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Atelier Indiana


Blue Valley Art Studio, 2547 S. Greensboro Pike, New Castle, Indiana, United States

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Atelier Indiana

"The most effective way to learn about painting. First class instructor who knows what he is doing. I have learned a lot because the teaching is aimed at the student's needs".

"Although his mastery of the art of drawing and painting is at times intimidating, it is so complete, and at the same time it is inspiring. He holds the standard of excellence by being the standard".

"I am very pleased and thankful for the instruction I've received at Atelier Indiana. Kerry has gone beyond my expectations with his comprehensive teaching approach and individualized attention and guidance. I have been given a solid foundation for my art which is based on the awareness of my seeing and that experience, painting techniques, and craftsmanship".

"If you're interested in learning Classical Realism or True Impressionism, then you'll find no better place than Atelier Indiana. The methods taught are based on a tradition that goes back over 600 years. Kerry Holsapple, the instructor, is well versed in those methods and is a master draftsman/painter in his own right. Unlike some artists who have a hard time in passing on their methods, Kerry has a knack for sharing his knowledge with his students in ways that are both expedient and helpful. I can see dramatic improvement in my work in the four years I've been studying with him".

"It's a tragedy that none of this is taught in art schools. Fundamental drawing and painting skills are like words are to literature or notes to music. Without them, you're pretty much left with nothing".

"This Atelier Program is the right choice for serious art students. The experience has been a revelation."

Atelier Indiana provides a serious art student with innovative instruction combined with authentic knowledge and studio practices from the 600-year-old Master Tradition. Core curriculum integrates an ensemble of traditional atelier studies in composition and design, form, light and shadow, tone, color, and craftsmanship leading to true artistry and creative picture making.

In 2018, an atelier studies program, intensive seminars, independent study program, and atelier workshops will continue to be made available to serious students.

A full-time Atelier Program may be offered beginning in Spring 2019.

The setting is the Blue Valley Art Studio overlooking a scenic river valley. Studio space for students will include an adjoining plein air studio.

A NOTE TO SERIOUS STUDENTS: The Atelier Indiana Program can save a serious student precious time wasted in years of fruitless searching and misguided study. The program focuses on the essence of art study. Drawing and painting instruction is very specific. The essence of each art principle is communicated via dialogue, demonstration, and critique. Training includes evolution of a student's seeing and individual vision, translation/expression of seeing/feeling experience through the visual language into art structure, and integration of multiple areas of art study into authentic artistry to be applied to creative picture making projects.

A comprehensive ensemble of traditional atelier studies are the means through which a student evolves seeing/vision, craftsmanship, and artistry. Leon Gerome advised students: "It is austere and profound studies that make great painters and sculptors; one lives all one's life on this foundation."

To provide each student with the time and attention they need, I can only direct the studies of a small group of serious students. Openings are available on a first come, first serve basis.

Best wishes on your journey into art.

Forza Corregio!

Kerry Holsapple

About the Artist - Kerry Holsapple is an award-winning artist with direct lineage to the master tradition via the Boston School of Painting. He received his introduction to the tradition through study with Richard Lack at the Atelier Lack and with R.H. Ives Gammell at the Fenway Studios in Boston. As an educational researcher and scholar of the tradition, the artist continues to research the studio practices of the great artists and schools of painting. His works are represented in private collections in the United States and England. He has been teaching drawing, painting, and picture making for over 40 years.

Abridged Version

The Atelier Experience
by Kerry Holsapple, Atelier Indiana

An atelier is a place where the transmission of professional knowledge and studio practices in an art can take place. Historically, the atelier has been (and continues to be) one of the major educational systems for training aspiring painters in the fine art of picture making. The other main vehicles for art training in the past were the apprentice system and the academy. For the purposes of this article an atelier is defined as a studio school or workshop where a competent painter trained in the fine art of drawing, painting, and picture making directs the studies of a small group of serious students who aspire to learn the art. As I refer to contemporary ateliers, I am referring to the handful of ateliers who have direct lineage to the great western painting tradition through the Boston School of Painting. There may be other ateliers around the world with lineage to the tradition, but I have little information about them.

