Marvin Mattelson’s Portrait Workshops – Summer 2015

Take Your Portraits to the Next Level


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).

A Palette-able Delight!

Do You Really Need Another Great Reason to Take My New York City Portrait Artist Workshop?

During my New York oil portrait artist workshop I will spend one day, with my students, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I’ll be analyzing a number of great master portraits and talk about how they relate to my teaching.

Today I visited the Met’s 19th Century European painting wing. I went to check out William Bouguereau’s Breton Brother and Sister, one of my two favorite paintings in the museum’s permanent collection. (OK since you asked, my other favorite is Tea Leaves by William McGregor Paxton.) Boy was I pissed off when it wasn’t there. Just typical, I thought. All the crappy paintings by “historically significant artists” clogging the walls and they have to take down a genuine work of genius. Where do these curators buy their eyeglasses? It’s bad enough they took down Lord Leighton’s Lachrymae (Mary Lloyd) a couple of years ago.

As I wheedled my way through the galleries bemoaning the loss of a major landmark of my tour I entered Gallery 827, and low and behold, there was Breton Brother and Sister after all…but wait a minute–I must be hallucinating–there, smack dab in the middle of the gallery’s main wall, now hangs Bouguereau’s major masterpiece, Nymphs and Satyr. It’s beautifully presented and looks beyond spectacular. I’d seen it twice before at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown MA. I was told it will be at the Met for a two-year loan while the Institute undergoes renovations. I am so excited to share this with my portrait workshop students. No reproduction can even begin to replicate its splendor. I will be pitching a tent. I hope they still serve crow sandwich in the cafeteria.

Until next time…