Classical Atelier at Home

For the self taught realist artist


We all know that artists are most often on a budget. Art classes and schools are expensive and so can be the materials that you will need for learning to paint like the Old Masters. My intention is to serve you with free information on self-teaching classical art that’s available in the internet. Modern technology, such as photographing, scanning, editing and sharing with others, allows us to replace the Master or Teacher to a certain degree.

The internet has it all

A couple of years ago I also started to get interested in classical art and how to paint like the Old Masters. So I started to research in the internet and I was glad to find information on these hundreds of years old techniques ‒ but they were all spread unlike in a Teacher/Student environment.

This website is about how to train yourself with restricted means — if it’s studio space and/or budget. In the end, it is all about your dedication on how much time you are willing to spend practising.

Even at an expensive academy you need to go through these extensive hours of hard, hard training ‒ the Teacher is not doing it for you. So most of the time you won’t need a teacher and this website tries to replace a teacher’s personal consultation. You will find explanatory instructions on exercises in videos or through links to other websites which teach a structured traditional approach in learning to paint representative art.

Those who are interested in classical art in realistic manner and who would like to learn it, will find that there are rare places that teach you the foundations in the fine art crafts. To my knowledge there is only one school in Germany ‒ where I come from ‒ where those methods are taught. Here and there are some week long classes with high fees where you also have to pay the travel and housing. Also there is no way in learning classical art in this short period of time ‒ everyone needs his or her own pace to learn and internalize the information.

In Europe there are academies and private schools mainly in Florence/Italy that teach classical fine art. In the USA there are a couple more of them (see the map of Art Renewal Center approved ateliers). But the tuition of these academies and schools are very high.

When I started to get interested in classical art I had a hard time finding information on how the Old Masters made such beautyful and breathtaking Masterworks and how you can become your own “little Master”.

“I have a simple belief that the goal of learning to draw and paint is attainable by anyone who is willing to pursue it. It is as accessible as learning to write or play a musical instrument. There is more than one path a person can follow to be a well-trained artist. What is necessary, however, is a passion for excellence, discipline, and an unflinching desire to pursue truth.”
Juliette Aristides |

Anyone can learn classical art

No one can replace face to face instruction but it is my belief that one can aquire a decent amount of technical skills on his or her own. If you are really driven to go through the tedious steps of working xx hours on a ‒ let’s say Cast Drawing ‒ then you can do it on your own with the means that you propably already have (a camera for taking pictures, a computer for overlaying your drawing with the reference for comparison, internet connection for posting your artworks and getting critique, …).

Remember that 100% of the time on each artwork/exercise will be done by you – not the instructor, and all materials have to be obtained by you. So in my opinion hundreds or thousands of Dollars or Euros for attending an atelier ‒ and even if it’s a paid online course – can be a lot. But there are people who are only motivated if they spend a lot of money on something. That’s true with a personal fitness coach as well as with art training. If you feel you need an instructor you can always skip to the online courses or attend an atelier.

Going to an atelier or a school has one big benefit compared to self-teaching classical art and that is having social interaction with people who have the same interests and propably are at your age. This is something that this website can’t teach you. This website is intended to be a help for those who want to learn classical realist art at home on their own.

I’ve often read about complains that in college traditional skills on drawing and painting are neglected and students don’t learn those skills deeply. This website can help them to aquire these skills while they learn for a degree at the college.

Björn Gschwendtner


Please watch the video below from my fellow artist Florent Farges to get an impression on how he views self teaching. You can download the HiRes Bargue Plates he is mentioning for free here. Plaster casts as three dimensional references can be found here.