June 16, 2019

Celebrating Rembrandt 350

I’m away for the month of June, in the Netherlands to study great flemish paintings and the dutch golden age. Our Tuesday and Thursday night drop in sessions and Saturday MAKE and TAKE kids classes are still running. So if you have a multi-pass don't forget to use it!  Visit our website for more info: http://www.atelierartista.com

I’m visiting the Netherlands because I need more Rembrandt in my life. What I gain from this personally directed education experience will be brought back to the studio. It just so happens that my I booked this trip to correspond to the Rembrandt 350 exhibition “All the Rembrandts” at the Rijksmuseum. This is the first time in history that the Rijksmuseum will showcase its entire collection of drawings, paintings and etchings. I got here just in time as it closed June 10, but it was an opportunity I just couldn't miss.

After all, Rembrandt is one of the greatest portrait painters of all time, his self portraits alone tell us the biographical story of the ravages of ageing in his time while we can trace his artistic development throughout. He is a master to be studied up close and personal. I needed to see first hand how he applied his paint, how he used chiaroscuro and of course revel in his truthful depictions as he was renown for his brutal honesty.
The first thing I did after arriving and unpacking is a visit to the Het Rembrandthius (Rembrandt house). Here, I saw a man living a lifestyle he couldn't afford which eventually led to him borrowing himself into a debt hole leading to him into bankruptcy. His opulent living space was gorgeous, he had a huge collection of plasters, artifacts and taxidermy for reference. A collection comparable to what only the wealthy would have at the time.  I got to see his working studios and the areas he set up to teach his students.  I stuck around for the printmaking and pigment making demos where I got to see the polished rock he mulled his pigments into paints. 

Think back to a time before the tube was patented when artists still had to do make their oil paint themselves. It is something you should at least try before you die and it just so happens I booked Nick once more to offer this incredible introduction to the means and methods, class size is limited so sign up before its too late this may be the last opportunity to learn this from Nick before he moves overseas.

When oil painting was first introduced, during the 15th century, Netherlandish artists painted large altar pieces on panel. They look way more amazing than their tempura or fresco counter parts from the same time. The oil is rich and highly chromatic. The persons depicted seem to be unique characterizations making them more real than idealized standards.

By the Dutch Golden age (the 17th century) artists are known for their portraiture as well as their still life floral paintings. These are some of my favourite genre of artworks. I love the charm and detail of these still lives. They used tiny little brushes and painted everything in incredible detail. At this time they led the world in botanical and scientific drawings. They combined many species of flower that bloom at different times by using references and studies.  Every element being in detail made them seem unreal in so many ways because everything was in focus which is how our brain stitches things together as we look from subject to subject but thats not how we actually see. These works seem unreal and they would not have had complex arrangements in vases in homes like this. But what wonderful visuals for epic still life painting.
This golden era followed the Eight years war for Dutch independence. I think this new freedom coupled with the values the Dutch hold to be true had a large part in affecting artists to reinvent themselves and and how they apply their paint.  Painters began to employ a freedom and looseness in their brush strokes. I think they started to paint more how we actually see. We feel Rembrandt’s gaze. They seem so far ahead than the work created by their predecessors. In some instances, if these 17 century works if they were taken out of context they could pass for contemporary. 

I learned while at the Madurodam (The happiest war memorial highlighting the geography and heritage of the Netherlands in miniature models) its source may be at the very core of the Dutch mentality. During the formation of the Dutch democracy they put their values to paper: basically stating that their freedom allows them to think, do and say what they wish. I think this open, honest and loose approach affected the artists brushwork too. Its so well done it is clearly not willy nilly or lazy in any sense. Instead the approach seems direct, deliberate, effective and sincere. 

I was told that the dutch may come across as curt with they straight to the point directness. So too are the marks that their masters make. As far as I’ve experienced during this visit, the dutch are friendly, forthright while being incredibly chill. If nothing else, I hope to bring a little more of this attitude back with me to help improve our work in the Atelier.  

Next the pursuit of other Dutch masters: Vermeer, Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Jan Steen, Hieronymus Bosch, Lucas van Leyden, Frans Hals, Hendrick Terbrugghen, Willem Kalf, Rachel Ruysch and more!

April 2, 2019

Portrait Drawing FUNdamentals

Have an umbrella

Last night we had a model sitting for our portrait FUNdamentals class. I’m so proud of how well my students did last night. But what is it about the way my students are taught that make them achieve in so little time? 

I teach a way of seeing and thinking more than just how to handle pencils and brushes. I think it comes down to explaining how to use limited time well to achieve what you set out to do.  For example in last nights class I sat and drew along side the students so they could see the necessary steps taken in the time given.  In the first 20 min try to get a lay in, in the next sitting map the shadows, then refine and start rendering in each of the following sittings.

This may sound more like time management than art making. In a way it is. Artists have to do more in less hours if they want to keep any money in their pockets. By Planning a method of attack, I can enhance my efficiency and effectiveness. Without a plan, things seem go off the rails quickly. If you simply dive in with passion and disregard for thoughtful planning, your chances of achieving what you hope greatly diminish. In most cases all you get is big mess to clean up at the end of the day.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir writes, “In painting, as in the other arts, there's not a single process, no matter how insignificant, which can be reasonably made into a formula.”

