Painting Still Life in Chiaroscuro with Dasa Pierce

Learn the secrets of the great masters such asDaVinci, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Leffel, and others in creating powerful paintings!  Chiaroscuro isthe bold contrast of dark and light as amethod of painting that has been used by artists since the renaissance to create drama and the illusion of volume in modeling objects.  We will explore and emulate this dramatic way of painting to create our own masterpiece.

Date: Dec. 13th, and 20th
Time: 9:30am-4:00pm 
Cost: $120 or 4 class tickets(total 4 sessions)
Pre Sign-up Required.

Open for registration now.
Call 941-753-7755

GOALS:  The goal is to complete a chiaroscuro painting with a focus on dramatic lighting effect. We will focus on painting not the objects, but rather the abstract beauty of the light emerging from the darkness. Each session will prepare us for each next step. The instructor will demo each step. By the end of each 4 sessions, the student will

  • Finish a strong 3 dimensional chiaroscuro still life painting
  • Create a meaningful abstract underneath the realism using classical still life objects
  • Be able to clearly separate the light from the darks, and unify each
  • Create a clear focal point in the painting with additional supporting points of interest which keep the viewer in the painting

Session 1:  Composition

We will define chiaroscuro, examining a few prominent chiaroscuro painters and their paintings. We will discuss and demo setting up the still life. The student will compose a compelling still life, focusing on how the light reads through the set up. A focal point will be emphasized and the student will learn how to lead the viewer through the painting.  We will plan our block-ins using notans in the chiaroscuro tradition, and begin the block in.

Session 2:  5 Value System Block-in

The goal will be to complete a strong block-in.  The student will learn to unify the darks and create a single point light source.  The importance of a limited 5 values system in chiaroscuro paintings will be discussed and a 5 value monochromatic block-in will be executed.

Session 3: Color

We will be using a limited palette so that the student will not only learn how to use primary colors effectively, but also shortcuts to mixing any color. The student will also receive guidance in how to keep the colors clean and bright. The student will learn the importance of making and applying distinct color. We will be applying these principles directly to our painting.

Session 4: Brushwork, Unification and Details

Soft and hard edges – We will learn where to put them and how to make them, how to maintain 3D with exit clauses, and how to “spill” the light from objects so they seem to glow. We will also learn when and where to apply thin and thick paint, in addition to learning to use the palette knife for special effects such as lines, scraping, and creating interesting highlights. Finally, we will look at the whole, and re-evaluate what we need to “push and pull” to strengthen the painting.  This will include such things as evaluating and adjusting our lightest lights and darkest darks, unifying the highlights across all forms, unifying the resting space, and subordinating all that is not part of the light flow within the painting. This session will focus on reaching our original concept.


Titanium white

Ivory Black

Cadmium yellow light

Cadmium red light

Ultramarine Blue

Yellow Ocher

Burnt Sienna


10” X 14” Ampersand board, or white canvas (cotton or linen)

Brushes, palette, paper towels (viva is best)

Palette knife – medium and long lengths

Medium – stand oil

Atelier Old Master Copy Painting Project with Charles Miano

Project: Old Master Copy Painting

“You have to copy and recopy the masters and it’s only after having proved oneself as a good copyist that you can reasonably try to do a still life of a radish.” – Edgar Degas

Many great artists knew the value of assimilating principles of art through understanding how previous masters worked. The greatest way to mastery is to stand on the shoulders of those who came before.

With that in mind Southern Atelier’s Project: Master Copy is pushing artists forward by teaching a sure-fire method for replicating great paintings of art history.  After choosing a suitable Master Painting, artists will learn the Atelier Method for creating a convincing Replica. This course will build an understanding of painting principles, processes and effects as handed down by example in the paintings of the ages.