Ateliers were especially prevalent in 19th century France and this lineage continues unbroken to this day. As the dominant art center of that century, Paris drew students from around the world to take advantage of its ateliers and academies. Some of the more famous ateliers included those of Ingres, Couture, Pils, and Gleyre (before 1850) and those of Gerome, Bonnat, Cabanel, Carolus-Duran, and Laurens (after 1850). Americans who studied in Parisian ateliers comprise a "Who's Who of American Art" for the 19th and early 20th centuries. Alumni include such well known names as: Hunt, Sargent, Eakins, Whistler, LaFarge, Thayer, Bunker, Dewing, Tarbell, Benson, Robinson, Blashfield, Paxton, Metcalf, Cox, Weir, Brush, Enneking, Hassam, Beckwith, Harrison, Bridgeman, Pearce, Beaux, Davis, Wiles, Melchers, Vonnah, Henri and many more. In fact, 2,200 Americans born by 1880 studied formally in Paris. Parisian ateliers exerted a world wide influence as its students returned to their native countries to practice and teach the art they had acquired. For an excellent introduction to French painters, their ateliers, and their American students I refer the reader to The Lure of Paris by H. Barbara Weinberg.

Many American painters trained in Parisian ateliers returned home and continued the time honored tradition of passing on professional knowledge and studio practices to new generations. However, ateliers based on the French model never fully took root in the United States. As the country moved into the 20th century the most prevalent system for art training became museum, university, and independent art schools. As the vehicle for the transmission of a then 600 year-old tradition shifted to less appropriate institutions with less competent instructors, the quality of art training declined. The breakdown in the transmission of professional knowledge and studio practices from competent practitioners to talented students is the major reason for the decline in the fine art of drawing, painting, and picture making in the 20th century. (Note: In speaking of the fine art of painting I am not referring to the diverse manifestations referred to as "modern art" whose aesthetics and practices developed on a different line). The reader is referred to Twilight of Painting by R. H. Ives Gammell for a superb discourse on the decline of the traditional art of painting that had taken place by 1946.

It is interesting to note that Howard Pyle, often called the "father of American illustration", gave up his post at Drexel Institute with its large classes to form his own atelier. The talented students invited to study in Pyle's atelier became some of America's greatest illustrators of the period, including: N.C. Wyeth, Harvey Dunn, Stanley Arthurs, and Frank Schoonover. They in turn taught the next generation of picture makers such as Dean Cornwell, Mead Schaeffer, and Harold Von Schmidt who in turn taught the next generation, and so on. As a result, the work of this line of illustrators graced American books and magazines for more than seven decades.

What is the atelier experience? To begin with, the painter's experience is centered in "seeing". By "seeing" I mean the sensitive awareness of visual impressions and their many faceted qualities. The deep, rich experience of "seeing" is the major inspiration for a painter's art. Learning the fine art of drawing and painting commences with learning "to see". Drawing and painting begins with an artist's visual experience that then "triggers" an emotional and physical response. To "embody" this human experience truthfully and creatively in expressive visual forms comprises the art. Classicism as practiced by the ancient Greeks was a union of representation and abstraction. This principle was rediscovered during the Renaissance leading to the great legacy of western painting as we know it.

The atelier experience is one of connecting with and absorbing a tradition of knowledge and studio practices that link together artists spanning over 600 years. This tradition has given birth to some of the world's greatest artists. Most readers will be familiar with the work of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Rubens, Velasquez, Rembrandt, and Vermeer. Even though every painter who has studied and practiced the tradition has not achieved the greatness of the artists mentioned above, the tradition was kept alive through them. The majority were often very competent practitioners who painted pictures with genuine artistry and transmitted their knowledge of the tradition to succeeding generations. Without a Verrocchio there wouldn't have been a Leonardo, without a Bellini there would not have been a Titian, etc. Closer to our time did you know that Barrias and Lamothe were Degas's early teachers? Who can say when another painter in the caliber of a Velasquez or a Vermeer will arise from within the tradition to carry the art to new heights. As with all events in nature, certain conditions must be present for an event to occur. Great painters do not happen by accident.

While organization, curriculum, and teaching style may vary from atelier to atelier, basic areas of study include: composition and design, form, light and shadow, tone, color, craftsmanship, and picture making. Topics such as perspective, anatomy, modeling, design and color theory, memory work, aesthetics, and art history are usually included within these studies. The means through which learning takes place includes traditional atelier studies such as: compositional studies, cast drawing, still life, head studies, academies, drapery studies, landscape, modeling, etc. A variety of media are generally introduced as part of training a student in the appropriate use of materials and techniques. Upon entering an atelier, a student is usually assigned studies that match his/her level of development. This begins the process of learning "to see" space, form, light and shadow, tone and color values, definitions, ensemble, etc.; to compose and design; to express seeing and feeling with truth and directness; and to construct drawings and paintings with time-honored craftsmanship.

