Decorative Painter's Foundation Course.

sarancolin_et_ornement par Michel Nadaï
Discover, learn, assimilate...

♦ Transmitting craftsmanship

Our craft today...
Decorative painting, as a craft is a very ancient art that existed since man started painting inside the caves.  Throughout the ages it has evolved and during the Renaissance powerful families used this art to demonstrate their wealth by having decorative painters paint lavish decorations on walls and ceilings.  Today the decorative painter's trade has been recognized in France as part of a heritage and belongs to an official list of métiers d'art (artistic professions).  At Atelier Nadaï we are aware of the importance of transmitting the know-how and techniques of this art form, which is why we strive to offer top quality courses taught by masters in this field.

What is the Decorative Painter's Foundation Course?
Our signature class,
The Decorative Painter's Foundation Course, is a full-time comprehensive program that will  provide you with a solid base of skills and know-how in the techniques of decorative painting and then take you to advanced levels in a rapid and progressive way.  The rythmn of our course will allow you to discover each subject, learn the techniques and assimilate the skills. 

What you will learn and how?
This comprehensive program is composed of 3 main sections (modules) that can be taken as a full-time three months and a half course or as a part-time course if you choose to come for one or two modules only.  Each module is made up of 4 or 5 weeks, which can be taken altogether or individually depending on the subject matter.  Whether you sign up for the full-time course or come for one or two modules, the Decorative Painter's Foundation Course covers a very broad range of skills that have been selected to fit the needs of today's decorative painters and artisans.

While learning the specific techniques, you will not only learn and practice with renowned masters, you will receive one on one feedback and advice and build your own portfolio with the samples you create during the entire course or modules.

Our courses are open to all levels, from beginners to more experienced decorative artists who come to brush up their skills or learn new techniques from Michel or other of our guest instructors.  Small class sizes allows us to give individualized attention and follow each student’s progress on a daily basis.   




Where will the courses take place?

Our next autumn/winter session will be held in our new atelier in the town of
AGEN in the Lot et Garonne.  
Agen can be very easily reached by bullet train from Paris, either directly from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport or from Montparnasse train station (quicker). 

Atelier Nadaï, 8 rue François Arago, 47000 Agen, France.

How to come to Agen?
- From Paris CDG Int'l Airport ⇒ take a domestic flight to Toulouse or Bordeaux Airports ⇒ go to train terminal and take train to Agen train station
- From other European int'l airports ⇒ fly into Toulouse or Bordeaux Airports ⇒ go to train terminal and take train to Agen train station

Link on how to travel to Agen by train:

What about accommodation?
Our atelier is 2 minutes on foot from the train station and hotels nearby can be easily reached (nearest is 5 minutes on foot!).  For more information on accommodation in Agen and how to get to the new venue please don't hesitate to
write to us.






Autumn/Winter 2021 session:  from September 20th to December 22nd, 2021!
Full-time course composed of 14 weeks, with a total of 481 hours of class.

Do I need to take the entire course?
You can sign up for the entire course program or pick individual modules of your choice. 

Who can apply? 
This course is open to all levels, whether you're a beginner or have many years of experience.  It is a unique training program in the European traditional decorative painting techniques taught by Michel Nadaï.  This curriculum is designed to meet the needs of today's decorative painter and will walk you through the core fundamentals and then rapidly take you through more advanced techniques and know-how.  Once you master both, the basics and the more advanced techniques, you will gain confidence as a decorative painter. 

Who are the instructors?  
Training will be provided by internationally recognized decorativ
e painting artist, Michel Nadaï, who is also
authorMaster Craftsman, and a Best Craftsman of France award recipient.  This year again we have the immense pleasure to invite guest instructor Caterina Manisco, who will come and teach a beautiful Grotesca panel during week 5 of Module II.

What languages are spoken?
We are an international atelier and are very happy to have received more than 20 different nationalities so far.

French, English, Spanish and Japanese are spoken (and sometimes Italian, depending on the course!).

You can find out about each individual module by clicking on the links below:                                

Module I:  The art of graining and faux marble

Module II:  The art of architectural trompe-l'oeil: Moldings and Ornaments of style painted in Trompe-l'oeil
Module III:  The art of panoramics and painted murals
Final week:  final exam at Atelier Nadaï

Please scroll down below to see the highlight of the 3 modules.

