Marvin Mattelson’s Online Virtual Portrait Painting Class for Fall 2020.

Marvin Mattelson class demo painting of Erin.
Marvin Mattelson’s Online Workshop Demo Painting of Erin.

The above image is my demo painting of Erin, created during my online virtual August 2020 two-week portrait painting workshop.

I received an inquiry today regarding my virtual online portrait painting class for this upcoming Fall Semester. I wanted to share my answers with anyone who may be considering taking a class or course of study to up the level of their work. I’ve included his questions followed by my responses:

How does your course differ from the many other painting courses?

Most teachers, in all schools, take one of two basic approaches, either the provide specific steps (rules and regulations) to follow and memorize (rote learning) or a more “creative” or intuitive approach based on doing what feels good or “floats your boat”. 
Neither of those is all that helpful IMHO.
My teaching is based on conveying an understandIng of the underlying principles based on how artists of the past created paintings that appear even more alive than reality. 
Additionally I fully demonstrate every step in my process with a full explanation of what I’m doing and most importantly why. It’s like the Bible says, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, feed him for life.“ 
In my studio I have installed multiple high quality PTZ cameras which follow every action I take. You can see every brush stroke I make, in great detail, and how each color is first analyzed and then mixed on my palette. And, unlike watching a video, I will answer any questions that arise along the way. My approach is what’s termed, mindful learning. 
With regards to critiquing my students work, I have a computer running photoshop in which I can show them exactly what to do to correct problems and to move forward. I also have a wide range of graphics I incorporate into the lessons, as well as the ability to overlay important info and quotes. 
My goal was to create an educational experience that would take learning in a live classroom to an entirely new level.

Detail of demo painting from August 2020 online Virtual Portrait Workshop, by Marvin Mattelson
Demo portrait detail by Marvin Mattelson

Does this course focus more on photos and digital interaction as opposed to models? 

Since live models are not possible in Covid times, you will be working from high resolution photos, which I will provide for you to download. Classes that utilize Zoom models are working from very poor quality images taken with cell phones. I will also share what it takes to create high quality photos on your own. 

Will the skills learned in this class be applicable to people who are more illustrators than painters of what they see in front of them?

What you learn in this class can be applied to any area of the arts. Once you understand how to create the illusion of three dimensional form in space, you can choose to incorporate this knowledge to whatever degree you choose. You can go from full-form to flat, or anywhere in between. Former students of mine inhabit the fields of fine art, illustration, animation, concept art, matte painting, graphic design, advertising, etc. These underlying principles can be universally applied in every aspect of the visual arts. 

Detail 2 of demo painting from August 2020 online Virtual Portrait Workshop, by Marvin Mattelson
Demo portrait closeup detail by Marvin Mattelson

Here are comments from this past summer workshop’s participants:

I am so glad that I took both Marvin’s Drawing and Painting workshop this summer! It was a great opportunity. Marvin is a very generous in sharing his knowledge and expertise in drawing and painting. He teaches his proven methods of drawing and painting that you can carry with you in your artistic journey. You can start at any level and learn what you need to take you to the next level. He also has developed very successful way to do an online class with the best equipment available. It was truly a high quality online class experience and I hope to do another workshop soon. Thank you so much for the fabulous workshops!

Becky Bahas

This is a workshop that I have been meaning to attend for years, but never seemed to be able to coordinate, between the travel and time off etc. I am so glad I thought of checking out your plans for this workshop during our lockdown times.  When I saw that you placed the workshop online I jumped for it.  But you didn’t just add a camera to your “conventional” workshop. You thought this one out in a detailed way to make an amazing learning experience, including your demonstrations and even your Met tour.  The fact that the zoom recordings were available to review, allowed me to increase the workshop virtual time, by rewinding and reviewing much of the realtime workshop hours.  And since we used a reference photograph instead of a live model, we were able to continue working after (and before) workshop official times. This increased the value of the workshop even more.   

Regarding your basic methods, on top of your masterful world class portraiture expertise, you have developed methods that will always be of value, long after the workshop.  In school, objective and logical subjects were always easier for me to absorb. And you have been able to take fine art and treat its principals with logic in order to reduce the “subjective contamination”. Exactly what I always look for!  