The key relationship within an atelier is the one between the painter/teacher and each student. A competent teacher can save a talented student years of misguided effort. During the foundation years, time is one of a student's most precious commodities. Certain requirements are necessary for a successful transmission of the tradition from painter/teacher to student. The qualities a student needs to bring into an atelier include: the willingness to learn and follow instructions, a solid work ethic, self-motivation, courage, persistence, and patience. Time is equally important to a teacher whose objective is to preserve the tradition by transmitting it successfully to new generations. Qualities of a competent painter/teacher include: an integrated knowledge and practice of the art, the wisdom to assign progressive studies appropriate to a student's level of development, the ability to match presentation of information with a students' learning style, and the insight to provide a student with essential instruction as it is needed. In an atelier that has a group of full-time students, a positive camaraderie between the students will enhance learning and growth as well as help establish life-long friendships and professional associations.

The life of an atelier revolves around its daily schedule. Typically, the schedule consists of a daily morning and an afternoon session five days a week. Oftentimes the morning session is the time for students to work on their assigned studies. For beginning students these studies may include drawing from flat copy in pencil or drawing from plaster casts in charcoal. Intermediate students may be doing cast, drapery, still life, or head studies in charcoal, pastel, or oil and advanced students may be at work on creative projects. Afternoon sessions are usually reserved for figure drawing from the model. Normally, the painter/teacher will visit the atelier two days each week to critique the work in progress and provide instruction. Teaching methods vary from teacher to teacher and may include a combination of discussions/lectures, demonstrations, and individualized instruction. Emphasis from atelier to atelier may also vary. For example, Carolus-Duran emphasized tone values and drawing with the brush from the start while Gerome emphasized expressing form first through line drawing.

It is best if the facilities for an atelier include a clean, well equipped, and well lit studio space of sufficient size to provide each student with his/her own work area. Basic equipment includes easels, taborets, model stands, an assortment of antique casts, screens, draperies, and additional lighting. A reference library is useful as well as a display of atelier studies that serve as models of excellence in drawing, painting, and craftsmanship. An atelier located near major museums and other cultural resources is also a plus. A stable, well-funded atelier with a solid program and good management is key to its long term success.

Ideally, a full-time atelier program provides a student with at least 4 years of intensive training. The first two years establish a solid foundation of basic skills which are then refined and applied during the final two years to a variety of creative projects. These projects may include impressionistic, to decorative, to imaginary picture making. If the transmission of knowledge and studio practices is successful, a solid foundation will be established preparing the student to approach any creative project with competence. With a solid foundation a student is prepared to launch a career as a professional painter and bring his/her vision to the world with truth, creativity, and artistry. Hopefully, trained students will then in time open their own ateliers to transmit the tradition to the next generations. And thus the circle is completed - to begin yet another cycle.

For over 50 years we have been in a period of reconstruction. This work will continue into the foreseeable future. With sufficient resources, solid planning, and progressive construction the tradition can be restored. Ateliers today are generally underfunded and receive little support in relation to the great task they have to accomplish. There are four things serious patrons of the art can do to help restore the tradition: 1) Help establish and support an atelier in their region if none exists. 2) Directly support existing ateliers that provide excellent programs yet are underfunded. 3) Directly sponsor a talented student from your area to attend an existing atelier program, and/or 4) Contribute to established atelier student scholarship and atelier endowment funds. An ideal situation would be the establishment of well-funded and managed ateliers with excellent programs in all the major regions of the United States. This is feasible as well as possible.

My own atelier, Atelier Indiana, currently offers an Atelier Studies Program (a part-time program), atelier intensives, an independent study program, and atelier workshops. Plans for expansion to include a facility for full-time students is in progress. For more information individuals or organizers can contact: Kerry Holsapple, Atelier Indiana, 2547 South Greensboro Pike, New Castle, IN 47362, phone 765.521.0200, or e-mail:

Atelier Study
Recommended Book List

It is important for an aspiring student to begin to form a frame of reference as preparation for the study of the tradition. Here are a few titles that will be useful.

