Saturday, January 28, 2012

2012 2nd Annual Watts Atelier Boot Camp

WHAT IS THE WATTS ATELIER BOOTCAMP? The Watts Atelier Boot Camp was designed to be a thorough hands-on workshop with a heavy emphasis on exposing students of all levels to a plethora of training methods and exercises used in our full-time Atelier program. It will give the artist an opportunity to gain valuable insight into where they truly are in their development by immersing them in the Watts style of teaching as they work with the entire staff of the Watts trained instructors.

HOW LONG ARE THE DAYS? The days are 6 hours of instructor based learning and an extra 3 hour evening session to practice the days lessons. We start the day a 10:00am and go to 10:00 pm if you take advantage of the evening session. (Optional) Many students will arrive early around 9:30am for complementary coffee and bagels. 

HOW MANY STUDENTS ARE THERE AND HOW IS IT STRUCTURED? The class size is 15-to-1 instructor. Each student is given either an A or B on their name tag when they arrive on the first day. The A’s will start on one side in the morning, let’s say the Drawing side, and then switch to the Painting side in the afternoon. The B’s will do the same. All of the benches and easels are numbered and when the students arrive they go and pick a number and then take their spot. Students will do this each morning and afternoon. This helps to avoid the normal confusion that so often happens when people have to rush to the workshop to get a good spot.

WHAT TYPE OF SUBJECTS WILL BE COVERED? The subjects covered are as follows: Intro to Head Drawing; Anatomy, Figure drawing 3 hr. poses; Figure Lay-ins 20 min. poses; Figure Quick-sketch 1 ,2, & 5 min poses; 20 Minute Head Lay-ins; Long Portrait Painting and Drawing 3 hr. poses ; Copying from the Masters both Painting and Drawing; Gesture Portrait Paintings 40 min. poses; Still life Painting; Landscape Painting.

WHAT MEDIUMS CAN I USE? The majority of the drawing sessions will be conducted using our regular tools as if you were attending our Atelier. It constitutes a specific charcoal pencil, smooth newsprint, and some miscellaneous items, while the painting is primarily oil. We require all students to use these materials for the sake of efficiency in covering so many topics.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT TO GET OUT OF THIS EXPERIENCE? The goal I had in mind when designing this workshop was to help students gain a reality based understanding of where they truly are. It is sometimes very sobering when you are confronted with a “proper” training regimen for the first time. I have included some of the feedback from last year’s students below so you can see what they thought. I all too often have to deal with students expectations being way beyond what is reasonable. I am happy to say none of the 28 participating artist had any negative feedback.

WHY IS THIS ANY DIFFERENT THAN OTHER WORKSHOPS? This is truly a unique experience for many reasons. Most workshops have at least 20 people per teacher. We will keep this to 15 allowing for more one-on-one assistance. All of the instructors were trained under myself insuring that we all cover the topics with very little confusion and a very high consistancy, we all have taught together for at least 8+ years , Erik for 15. I have never seen another workshop cover such a wide range of subjects, methods and techniques with this efficiency. The addition of an extra model in the evening is also seldom seen. On top of the above mentioned you can add that our models are extraordinary in their professionalism and only our A team of models are used during these workshops. Having taught at dozens of the other establishments over the years I am confident in saying this workshop will likely set a new bar on your future expectations of what a workshop should be. Please do not take this as me being arrogant but simply how very proud I am of how we conduct every facet of our program.

Comments on our 2011 Inaugural Atelier Boot Camp:

2011 Boot Camp Workshop Feedback Questions:

2. Did the workshop live up to your expectations?

A: The workshop absolutely exceeded my expectations. I have taken classes with many exceptional artists at six different venues and Watts Atelier's Bootcamp exceeds any experience I have had.

3. What was your favorite part? Least favorite?

A: It is difficult to pick a favorite. The curriculum was perfect, covering the basics and meeting you wherever you are in the learning curve. All the instructors are so talented and so approachable, no pretensions, no egos, just the love of the building blocks of art creation and SHARING these with others. The schedule was adhered to, even by the models! And the models....all far above average, many exceptional, like JJ, Rob and Savannah. The optional evening work was a HUGE PLUS. I did not have a least least favorite is that my husband's financial services practice is in Dallas and not nearby!

4. Would you take this workshop again?

A: You offer it, I'll be there. Longer would be better. Twice a year for a tuneup would be perfect.

5. Is there another workshop theme you would like to see covered?

A: No, but I would like to spend more time on each of the topics covered. Having said that, however, I noticed that at the end of this workshop, which was 3 days longer than any other I've attended, I was not exhausted, or tired in the least, which has generally been my experience at other venues. I wondered if it was because we were doing so many different things each day.

6. Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions to make this a better experience for future participants.

