Proudly carrying the lineage of the Reilly Method for over 25 years 


The Atelier

Watts Atelier of the Arts, founded 25 years ago by Jeffrey R. Watts and his wife Krista Watts, is located in the sleepy beach community of Encinitas. Established in Southern California, but modeled after the European Atelier system, walking inside the school could make one think they had stepped back in time to France circa the 1800s.

Jeff and his select team of dedicated instructors–who all received their primary training in the Watts Method–work as both teachers and full-time professional fine-artists, illustrators and conceptual artists. One can feel the sense of community, camaraderie, and an air of professionalism the minute they walk through the doors. The outstanding efforts of past students cover the walls. They are left to stand as sign-posts on the way to what might be: a love and mastery of the craft of drawing and painting. As a learning facility modeled after the nineteenth-century European Ateliers, our focus is to build strong foundational skills in an intimate studio environment. We believe the path to prosperity is paved with superior knowledge, a strong work ethic, and a clear focus of purpose. The Atelier brings together students of all ages and skill levels–from professional to novice–in an environment of visual learning that is highly structured, with a low student-to-teacher ratio.

This Atelier community strives to uphold their motto, “Preserving the Tradition of the Masters.” The school is recognized the world over as one of the truly great destinations for learning the pure craft of drawing and painting in the traditional lineage of the great art institutions of the past.

I have been privileged to be taking art instruction from Watts Atelier for about 5 years. The wealth of knowledge and instruction provided to me cannot be overstated. Each instructor has their own style, their willingness to share their personal insights, providing nuances that allow for me to grow as an artist. The art classes are designed to provide instruction to all levels of students, everyone will benefit, you are pushed to grow as an artist.

I moved to California almost two years ago to study with Jeff Watts, Erik and Meadow Gist and Lucas Graciano at the Watts Atelier of the Arts, and I can say without reservation that it was the best decision of my life. The consistency and quality of the education they provide there is far superior to any other school in the country. All of the instructors are highly trained, working professionals, and each of them have given me and the other students more one-on-one attention than we could have hoped for. The topics and methodology they espouse can be traced back at least a hundred years, maybe more. All you are required to bring is a solid work ethic, a positive attitude and a willingness to check your ego at the door.

I am an MFA graduate, i received my degree from an online school. I graduated in the Spring of 2010. although i enjoyed my studies, but somehow, i lost the motivation to keep working and practicing. and of course my work was suffering!!!

I would like to thank you Jeff to create such opportunity, it is motivating, and informative. I am hoping that these lessons will fill the gaps for me. i’ve been browsing the classes , the fundamentals to the most advanced, and i really appreciate all the effort and info you put into them. It is going to be a great ride!!!