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AdA Art d'Apprendre



16 Route de Chatin, Vissingy , Chaumard, France

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AdA offers workshops and a full-time three year skill based training art program. During this period, students will acquire high level drawing skills – the basis for the study of painting – through the technique of comparative measurement. The competence to master the art of observation and acquire excellent draftsman’s skills creates freedom in artistic practice. In the long run, this freedom allows the student to do anything he would like to represent or create.

Instruction is offered in French, English, Italian, and Dutch.

Atelier Program

The program is designed to create high-quality expertise of the highest standard of academic fine art training. The AdA Three Year Curriculum is a program that offers specialized skill-based classical training for people wanting to learn to draw-paint, and who are looking to achieve a level of excellency in Contemporary Realism and Classical Art. You will acquire the necessary skills to be able to make an accurate representation of nature. It is a lot of practice combined with expert feedback that creates skill and high-quality expertise.

The curriculum is adapted to the students’ technical skills with regular personal guidance and attention to the development of individual qualities. The program is led by Joke Frima with the help of guest teachers invited to enrich the overall curriculum.

Upon successful completion of the full-time curriculum, a Diploma Certificate is delivered.

The 3 year study program runs over three trimesters and are held from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 12 am and from 2 pm to 5 pm.

Short Term and Try Out Program

AdA offers as well a try out program of 3 months. This can also be attended by those who want to strengthen their skills, however have a short period at hand.

AdA’s human-scale school offers much personal attention and flexibility in order to meet students’ needs.

What do you need for admission to AdA?

A strong desire to acquire through deep observation the skills to make an accurate representation of nature.

A letter stating your motivation and background, with 5 to 10 images of your work.

ARC Living Master Joke Frima

For AdA founder Joke Frima it takes skill-based training to create a realistic depiction of nature. It is her mission to disprove the myth that art cannot be learned and that one only needs great talent or aptitude to become an excellent painter. Art can and needs to be learned. Joke Frima herself learned her skills in a similar atelier school, at Studio Simi, in Florence Italy. She lived and worked for 8 years with Signorina Nerina Simi, who continued the traditional fine art training of her father Filadelfo Simi. 

Joke Frima feels the need and desire to transfer her knowledge to a new generation of  painters. Her approach motivates students to carefully observe the world around them, which in turn helps them gain new insight into their surroundings.


Vissingy is a hamlet situated in the Natural Parc du Morvan in the Nièvre department of the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region in central France. It is an exceptional rural setting, with easy access by car or public transportation. It is only a few hours by train from Paris or Lyon. 

The students will enjoy total immersion in art and nature, taking daily inspiration from the space and silence of the surrounding countryside. They will experience nature first hand and the beauty of the landscape. The students will be able to focus primarily on the study of drawing and painting.

Another big advantage of the rural environment is that there is lots of space and the accommodation is much more affordable than in a city. For the same reason, the school is able to charge a modest tuition fee.


For additional information and questions:

Founded 2019
Course languages (Check multiple if applicable) English,French,Italian
Part-Time Instructors 6
Full-Time Instructors 1
Students 6
Accommodation Yes

