them, and I didn’t have the answer and I felt very insecure about not knowing how to help them. So, eventually I read this book by Juliette Aristides on atelier training, and I’d like to warn everybody about this book.

It is a very, very dangerous book because I ended up leaving the teaching profession, moving to Seattle, Washington to study with Juliet for a number of years, four years full-time study to learn what she introduced me to in this book. So, she has a lot of books out but the book I read was called Classical Drawing Atelier. And once I learned that atelier training existed, there was nothing that was going to stop me from getting this. So, that’s a little bit about my journey. So, as I was getting my atelier training, I found that all these people around me, my fellow educators and stuff are like, “Oh Mandy, what’s this thing you’re doing? How did you pose this? I saw your drawings before and now I see your drawings now. How did you do that?” And so, I started going to art education conferences and stuff, and just sharing a little bit about what atelier training is.

Tim Bogatz: Yeah. So, I wanted to just ask you about that too, because I don’t know that our audience is all going to necessarily be familiar with that. So can you just, I guess, tell us a little bit more about what atelier training is, what the goals are, and I guess you talked about kids wanting to draw realistically. So, when you’re going through atelier training, what transfers to our students? What can you take from that and teach to our students?

Mandy Theis: Oh, these are all amazing and very good questions, and there’s some long answers. So, buckle in everybody, we’re going to talk about atelier training. So, atelier training is basically the way that artists were trained in the United States and a lot of the Western countries until about 100 years ago. And what happened is that atelier training, for a variety of reasons, fell out of favor. But what atelier training is, is basically working under a master artist in a very specific, disciplined way to learn the techniques of drawing and painting that are already known. So, I often compare it to a classical music conservatory. So, it’s an intensive amount of training where you’re focused on nothing but learning art under a master for a number of years. And that’s how long it takes to really learn how to draw and paint in a really high level.

So, if you think of da Vinci or Rembrandt, da Vinci didn’t wake up painting like da Vinci. He didn’t wake up one day being like, “I’m going to make the Mona Lisa.” He trained with Verrocchio for 10 years. That’s how long it takes to really master a skillset. Or same with Rembrandt, or almost any artist that you think of that is a “old master artist.” They all trained in atelier. They didn’t magically reinvent all these skills, they learned what was already known about art and then added to it in their own special way. So, that’s essentially what atelier training is. Now, what happened in the United States and in Western Europe, World War I and World War II were brutal for ateliers. Literally, the artists were killed in these wars that were running them. And at the same time, you have a rise in interest in modern art, which was very much about ideas and not so interested in the technical aspects of drawing and painting.

And then the Cold War certainly didn’t help things because Russia maintained this tradition, this atelier tradition and the U.S. therefore felt that it was really bad. And so, the atelier training that still existed in pockets was actively targeted as well as being communist realism. So, we still hear that phrase bounced around a lot, communist realism, because frankly of the CIA’s very decided effort to stamp out this communist situation.

Tim Bogatz: Okay, so I’m sorry to interrupt, but just, I don’t know, maybe five or six years ago I learned about how involved the CIA was in the modern art world. And it blew my mind.

Mandy Theis: It’s crazy. We think of, oh, those poor Russians, they had the state controlled art, poor them. I’m like, “At least they knew they had state controlled art.” So, Clement Greenberg, you know the critic that basically made Jackson Pollock? He was paid by the CIA through this false front of the culture of congressional freedom. Or congress of [inaudible 00:09:12]. Yeah, I can go-

Tim Bogatz: I was going to say that, he-

Mandy Theis: … on a long time.

Tim Bogatz: Yeah, that could be another entire podcast. Maybe we should do that one in the future, just how the CIA affected modern art.

Mandy Theis: I would love that. We should get the lady that wrote the Cultural Cold War book on too, and really go into it.

Tim Bogatz: Oh yeah, that’d be good. Okay. Anyway, sorry to interrupt.

