art education
Mandy during her atelier training in Seattle, WA circa 2014

Do you take yourself seriously as an artist?

Every now and then, it’s important to take time for planning out our hopes and dreams. We need to take time for some big goal-setting for how we want to shape our lives and the lives of our students. Sometimes we just need to take a deep breath and jump into new things. Like sky diving errr… or maybe something even scarier like taking ourselves seriously as professional artists.

Becoming a Serious Artist

Not too long ago, I remember feeling like I wanted to be a “serious” painter but thought I wasn’t able to because I was an art teacher. I felt that the whole upper echelons of the art world looked down on me, and that I had somehow ruined my chances of being taken seriously because I made the grave error of going into art education.

Boy was I wrong!

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My Journey

Nearly 10 years ago, while I was teaching K-12 art in a small, rural school district in Montana, I read a book by Juliette Aristides titled Classical Drawing Atelier. This book opened my eyes to the idea that art can be taught at very high technical levels. I learned that Rembrandt didn’t wake up painting like Rembrandt – he trained for many years in an atelier to achieve his technical proficiency.

What a revolution to realize that the painters I admired most – Rembrandt, Da Vinci, Artemisia Gentileschi, Augusta Savage – ALL trained in ateliers. Even more amazing is when I realized these schools still exist.

From that point forward, I did everything I could to acquire an atelier education and share this knowledge with other art teachers. In fact, I am very proud to share with all of you that the School of Atelier Arts has partnered with another contemporary atelier – The Florence Academy of Art – to create a Master’s Degree program designed with art teachers in mind. You can now earn your accredited Master’s in Studio Art in just 3 summers with both remote and in-person options available.

Want to start atelier training? Join our Ateliyay! Painting Bootcamp today!

Where is YOUR journey taking you?

I hope this is the year that you take your own art seriously and start your journey with teachers from all over the country under the tutelage of atelier instructors. This is the year that, like Da Vinci, you can train in an atelier to master the craft of drawing and painting. Make this the year that you start earning your Master’s degree (and that pay bump!) and elevate yourself to the realm of “serious artist” with an astounding new skillset.

I’ll be cheering you on all the way!

What does your dream Master’s Degree program look like? Let me know in the comments below!


Mandy Theis is the Director of School of Atelier Arts & Author of Department of Aesthetics Blog. Join her monthly newsletter for free art lessons and other delights.

Want to start atelier training? Join our Ateliyay! Painting Bootcamp today!


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