Abbe Mendlowitz

Can’t believe it’s been over a week since we finished the workshop and I am still trying to catch up with all the things I didn’t have time to do then.

I meant to write as soon as we finished but the days just seem to have blown by. I still need to find the time to write a proper recommendation of both courses. They were amazing, and for me who had been completely apart from producing art for so long it was a great reintroduction in the best way possible.  

For now, I am glad to tell you that I have managed to keep painting, even if only a couple of days a week, and have started a portrait of my son Nicolas. Will send pictures soon but so far I think it’s the best thing I’ve done!

Irena Moreno

Thank you again for an incredible workshop. It was a truly amazing educational experience. I can’t thank you enough for all the hard work you put into making the virtual workshop the best it could possibly be.

I’m not sure if you remember, but back when I completed the painting of my mother in your foundation class, I told you that I was learning an insane amount, but that I absolutely didn’t want to be an oil painter, and was still very committed to the graphic novel/comics path. However, you planted an extremely powerful seed in my mind, especially by way of exposing me to amazing painters/illustrators/draftsmen such as Leyendecker, Paxton, Cornwell, Escher, Raeburn, Sargent, (and Mattelson!), etc. In the year and a half since then, that seed has grown tremendously – this led me to switch majors so I could focus my entire efforts on picture making. The more I dig into myself to seek what it is that I truly want to create in life, the more clear my place at the easel becomes, and the more grateful I am to have such an incredible mentor on this journey.

Noah Klavens

 If you’re interested in attending or would like more information, please contact me at fineartportrait@gmail.com for specifics.

Until next time…

Drawing the line: A Virtual Portrait Drawing Workshop

July 13 – 17, 2020 • 9 AM – 5 PM • Online learning @ sva.edu

Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere.

G. K. Chesterton

I’ll be leading an intensive 5 day drawing workshop starting Monday July 13, 2020.

Drawing Workshop: This starts one week from today, so please register quickly if you’re interested.

https://sva.edu/academics/continuing-education/fine-arts/drawing/realistic-portrait-drawing-from-photo-reference-20-cu-fic-2148-a

This is not a typical drawing workshop where you may pick up a trick or two. Throw out all the typical rules and regulations. The purpose of this workshop is to transform the way you think about drawing and making art.

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Wayne Dyer

My teaching is rooted in mindful learning, allowing you to contextually assess the situation at hand and make appropriate decisions based on your artistic intent. The actions you take are unique to you.

Most art courses are based in rote learning – the memorization of steps to take and rules to follow. When decision making is based on somebody else’s blueprint, the best possible scenario is that the work of the student winds up looking just like their teachers’.

In this workshop you will learn to truly see what’s in front of you and how to make it appear three dimensional on a flat surface. Understanding how to achieve this end gives you the flexibility to control the effect your drawing has on the viewer. It’s all about decision making.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, I have chosen to migrate my workshops to online learning. I instituted this new approach over the last six weeks of school (due to the manditory closure of all of the school’s buildings) and I discovered it offered advantages which enabled me to teach even more effectively. 

The core of my teaching approach is to convey true understanding (through mindful or conceptual learning). This allows students to relate new information to prior knowledge. I demonstrate each step, while explaining my every action and answer whatever questions arise. It’s the best way for visually oriented people to learn and is the antithesis of rote learning (rule following), which is the way most art is taught. 

My main emphasis is on the important roll that stratigic thinking plays in the creative process.

An artist paints not with his hand but with his mind.

Michelangelo

The purpose of this workshop is to create a contextual shift in the way you approach drawing – to be more mindful. 

Summer 2020 Workshops
Until the current pandemic is under control, and personal safety can be 100% guaranteed, my teaching will be conducted online exclusively. These classes will be unlike any you have ever experienced. There is limited space available. Register quickly to secure your spot. This summer in addition to the one-week portrait drawing workshop, I’m also leading a two-week portrait painting workshop.  

Painting Workshop: Starts the first week in August. https://sva.edu/academics/continuing-education/fine-arts/online-courses/realistic-oil-portrait-painting-from-photo-reference-20-cu-fic-2221-a

There are many approaches to painting.