Modules I-II-III (can be taken as a full-time course or by individual modules or weeks)


Module I - The art of graining and faux marble (4 weeks / 140 hours of class)

Dates: September 20th, 2021 to October 15th, 2021

Michel Nadaï

Techniques covered in class

Preparing the substrate for painting and protecting the substrate.

WOOD GRAINING techniques:
Pine (heart grain and straight grain) - Maple (heart grain and straight grain) - Oak (Straight Grain)
Oak (heart grain and silver grain) - Walnut (heart grain, straight grain, burl) - Mahogany (flame), root of Thuya

What you will learn during the course:
The generalities on wood, the different glazes, how to make your glazes, how to mix your own colors, how to use specific tools, learning the specific brushstrokes, the structure of the wood, the color, the effects, the groundwork, the overglaze.  Focus will be on learning how to create realistic woods. Discussions will also cover ways to treat each subject on a job site.

White veined marble - Portor marble - Rouge Languedoc marble
Sea Green marble - Yellow Sienna marble - Sarrancolin marble

What you will learn during the course:
The generalities on marble, the different glazes, how to make your glazes, how to mix your own colors, how to use specific tools, learning the different brushstrokes, the structure of the marbles, the color, the effects, the groundwork, the crystallization.  Focus will be on learning how to create realistic imitation marble, and discussions will cover on ways to treat each subject on a job site.

Atelier Nadaï cours_faux_marble  Walnut by Michel Nadaï

Module II - The art of architectural trompe-l'oeil: Moldings and Ornaments of Style painted in Trompe-l'oeil (5 weeks / 180 hours of class)

Dates: October 18th, 2021 to November 19th, 2021 (5 weeks/180 hours)
Instructor for week 1 to week 4: Michel Nadaï
Instructor for week 5: Caterina Manisco (the Art of Grotesca)

The focus of this course will be on building a much greater understanding on the techniques of trompe-l’œil, covering the theoretical aspects as well as the actual painting techniques.  Each panel you will execute in class will take into account the training that will lead to mastery in painting trompe-l’œil. Design of panels provided by instructor.

What you will learn:
- Elements of light and shadow applied to trompe-l'œil
- Techniques of architectural trompe-l'œil

- Techniques of filage (lining) and painting linear trompe-l'œil effects
- Understanding the various molding profiles
- Techniques of painting decorative moldings in trompe-l’œil
- Techniques of painting decorative ornamentations of style in trompe-l’œil
- Techniques of relief
- Techniques of pounced patterns
- Techniques of drapery
- Creating patina and aged finishes
- Composition of style
- Techniques of painting
Grotesca ornaments with egg tempera and pigment powder

trompe-loeil_ornament_of_style by Michel Nadaï   Trompe-loeil_sur_faux_bois_1

Module III - The Art of Panoramics and Painted Murals (4 weeks / 140 hours of class)
Dates: November 22nd, 2021 to December 17th, 2021
Instructor: Michel Nadaï

This program will focus on the fundamental techniques that will help you in painting a mural; you will start with an in-depth study on how to render a perspective drawing and elevation, which is an essential and very useful 'tool' for all decorative painting artists and muralists.  After you study the composition, the various formats and colors, Michel will walk you through step by step in rendering a mural.  You study the techniques of skies, clouds, landscape, trees, foliage as well as the techniques of drapery and portrait.  You will be working on a mural that the instructor designed especially for this class.  On week 4, you will learn how to paint, step by step, a realistic seascape.
The objective of the course is to complete the mural and the seascape you paint in class.  Each subject will be painted on polyester canvas that you will take back home with you.

What you will learn:

- Techniques of mural and ceiling perspective for decorative painters
- Harmony of colors
- The different plans and formats for mural paintings
- Rendering of painted mural
- Techniques of painting a sky
- Techniques of painting clouds
- Techniques of painting drapery
- Painting a landscape
- Painting trees and foliage
- Painting architectural elements
- Techniques of painting a figure
- Painting a seascape


close_up_of_fountain by Michel Nadaï  Mural by Michel Nadaï


Final exam week:  from December 20th to December 22nd, 2021 (3 days)
This week is part of the complete course.  It will especially allow students to evaluate themselves and see if they obtained their objectives.

How large are the classes?
Limited class size during the three modules allows for ample one-on-one training (from 5 to 10 students depending on the week).

To receive course brochure and course tuition please fill the contact form and specify your inquiries.

*highlight of the program is for informative purpose; the program may therefore receive modifications if necessary


Wall art - Trompe-l'oeil and painted mural by Michel Nadaï