Summer Sessions 2017

Sculpting the Écorché, Portrait Painting, Sculpting the Portrait, Landscape Painting
The Summer Sessions at The Florence Academy of Art / Sweden are designed for students with a strong desire to develop their artistic skills. The courses in sculpture and painting, led by professional artists with years of experience in teaching classical methods, are intended for those with a passion for realistic painting and sculpture.

Most of the instruction is on an individual basis and our instructors adapt the exercises to your level of experience, which means that the courses are suitable for both beginners and professional artists. In addition to the individual feedback group lessons will be held. The instructors will also give lectures and lead museum visits. The skills you acquire during your course can be applied directly to your continued artistic endeavours.

Whichever course you prefer, you will take advantage of the expertise of all the instructors. Demonstrations and lectures, where students from all courses attend, are an inspiring way to get new perspectives on the knowledge that your selected course will provide. It is also a great opportunity to gain insight into other disciplines.

You have the opportunity to choose between three courses, each lasting five days. The ambitious student also has the option to turn either Landscape Painting or Painting the Portrait into a fuller experience by choosing to study for 10 or 15 days. Short on time but want to try two subjects? Try the 2 in 1 where you will study two courses, divided into half-days, during five days. The Summer Sessions offer every opportunity to tailor a program to suit your needs. The 15 day écorché sculpture course is the only exception and must be taken by itself due to the amount of instruction and work needed to complete the class.

Course Descriptions

Sculpting the portrait with Valentina Zlatarova

In this course students learn techniques to sculpt a portrait (head). With a focus on improving understanding of the structure of the human head and its anatomy, Valentina will introduce relevant ways to measure and sculpt individual traits and expression through the study of symmetry and asymmetry.

Maximum number of participants: 8 / week
Instruction in the English language.
Please note: course will be offered June 26-30 exclusively.

Painting the portrait with Toby Wright

Through intensive observations students develop their ability to reproduce an accurate visual impression of the model. Toby will guide students through a step by step program where the focus will be on drawing and the techniques to reproduce shadow and light in oil painting. Anatomy and construction are other important elements of the course .

Maximum number of participants: 15 / week
Instruction in the English language.

Landscape Painting with Joe Altwer

A good landscape painter must master techniques which make it possible to capture an impression of fleeting light and create a sense of space. In this course the focus will be on the interplay between light and dark, atmospheric perspective, and composition. Joe will lead the group to places in the countryside around Gunnebo Castle and nearby lakes, all a short walk from the school building. These spots will offer fantastic opportunities for landscape painting in oil.

Maximum number of participants : 15 / week
Instruction in the English language.

Écorché sculpture with Matilda Bjurström

During the workshop, students will learn the full skeleton, the surface muscles and the proportions of the figure by sculpting first the bones and then adding the muscles one by one on one side of the sculpture, leaving the skeleton to show on the other side for reference. The unparallelled level of anatomy knowledge gained from sculpting the écorché is highly useful for artists working with the human figure in any form.

Maximum number of participants : 15 / week
Instruction in the English and Swedish language.

Cost and dates

Application deadline: April 15, 2017

Note: Students may continue to apply up until the first day of the course.

5 days:

A solid introduction and enough time to complete a larger project.

Sculpting the portrait (only offered June 26-30)
8 500 SEK (approx 1000 USD)

Painting the portrait
8 500 SEK (approx 1000 USD)

Landscape painting
8 000 SEK (approx 950 USD)

June 26-30
9.00 am – 4.00 pm or

July 3 – 7
9.00 am – 4.00 pm or

July 10 – 14 
9.00 am – 4.00 pm

10 days:

For the student who wants an extended experience and a chance to further refine skills and knowledge acquired during first week of studying.

Painting the portrait
16 000 SEK (approx 1900 USD)

Landscape painting
15 000 SEK (approx 1800 USD)

June 26-30 and July 3-7
9.00 am – 4.00 pm or

July 3 – 7 and July 10-14
9.00 am – 4.00 pm

15 days:

For the ambitious student who wants a fuller experience. Project will be planned individually with instructor.

Painting the portrait
20 000 SEK (approx 2200 USD)

Landscape painting
19 000 SEK (approx 2100 USD)

Sculpting the Écorché
19 000 SEK (approx 2100 USD)

June 26-30 and July 3-7  and July 10-14 
9.00 am – 4.00 pm

What is included?

Daily instruction in the English language. All material necessary to complete the course. 3 + 3 h/day with the model (not for landscape painting). Museum entrance ticket.

Housing and accomodation:

The Florence Academy of Art will provide a list of available housing in the vicinity to accepted students. The administrative staff is available before the course, as well as during the course, to assist students and answer questions.

Booking and organizing housing is the responsibility of the student.
The kitchen area of the school is available to students throughout the duration of the course.

Costs for housing and accomodation are not included in the course fee.
The student is responsible for organization and costs related to transport to and from Mölndal.

After completing the course:

After the course is completed, the student will have the opportunity to receive assistance with shipping work completed during the course. An additional fee will be charged for this optional service. Specific rules apply for sculpture courses. Please send an email to for details.

About the instructors

Valentina, Toby, Joe and Matilda are professional artists and FAA alumni. Prestigious prizes and awards speak for their success, however at FAA / Sweden we think that their personalities and how they work as a group are at least as important. Anyone who has had the pleasure to work with this group of exceptionally talented art teachers knows that they have great fun when working together. Where the background separates them, their sense of humor and professional attitudes towards painting and sculpture seems to be characteristics that unite them.

Valentina Zlatarova

Valentina began her formal education at the age of 13. After graduating from Tzanko Lavrenov Art School in Plovdiv, Bulgaria (where she also was born), Valentina wanted to develop her skills in figurative sculpture, and enrolled at The Florence Academy of Art under Rob Bodem. During her time as a student at the FAA, she won the award for the best sculpture of the year and served as a teacher. Since graduating from the FAA, Valentina has established herself as a professional artist with regular international exhibitions. Valentina has won Prix Tiranti (twice), and Founder’s sculpture award. Valentina has several years of teaching experience from other schools with programs that have great similarities with the education at FAA.

Toby Wright

Toby was born and raised in southern France. As a student at the FAA he also served as a teacher, and became Principal instructor and Director of Drawing program after graduating (2004 – 2010) with focus on figure studies, still lifes and portraits. Toby has a BA in Illustration from the University of Swindon. On Toby’s website you can read more about his travel and painting, especially noteworthy are the two occasions in recent years where he joined expeditions to the Arctic contributing with sketches and paintings. Toby currently lives in Monaco, where he also paints and gives private lessons in his studio. Toby’s paintings are represented in private collections, mainly in Europe and the US.

Joseph Altwer

Joe was born in California, USA. After graduating from the FAA, he served as a teacher and has continued to combine painting with working as a teacher. Joe’s landscape paintings can be described as the combination of traditional techniques with an impressionistic palette, where most materials such as canvas, paints and medium are made by Joe himself. During a period Joe lived in Sweden and has returned every summer to Torekov with exhibitions of new paintings from the neighborhood. Internationally, Joe is represented by Grenning Gallery in NY, USA.

Matilda Bjurström

Born in Gothenburg, Matilda showed an early interest for drawing. Enrolled at The Florence Academy of Art / Sweden, Matilda has won several awards and scholarships. An exceptional aptitude for learning and teaching the FAA method led to her current position as the director of the Anatomy program at FAA/Sweden. She is also one of the principal instructors at the Swedish branch.