What should be the first object and principal aim of a painter? The first aim of the painter is to make it appear that a round body in relief is presented upon the flat surface of his picture; and he who surpasses others in this respect deserves to be esteemed more skillful than they in his calling.

Leonardo DaVinci

In the fall, I will be teaching my Continuing Ed class through SVA on Saturdays. I will also be offering other classes outside of the SVA environment, on other days, assuming there’s an interest. Let me know if this is something you would like to participate in.

Take care, stay safe and be well. Hope to “see” you soon
MM

Marvin Mattelson Summer 2018 Workshops in New York City

 

Continuing Ed Classes at the School of Visual Arts

This summer I’ll be teaching two workshops at the School of Visual Arts in New York City: a five-day portrait drawing workshop and an eleven-day portrait painting workshop.

The purpose of both workshops is to transform your ability to make art. Just imagine, for just one moment, that everytime you picked up a brush or a piece of charcoal you could download Anthony Van Dyke’s brain.

Great art is the function of sound strategic thinking. There is a profound underlying mindset that has served as the foundation for the creation of the greatest realist art in history. My goal is to provide you with the opportunity to tap into that mindset. Intrinsic talent is not sufficient enough if you want to excel. 

But worry not, you will get more than your fair share of technical information as well. In both workshops, you’ll learn how to see what’s actually in front of you and how to create the illusion of a three-dimensional reality. The painting workshop adds the dimension of color and there you will learn how to analyze color and how to easily identify and mix any color you see. Also, you’ll learn to create life-like flesh-tones as well as how to use color to unify your subject matter. 

All aspects of my curriculum are fully demonstrated alongside my running commentary. The above portrait of Sarah was my demo from last year’s workshop. At all other times, I’ll be circulating amongst my students while critiquing and giving feedback. 

I’ve heard it said that if you take a workshop you should be happy if you can walk away with a trick or two under your belt. If you’ve been privy to this way of thinking, my advice is to run – don’t walk – as fast as you can from the source of this misinformation. If it’s a teacher, shame on them. Nothing can be further from the truth.

The intent of my workshops is to transform the way you approach making your art. The important question is, are you willing to give up the rules and regulations you’ve come to believe are at the root of whatever successes you’ve experienced to date? 

Rules obfuscate the truth. As my former student, Dorian Vallejo said, “…one of the greatest teachers ever. Marvin Mattelson changes the lives of anyone paying attention. I know I wouldn’t be half the painter I am without his guidance. ”  

Whether you’re a portrait artist or not, these workshops will make a huge difference in the way you look at, think about and make art. 

Hope to see you there. Until next time… 

Realistic Portrait Drawing: Course Number: FIC-2148-A

http://www.sva.edu/continuing-education/fine-arts/realistic-portrait-drawing-18-cu-fic-2148-a

Realistic Portrait Drawing

Mon, Tues, Wed, Thu, Fri 9:00AM – 5:00PM Jun 04 – Jun 08

310 East 22nd Street

4.00 CEUs, 5 Sessions

For more info call: 212.592.2050

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.

Portrait Painting: The Real Deal: Course Number: FIC-2221-CE

http://www.sva.edu/continuing-education/fine-arts/portrait-painting-the-real-deal-18-cu-fic-2221-ce

Mon, Tues, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat 9:00AM – 5:00PM Aug 06 – Aug 17

310 East 22nd Street

8.50 CEUs, 11 Sessions

For more info call: 212.592.2050

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. Whether you are just starting out or very experienced, whether you choose to paint from live models or work from photo references, what you can learn in this course has the potential to transform your art. Taught by an award-winning portrait artist, you will learn how to analyze, interpret and vastly improve your ability to capture a convincing and telling representation of your sitter. Based on the idea that logic, not frivolous rules and superficial techniques are at the core of the greatest portraits ever created, a mindful approach that is both broad in scope, yet simple to comprehend will be taught. Working from live models, you will discover a simple and straightforward way to draw accurately and easily replicate any color you see, particularly the subtle translucent tones of the human complexion. You will also learn to model form and simulate the effects of luminosity, depth, and atmospheric space. All the information covered in this course will be fully demonstrated and explained by the instructor. 

