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  • Flexibility for artists with scheduling and/or travel needs

  • Three 10-week study courses each year with optional intensive workshops

  • Optional Summer Coursework

  • Affordable, focused study

Based in the Atelier tradition, Sumpter Academy offers a ​skills-focused curriculum for students to learn the time-honored methods of Representational Drawing and Painting.  Students are guided step-by-step as they complete a sequence of carefully crafted exercises and projects that lead them to develop solid rendering and painting skills.  The first aim of studio instruction (generally three terms) is focused on honing the skills foundational to Classical Drawing.  Students then expand their drawing knowledge as they learn the various methods of constructing an Oil Painting--brushwork, layering, and alla prima are covered, all within the context of design.  That sequence also generally takes place over a course of three terms. During the third primary focus of study, students move into Full Color Painting, natural effects, harmony, and palette management.  Throughout, practical and aesthetic matters are discussed, and techniques honed as they relate to each student's artistic vision and individual genres: portraiture, landscape and/or still-life. 

Developmental Drawing


Primary study (generally 1st year ) is focused on Classical drawing (rendering) skills.  Regardless of your skill-level, unless you've already learned the techniques of the early academies, you're in for a treat!  The process we teach is sound and most importantly, always works.  We help to simplify the process of drawing in the way grammar aids in the process of speaking or writing.  As you complete a series of guided exercises and projects, your drawings become progressively stronger as we build into the foundations of creating powerful compositions.  Both observational and structural drawing methods are developed. 

Tea Cup in Watercolor

Painting Development


The second area of study builds immediately upon the skill-set gained during the study of Developmental Drawing.  Students learn to transition these skills into the liquid medium of oil paint, and to understand the additional qualities obtained only through oil.  Gains in the beauty, speed, depth and illusionistic qualities of paint are made by means of a sequence of studies and technical exercises.  Direct and Layered Techniques are taught.  The reasons and methods for using one, the other, or a combination of the two become clear as the student prepares for color--the third area of study.

Oil Paint

Mastery of Color in Painting


The third area of study like-wise builds on the skill-set gained during the second year--brushwork, application, layering, and design fuse with new illusionistic tools and color.  Palette management, color harmony, consistency in ambient lighting within a painting and modes of color techniques are taught.  Methods to avoid painting pitfalls and "mud" also become clear as well as techniques for correcting works if changes are desired.  Color can add an emotional component and a sense of connection can be made with the viewer when handled well.  Strategies for both loose handling  and "tighter" photographic representation are covered. 

Art Class
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