Part time: EUR 2000 / semester

Full time: EUR 5000 / year

AdA Art d'Apprendre

16 Rte de Châtin, Vissingy

Chaumard, 58120, France

Joke Frima

Founder Director - fulltime teacher

Full-time instructor founder and director Joke Frima teaches in English, French, Italian and Dutch. Joke Frima was born in The Hague, the Netherlands in 1952. 
She demonstrated early skills for drawing and so she went to the Fine Art Academy in Rotterdam at an early age (1969). Later Joke Frima studied at the Academy of Fine Art in Tilburg until 1973. These Art Academies left her feeling unfulfilled and a little disillusioned. When she discovered Studio Simi in Florence by chance in 1976, she felt immediately at home and her artistic development flourished in an almost miraculous way. Joke Frima  remained with Signorina Simi for eight years. The first four years  were spent studying  full time and from 1980 onwards she combined  her studies with teaching. She taught every afternoon of the week for four years, drawing and painting at an atelier school that she founded, called the “Associazione Culturale di Disegno e Pittura Realistica.” After returning to her home country, the Netherlands, in 1984 Joke Frima started a career as an independent artist. She was always attracted to nature and after all the studio work done in Florence she decided that nature, and in particular the vegetation, would be her subject for a while. In fact she mainly stayed with this subject choice, because it turned out to be a very rich and satisfactory subject for her. Joke Frima is represented at many galleries in the Netherlands and abroad. There have been exhibitions of Joke Frima’s work in Gallery Mokum in Amsterdam, Gallery Wildevuur in Hooghalen, Arcadia Contemporary in Los Angeles, Museum Mohlmann, in fact, too many to mention them all. Drents Museum retrospective exhibition 2018 In 2018, the Drents Museum devoted a retrospective exhibition to Frima’s work. A catalog entitled “Flora” of 97 pages was published. Exhibitions of Frima’s work are numerous and take place all over the world.

Fred Brownstein

founder member - guest teacher

Fred X Brownstein was born in Mississippi in 1946 and grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. He attended Tulane University ( New Orleans, Louisiana ) from 1964 -1968 and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, California. 1970. Fred moved to Italy from 1975 through 1991 living in Stazzema. He apprenticed in the Pasquini sculpture studio from 1976 -1980 in Querceta and studied with Signorina Nerina Simi in Florence from 1980-1984. From 1985 to 2019 Fred has completed eleven public sculpture commissions and his work is included in collections in Italy, Canada and the US. He is a Fellow member of the National Sculpture Society and professional member of the Stone Carvers Guild.

Stella Ehrich

founder member - guest teacher

Stella Ehrich first studied painting at the Banff Center for the Arts in Banff, Alberta, Canada. She went on to study at the University of Michigan and then earned a Bachelors of Art degree from the Memphis Academy of Art in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. She and her husband Fred Brownstein lived in Italy from 1975-1991 and she studied at the Simi Studio from 1978-1985. She latter earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree from Bennington College in Vermont where she now lives. Stella shows her paintings and drawings in various gallery settings and executes many private portrait commissions in the United States. She returns to Italy every summer, often taking groups with her to teach landscape painting. Her web site is:

Alessandra Marrucchi

founder member - guest teacher

Alessandra Marrucchi was born in Florence, Italy in 1951, after her high school diploma in arts, Alessandra attended a degree course in architecture at the University of Florence and studied graphic design at the Cappiello Academy. She regularly studied at Studio Simi from 1977 to 1982, except one year, 1979, when she was in California attending classes of portrait and nude at the University of California at Berkeley and landscape lessons at the Institute of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. Returning to Italy, she started teaching painting and drawing and developed her art and started participating in exhibitions and competitions. In 1991 she exhibited her paintings with some of her colleagues from Studio Simi at the Mall Gallery in London. Alessandra Marrucchi has always specialised in portraiture and figurative art. She is a member of the Portrait Society of America and Salmagundi Club in New York. In 2018 one of her paintings was selected by The Representational Art Conference – TRAC 2018 in Leeuwarden (Holland) and another won the 3rd prize at the Competition Arts in Rome “The Portrait”.

Anne Shingleton

founder member - guest teacher

Anne Shingleton was born 1953 in the UK She lives in Pietrasanta, Italy. Anne grew up on a Dorset Farm and has cultivated a life-long passion for animals. As a child she showed a natural talent for drawing, but chose instead to study the science of Zoology at Swansea University. Later, in 1980, after 2 years of illustration and printmaking at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art, she enrolled in the Simi Academy of Art in Florence, Italy under Nerina Simi. Since then Anne has made her home in Tuscany, Italy, having exhibitions in the UK, USA, NL, Italy and participating in group competitions and exhibitions internationally. Besides her colourful paintings which seem to always have the sunshine somewhere in them, Anne is known for her animal bronzes. The most recent being a monumental-sized mute swan with the wings outstretched which was selected as one of the finalists in the International Realism, 13th Art Renewal Center Salon 2018. Because of her knowledge of the natural world Anne has been invited to participate in international conservation projects which have taken her to The Seychelles, Northern Finland, The Dead Sea, Israel and Jordan. Anne occasionally conducts workshops.

