Foundation course

Decorative Painter's Foundation Course.

Discover, learn, assimilate...

♦ Transmitting craftsmanship

Today the decorative painter's profession belongs to the list of rare métiers d'art (arts and crafts) along with 39 others in France.  At Atelier Nadaï we are aware of the importance of transmitting the know-how and techniques of this craft, which is why we strive to offer top quality classes taught by masters in this field.

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, 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 its techniques and assimilate its know-how.

This comprehensive program is composed of 3 main sections (modules) that can be taken as a full-time three months 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 program 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, each student will not only learn and practice with renowned masters, they will receive one on one advice and will build their own portfolio with the samples they create throughout the course.


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).  It's also possible to fly into Toulouse or Bordeaux International Airports and then take the train to Agen train station.  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.

Decorative Painter's Foundation course: 
15 weeks of full-tim training, with a total of 525 hours of class time.

Module I:  
Wood graining and imitation marble
Module II:  Moldings and ornaments of style painted in trompe-l’œil 
Module III:  Panoramics and Painted Murals
Final week:  simulating real-life working experience at our atelier




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

September 17th 2018 to January 11th, 2019
Full-time course composed of 15 weeks, with a total of 525 hours of training.

You can sign up for the entire course program or pick individual modules of your choice.  Please scroll down below to see an outline of the 3 modules.

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

Training 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 we are delighted to invite guest instructor Caterina Manisco, who will come and teach a beautiful Grotesca panel during week 5 of Module II.

Languages 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!).



Module I - Wood Graining and Imitation Marble (5 weeks / 175 hours of class)

September 17th 2018 to October 19th, 2018

Michel Nadaï
Patrick Curmi (for 1st week - preparing the substrate)

Quick outline of the course

- 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

During the course you will learn :
Generalities on wood, different glazes, how to mix your own colors, how to use specific tools, the specific brushstrokes, how to use specific tools, the structure of the wood, the color, the effects, the underglaze, the overglaze.  Discussions will cover on how to treat each subject on a job site.

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

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

Atelier Nadaï cours_faux_marble

Module II Moldings and Ornaments of Style painted in Trompe-l'oeil (5 weeks / 175 hours of class)

Dates: October 22nd 2018 to November 23rd, 2018
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.

Techniques covered in class:
- 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
- Creating patina and aged finishes
- Composition of style
- Techniques of painting Grotesca ornaments with egg tempera

trompe-loeil_ornament_of_style by Michel Nadaï

Module III Panoramics and Painted Murals (4 weeks / 140 hours of class)

Dates: November 26th, 2018 to December 21st, 2018
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 'tool' for all serious 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.

Techniques covered in class:

- 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 week:  simulating real-life working experience
This week is part of the complete course.
Each student will be given a project that they will have 5 days to complete. 

Limited class size during the three modules allows for ample one-on-one training.

To receive course brochure 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