There may not be a single formula for art but there are ways to help you be more creative. In my experience, better planning means better playing. I sweat less when I am systematic. This means before diving in I making lists, do preliminary researching as well as some sketching and thumbnails. These tools go a long way in helping me follow thru. It’s one thing to be an artist who plays open and freely, it is another to show up and get things done.

Creativity is a balancing act between the two extremes of planning and playing. Creativity an innovation happen most often when there are limitations, constraints and some rules to play by. 
Im not saying stop being wildly playful and experimental. There still needs to be room for spontaneous and “happy accidents” to occur. For me, that for me is where a large part of the joy comes from.

We often use the terms “push” and “pull” - when you create focus on one area and balance it with another. When Im teaching it is most often not the area a student is struggling with and obsessing over that needs repair but something outside of their focus that will solve their problems. We all get hyper focused and trapped in the details losing a vision of the whole. that fist vision is what should be defined in the planning stage. That way you have a general map of where to come back to when things go off track.

As artists, we journey through the ups and downs of making marks and mistakes without a universal formula. We are translating ideas, thoughts and feelings into an image. Unlike the scientific method, which is empirical, logical, measurable, and can be tested at every step along the way, the artistic method is far less quantifiable. Like cooking it is helpful to have a recipe to guide you  but with roof for improvement and fun. If you make this a bit more systematic each time you will find you get to where you're going quicker and with better results.Try your hand at being systematic. Have an outline or plan before you jump in, practice often and let the artistic muse guide the rest of the way.This is like having an umbrella to protects your work below.

If you are looking for a systematic approach and a well thought out process for learning how to improve and to get yourself on the path to mastery in your observational art we have a ton of classes that will help you. 

Our semester begins shortly so act now, Our Portrait FUNdamentals course starts Tuesday April 9, register for your spot: https://www.atelierartista.com/shop

My thanks and gratitude,

Brian “Bunny” Batista

March 25, 2019

The struggle is real!

As an instructor, I see a bit of a different angle of the art making process. 

Daily, I see many students going through the ups and down of art creation.
I am acutely aware when my students struggle often bringing the to the point or frustration. They want to quit, they sigh and make grimacing faces. Some need to step away, others are brought to tears and all over art. I see and feel the ups and downs. I hear sighs, see the lightbulb go off and find a lot of discards in the trash. 

Our inner voices tell us…
This is awesome
This is tricky
This is sh*t
I am sh*t
This might be ok
This is awesome
….and again the cycle continues

I understand the personal challenges and how monumental they are in that moment. I think most people think its going to be easy and they are all going to leave the classroom a master. Artists seem to be a lot harder on themselves while in the pursuit of perfection than most do in the rest of their lives. We all battle deep inner voices, fight with the material and techniques and try to cram into our memories new lesson information. 
At times it feels like its laughing right in our face, this is supposed to be fun, at least smile back.

Know that you are not alone, we all go through this. You can’t hold onto any one moment, in this dance. Whether you are the best artist in the world or the worst, the struggle continues. C’est la vie. In our artistic practice, the only constant is change because of this we are always having to move forward and grow. Growing in our art skills and vision on the drawing pad, canvas as well as within. The most important thing is to show up, stick with your practice and you will push through. Trust the “artistic method” and trust yourself. You can do it!

At Atelier Artista, we believe the best thing you can do for your art is invest in your education. Put in the time and practice and in the long term you will reach your goals.

We also encourage you to drop in for figure drawing, we host three nights a week and have a brand new bulk buying option here:

March 20, 2019



THANK YOU <3 span="" thank="" you="">

Thanks to everyone who made our Art Auction and Fundraiser an enormous success! 

Together, we raised over $8000!!! 
100% of the revenue generated by this auction and fundraiser go towards Heather dawn Kemp’d daughters cancer treatments.

If you would still like to support Heather Dawn Kemp’s cause you can do so on her “I Believe You Care-“ Gofundme page here: 


Thanks to everyone coming out shows the strength of our collective community.  Thanks to everyone for sharing on social media and coming to the party. 

Artists helping artists. For that you deserve many thanks, a big warm hug and a wheelbarrow full of gratitude. 

Somehow, a group of people with an idea and big hearts were able to pull this off in just 10 days. It proves that when we come together with a united vision we are an unstoppable force!

Atelier Artista was pleased to donate the space for this event. The atelier took two days to set up and collect the artwork, one fun night to throw an Art party and two more days following to get it back. Bunny got in a very good workout going up and down the ladder hanging and taking down artwork for a few days. Thats good because thats about all the exercise inside the studio he gets.

Now that we know what it takes to run an event like this. We have seen what a success it can be……Atelier Artista hopes to host a “spring cleaning” like this for artists to be able to clear out their inventory and support a charitable cause annually. If this is a good idea and you’d like to be involved next year, let us know.

