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Sadie Valeri Atelier is a beautiful, friendly environment for focused study of Classical Realism Painting and Drawing.
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Sadie has produced a complete set of instructional vidoes sharing all her drawing and painting lessons. Videos can be purchased for download, or they can be watched streaming in her online class. For more information about videos and online instruction please visit the Videos page.

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Sadie J. Valeri is an internationally recognized still life oil painter and art instructor. Trained first at the Rhode Island School of Design and later in Classical techniques with living masters of realism, she is devoted to the expression of her visual experience through time-honored techniques. Her meticulously crafted paintings depicting transparent, crumpled wax paper and tarnished and worn objects evoke the spirit of the Dutch Golden Age of still life painting, as seen through a contemporary aesthetic. In 2009 Sadie opened her studio to private students of painting and drawing. Sadie and her husband incorporated the art school in 2011, and together they run Sadie Valeri Atelier, which hosts art classes for 120 students per week at her 3,500 square foot studio in San Francisco.

Sadie’s evocative paintings have have attracted the highest honors, including the award of First Prize for Still Life in the 2010 ARC International Salon. Her work has also been featured in the most prestigious art publications, including: American Art Collector, American Artist, International Artist, American Painting Video MagazineArtist’s Magazine, and Southwest Art. Sadie has been invited to judge several major art competitions, including The Representation Art Conference (TRAC) Competition 2015, The Artist’s Magazine Still Life Competition 2012, and the Ani Academies Drawing Competition 2014. Sadie is also proud to be a Hudson River Fellow.


Raised in Salem, Massachusetts, (b. 1971) Sadie J. Valeri graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Illustration in 1993. For many years she enjoyed a successful career as a graphic designer and website/interface designer.

In 2006 Sadie returned to pursuing fine art exclusively, and very quickly attracted notice for her highly refined layered oil technique.

In pursuit of constantly improving her skills, Sadie has studied with several contemporary masters of realism, including Juliette Aristides, Michael Grimaldi, and Ted Seth Jacobs at Bay Area Classical Artist Atelier; Jacob Collins at the Hudson River Fellowship; and Timothy Stotz and Michelle Tully of Studio Escalier. Sadie also studied Écorché/Anatomy with Andrew Ameral. She studied traditional Flemish layered painting technique with Kirstine Reiner.

Travel has been fundamental to Sadie’s development as an artist ever since she lived in Paris for six months as an art student attending Parsons Paris in 1992. Since then she has traveled to Greece and Italy, in addition to many trips back to France. 

Since October 2006 Sadie has recorded every aspect of her artistic development on her blog. Here she invites you into the studio to share her ongoing study of painting and drawing.

In addition to her own blog, Sadie also co-founded, a website showcasing the work of living women figurative painters.

Sadie has taught graduate students at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and she now directs a private Classical Atelier in her San Francisco studio, offering drawing and painting workshops and classes. She lives in San Francisco’s Cole Valley neighborhood, with her husband, Nowell Valeri.

Click to see: Resume | Publications


What is “Classical Realism”?

Classical Realism is the contemporary rebuilding of a legacy of art instruction which developed from the Renaissance ateliers up through the 19th century Academies, which was nearly lost in the anti-figurative philosophies of the 20th century.

A few teachers remain who can trace their lineage of teachers directly back to the 19th century Academies, and who retain and pass along the methods and knowledge of painting that were cultivated over a period of 500 years. Sadie has studied with several teachers who are a part of this lineage, and is committed to passing along this knowledge.

Classical Realism focuses on the slow, careful study of the human figure in long-pose sessions. Long-pose studies of the human figure as the basis of fine art education is in stark contrast to the “quick sketch” method which dominated Western art schools in the 20th century. Many Classical Realists also avoid using photographs as reference materials for paintings, and work solely from life.

Only in the last 10-15 years, mainly because of the Internet, students and teachers are finding each other, and a resurgence of classically trained artists, as well as collectors who value their skills, is emerging.

Teachers who have been trained in the classical tradition are opening ateliers, teaching studios where students can learn these traditional methods.

Classical Realists believe that the greatest teacher is Nature, or direct study from life. 

“Learning to draw the figure is a crucible, and you are melted and transformed when you are in it, and you leave behind what you used to be.”
-Jacob Collins (Founder, Water Street Atelier and Grand Central Academy, New York, NY)