I'm currently getting ready to begin my graduate studies at the Florence Academy. This program is exactly what I was looking for because I've always wanted to study the atelier method. My undergraduate art training was at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), which was at a transitional period while I was there and did not give me the atelier training that I wanted. Most of my time at PAFA was spent in the library reading and dreaming about a bygone era of art training. I liked PAFA overall: it had great facilities (the cast hall is beautiful), most of the professors were great, but overall is wasn't what I needed as an artist. I wanted to really learn the craft of painting, but I didn't get that fully. I can't speak to how it is at PAFA now because I graduated in 2013. The truth is that traditional painting and drawing is so complicated that you really need someone to teach you; it takes too long and is too difficult to teach yourself.
While studying at PAFA, I also got my BFA from PENN which was wonderful because I wanted to study academics as well. I love reading, writing and studying history. So I'm very happy that I got to do the PAFA/PENN program. (I've really been very spoiled haha)
During all this, I had my first taste of the atelier method at the Grand Central Academy (which I think is called the Grand Central Atelier now). I took a summer drawing course and enjoyed it immensely, but it was bittersweet because I knew I wasn't learning this material at PAFA. I also realized this type of training required much more time to do it properly.
So this leads me to where I am now. After saving money and working hard on my own portfolio I was accepted into Florence Academy's MA program, which is really the bootcamp style of training that I've always sought. All of the artists I admire: Bouguereau, Monet, Sargent, Sorolla, Zorn, etc. - they all studied in this type of program. I'm excited to really delve deeper into the methodology of drawing and painting; the practical information and more nuts and bolts of it. I'll post some updates as I work my way through the first semester, but I'll be very busy since it's a rigorous program and basically like a full time job.
For all my students: I'll still be teaching during the school year so don't worry! I love teaching and couldn't even imagine not teaching. I also can't wait to share all my new-found knowledge with my students.