Pam Tippett

founder member - guest teacher

Pam was born in Lismore, Australia in 1950. Although she showed and aptitude for drawing and painting at an early age, she studied science and maths at high school and university completing a Bachelor of Science from Sydney University in 1972. After teaching in Papua New Guinea for two years, she travelled to Florence, Italy, with the aim of enrolling in Studio Simi. She studied with the Maestra, Signorina Nerina Simi, for three and a half years from March 1977 until the end of June 1980. During this time she was awarded Elizabeth Greenshields grant. Since her return to Australia in 1986, Pam has continued drawing and painting the figure, portraits, still lifes, interiors and landscapes.Over the years she has been a finalist in major Australian competitions, winning the EMSLA – a prize for still life painting – in 2010. She has also been commissioned to paint portraits and still lifes. For the last twenty years Pam has been exhibiting with Australian Galleries, Sydney and Melbourne. Her work is represented in public and private collections in both Australia and overseas.

Charles Gilbert Kapsner

founder member- guest teacher

“Remember nature is your teacher, I am your guide”, was a prevailing theme in the studio of Nerina Simi (1890 – 1987), where Charles Kapsner’s greatest learning as a painter occurred. His artistic roots are planted in the 15th Century, yet he remains a contemporary painter whose compositions fuse old and new. He works to ensure that both art and artist are accessible, and that the images serve as educational tools. Designated in 2018 as ARC Associate Living MasterTM (ARCALM) by the Art Renewal Center, Charles is also a member of the Oil Painters of America (OPA), Portrait Society of America (PSA), Coast Guard Art Program (COGAP) and the Salmagundi Club. He received a Career Achievement Award from the Florence Biennale, Master Artist from the Five Wings Arts Council, a Public Service Commendation from the United States Coast Guard, and the Superior Volunteer Service Medal, the highest award given to a civilian by the Adjutant General of Minnesota National Guard. Largely a studio painter, he prefers the “Vanitas” style of still life painting in which the various objects depicted symbolize the brevity and vanity of human existence. Interwoven through several decades and in between his studio time are community-based art projects. In 2019, Kapsner completed the Veterans Education Historic Monument, a series of five 8’ X 10’ oil paintings installed in the Committal Hall at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery. Each painting depicts the stories of the men and women of each of the five U.S military branches. He calls Little Falls, MN home, and travels frequently between Minnesota, North Carolina and Italy.

Joke Frima - Equality and Diversity, 2019, oil, 40 x 100 cm

Joke Frima - Pharos, 2014, oil on panel, 25 X 50 cm

Joke Frima - Watermelon Invasion, 2017, oil on panel, 52 x 72 cm

Joke Frima - Rainy Day Lotus, 2018, oil on linen, 75 x 120 cm

Joke Frima - Wood Sorrel, 2018, oil on panel, 36 x 24 cm

Joke Frima - Lemons on the tree, 2014, oil on panel 20 x 20cm

Joke Frima - Vissingy Forest, 2022, pencil on paper, 22 x 44 cm

Joke Frima - Joke Frima's Master Hand, 2022, charcoal pencil, 20 x 23,5 cm

Joke Frima - Two female legs, 1983, charcoal on Roma paper, 63 x 47 cm

Joke Frima - Two male legs, 1983, charcoal on Ingres paper, 48 x 68 cm

Joke Frima - Interior Studio Simi with skeleton, 1980, charcoal on paper, 40 x 30 cm

