About Sadie Valeri

Sadie Valeri is an award-winning classical realist painter and instructor based in San Francisco, California.
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New Workshops and Intensives for 2015!
Choose from One to Eight weeks of full time Intensive study.
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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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Since October 2006 I have recorded every aspect of my artistic development on my blog. Here I invite you "behind the scenes" into my studio, where I share all of my materials, class notes, travel journals, and step-by step demonstrations of my paintings and drawings, including video demos


Lecture by George O'Hanlon of Natural Pigments

Last Friday evening we all enjoyed an incredibly informative 3-hour lecture on “Painting for Posterity” with George O’Hanlan of Natural Pigments, manufacturer of high quality artists’ materials.

George and his wife Tatiana presented the lecture and gave a live paint-mixing demonstration, sharing all the knowledge they have gained through extensive scientific analysis of the materials artists depend upon.

George and Tatiana return to my San Francisco studio in May to teach a 3-day workshop on “Painting Best Practices, I hope you can join us!

About the workshop:
“Natural Pigments spent years developing a technical workshop to teach skills that are not taught in art school and universities—a thorough understanding of artist’s materials and tools, what they are designed to do, when to chose them and how to provide considerable longevity to your finished work. This workshop covers the most important aspects of painting that have proven to be the best practices over the centuries.”

>> Click here for more information about the “Painting Best Practices” workshop

George O’Hanlon, Tatiana Zaytseva, Nowell Valeri, Kate Stone, David Gluck, and Sadie ValeriThe lecture was a wonderful way to wrap up our 5-day workshop with Kate Stone, who taught an inspiring workshop on “Textural and Optical Effects in Still Life Painting”, showing us how she achieves incredible, tactile effects for subjects such as wood grain, fur, glass and a variety of natural objects.

Students were encouraged to bring their own materials in addition to a variety of subjects we provided, and each were able to create a painting to experiment with all the methods Kate teaches. We were lucky to have Kate’s husband, painter David Gluck, participate in the workshop as well.

Together Kate and David author the blog “Painting Stuff to Look Like Stuff” which has established itself as one of the most informative and entertaining sources of information for realist painters.

Kate working on her demo paintingStudent working on her paintingDavid working on his painting

Kate teachingThank you so much to Kate Stone, Dave Gluck, George O’Hanlon and Tatiana Zaytseva for bringing such inspiration and knowledge to the studio this week!

For more information about all our upcoming classes and workshops:

Students who are not local to San Francisco can take part in our training through videos and my online class:




Oil Transfer: Demo by James Edmonds

James Edmonds showed us how to transfer a drawing to a primed painting panel with oil paint.

James Edmonds’ Demo:

“The following steps will take you through the process of transferring a drawing to a support with oil paint. This method ensures that your transfer will play nice with your painting because they will both be in the same medium.”

“I usually use raw umber or burnt umber for these because it dries quickly. The sooner its dry, the sooner I can start painting without effecting the lines. However, if you don’t mind painting into your lines while they’re still wet, feel free to use whatever color you wish.

The first step is to make a basic photocopy of your drawing. Yep, a cheap ten cent copy from OfficeMax will do the job just fine.

“When making your photocopy, it’s usually a good idea to change the copiers settings to as dark as possible. Sometimes the default setting doesn’t copy lighter graphite lines. Proceed to grab a drawing implement from your kit. 


“Start by applying a thin layer of paint from the tube. Don’t thin it with anything (turp, etc). You want this layer of paint to be as thin and dry as possible. Too much paint will soak through the paper and deposit excess paint on your surface. Use as little paint as possible to cover and really brush it around.

“Hold it up to the light to make sure you get total coverage. Really brush it around. If you’ve done this correctly, the paper will absorb some of the oil from the paint and give it a slightly dry feel. This makes it so the paint will only go where you tell it to go. It shouldn’t transfer to the panel from say, the pressure of your hand on the surface, for instance.

Now tape that paint covered photocopy to your support.

“Start tracing over your lines. Here I’m using just a regular H lead pencil, but it can be helpful to use something like a red pen so that you can tell what you’ve traced and what you haven’t. 

“Don’t press too hard or you run the risk of damaging your painting surface. Start lightly and try it out until you find just enough pressure to transfer the lines and no more.

“Routinely lift the drawing to make sure your lines are coming through okay. Just make sure you get it lined back up properly before continuing. Registration marks are your friend here.

(Animal companions are a great addition to this process. Just don’t let them step on your palette!)

“All this should leave you with a nice clean drawing in thin paint on your surface. I use this technique to lay down lines for the majority of my studio paintings.”

Thanks for the demo, James! 

Starting in November, James will be teaching 2 weekly Flex Classes on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. James also teaches a weekly Long Pose Figure Drawing on Saturdays.

>> More info about all our Drawing and Painting classes here


New Painting Video: Painting the Value Sphere: Part One: Open Grisaille

Watch the Introduction to my latest Instructional Video! You click this link to buy the whole video now OR you can click here to join my online class here on Facebook. Online students get free access to the videos and get my comments and critique when you upload exercises done from my instructional videos.


>> Click here to learn more about my Still Life Painting and Drawing class at my San Francisco studio




Easels and Tabourets

A lot of people ask about what easels I recommend. In our classroom studio we use two:

H-frame Winsor Newton Shannon Easel

It’s sturdy and well-made for the price. A hidden knob and pin make it non-intuitive for new students, but eventually they figure it out.


American Umatilla Easel 

Lightweight, affordable and very easy to use. We use pony clamps to secure the drawing board for more stability. 

The tabourets are actually laptop stands I bought from Overstock.com. They are a perfect height for holding pencils and palette next to you while you work.

This is my personal studio easel, I love it:
Craftech Sienna Counterweight Easel





New Drawing Video: Straight Line Block-In Demo

I’ve just completed a new FREE video showing how I start a new drawing using Straight Line Block-In. My husband Nowell composed the soundtrack and did all the editing and production:

This is the exercise I give my students:

  1. Set up a brown paper bag, crumpled and twisted gently. Include a single egg. 
  2. Draw only STRAIGHT LINES and NO SHADING. 
  3. Work small, just 4-5 inches across per drawing, and put in mainly just the longest, most major lines and only a few secondary lines - just until it starts looking like the shape and gesture of the bag. Spend no more than 30 minutes on a drawing. 
  4. Turn the bag and move the egg to make a new composition and start another drawing. 
  5. I am working large with heavy, dark lines so the camera can record the drawing. You should work SMALL and with VERY LIGHT LINES

I teach a private Online Class on Facebook where I teach the fundamental principles of Classical Drawing and Indirect Painting:
Click Here to Learn More about my Online Class!

See all our upcoming Classes and Workshops at my San Francisco Studio Here: