Alla Prima Portrait Painting Demonstration

Marvin Mattelson’s One & Done Technique

Simone-&-Marvin
This past Saturday I did a portrait painting demonstration for my class, alla prima style. The point was to show the students how I approach painting oil studies during my initial meetings with clients. I primarily work from reference photos for my finished portraits, due to the time limitations of my busy clients. This quick approach gives me the opportunity to study their facial structure, get a better sense of who they are and, most importantly, to record their complexion. Judge for yourself, by looking at in the above photo, how I’ve done with regards to matching Simone’s skin tones.

Simone11
This painted study took me three hours and forty minutes – not counting breaks, although in the past I’ve done them in as little as one hour.

Here’s a little movie I put together showing how the painting evolved:

Don’t Try This at Home!

When going the Alla Prima route – trying to nail everything at once – if you are not in complete command, your results will suffer. If you’re having problems, you need to reload; first learn to do things correctly by mastering each of the major aspects of painting: drawing, value and color. That’s the way I break things down for my students. If you wanted to learn to ride a unicycle on a high wire while juggling burning axes would you try to do it all at once? When you break it down in digestible bites you get to dessert way faster?

Sound appetizing? Come study with me, this summer. I’ll be leading a portrait drawing workshop in June and a portrait painting workshop in August at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

Also, there’s a Fine Arts Information Session on Monday, May 11, from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm. It will be held at 133/141 West 21st Street, room 602C, 6th floor. If you want to stop in and say hello I’ll be there and I’ll be bringing Simone (the painting) with me.

Until next time…

Marvin Mattelson’s Portrait Workshops – Summer 2015

Take Your Portraits to the Next Level

Dayna-close-up

Due to my heavy work schedule, this summer I only have time to teach two workshops. Both will be taught at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. These two workshops address, in my estimation, the most troublesome aspects for artists interested in figurative and portrait painting: drawing and mixing color accurately. I will teach you to gain control with far less expended effort. The conventional way artists typically approach these aspects is unnecessarily overcomplicated and convoluted. I know many people feel that they must soldier on by themselves and eventually by putting in enough time they’ll overcome their shortcomings. Based on my experience the way to change your results is by changing your approach. The definition of insanity, according to Rita Mae Brown, is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Regardless of whether you want to paint with broad strokes or great refinement you will learn how to take your work to the next level.

First up is my workshop Realistic Portrait Drawing, an intense 5 day workshop designed to improve drawing accuracy; Monday June 1 thru Friday June 5, 9am to 5pm. Click here to register for Realistic Portrait Drawing.

Drawing lies at the heart of all representational art and unity is the key component. The purpose of this workshop is to develop your ability to approach drawing in a contextual way, where each small part serves the greater whole. We will start with exercises designed to sharpen your ability to see objectively. Working with live models, you will learn how to identify the specific proportions and structure unique to each individual. By weeks end, you will understand what it takes to achieve a full-fledged tonal portrayal of your subject, bathed in light and surrounded by air. Draftsmanship is an easily learned skill. The techniques and approaches you will learn can be readily adapted to any type of subject matter and style. All aspects of this method will be presented logically and coherently. Every step will be fully demonstrated and explained. NOTE: A complete supply list will be sent to you prior to the start of the workshop.

The second workshop is Realistic Portrait Painting. It runs from Monday August 3 thru Friday August 14. There is no class Sunday August 9. The hours are from 9am to 5pm. Click here to register for Realistic Portrait Painting. If you’re interested the course can be taken for undergraduate credits at an additional fee. Click here to register for realistic Portrait painting for college credit.

There’s more to painting a great portrait than capturing a likeness; it’s about creating the illusion of life. Portraiture should reveal the character of the sitter and exude a lifelike essence. During this course, taught by an award-winning portrait artist, you will learn how to analyze, interpret and convincingly portray the human visage. The methodology presented is both broad in scope, yet simple to comprehend. It’s based on the idea that logic, not frivolous rules nor superficial techniques, lies at the core of the greatest portraits ever created. Working from live models, you will discover a simple and straightforward way to achieve accurate drawing and to easily replicate any color you see, particularly the subtle translucent tones of the human complexion. You will also learn how to model form and to simulate the effects of luminosity, illusionistic depth and atmospheric space. All of the information covered in this course will be fully demonstrated and explained. NOTE: A complete supply list will be sent to you prior to the start of the workshop. The Saturday session will be held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Saturday, August 8, Hours: 10:00 am-5:00 pm).

Marvin Mattelson’s Teaching Schedule • Summer 2013

Oil Portrait Painting & Drawing Workshops

1-Carol_Katz
Workshop drawing by Carol Katz

I’ve heard it said again and again that when you take a workshop, don’t expect to take away too much, maybe at best a few little tricks or oil painting techniques. Anyone who’s had that experience simply didn’t do their homework. My workshops are hugely different; they’re about transformation. My goal to change the way my students look at the world and think about making art. Carol Katz took my drawing workshop in New York last summer. (See above.) This is what she had to say about her experience:

A lot of people think they can’t draw. They think you’re either born with the ability to draw or you’re not and you can never learn. In reality, it’s something that can be taught to anyone with the right teacher and method. Just as a musician needs to learn the notes and the language of music, an artist needs to learn the language of art.

Through years of school, my teachers never seemed to offer the kind of art education that I knew I was missing. I didn’t know exactly what I was looking for, but I knew I would know it when I found it. I took drawing, figure drawing and painting in college and for years after in many different schools, always searching for the education that eluded me – until I took Marvin’s painting class and drawing workshop.

I never seemed to be able to get beyond a certain level in my drawing. However, in one week Marvin’s drawing workshop brought me to a level that I’ve been striving for my whole life. It is by far the most awesome drawing course – and I’ve taken countless – and as an artist, I can honestly say it was a game changer for me and a life changing experience. I’ll continue to study with Marvin because I believe the sky is the limit studying with one of the most gifted artists and teachers around.

3-Jane_Cronk
Class painting by Jane Cronk

Jane came to my class after a five-year hiatus from formal painting instruction. Her progress since September has been breathtakingly stunning. Nothing is more exciting to me than to witness these transformations.

This summer I’ll be leading three Oil Portrait Painting Workshops. They’ll take place in Cleveland, Atlanta, and New York City. I’ll also be conducting a Portrait Drawing Workshop in New York as well. These are appropriate for portrait artists of all levels, from experienced to aspiring.

The dates are as follows:

New York Portrait Drawing Workshop: June 3-7

Atlanta Oil Portrait Painting Workshop: June 10-27
Cleveland Oil Portrait Painting Workshop: July 15-27
New York Oil Portrait Painting Workshop: August 5-16

For more info please click on any of the above.

I will also be attending two information sessions at the School of Visual Arts on May 6 & 7, 2013. If you’re interested in meeting me and finding out more about my workshops here are the times and locations:

Summer 2013 Fine Arts Information Session – May 6, 6:30-8:30 PM
133/141 West 21st St. Room 602C, New York City.

Summer 2013 Illustration Information Session – May 7, 6:30-8:30 PM
209 East 23rd Street, Room 311, New York City.

Call the office of Continuing Education at 212-592-2050 for more info about the info sessions or about any of my New York offerings.

Hope to see you this summer and help you change your game!