Mandy Theis: Yeah, sorry. That was a big tangent. But anyways, for a lot of reasons atelier training fell out a favor. And also related to the World War II, the history of art education, most universities didn’t have an art education degree until after World War II. And what happened is that all these soldiers came back from World War II, they had the GI Bill. All of a sudden, universities had to vastly expand their course offerings. And one of these course offerings that was often added was an art education degree. But because this was happening in the ’50s at the peak of McCarthyism and anti-communist realism, and things like that, all of the professors for these programs were specifically selected to not have any form of atelier training. Because the belief at the time was that an untrained artist was the most pure. Picasso really pushed to that idea, even though Picasso himself had atelier training from his dad who trained it in atelier.

Tim Bogatz: Right. It was everybody’s in Picasso’s really early work. You can tell.

Mandy Theis: Yeah. Well, I mean, Mondrian was classically trained in the French atelier system. A lot of what we think of as the modern masters had atelier training, and it was a choice for them. But what happened in the 1950s is that that choice was taken away by hiring people that specifically didn’t have the technical drawing and painting skills. The only choice left was this modernism. And I think modern art has a lot of perks to it. Sometimes people think that if you like atelier training, you must be super anti-modern art, and that’s definitely a misnomer. That’s not my stance at all. But I do think that it’s extreme because it’s all ideas without the technical execution to support them. So anyways, so by the 1980s there were only two places basically left in the world that were still school-like that were actively training ateliers. One was in Boston and one was in Florence, Italy.

So, Nerina Simi was running the studio in Italy, and [inaudible 00:11:29] was running the studio in Boston. There were other brief pockets. One of my favorite thing is Andrew Wyeth, to talk about Andrew Wyeth because his father and his grandfather were both classically trained artists. And a lot of artists at the time, especially after World War II, they went into illustration because it was the only safe place to practice the craft of drawing and painting. And so, even though like N.C. Wyeth, his grandfather was an illustrator, he was classically trained. He had a lot of the atelier training, he trained with atelier trained artists who trained his son, who then trained his grandson. So, Andrew Wyeth wasn’t a self-taught artist. I cannot stand when I read that Andrew Wyeth was a self-taught artist, it’s a lie.

It obviously doesn’t make any sense because he had inherited thousands of years of artistic information through this lineage that was just exclusive to his family, because his grandfather and father didn’t run an open school but they did train his grandson. So anyways, if you look at the MoMA, Museum of Modern Art, they just remodeled, but for years, and years, and years no one knew where to put this Andrew Wyeth painting because it involved all this technical skill. Like Christina’s World, the one with the lady in the field looking out, it was hanging by the bathroom for years, just alone by the bathroom because it was definitely a modern artwork but it didn’t fit the ideas of what modern art can or should be. And so, even though it was this really powerful modern artwork, for years, and years, and years [inaudible 00:12:56] hanging alone by the bathroom.

So, I feel like that’s a good symbol of where atelier training has been viewed by the establishment for the last 50 years or so. But the interesting thing is that, like many, many things, it’s become this counter cultural movement. So, this idea of having the technical skills to really execute your vision without compromise, to actually be able to create the artwork exactly as you imagine it in your head and heart, without having to compromise anywhere because you didn’t have the skill to execute it. And this has become really appealing to contemporary artists and general public as well. And I find it really interesting too, that really big names in the modern art world, like Damien Hurst for example, he shut himself away for a number of years trying to actually learn how to paint. And he painted all these realistic photos of butterflies, and he called them fact paintings.

But from my perspective, and being atelier trained, I saw that he’s trying to learn how to actually paint. He actually wants to learn his craft. And then Jeff Kearns did something similar not too long ago too, where he did this whole blue ball series where he was basically making master copies of paintings and then floating a blue ball on them. So even these very, what we see is icons of contemporary art, recognize the desire and need for technical skills as a marriage in creating great art.

Tim Bogatz: Yeah. So, let me ask you this, because you mentioned just the appeal to artists, appeal to the public, and even just kids who are coming into our classrooms, they want to learn to draw realistically. And you had mentioned earlier, when you first started you didn’t necessarily have those skill or didn’t necessarily know how to-

Mandy Theis: Not at all.

