The type of art instruction that most closely follows the principles of deliberate practice most closely is based on the atelier method, a classical approach to teaching art that focuses first on teaching students to draw — and, later, paint — objects with great accuracy. The idea is that this is a skill that anyone can develop with enough of the right sort of practice. This basic skill — reproducing something accurately — can then be applied in various creative ways, but one must first build the proper foundation before worrying about being creative. It is no different from expecting a pianist to be able to play the notes correctly before worrying about adding expressivity and interpretation to the mix or expecting a writer to be able to spell correctly, use proper grammar, and be able to write a decent paragraph before trying to write a creative short story or novel. I would suggest that anyone who is serious about developing artistic skill look into atelier training. There are a significant number of ateliers in the United States today, and the number is growing, so the following are just a sampling of what is available, but they are programs with good reputations and with track records of turning out highly skilled artists.


Watts Atelier

Founded by the artist Jeff Watts, the physical atelier is in Encinitas, California, but there are also online memberships available. Depending upon how much you spend, the classes include lesson pages, video instruction, the chance to post a portfolio of your art and interact with other students in the program, feedback from atelier instructors, and live video coaching sessions.

Find it here.


Sadie Valeri Atelier

The physical atelier, which is located in San Francisco, offers workshops and a full classical atelier program, which typically takes full-time students about three years to complete. There is also an online version of the atelier, which gives students access to videos of the drawing and painting lessons that Sadie Valeri offers at her atelier along with written instructions and the option to participate in an online class forum with feedback from Ms. Valeri.

Visit the website here.


Ani Art Academies

Six separate locations (two in the United States and one each in Anguilla, the Dominican Republic, Thailand, and Sri Lanka) offer an extensive training in art skills using a program developed by the artist Anthony J. Waichulis. The program typically takes three to four years to complete. One of the two U.S. locations (in Red Bank, New Jersey) is dedicated to teaching art to military veterans and people with disabilities.

Visit the website here.


Suggested Donation Podcast

Despite its unusual name, this is a podcast devoted to art in all of its forms, but with a definite leaning toward painters and sculptors who are highly skilled technically. Two contemporary painters, Tony Curanaj and Edward Minoff, host the podcast, interviewing their artist guests in a freeform fashion that can be frustrating but also lead to some fascinating conversations. Accompanying each podcast are images showing the work of the artist being interviewed, so you have some idea of the work that the artist does.

You can hear it here.