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Carbon Sketching



Art Lessons for Beginners through Advanced Students

The ability to create amazing art, and communicate what is in your mind's eye, is not a gift one is born with.  Instead it is a skill that is developed and honed with quality art education and practice.  By breaking down artistic training into easy to understand principles that build slowly and logically upon each other, we are able to deliver unparalleled results to students in a relatively short time.

This approach demystifies the creative process making it accessible to anyone wishing to develop a high level artistic proficiency.  

Below is an example of  beginner level drawing students after four to five months of instruction.   Please visit the Student Gallery to view additional examples of student work at all levels in painting, drawing, fashion design and illustration.


“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” - Edgar Degas.

Everyone is born understanding how to create and read visual images, but somewhere along the way we forget, or decide we don't know 'how'. 


Not  knowing ‘how’ to achieve their envisaged creative output is the number one cited reason young artists become frustrated and quit before they’ve even really begun.  Maplewood Arts was founded to provide solid skills-based training, promote visual literacy, and to advance the understanding that great art begins with great themes expressed through mastery.  We believe that students who are taught how to master skills and media, and then how to apply those skills to convey meaning produce work that is uniquely personal, immediately contemporary, exceptionally engaging, and bridges the gap between what they see in their mind’s eye and the work they’ve created.  Taken together these principles encourage creativity, self-confidence, and critical thinking.   

Painting Equipments

"Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself."

Chuck Close


The idea behind most contemporary art programming, including university programs,  is quite broad,  and thus provides a wide range of courses from which the student can choose.  The problem with this is that they no longer have any specialist training in the area of classical art, methods, and techniques.  Over time the focus has moved from objective to subjective.  In other words, from what is observed to what is felt.  When this happens in an educational setting, it removes the instructor completely - how can a teacher know what you are feeling or teach you how to improve upon your depiction of it?  They can't.  Perhaps most importantly, this model can only work when instruction is very general or vague, and solely project-based.  In practice this looks like a large class of students working on a loosely defined project, often based around a theoretical concept, for a set period of time - often monthly,  with the instructor giving bits of information here and there along the way.  When taught this way, most students leave with a project or two and still say that they haven't learned much and probably couldn't even replicate their own work again.  What is lacking is a solid program of teaching real, transferrable skills - building blocks - that build upon each other slowly and incrementally, in a logical manner, until the student reaches mastery and can complete any work of their choosing independently.


The Atelier model has passed on from teacher to student, a method of instruction which melds formal academic training with influence of the French Impressionists. American art students in the late nineteenth-century European art academies brought this combined education home to pass on to their own students.  Contrary to most art programming, atelier-based training is specialized, refined, and, most rewarding of all — results orientated.  For the student wanting learn skills like the Old Masters and maybe even become a professional artist, the answer is simple — with very few exceptions, there is no equivalent training found in art programming or universities anymore.

At the Soma Studio we combine traditional atelier training with proven contemporary teaching models honed over two decades of teaching to deliver a solid, skills-based, scaffolded, art education geared to todays modern student.

Inside The Studio

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