Tim Bogatz: … teach that really well. And so, I’m just thinking about that for teachers. Do you feel that that’s something that everyone can teach?

Mandy Theis: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. There are a few things that I’ve learned on this journey. One is that anybody can learn technical and drawing skills. It’s not magic. No one bopped me on the head with a talent fairy. But you do have to train with somebody who has the skills. And because the skills are largely lost, it’s actually quite difficult to find somebody to train with that has atelier training. There aren’t that many places out there. They’re growing as the counter cultural movement continues to explode. Our teachers have this need often to get a master’s degree, or a curiosity about, “Hey, I never learned how to draw a paint in my undergraduate program.” How could you if undergraduate programs were intentionally run by people that didn’t have training? They were designed to exclude this knowledge from you. But if you want them now, this program we have is for three summers. So, we did it in the summers because that’s when teachers are most likely to be able do the training. And we send you to one of the most beautiful ateliers in the world. It’s terrible, you have to spend your last year in Florence, Italy.

So, we have remote and in-person options for the first two years, but the third year everybody has to go to Italy. It’s very traumatic, I’m sure. And they get this experience of learning some of these drawing and painting techniques. So, really bringing the accessibility to art teachers is a big piece of the puzzle. But also just making it safe for art teachers, because I know when I first learned about this I was furious. I was so mad because I’m like, “Isn’t this what I should have been learning in college? I paid how many thousands, and thousands, and thousands of dollars in my undergraduate degree?” And my painting instructor in college was a sculptor. He didn’t even know how to paint. And it was like, oh, do what you feel, or whatever. And even knowing what I know now about oil painting, we did some very downright dangerous things out of ignorance from a professor that’s supposed to supposedly know how to paint.

So, when I learned just how much knowledge I felt like I’d been cheated out of in undergrad, I was furious. And then also I felt incredibly insecure because I’d been teaching for a number of years. And if I went to this atelier and I said, “Hey, these skills matter,” I’m also saying, “Hey, what I taught my kids for the last few years maybe wasn’t as good as it could have been.” Or maybe I wasn’t giving them the knowledge as an educator I’m responsible for giving them, and that is a mind heart mess trying to sort through those feelings and just trying to give myself permission. Like, “Okay, well I didn’t know that then, but I can learn it now.” I call atelier training going to Hogwarts, because always, always, from second grade on I went on this field trip to an art museum and saw this painting, and I was like, “That’s what I want to do with my life.”

I just knew in that experience, in that moment that I wanted to paint like that. And I spent the next 20 years trying to learn how to paint like that. And no matter how many classes I took or whatever, no one was able to teach me that. But all of a sudden there’s this magic school, and if you go to it and you work really hard, and you read your potion books, and you work under a exacting master who’s not going to hold punches on you, who’s going to tell you exactly why your art is sucking that day, then you can learn to weave this magic. You get this magic wand where you can create any of the artwork that you imagine exactly the way you intend it without compromise. And that’s the most incredible thing in the world to me. And I definitely want to share that with other art teachers and with their students too, because it doesn’t have to be that we have to compromise on our art. You can actually learn and teach the skills that you need to create the artwork exactly the way you intended it.

Tim Bogatz: Okay. So, I want to ask you about that because I’m just thinking about those ideas just in relation to where art education seems to be right now. There’s a huge focus for all of us teachers on creativity. A lot of teachers are very invested in student choice and individual voice. And I think there’s kind of a struggle there because we only have so much time. And if we’re going to push for more realism, or if we’re going to dedicate a significant amount of time to developing realistic drawing, realistic painting skills, how do we balance that? How do we bring together that push for realism and the skill that you need to develop those ideas, but also have that goal of allowing space for student choice and student voice? How do we balance all of that?

