The Atelier School of Classical Realism

Oakland, CA



David Hardy's Atelier


David Hardy approaches the teaching of art as if introducing students to the challenge of learning a visual language. One needs structure to genuinely and comfortably "speak" this visual language. Technical knowledge serves as the grammar, the syntax, the vocabularly. The root core reason for seeking technical understanding and skill in art is to gain freedom. Creative control frees the artist to be more effectively himself, thus share what he really believes, what he really feels.

Images from left to right (all by David Hardy): "The Orange," oil on gesso panel, 9 x 12 inches, collection of Mr. & Mrs Peter Smith; "The World of the Buddha," oil on gesso panel, 9 x 12 inches, collection of Kay Oberbilling; "Kitty's Quest," oil on linen canvas, 9 x 14 inches, private collection; "California Sunset," oil on gesso panel, 36 x18 inches, collection of the artist; "Seabreeze," oil on linen canvas, 18"x 20 inches, private collection

The foundation course is taught on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Individual instruction at various levels in a classroom setting provide a thorough introduction to ideas and techniques valued by today's artists and students. The extended, concentrated course explores Old Master illusions of depth, distance, atmosphere, solid form, and convmcing surface textures. The dynamics of color as affected by pictorial lighting hauntingly comes alive. Occasionally Hardy chooses to help explain a drawing or painting process by giving a demonstration. Museum field trips help students compare how various artists used information being studied in the Atelier.

Images from left to right (all by David Hardy): "Sunday Sand and Sun," oil on linen canvas, 30 x 25 inches, collection of Mr. & Mrs. Ronald Baroney; "Lady of the Lamp," oil on gesso panel, 36 x 48 inches, courtesy Gallery One, Mendocino; "Juan Carlos," oil stain on gesso panel, 12 x 16 inches, private collection;

On Monday and Friday evenings, figure workshops offer poses held not only all evening, but also sometimes continuing for six months or longer. This permits students to study the anatomy of the model in detail. A marvelous opportunity is also presented to gain experience in the final finishing of a figure painting. During these sessions, David Hardy paints from the figure side by side with the other participants. At all times personalized attention is directed toward students to maximite individual growth. Advanced students are given fine-tuning of drawing and painting skills for meaningful careers. Emerging art professionals are given career counseling.

Images from left to right (all by David Hardy): "Portrait of Gene LaRue,"charcoal and chalk on Italian paper, 18 x 25 inches, collection of Mr. & Mrs. Gene LaRue; "Drawing of a Young Woman," charcoal and chalk on Italian paper, 9 x 12 inches, private collection; "Song of Love", oil on linen canvas, 40 x 46 inches, courtesy Gallery One, Mendocino

An accomplished draftsman and painter himself, Hardy is exhibited at the John Pence Gallery in San Francisco. He is included in a highly regarded textbook, "A Guide to Drawing", Fifth Edition, by Daniel M.Mendelowitz and Duane A. Wakeham. This text is used by major college art departments nationally, including, among others, Stanford University. Hardy is also among artists featured in the North Light Publications book, "The Best of Flower Painting", and is listed in "Who's Who in American Art". He was invited to participate in "The Best of Oil Paintings," issued by Rockport Publications in 1996. His portraits and other paintings are included in major collections nationally and abroad.

Helpful criticism, hugs, encouragement,. laughter, tears, and involvement. It all seems to work. Students find the rigorous, traditional approach offered at the Atelier School of Classical Realism a bridge to little known techniques and principles from the golden days of painting. They are building a meaningful approach to effectively establish a beachhead in today's challenging art world.

The Atelier School of Classical Realism is located upstairs at 4920 Telegraph Avenue in the up-and-coming Temescal neighborhood in north Oakland. The entrance is tucked between Cafe Tamescal and the Oakland Public Library Temescal Branch. To visit and observe classes in session, telephone David Hardy at (510) 465-1958 for an appointment, or write him at 4220 Balfour Avenue, Oakland, California 94610-1750.

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This story was originally published on 11/9/98 and re-published with images on 7/14/99.

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