Joke Frima - Valiano, 1980, charcoal pencil on Ingres, 24,5 x 30,5 cm

Pam Tippett - around 1980, Model in Studio Simi, charcoal on paper, 60 x 50 cm

Pam Tippett - Model in Studio Simi, around 1980, charcoal on paper, 50 x 63 cm

Alessandra Marrucchi - Model in Studio Simi, around 1980, charcoal, 50 x 70 cm

Stella Ehrich - around 1980, Model in Studio Simi, charcoal on paper, 50 x 70 cm

Alessandra Marrucchi - Self Portrait with pearl earring, 40 x 25 cm, oil on linen, 2021

Charles Gilbert Kapsner - Italian memories , 2016, oil on panel, 29.8 x 45 cm

Anne Shingleton - The Dispute, 2008, oil on canvas, 130 x 160 cm

Anne Shingleton - Bunch-of-Grapes,2011, oil on linen, 50 x 35 cm

Pam Tippett - Asian Cermaic Elefant, 2019, Oil on linen, 45 x 45 cm

Pam Tippett - Small green silk purse, oil on linen on board, 25 x 25 cm

Fred X Brownstein - The Secret", 2017, marble 37 1/2 x 13 1/2 x 11 in.

Stella Ehrich - Millie, oil on canvas, 40” x 30"

Alessandra Marrucchi - My daughter Francesca, 2018, oil on linen, 65 x 35 cm

Alessandra Marrucchi - Portrait with red background, 2019, oil on linen, 50 x 35 cm

Joke Frima - Quince on the tree, 2015, oil on panel, 20 x 20 cm

Joke Frima -Quince, Raspberries and Grasshopper, 2014, oil on panel, 22 x 32 cm

Joke Frima - Eagerly Growing Lotus, 2021, oil on linen, 110 x 230 cm

Joke Frima - Chou Rave, 2021, oil on panel, 24.5 x 30.5 cm

Student Work - charcoal, ca 50 x 70 cm Via della Robbia 1979/84

Student Work - charcoal, ca 50 x 35 cm Via della Robbia 1979/84

Student work , charcoal, Via della Robbia, Florence 1979/84

Student work , charcoal, ca 50 x 70 cm Via della Robbia, Florence 1979/84

Student work , charcoal, ca 50 x 35 cm Via della Robbia, Florence 1979/84

Student work , charcoal, Via della Robbia, Florence 1979/84

Student work , charcoal, Via della Robbia, Florence 1979/84

Student work , charcoal, 20 x 50 cm Via della Robbia, Florence 1979/84

Student work , charcoal, Via della Robbia, Florence 1979/84

Student work , charcoal, Via della Robbia, Florence 1979/84

Student work , charcoal, Via della Robbia, Florence 1979/84

Student work , cast Brontolone, Via della Robbia, Florence 1979/84

Student work , Brontolone, charcoal, Via della Robbia, Florence 1979/84

Student work , still life, charcoal, Via della Robbia, Florence 1979/84

Student work , charcoal, 50 x 35 cm, Via della Robbia, Florence 1979/84

Student work , charcoal, 50 x 70 cm, Via della Robbia, Florence 1979/84

Student work , charcoal, 50 x 35 cm, Via della Robbia, Florence 1979/84

Student work , charcoal, 50 x 35 cm, Via della Robbia, Florence 1979/84

Student work , charcoal, 30 x 40 cm, Via della Robbia, Florence 1979/84

Student work , charcoal, 30 x 40 cm, Via della Robbia, Florence 1979/84

Student work , charcoal, Via della Robbia, Florence 1979/84

Student work, still-life, Pigment Bags, oil on panel, Via della Robbia, Florence 1979/84

View on the AdA buildings

AdA Atelier-school in the former village school of Vissingy

The second AdA building, The Farm

The AdA atelier building in the early morning fog

Student Atelier

Student Atelier

Plaster casts

The student Atelier

The Students Kitchen

The living room

The living room with lots of books on art.

The living room