Mandy Theis: Right, absolutely. So, that’s a very loaded question. And there’s going to be-

Tim Bogatz: I was going to say, I don’t want to be-

Mandy Theis: … no answers here. Yeah. So, I want to address the choice-based thing first and then get into the bigger part of the question. So, one of my really good friends is Cynthia Gaub, and she’s a leader in the choice community. And I’m obviously a leader in the atelier community, and we often talk about how we’re both advocating for something that’s different than traditional art education, or how it’s been for the last 100 years or so. And we’re so far apart from each other that we’re actually next to each other. It’s not a line, it’s a circle because there’s a lot that we both believe in. So, we both believe in individual student work. In the atelier, you’re largely working on your own project, your own still life that you set up for your purposes, and your reasons, and your composition. And it’s the instructor’s job to help you achieve the vision, the way you intend to have it executed.

So, to eliminate that gap between your intention and your execution, that’s the atelier training’s job. And I think that a lot of tad people, or choice-based people, advocate for a lot of the same thing, independent studio practice, and exploration of the materials, and pushing yourself into deeper exploration. A lot of those concepts are the same between the two. So, sometimes people are like, “Oh, it’s either this or that.” And I think when it comes to at least choice-based and atelier training, there’s so much overlap there it’s just that it’s kind of like Cynthia would say, I think that it’s a modified tab where there’s a technical component, and then the studio work is how she, I believe, would describe it. We should ask her. But that’s my understanding, and not being a tab expert or a choice-based expert.

But I also want to address, there’s an underlying assumption even in the question that you asked, how do you feel about teachers with creativity? And the assumption is that, oh, technical skills are the opposite of creativity. And I don’t think that’s actually true. In fact, the more you learn about the technical aspects of drawing and painting, the more you truly appreciate the creativity and innovation that happens in the technical progress and advancement in the craft of drawing and painting. At the risk of going a little technical here, I’ll try to give an example, and you let me know if I go too far.

Tim Bogatz: No, no, this is really good, because what I wanted to ask you about next is balancing the technical side with the creative side. So yeah, I would love an example. So, please dive deep.

Mandy Theis: Okay, everybody. We’re going into atelier training, so stay with me here. Okay, so one thing that people think is that people that draw and paint realistically that they’re looking at something and they’re just copying everything the way that they see it. But this isn’t actually true, and it’s not true for a lot of reasons. But one of those reasons is that your eye can perceive brighter brights and darker darks than what we have pigment to achieve. So, if you have a light on in a room and you are trying to paint it, we don’t have white that’s bright enough. Even if you hold a white piece of paper up next to a light, it’s like four value steps darker than the light. But the paper’s the whitest we can get if we’re doing a drawing. So, we can’t actually copy what we’re seeing. Now, what we can do is we can purposely diminish the values around the light, so we can purposely darken everything else darker than the way we actually see it so that the whiter the paper has the same jump between the light and what’s around it as what we observe.

So, we can recreate the relationship of how light something is compared to how dark the things around it are, but we cannot copy the exact value of the light. Okay, so how do you solve this problem as an artist? There’s so much creativity and so many innovations that have happened throughout the history of technical drawing and painting. One of my favorites is something called broken color. So, these painters were facing this problem where they were observing something that was brighter than their pigment could achieve. So, the old way of doing it was to darken everything around it, like what we just talked about. But what the kind of impressionists came up with is when you look at something that’s really, really bright it kind of makes your eye vibrate a little bit. It changes. You have to dilate your pupil or un-dilate your pupils to receive.

So, there’s a physical reaction, and they came up with this idea of are there other ways to make your eye vibrate? And they found that if they put one really chromatic color right next to a very contrasting chromatic color as a highlight on a light area, it created that vibration in your eye so it feels brighter. But who would’ve thought that putting colors that don’t actually exist, that you don’t see there, but using those colors, which are actually darker than the light you’re trying to paint, could create the vibration and give you that? And if you look at, especially still lifes of shiny objects that were done in the impressionist era, you’ll see this broken color a lot where there’s two colors that are not white, that are representing a really shiny highlight on a metal base or something.

And I mean, how innovative and creative is that to even come up with that solution? So, there’s so much creativity in the technical aspects of art, it’s just that because the technical aspects of art have not been taught and they’re not broadly known, the creative aspect of it is not as well understood as the idea aspect of art, which is very well taught and very well covered in contemporary art education practice.