A: I think what you are doing is incredible, and I think your target audience is spot on. I think there might be another audience to tap, and it is people like me "of a certain age," that is, boomers, who are looking for the art education they couldn't find in the 70's because all the art education was abstract, and who are seriously pursuing either a muse, a passion, or a path never followed but still beckoning. I meet lots of these folks, men and women, in fine art classes, with time and money to spend to become the best they can be. This might not be an audience you want to target, because it may not be compatible with your full-time, year round curriculum. But I think the Bootcamps could capture that audience, perhaps be another revenue stream [this group typically has more dinero to spend], and garner more full-time people from among those exposed to your programs. To that end, I'm happy to share my fellow workshop participants' emails collected over the past 4 years with the Atelier if you'd like.

Thanks again; I have based my new training program on the concepts you shared. I've attached it in case you are interested. Loomis, Vanderpoel, and Simblett are on order. I'm getting color prints of the master paintings I want to copy. I am drawing from Robert Bevely Hale's "Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters" and Charles Bargue. I AM PUMPED!! MANY, MANY THANKS!!!

Christine P.

1. How did you hear about this workshop? My friend, Patty L.

2. Did the workshop live up to your expectations? Exceeded, on every level.

3. What was your favorite part? Least favorite? Painting was my favorite, and that just means that I love the paint, and the color over drawing and the study of the anatomy. Does not mean that I did not like the amazing instruction in drawing and every aspect of the intensive demonstrations and lectures.

4. Would you take this workshop again? Yes.

5. Is there another workshop theme you would like to see covered? Painting en plein air on location, what to bring, how to set up, etc.

6. Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions to make this a better experience for future participants. I had a terrific time during our 8 days, and realized, once again, how much I need to continue to practice the lessons that Jeff and your excellent teachers brought to us.

Maybe there is a way to provide a place to put the wet paintings for the students who need to leave them at the school to dry. I think more participants had extra gear lying around due to the nature of the bootcamp, so maybe your regular classes have different needs. I took mine home most of the time, so it was not a big deal for me.

If I take the portrait workshop in March, I will let you know if I can offer a place to stay for some of the participants.

Thank you and your talented and caring teachers for an incredible week of instruction. The effort, and energy devoted to this experience was evident in all details. We had an amazing time, and I hope I can come back soon.

Pam M.

Did it live up to my expectations? YES! I loved it! Your teachers are excellent! Jeff is down-to-earth, realistic and approachable and Krista is an amazing “behind-the-scenes” asset to the business. (And Jeff realizes it!) The models were excellent—they were professional, stayed “in character’ and were hardworking—it was usually the models saying “Break is over”!

Favorite part? Being somewhere where I could be “totally immersed” in everything art. It’s always good to hear discussions of art principles and techniques, artist-to-artist discussions of various twists, turns, successes and challenges of the various art careers, and the chatter of artist’s discussing their favorite artists and why. To be able to do that without the interruptions of daily life demands is why I attend workshops of any kind in the first place. Least favorite part? I didn’t have anything I didn’t like about it.

Is there another workshop theme you’d like to see covered. I’d also like to see more landscape. But that’s just because of where I live and because I don’t intend to submit a portfolio of figure drawings in pursuit of an illustrating job etc. I realize the importance of drawing skills etc, but painting landscapes (and still life) is still a very important study of values, temperatures and even illustration as a person makes the choices of what to include, what to leave out, how far to “push” the colors seen etc.

I loved the school and hope to attend in the future. I hope it was a positive experience for you too! Thanks for offering it.

Becky W.

First off – Thank You

Hopefully you realize the both of you are truly special. That your respect for life, for each other and for what you are accomplishing is a joy to be around.

Just because a program is designed well does not make it successful, it is the personalities of the “champions” that make or break it – this is where you have succeeded to the highest level.

Good on you for your vision, tenacity and generosity of knowledge and good spirit.

I also feel very blessed to be part of your first boot camp. I am envious of those who live close and are part of this unique school.

1. How did you hear about this workshop?

One day approximately two years ago I was just surfing the net and ended up somehow seeing some of your work. Then I found your website and every time I needed a fix – would study your paintings and kept talking about it to my painting pals. I saw announcements of other workshops but timing was not in sync with my work and life. So one day on your site I saw the announcement for the boot camp and wondered if I could afford to go (not just money wise but time, energy, work schedule etc) and then felt very strongly that I couldn’t afford to miss it – that I would miss out on one of those rare and unique opportunities if I let this slip away.

2. Did the workshop live up to your expectations?

Yes – and more. I know that we all need to practice, practice, practice but I love to watch an artist, who’s work I am passionate about, demo their style and bring their method to life. The bonus is that you are an excellent teacher.

Also your students-now-teachers were all fabulous; they brought a lot to the table by them going through this school/method. It was great to hear about their work and what they are doing and what they want to do.

You also had such professional models – well done.

3. What was your favorite part? Least favorite?

My most favorite part was to not only watch you paint or draw (and to paint/draw ourselves) but to listen to your “prattle”. It was so filled with sage advice, humorous antidotes, heartfelt sharing of beliefs, love for Krista (family & friends), your common sense and just downright enthusiasm for life – that part cannot be designed into a program – it is unique to you and only you. Also that you have thought this path through so well and are pointing your students in the direction to acquire a good foundation in the skills of drawing/painting. You are a natural at teaching not only because of your wealth of knowledge but willingness to share.