Twilight of Painting by R.H. Ives Gammell
Oil Painting Techniques and Materials by Harold Speed
Hawthorne On Painting by Charles Hawthorne
The Art Spirit by Robert Henri
The Practice of Oil Painting and Drawing by S. J. Solomon
Painting The Visual Impression by Richard W. Whitney
The Materials of the Artist and Their Use In Painting by Max Doerner
Portrait And Figure Painting by Frank Fowler
On The Training of Painters by Richard Lack
Jan Vermeer of Delft by Philip Hale
Velasquez by R.A.M. Stevenson
The Lure of Paris by H. Barbara Weinberg

"My intensive was extremely valuable. Your instruction pointed me in the right direction. You are a great teacher".

"Thank you very much for my excellent intensive. I recommend these intensives to anyone who is interested in learning in depth specific aspects of the craft of painting".

"I learned more real art instruction in the first three hours than in all the national workshops I have attended combined".

"Thanks again for the specific and clear drawing instruction".

"Believe me, you are the one who really teaches how one can become an artist and not a perennial workshop student".

"He is gifted with patience to talk to the student and demonstrate each step of the way. He can explain a principle in many different ways so the student grasps the focus. His passion for practicing art to a high standard is proven out in the excellence of his work".

"Kerry is a very competent professional who enjoys teaching. I've had four intensives with him".

"Individual teaching allows more time for Kerry to demonstrate concepts. And also allows him to check that you as a student have grasped the particular concept, and show you again and again. if necessary, until you understand it completely".

"An intensive is comparable in cost to a 4-credit college course, but unlike college classes where student's are lucky to get a few minutes of an instructor's attention, Mr. Holsapple dedicates hours to a student and his/her work. Literally 60+ hours were devoted to my study. This time and instruction are invaluable."

Presented By Kerry Holsapple, Atelier Indiana

An Atelier Intensive provides a student or group of students with the opportunity to focus on one or a choice of traditional atelier studies. Intensives can be designed for a variety of time frames. Each day of an intensive includes a morning and an afternoon session (a minimum of six studio hours) plus daily instruction and critiques. Each intensive is individually designed to match the needs and schedule of the student.

Many aspiring students because of their location, finances, or obligations do not have the option of attending a full-time or part-time atelier program. Intensives are a good way for serious students to receive an introduction to atelier study. Here is a list of available Atelier Intensives:

  • Rhythmic Drawing
  • Cast Drawing
  • Composition
  • Color
  • Still Life
  • Landscape (Plein Air)
  • Head Study
  • Academie

Some Possible Combinations (Morning and Afternoon Sessions)

Cast Drawing and Still Life
Cast Drawing and Head Study
Cast Drawing and Academie
Composition and Cast Drawing
Composition and Still Life
Composition and Head Study
Composition and Academie
Landscape and Cast Drawing
Landscape and Composition
Landscape and Still Life
Landscape and Head Study
Landscape and Academie
Still Life and Head Study
Still Life and Academie
Head Study and Academie

Designing an Intensive

An intensive can be specifically designed to meet your current needs and schedule.

To design an intensive choose from among the Atelier Intensives listed. For an intensive not listed please inquire.

Next, decide upon the number of days you have available for an intensive. A 5-day intensive is recommended as a minimum. However, with some studies a 3-day intensive could qualify as the minimum. Each day of an intensive includes a morning and an afternoon session of three hours each (6 total hours per day). You will receive instruction and continuous coaching during each session of every day. Your instructor can advise you on what combinations of studies are feasible within a given time frame.The cost of an intensive depends on the number of days and the studies selected. The price is determined by adding (as applicable) the cost of the instruction, studio space, model, and art materials. The instruction/coaching fee is standardized whereas the cost of studio space, models, and art materials may vary. Once you've chosen what you want to study and determined your time frame, a schedule will be put together and the cost will be quoted. Upon agreement of the content, schedule, and cost a date will be selected and scheduled for your intensive.

For more information about designing or scheduling an Atelier Intensive to meet your specific needs contact Kerry Holsapple, Atelier Indiana, 2547 South Greensboro Pike, New Castle, IN 47362; call 765.521.0200; or email Attention group organizers: Atelier Intensives are available to bring on location to your area if requirements are met.

Founded 1988
Course languages English
Full-Time Instructors 1
Students 6
Accommodation No

Atelier Indiana

Blue Valley Art Studio, 2547 S. Greensboro Pike

New Castle, United States

Predicament by Robert Hale Ives Gammell