It took a lot more work than we could have anticipated, we must thank our army of volunteers:

Thank you Luella Gilchrist for inspiring and heading up this event.  
Thank you to Brenda Lucas for pulling things together using her magic.
Thanks to Doug Swinton for the support and all the snacks.
Thank you to our amazing Rumble House auctioneers Rich Theroux and Jess Szabo
Thanks to Patrick Rowsome for “Vana Whiteing” the artworks.. 
Thanks to Bruce Halliday and Andrea Slack for taking care of all the payments and receipts.
Thank you to our Belly Dancer Courtney Adomaitis.

Thanks to Reva Diana for running our bar and serving the drinks.
Thanks to Keith Springall who helped us hang the works late into the night.
Special thanks to thank you to Kimberlee Jones, Heather, Cheryl  and Mike.
Thank you to our event photographer Alexander Slobodian who took the pictures you see here.


Extra special thanks goes out to all the artists who donated work for the auction, without you this would not have been at all possible: 

Shirley Adams,
Irina Angheluto,
Cassandra Arnold,
Susan Ballantine,
B. Bates, 
Brian “Bunny” Batista, 
S. Borttin,
Hermann Brandt,
Janet Brodish
Elena Bushan,
Maria Carrero, 
Emilia Charente,
Marina Cooke,
Ella Curette, 
Bobbi Dunlop,
Elisa Friesen,
Ashley Gaboury,
Luella Gilchrist,
Ann Christine Gurholt,
Bev Johnson,
Wes Jones,
Cheryl Kemp,
Heather Dawn Kemp,
Rod Lacmuth,
L. Lukasawich,
Caran Magaw,
Gerard Muhall, 
Jan Murray, 
Cheryl Peddie,
Louie Pisterzi,
Tracy Proctor,
Svitlama Protenko,
Shona Rae,
Jo Reimer,
Cameron Lee Roberts, 
Patrick Rowsome, 
Shirl Rowsome,
Marina Sakhanyan, 
Fran Schlosser,
Aaron Sidarenko.
Alice Aliki Sirounis, 
Andrea Slack,
Keith Springall,
Doug Swinton,
Ray Swirsky,
Heather Trepanned,
Yulia Tsinko, 
Anna Wasniewska

Further thoughtful and kind donations provided by: 
The Canadian Brewhouse, 
Bon Ton Market, 
Greg Keller, 
Yulia Tsinko, 
Blue Rock Gallery, 
Swinton’s Art Supplies, 
Half-Hitch Brewery 
& Michael Collett.

Hopefully we didn't miss anyone on this tremendous list, but if we did let us know and we will update.   Email Bunny at AtelierArtistayyc@gmail.com

May 13, 2018


I'm back on the proverbial horse and the drawing horse as well. Mistakes, We all make them. Want to learn from mistakes, see how I do it in this short video.

May 5, 2018

That time planting a bunch of herbs at Atelier Artitsa

We have been excitedly anticipating the ability to plant a spring crop with our beautiful northern light and new kitchen counter the herbs are the thing to improve snacks and mealtimes!

May 1, 2018


We just cant do anything normal down here. It was supposed to just be a regular wooden countertop but things gout out of hand, sand, stain, draw, leaf, paint, epoxy, dry, wait, then install. food and drink prep just got taken to a whole other level at Atelierartista!

See the steps we took to make it epic meal time all the time in the studio!


April 10, 2018


This is an animation I did as an interpretation of origin/creation stories. It was an artist in residence project offered by CAOS, (Calgary Animated Objets Society) festival. It was my attempt to push myself into experimentation with stop motion, plasticine, ink in water in a fish tank, sparklers, green screen and compiling the elements together with After Effects. I learned a lot and nearly burnt myself and my computer out in the process. The opportunity also afforded me the chance to purchase gear and software to make the piece and to basically live in a plus 15 window for a time. Kind of like an animal on display.

March 22, 2018

Announcing the Winner!!!

Atelier Artista is very proud to award this years People's Portrait Prize 2018

Emerging Artist Award to

Diana Shen Peng

Diana was given sketchbooks and a voucher worth $400 to take any of the classes offered at Atelier Artista or for our regular uninstructed Wednesday evening figure drawing sessions.


Speaking of classes at the Atelier, the next semester is coming up quickly, classes begin the first week of April check out the intensives we have on offer visit http://atelierartista.com


We  have camps and classes in the summer for kids and youth, registration is open:

January 11, 2018

Warm ups

Here are some of my daily early morning warm up sketches and the figure drawing I did of Sarabella on Wednesday night at Ateleir Artista. http://www.atelierartista.com

January 10, 2018

All about charcoal

I made the first episode of 2018 all about charcoal.

Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yfjv3RIR2-c

January 8, 2018

Bring in the new year with naked bodies....

We haven't missed a Wednesday evening since we opened, and we don't plan on it. Practice makes perfect after all. If you'd like to join us, c'mon down on Wednesday, we have Sarabella modelling for us again. Here's my sketches from the last session we did with her.

This year our first Wednesday evening figure drawing was with Neema. Here's what I drew with new charcoal on bamboo paper.

We also had a figure drawing and time management course for Studio C/Prospect, heres a video peek below.

Go here for more info: https://www.atelierartista.com/figure-drawing