The Atelier, Studio Program of Fine Art

Minneapolis, MN


Article dated 12/28/98:

The current resurgence of realism in art has given students researching a career in painting more choices for their art education. Many students searching for a school to achieve this training often base their choice only on fulfilling their creative expression. It isn't until later that they realize the need for a solid foundation developed by learning, mind, eye and hand coordination skills.

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Legend for four stages of charcoal drawings

The Atelier, Studio Program of Fine Art, answers this need with a focus primarily on fine draftsmanship and painting skills leading to the creation of solid pictures. This method of instruction provided by The Atelier has been passed on from teacher to student and can be traced back to the masters Paul Delarouche and Jacques-Louis David along with an influence of the Italian Renaissance and Flemish masters.

Left: Claudia Rush, Judith Cutting Off the Head of Holopernes, oil on canvas, 28 x 20 inches

Dale Redpath and Cyd Wicker, Co-Directors and instructors at The Atelier, each studied with Richard Lack at Atelier Lack for five years. After completing their training, they taught with Mr. Lack for a combined seventeen years before taking over the program following his retirement from teaching in 1992. Cyd and Dale pursue their own successful careers in painting, while as skilled instructors continue to pass on this knowledge of creating finely crafted works of art.

This form of teaching is rare.. It takes instructors who can gain the trust and confidence of the students in order to push them past their weaknesses and raise their skill level. In a structured program like that provided by The Atelier, the students are taken through exercises each day that train their eye and challenge them to work on their strengths and weaknesses, to become more fully conversant with the language of painting.

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Draftsmanship is of paramount importance in the training of a painter. Through the "sight size" method, the eye is made to see proportions accurately. The student makes a series of measurements both vertically and horizontally, resulting in a drawing that is the same proportionate size as the image seen in nature. Emphasis is placed on developing the student's ability to observe and render proportion and value relationships. By the time the student reaches his or her fourth year, she or he can put together a complex painting.

The instructors believe that students who are serious about the traditional art of drawing and painting will find The Atelier program providing them with the necessary training to pursue an artistic career.

"The type of schooling The Atelier provides is indispensable to the serious painter. Having received a degree from Columbia College in fine arts and having studied Italian Renaissance art through Loyola University in Rome, I was amazed to realize what gaps still existed in my artistic training. The Atelier filled those gaps, providing me with a richer understanding of traditional methods; materials, and techniques and a fuller appreciation of the movements of art history."

Jim Robinson, graduate of The Atelier

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"For years, I tried to find a school that would teach me to paint the way the Old Masters were taught. My search ended when I found Atelier Lack. In other art classes, I felt I was encouraged to rely upon serendipity. At The Atelier, Dale Redpath and Cyd Wicker provide excellent one-on-one instruction to students who desire to learn the fundamentals of classical, representational painting and drawing."

Ginny Reilly, graduate of The Atelier

"With a fine arts degree from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota and periodic classes from other art institutions, I have pursued a successful twenty-five year career in both commercial and fine art. None of it compared to the impact and power of The Atelier's instruction and its perfect relevance to my life-long goal of creating realistic images. The acceleration in my ability since joining the full-time program has allowed me to produce paintings I once could only dream of doing. I am deeply grateful to the existence of The Atelier and the dedication of its directors."

Lynn Maderich, fifth year student

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Enrollment in the four-year, full-time apprentice program is limited to fourteen students. All instruction is individualized, one on one, by the teachers, Cyd Wicker and Dale Redpath. Students must commit to the 9:00 am to 4:00 pm five days a week schedule. The morning hours are devoted to drawing and painting from live models. The afternoon curriculum is tailored for each student according to their level of proficiency. Generally, a student's training follows this outline:

Composition, memory drawing, color theory and anatomy are also presented to all students with a series of exercises. Upon completion of a four-year course of study, the student has sufficient foundation knowledge to pursue a career as a professional painter.

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Part-time evening courses and workshops, open to the public, are also offered to students who wish to learn traditional drawing and painting skills but for various reasons are not able to enter the four-year program. Many potential full-time students are found through the workshop evening classes. Write for more information to the Atelier at 1681 East Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55414 or call 612.362.8421.

Editor's Note: On 11/8/02 the The Atelier Studio Program of Fine Art asked RLM to indicate its new website. It may be found at on the Web.


rev. 8/24/10

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This page was originally published in 1998 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information.

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