  • Understanding the Masters mindset
  • Learning how to prepare the proper oil painting materials
  • Planning and Strategizing the design and layout of the master copy
  • Direct drawing and measuring 
  • 17th-19th Century techniques 
  • Disegno
  • Dead Color 
  • Ebauche
  • Color Harmony
  • Understanding paint layers- fat over lean
  • Value Systems
  • Old Master Palettes
  • Modeling Form
  • Creating the “Light Effect”
  • Finalizing the Painting

Class Price:  

$360 of 12 classes, 6 weeks for this whole course

Starting Dates: Oct 17th, to Nov 23th, 2018

Time: 9:30am -12:30pm, Every Wednesday and Friday morning


Miano Classic Painting Materials 

Oil Colors

{Colors are listed in the general layout of Miano’s Palette, from left to right, and generally from dark to light. Use only the best quality paints. Do not use student grade paint.} *Note: If one chooses to use paint containing Lead, please follow the necessary health precautions.

UltraMarine Blue or Lapis Lazuli

Ivory Black or Bone Black

Raw Umber (Used for Dead Color)

Burnt Umber

Mars Violet

Transparent Oxide Red

Alizarin Crimson or Lake

Venetian Red


Indian Yellow

Yellow Ochre

Cadmium Yellow medium

Lemon yellow or Lead Tin Yellow

Yellow grey (Used for Dead Color)

Titanium white or Lead White (Used for Dead Color)


{Use the highest quality brushes}

Bristle brushes- variety of sizes, #2- #12.
Mongoose brushes- variety of sizes, #2- #12

Sable Rounds, #000-#1

Palette, Diluent and Mediums

Large Palette

Large Metal Brush Washer with lid, Walnut Oil and Paper Towels for cleaning brushes

Palette Cups for medium

Linseed Oil and Sun Thickened Linseed oil are the preferred traditional painting mediums. 

Traditional Megilp or Maroger are permitted but contain soluble lead and must be handled with care.

Liquin to control drying

*Note: turpentine, mineral spirits or any other toxic solvents are prohibited in the studio*


Canvas: cotton or linen, a variety of sizes, approximately 18” x 24”  – 30”x 40” will be used

Please follow studio guidelines when using Oil Painting Supplies. This includes proper disposal of towels as well as application of health standards including keeping containers closed and not eating or drinking in the vicinity of your materials.


Atelier Fundamentals of Figure Drawing Short Poses with Dasa Pierce


Want to draw the figure well? Strengthen your Figure Fundamentals! In this Ongoing Class (open to all levels) working from a live model, we will stress short poses to give students a solid foundation in how to begin, plan and execute the “ideal” figure. Students will strengthen their ability to quickly capture the relationships of the pose, train the eye to simplify the information, and learn to build volume with basic shapes.  Additionally, students will solve problems and hone skills set through a special focus each week – such as foreshortening, anatomical landmarks, how overlap creates volume, how to study, and much more!

Class Price:   $300 for a bundle of 10 classes        $40 for a single class

(Plus $10 model fee)

Date: Every Saturday morning from 9:30-12:30

LEVEL:  Open to all levels

This is a class for beginners, but even the more advanced student will benefit from additional mileage of practice from a live model, and each week there will be a different informative focus.

DATES: Ongoing


  • Gesture: Students will be able to quickly and convincingly capture the nature of the gesture, specifically building on the general 3 basic motions – the S curve, C curve and line and have opportunity to practice how these forms change as the model’s pose rotates.
  • Secret Figure: Students will be able to draw the “secret (stick) figure” accurately showing the relationships of the 3 main body masses (head, torso, and pelvis) and the limbs.Students will gain mileage in this skill so that it becomes second nature.
  • Volume (shape articulation): Students will create the illusion of volume through the use of basic 3-D shapes of the sphere, egg, cylinder, cubes, wedges, cones and overlapping contour lines. Shading is not part of the beginner course, as this course focuses on relationships and the “ideal” of the model’s pose.
  • Alternating gesture drawings with methodical approacheswill enable the student to draw spontaneously, energetically and lay the foundation for longer poses.
  • Weekly focus examples:

More in-depth study of topics such as Overlap, how to see & draw the 3D shapes, drawing the rotating model, how the knee moves and how to locate the patella, how the neck fits on the torso, how to use creases and overlap to indicate twists, how to use fundamental anatomical landmarks to add 3-D structure to the drawing – even if you do not see them, foreshortening, how the shoulder girdle and shoulder blades move in relation to the arms, hands, feet, head orientations and much more.