Least favorite part was that time went so fast – that it was over all too quickly.

4. Would you take this workshop again?


5. Is there another workshop theme you would like to see covered?
Right now I can’t think of any. I have my box of charcoals and a winters worth of drawing to do as well as my oil paints and canvas– so I am happy!

6. Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions to make this a better experience for future participants.
This is ever so slight in the big picture but because I have done so much teaching/workshops throughout my working career and maybe this is ‘old’ school – but it would have been good to spend 15 minutes on the first day introducing ourselves. Even more so because after that first session we were divided into two groups and never really got to hear from where each was from and what their artistic aspirations were. This also may have a down side because as pointed out by you very humorously – artists are all about themselves!

Also it may be a good idea to have a signup sheet for those who would like to share their email addresses (then circulate that list to those who want to share). Just I missed a couple of addresses from people that I would like to correspond with – but that was my own fault for not getting it sooner and then they had left by the time I remembered I didn’t have their address.

 All in all – a job well done – pat yourself on the back

Hopefully you had some down days prior to the start of this semester.

Take care, all the best

Love Sally

It was a great workshop, just what I needed at this phase of my learning.

2011 Boot Camp Workshop Feedback Questions:

1. How did you hear about this workshop?
I watched Jeff Demo at the OPA National in May 2010. His skill is what inspired me to want to pursue a workshop he was teaching.

2. Did the workshop live up to your expectations?
It was a great overview of all the areas needed to be professionally proficient. Yes it did.

3. What was your favorite part?
Having the models in the evening to allow you to practice and digest what we were learning and take advantage of time away from home and fully concentrate on learning. It has given me a set of concrete areas to work on to get my skill set up to a professional level.

Least favorite? I don’t have one.

4. Would you take this workshop again ?

I would but I would prefer to go deeper into the tiling method of painting and becoming proficient at painting & lost edges. A drawing refresher would be good to but my main focus is painting. It depends on timing. I would really love to take both Jeff and Carolyn’s workshops but I’m not sure if I can swing the costs so close to this last workshop. So I’ll see what is offered for next year at this time.

5. Is there another workshop theme you would like to see covered?
It is impressive that Jeff has trained so many people and they are making a living professionally in “Art”. I would love a workshop that concentrated on the painting mentioned above and how to make the jump into the professional arena and what you need to do. I was impressed by both Stan’s and Meadow’s paintings long before I knew they were students of his. How did he help them get going?

6. Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions to make this a better experience for future participants.
I loved the 8 day format because you get more time to digest what your learning and try it a bit and see where you’re not understanding things. Also the variety of subject matter, learning how to wash with clear stains, tile and loose edges. Portrait , still life and scenery and Master studies, I learned from everything. It was really a great workshop.

Thank him sincerely for investing so much time into teaching. He’s one of a kind out there, no one else is teaching this depth of knowledge. I told my husband after the first class that he was teaching the things that could help me bring my work up to the national show level. That’s a real gift.

Hope that helps and many Thanks,

Michelle M.
Sorry for taking so long to respond. I was so excited to attend the boot camp and left so on fire that I could hardly contain myself! It was awesome. I thank you, Jeff and all the instructors for the work you all put into the boot camp.

2011 Boot Camp Workshop Feedback Questions:

1. How did you hear about this workshop? Watts Atelier website.

2. Did the workshop live up to your expectations? Oh Yes.

3. What was your favorite part? One-on-one instruction. I was absolutely impressed with the knowledge, humility, and passion each instructor showed.
Least favorite? That's hard to find. I wish there had been more class time but having said that I know how happily tired I was after each day.

4. Would you take this workshop again? I would however my wife and I are planning our move to Encinitas next August so I may try attend your school in Fall 2012.

5. Is there another workshop theme you would like to see covered? Anatomy drawing.

6. Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions to make this a better experience for future participants.
I've been running it over in my brain for a while and can't think of anything to add or change. It was so cool to meet you and Jeff and I hope to see you all again next year. Thank you for doing this. It was a blast!


PLease visit to register for upcoming workshops including the 2012 Watts Atelier Boot Camp Workshop. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Message from Jeff Watts

I would like to welcome you all to the Watts art blog. For those of you who have inquired in the past as to why I have not posted more often over the years as social media has started to encompass more and more aspects of our lives I suppose I do not have a quick and easy response other than I guess I am a bit old fashioned and it took a bit to warm up to the idea. I tend to like to have my work as well as the work of my students do the talking for our Atelier.  I have found that I am looking forward to reaching out to all of you that have been so positive and kind in regards to my videos, teaching and works of art. I thank those of you who did reach out to me via Facebook, our website and old fashioned snail mail. As I start my venture into the world of social media I will try to stay poignant and insightful as I post my thoughts, concerns and insights into the world of art and education.  I have spent the last 25 years of my life dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in my art as well as helping others on their own personal artistic paths.  I have learned so much about the art of training and balancing the artist's life. In this biog I will attempt to share some of this insight through regular posts. Enjoy and I hope I have the chance to meet you in person someday soon.