Golden Gate Atelier

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Golden Gate Atelier



4432 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, United States

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The Golden Gate Atelier offers a complete classical training for the realist artist. Students draw and paint the human figure from life using sight-size. In addition, they receive a thorough grounding in constructive drawing, anatomy, and perspective. The oil painting program is dedicated to craftsmanship and to the skillful use of materials and techniques. Students work in all genres: still life, landscape, portraiture, and figurative art.

The Golden Gate Atelier challenges students to make meaningful images for our time and gives them the tools to do so. The visually-based anatomy and écorché program is one of the finest in the country. The composition program includes both decorative design and narrative painting. Art history and humanities courses introduce the great paintings and ideas of the Western tradition. Every graduate produces a diploma painting that is a culmination of his or her time at the atelier. As a result, graduates are well placed to succeed as professional artists.


Art Renewal Center former scholarship winner Andrew Ameral is the Director of the Golden Gate Atelier. Andrew studied at the Florence Academy of Art, where he was a Principle Drawing Instructor and Director of Anatomy. A graduate of California College of Arts and Crafts (CCAC), Andrew taught in at the San Francisco Academy of Art University and worked as a professional illustrator. He has led anatomy workshops at the Grand Central Academy, Academy of Realist Art and other ateliers. Andrew's painting has been featured in The Artist's Magazine.

Sean Forester, Golden Gate Atelier Instructor and Director of Humanities and Compostion, studied at Cecil Studios and the Florence Academy of Art, where he was Director of Art History, Humanities, and Composition. Sean has a B.A. from The Great Books Program at St. John's College and an M.A. from Cambridge University where he was a Rotary Scholar. He has lectured at the Grand Central Academy and taught at Sarum Studios in England.

Carla Crawford graduated with degrees in Art Studio and Italian from the University of California, Davis, where she studied under the painter Wayne Thiebaud. While at the University of California, she spent a year in exchange at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna, Italy and an additional year studying at the Institute of Architecture in Venice. In Italy she became enamored with the traditional methods of oil painting and upon graduating she remained in the country for six months teaching art and art history and making master copies at the country’s national museums. Deciding to devote her full time efforts to drawing and painting in the classical tradition, Carla studied with the painter David Hardy in Oakland and then moved to New York to undertake a 3 year course of study in anatomy, portraiture and classical painting at the Grand Central Academy of Art and spent an additional year studying with the school’s director, Jacob Collins, in his private studio. From 2012-13 Carla spent the year in Spain studying the Spanish painters and making master copies at the Prado Museum.

Carla has been an artist-in-residence at the School of the Arts in San Francisco, the Hudson River Landscape Fellowship and at the Whiskeytown National Preserve in conjunction with the de Young Museum. She has received the Alfred Ross and Art Renewal Center Grants for Artistic Excellence and was given an Award of Exceptional Merit from the Portrait Society of America in 2016. She co-curated with Alessia Masi the Giorgio Morandi and Wayne Thiebaud exhibition at the Morandi Museum in Bologna, Italy in 2011. Her solo show, Reverie was exhibited at the Museo Casa de los Tiros in Granada, Spain in 2014. Her work is exhibited in galleries across the country and is included in the permanent collection of the Crocker Art Museum in California. She lives with her husband and sons in Sonoma County, California.

The Tradition

The Golden Gate Atelier is part of a lineage that goes back to Jaques-Louis David. They are honored to be part of this great tradition and to teach it to a select group of students.

Drawing Program

The Golden Gate Atelier is dedicated to the highest standards of draftsmanship. Students begin with Charles Bargue's Drawing Course. Ameral and Forester studied with Daniel Graves (who rediscovered the Bargue lithographs in 1982) and Simona Dolci, perhaps the world's expert on the Drawing Course. Next, students work from the Golden Gate Atelier Cast Collection, the best on the West Coast. The casts are sourced directly from Italy and coordinated with the Drawing Course so students can draw from the same sculptures as Bargue. When these foundations have been mastered, students move on to charcoal portraits and figure drawings from life using sight-size. This time-tested program gives students a high degree of skill.

The Golden Gate Atelier is one of the few classical ateliers that includes conceptually-based structural drawing. They believe it is essential to draw from life and to be able to construct the figure from one's imagination. Students learn the basics of perspective and how to construct the figure with geometric forms and their knowledge of anatomy.

Painting Program

Painting at the Golden Gate Atelier is based on craftsmanship and proven classical techniques. Students learn the limited palette before moving on to full color for portraiture, still life, and landscape. They are taught to represent nature faithfully by using a mosaic of specific shapes and color values- each shape defining a specific plane and relating to the whole. Students study how edge variety creates atmosphere; they create color harmony by using subtle differences in warms and cool tones.

Composition, Humanities, and Art History Program

The Golden Gate Atelier is the only atelier to offer a comprehensive Humanites, Art History, and Composition Program. The composition course is based on nineteenth century manuals. Sean Forester created a series of exercises beginning with still life and landscape, and moving to multi-figure composition. The humanities program is a survey of Western culture as it applies to visual artists. Forester based the course on the Great Books Program. Weekly art history lectures focus on the masters of classical painting from Titian and Rembrandt to Degas and Sargent.

Artistic Anatomy and Ecorche

Andrew Ameral offers a visually-based anatomy and écorché course. Ameral is one of the leading experts on artistic anatomy. He has taught écorché for more than 10 years and developed the anatomy program at the Florence Academy of Art.

Since antiquity, anatomy has played an important role in an artist’s education. In classical Greece and Renaissance Italy, investigations of the cadaver were central to an artist’s understanding of the nude. This continued in the nineteenth century, with great anatomists such as Jean Paul Richer teaching at the École des Beaux-Arts.
Écorché sculpture is a visually based, practical 20 – 24 week course (the duration of the course may be extended due to holidays and/or how long it takes to build the armature). Students are taught the bony and muscular shapes that impact the surface of the skin and create form. By sculpting the écorché figure in clay and completing detailed anatomical drawings, they develop a deep appreciation for the geometric construction of the human body. Students can then apply this understanding when they draw the figure from nature or construct it from imagination. This course is excellent for painters, sculptors, illustrators, and digital artists who are passionate for the human form and looking to improve their understanding. It is open to artists of all levels of experience: advanced and beginners are welcome.

Founded 2002
Course languages (Check multiple if applicable) English
Full-Time Instructors 3
Students 26
Accommodation No

Full time: EUR 12600 / year

Golden Gate Atelier

4432 Piedmont Ave

Oakland, CA, 94611, United States

Portrait of Eva by Andrew Ameral

Portrait of Nestor by Andrew Ameral

Valentina by Andrew Ameral

Study of Simona by Andrew Ameral

Greta by Andrew Ameral

Portrait by Andrew Ameral

Roses by Sean Forester by Sean Forester

Portrait of Mathew by Sean Forester

Portrait of Giuseppe by Sean Forester

Andre - Figure Painting by Carla Crawford

The Watershed - Self Portrait by Carla Crawford

"Reverie" by Carla Crawford

Ajmal by Carla Crawford

'Dreamer' painting By Carla Crawford

John - drawing by Carla Crawford

Portrait of Astrid by Andrew Ameral

Painting by Andrew Ameral

Pencil portrait by Andrew Ameral

Portrait drawing by Andrew Ameral

Figure drawing by Andrew Ameral

Figure drawing of Jennifer by Andrew Ameral

Pencil drawing of Jennifer by Andrew Ameral

Figure drawing by Tess

Cast Drawing by Robert Gale



cast drawing by Annie

cast drawing

cast drawing