  • Live Model short poses will strengthen the foundation of figure drawing. Mileage on the fundamentals of the relationships of the forms is key to drawing the figure with facility.
  • Demonstration– the instructor will demonstrate concepts on the live model, the skeleton as well as drawing, as appropriate.
  • One on One– Instructor will make rounds, working with each student, giving constructive criticism and individual demonstrations. The focus will always be on the “NEXT STEP” for each individual student, depending on their current skill level.
  • Handoutson key teaching points will be utilized as needed
  • Standing Homework Assignment:
  • Homeworkreview – students are encouraged to bring in homework for critiquing
    • use any source of model (live, internet (eg :Draw This on youtube), or book reference) to get at minimum 30 minutes a day practice (3 hours a week – it flies fast!)
    • The serious student, no matter the skill level, is also encouraged to attempt to draw from memory or imagination as part of routine homework.


  • Any drawing instrument such as charcoal, graphite pencil (2B through 6B)
  • Kneaded eraser or chamois
  • Sandpaper pad to sharpen pencil
  • Drawing board & Drawing Pad – eg: 18”X24” Strathmore 400 White or newsprint
  • Advanced Students may use monochromatic paint

Recommended support material:

Draw This – Youtube (online figure model sessions)
Bridgman’s Complete Guide to Drawing from Life, book by George Bridgman

Drawing/Tonal Studies

Date: Every Saturday afternoon

Time: 1PM-4PM

Cost: $300 for 10 classes, $40 for single class, Plus $10 model fee

Senior Instructor: Charles Miano

First year students can expect to spend the majority of their practice on structural and mass drawing. Southern Atelier advocates a painterly way to draw. Mass drawing is an essential prerequisite for tonal painting. It is an atmospheric way to draw dependent more on tone than line. A focus on large masses of tone and edges conceptually working in layers eases an artist’s progress into painting.
This session remains an important part of the program for progressing painters.  It revolves around the simple idea that consistent practice in a forward moving direction yields fruitful results. Through specially designed exercises over time, students are improving their ability to see as an artist and translate what they see onto a 2 dimensional plane. Many principles of painting are learned through the consistent practice of Mass Drawing including but not limited to: shape, tone, edge, form, proportion, structure, rhythm, balance, gesture, anatomy, design and composition. All of these ideas are more readily grasped when a student does not have the added complication of color and paint handling.  By improving ones skills with charcoal one is improving their skills as a painter.

Through training students learn that enhanced visual perception is developmental. Tonal study reinforces all the ideas of mass drawing and blurs the line between working in charcoal and working in paint. In this class artists may work in charcoal or in a prescribed limited oil paint palette. A grisaille or monochromatic approach allows an artist to consider paint handling along with reducing a subject to simple mass relationships. Ultimately our goal is to translate the world around us by means of light. It takes an artist consistent practice to develop their ability to see and translate shapes of tone representing values of light in our pictures. An understanding of a system of value reinforces an artist’s capability to depict reality and will ultimately aid in the transition to full color.