Tim Bogatz: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So no, I appreciate that answer and just getting your thoughts on all of that. Another thing that I wanted to ask you about, and I guess this is sort of a big jump from where this conversation has been going, but just as I was thinking of things I wanted to get your opinion on, I was thinking about AI. Because when we think about atelier training, I’m transported back hundreds of years to da Vinci, things like that, and just think of it as a very old school thing. And just the idea of technical skill, just even though it’s not completely traditional, as evidenced by what we’ve been talking about today, that’s still kind of the thought that everybody has. And so, I’m just thinking about those skills, how valuable they are, and just how they contrast with all of these new types of art that are being made just as AI is becoming more and more prevalent.

So, in all of that rambling and ranting right there, my question would be what do you see just in the near future here as the role of the artist? What kinds of skills do you think artists need? And what kinds of things do you think they should be focused on in relation to what we’re seeing with computer generated work?

Mandy Theis: Oh, sure. So, also really big pressing question of the day, not just in the arts. AI is both fascinating and terrifying at the same time, but AI is derivative. It can only create from what already exists. So, artistically we’re seeing it create some really interesting paintings that seem to us to be like the old masters, but they couldn’t exist without the originality of the old masters. They’re derivatives. So, I think actually AI’s going to push artists to be more important than ever because the appetite for original imagery is only going to snowball with this consumption that is being increased by people’s ability to get their ideas. I think the interesting thing about AI is that it’s allowing people to get their ideas for an artwork out there without compromising technically in some ways. So, they’re getting all the joy of the technical achievement without having to learn the craft, and they’re getting the idea out without compromise.

Now, imagine what you could do, because even with all the AI tweaking or whatever it’s never exactly as you imagine, but if you love the idea of being able to create anything you imagine you would love atelier training. It’s like your own internal AI system. But that being said, the quality of what goes in and the quality of the program matters a lot for the quality that comes out. And I actually talk a lot about the video game industry, because in the video game industry there’s a strong desire to create believable worlds. So, realism is really, really desired in the video game industry. But the video game industry is largely unaware of atelier training. There’s a disconnect between the two. And so, the video game industry keeps trying to pursue better and better pixels per inch, or more information, more information. If we can only get more information into this image, then it’ll look more real.

But atelier-trained artists know that that’s actually the exact wrong way to go about it, that if you want something to be more believable that you need to focus on what you want to be seen and purposely diminish what’s not important. So in these video games, for example, you’ll have, let’s say a robot with a light coming from the left, and a really, really bright reflected light coming from the right. But the problem with that is that anytime you want something to look really believable, really round, if you want that robot to look really dimensional, you want to emphasize what we call the form, the light areas. You want all of them to be on there. And do you know what actually makes it look more round? Is flattening the shadow. So, by not allowing all this distraction in visual vibrancy for the eye and the shadow, it allows the eye to travel over the form in a rounded way.

And so, if these video game people understood that it’s not about showing every little thing, it’s about judiciously highlighting what’s most important in diminishing, creating a hierarchy for the eye, because that’s how humans actually see because we’re not robots, we don’t see everything all at once, they would get what they’re after with this believability. It’s just that they don’t know it exists right now. Atelier training, I’m telling you in the ’80s these schools were maybe graduating five students each, maybe in a year. And think of how near extinction thousands of years of inherited artistic information that had been painstakingly handed down from artist to artist was nearly lost. And then you have this whole industry that isn’t considered high art by the elites, if you will, in the video game industry, wanting more than anything to do this and they don’t even know where to look.

They don’t know that it exists. So as an educator, I just am so passionate about make it a choice. If you want to drip paint on Canvas a la Pollock, and that’s your choice, that’s amazing and I celebrate that. But if you really wanted to do this other thing but you gave up on it because your execution didn’t match your vision, what you need is atelier training, and that will get you there. You don’t have to compromise. You don’t have to choose something else or go a different pathway. There is a pathway for you. It exists. I found it, and now I’m trying to help other art teachers find it, and it’s called atelier training.

Tim Bogatz: No, that’s awesome. Okay. Yeah, I don’t know, just a lot to think about there and I really appreciate all of that. But I guess last question for you, just before we go, I would love for you to share where people can learn more, either about you and what you’re teaching, your program, what teachers may want to learn themselves and take back to their students. Just any final thoughts or final things you want to share before we go?

Mandy Theis: Absolutely. I really appreciate the opportunity. As I developed atelier training, I recognize that more and more teachers were asking for it. So, I created a whole series of lesson plans where you don’t have to have any atelier training yourself, but they will teach your students and you if you don’t know it yet, some really important atelier skills. So, I have one on portraiture, one on how to draw people, and I just put out one on color theory. News flash, there’s no such thing-

Tim Bogatz: Okay, I actually-

Mandy Theis: … as warm and cool colors.

Tim Bogatz: … I was going to say, I read the color theory one. It was very good. I really enjoyed it.

Mandy Theis: Oh, thank you.

Tim Bogatz: Anyway, sorry to interrupt but I appreciated that one.

Mandy Theis: No, I appreciate that. Yeah, I mean, the things that I thought, the things that I learned in my art teacher education, there’s a lot of bad knowledge because we issued technical knowledge for so long sometimes the remnants that remains got misconstrued and misunderstood, and yeah, there is no such thing as warm and cool colors. And I have a free color theory training at that will teach you why that’s true. So, if you just go to you can sign up for that class on the homepage. And then we have these lesson plans that are available to purchase that take you through atelier skills. So, it’s not just about drawing a person, for example, a lot of people they’re going to start with drawing an eye, but with atelier training you always want to go from the biggest idea to the smallest idea.

And the biggest idea of a head is the ball of the back of your head. Your head weighs how many pounds? And this is massive back here, and you can see the back of your head from the front of your face. But what do people do? They start with an oval. They forget about the back of the head. So, just really basic concepts, and then they accelerate quickly into more and more sophisticated concepts as you go from beginning to end through these worksheets. So, if you don’t have any atelier training but you have a student that’s interested in drawing people realistically, for example, that’s a good resource for you. I also have a YouTube channel where I teach atelier skills and I answer common misconceptions. Like what are triadic colors? Do we really think we know what they are because they’re different than what we’ve been taught in our education up to this point.

And then also, as I mentioned earlier, I partnered with the Florence Academy of Art to offer a actual intensive experience, because true atelier training, I trained in atelier, Juliette’s atelier for four years, but I also trained in several additional years in other ateliers. So, it’s not something you can just snap your fingers and like, “Oh, I’m going to flip a switch and I’m going to have this thing.” No, it’s a commitment. And so, I had these lesson plans, I was giving workshops at state conferences, but the master’s degree program is a way to really get a solid foundation in atelier skills. And so, that’s why we created it, that’s why we created it for the summers, that’s why we made both remote and in-person options for it, and the opportunity to train in an authentic atelier in Italy. So, that’s some of the things I’m doing to share atelier training with my fellow art educators, and hopefully the broader audience and their students.

Tim Bogatz: Yeah. That is awesome. Well Mandy, thank you. I appreciate this entire conversation from the deep dive into atelier with all of our art history tangents, and it’s been really enjoyable for me. So, thank you.

Mandy Theis: Oh, I appreciate that. I can geek out on art history all day long, anytime. It was a pleasure being on your program. Thank you for having me.

Tim Bogatz: All right. I had a lot of fun with that conversation with Mandy. Apologies for nerding about art history multiple times, but honestly that’s the good stuff. That’s what I get excited about. But I also loved a little dive there at the end into video games, and I’d love to talk more about lots of this, but that was a longer episode so I want to wrap it up. But if you want to know more about anything that Mandy discussed with me, anything about the School of Atelier Arts, anything else, we will make sure that we put a lot of links in these show notes. And as she said, she’s able to find what she was looking for in atelier training. And if you think you or your students are interested, you may be able to find something as well. So, if any of that piques your interest I would definitely suggest checking it out.

Art Ed Radio is produced by the Art of Education University with audio engineering from Michael Crocker. Thank you for listening as always, and we will talk to you again next week.

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.