Atelier Method Life Figure/Portrait Drawing and Painting with Charles Miano (Long Pose)

Our Next Long Figure Pose will start on Jan 2nd. 2019

Open for registration Now!! call 941-753-7755

Wednesdays & Fridays 9:30-12:30pm

Join Charles Miano and the Atelier Apprentices in the Portrait/Figure Long Pose Sessions. Southern Atelier’s Method of life drawing is very unique for art schools. It features working life size from the model for a total of 10 – 3 hour sessions in the Academic Tradition. In addition to spending quality time on your drawing, our proven method allows students to grow to a higher degree of draftsmanship, rapidly. Artists who have a strong drawing background may progress to working in oil during our long pose project classes. Don’t miss this rare opportunity!

Man Reaching11

To register students must commit to 10 sessions (2 sessions per week for 5 weeks). Sessions will be held on Wednesday and Friday from 9:30am to 12:30pm.

Dates for this long pose are Jan. 2,4,9,16,18,23,25,30, and Feb.6,8, 2019

Course Price:  $400 (includes model fee)

Registration open. Pre-signup required


Still Life Painting with Sue Foster

Tuesday 9:30am – 12:30pm & 1 – 4pm

Wednesday 9:30am – 12:30pm & 1 – 4pm with Susan Foster

This oil painting class will equip an artist with the skills necessary to fulfill their artistic vision. In a progressive and comprehensive manner, Susan Foster will explain the nuances of her Painting technique in oil. Attention will be given to pictorial composition, accurate rendering of shapes, values and edges within the totality of the still-life arrangement.

Class Price:  

$300 for a bundle of 10 classes

$40 for a single class

About Instructor – Susan J Foster, internationally known award-winning artist, was born in

Warren, Ohio. She studied at OCA in Toronto, Ontario and with friends she
considers to be some of the finest teachers in the world. Susan has
exhibited extensively, including solo shows in Charleston, S.C. and
Sarasota, FL. She was a finalist in the world-wide competition “Blossom 2,
Art of the Flower” and has, among other prizes, won the Bowles Award for
Portraiture. Formerly an instructor at Ringling College of Art in the CCSP
program, Susan now teaches Still Life painting at the Southern Atelier in
Sarasota, Florida, where she and her husband Norm and their Cavalier,
Posy, currently reside. “Every painting offers me a fresh challenge,
something to strive to convey….perhaps a sense of space, grace,
sustenance, a texture or fragrance of something lost or something I wish to
be found, or the frailty and brevity of life on our planet. Or perhaps, a place
to come home. I never quite feel like I capture that thing, whatever it is, but
so far have been able to resist the urge to entitle paintings “No, but I like
this bit right here” or “Not Quite…Number 934”. But I love every one of them
for what they have shown me about painting, about myself and my ongoing
journey as an artist and as a teacher.”

Atelier Method Fundamentals of Drawing

Wednesday 1:00pm-4:00pm
In this class you will begin to bring eye and hand together through an understanding of how to create the illusion of space in two dimensions. Basic concepts will be introduced through specific excercises designed to teach you to see, think and then draw.  The consistant practice of drawing under instruction will facilitate continual opportunity to discuss and implement a sound drawing approach. Beginners and all levels welcome.

Class Price:  

$300 for a bundle of 10 classes

$40 for a single class

Open Studio/Painting the Exotic in Nov.

Open Studio Sessions

All artists are invited to enjoy the atelier’s studio figure, portrait model all media open sessions.

Portrait, Every Wednesday, 4:00-7:00pm

Figure open studio will be open again soon…

Open Studio Fee: $15 per session

Youth Afterschool Course with Elizabeth Jenness


[returning in the fall!]

Wednesdays 4:00 – 6:00 pm

The goal of these classes is to provide skill-based learning to create a deeper understanding of the visual imagery that is all around us. At the Atelier we believe that anyone has the ability to create art,  by learning basic skills such as those implemented by Da Vinci and Michelangelo.

Each lesson will encourage a child’s creativity while asking them to analyze what they see and apply it in a variety of different exercises.

The classes will focus on emphasizing form primarily using charcoal to establish and build upon a foundation of traditional drawing.

If you are interested in taking this class, please contact Elizabeth Jenness at