NOTE: A Sunday afternoon field trip to The Metropolitan Museum of Art is included. Please bring a notebook and pen to the first session. A complete supply list will be sent to you prior to the start of the workshop.

Why Settle for Conventionality When Greatness May Be Around the Bend?

Last chance to register for Marvin Mattelson’s portrait drawing workshop in New York City!

A number of years ago Apple had a great advertising campaign entitled “Think Different!” It was quite brilliant, placing the emphasis on innovation by those who went against the norm. One would think that artists in particular would be able to relate to that, because by nature we are different than the majority of people who are non-artists. In lieu of that, I find it really amazing how fearful artists seem when it comes to thinking differently.  I guess there is comfort in the road most commonly traveled. It appears that far too many of us cling to convention as far as creating art goes. Thinking similarly? I tell my students, all the time, that conventional thinking makes for conventional artists.

Several weeks ago I went to a couple of auction previews at Christies and Sotheby’s as well as to an exhibit of contemporary realists. To me the Bouguereau painting entitled “Petite Berg” (see above) was by far the most impressive painting that I saw that day. It wasn’t great solely based on his technique, there were other paintings I viewed where the paint handling was top notch, but Bouguereau’s superior decision-making made it, for me, a far more compelling work of art. The way Bouguereau handled his color, edges, values, light and atmosphere put him in the league of his own. The great thing is, once you understand his thought process – which can be discerned in the works of all great artists – you can adapt these things to your own work in your own style and make yourself the best version of yourself, not a secondary clone of someone else.  It’s not about the application of paint, it’s about the application of knowledge.

Far too many who seek to be better artists think that the end-all is in achieving better technique. As a result the majority of students coming out the schools and teaching academies create work that looks eerily similar to their classmates. Based on the way paint is applied, the choice of colors, the composition and other telltale stylistic artifacts, the work tends to lack the handprint of the individual. When teaching is technique-centric what else can you expect?

There seems to be such a proliferation of artists out there consumed with understanding the exact techniques of any particular artist they admire. “If only I knew how so-and-so painted, then I could paint just like him/her.” Playing on this mind-set, manufacturers are now offering the traditional pigments and mediums used by artists of the past. Do you seriously think that’s going to make a difference? Not that it’s bad to use these materials, but it’s certainly not the end-all.

The truth of the matter is, it’s never the particular technique of any artist in question that makes them great.  In fact many great artists have changed their painting methodologies many times over the course of their careers. Don’t kid yourself, it’s the underlying thought process that makes great artists great. Yes, in my teaching I too cover a myriad of technical aspects – you still need a way to manifest your ideas on a canvas – but it’s this strategic thinking that lies at the heart of it all. It’s exactly what Michelangelo meant when he proclaimed, “A man paints with his brains and not with his hands.

So in my workshops and classes I offer a different point of view. This decision-making is at the heart of all my teaching. Once you understand it you will be able to forge your own path and no longer need to rely on technical convention.  So anyone looking to think differently should think about taking my drawing workshop which starts this coming Monday or my painting workshop which is scheduled for the second week of August, both at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

And it all starts with the drawing. To attend the drawing workshop please call 212-592-2200 or you may register online now. If you are interested in further information, you can read about the course here.

I’m also leading a 2 week workshop: Portrait Painting: The Real Deal from August 14-25. You can register online as well, or call 212-592-2200.

Until next time…

Oil Portrait Painting Workshop 2016

11 Day Workshop with Marvin Mattelson

August 1 – 12 (No class August 7)

Includes a 1 Day field trip to the Met

Ida2

Workshop demonstration by Marvin Mattelson

Painting is a function of problem-solving; the key is understanding how to control pictorial space on a flat surface. Every paining is different, every lighting condition has its own specific issues, and every situation requires it’s own unique solution.

“Common observation and a plain understanding is the source of all art.”

Sir Joshua Reynolds

After having devoted myself to a life-long in-depth study of the old masters, I have come to the conclusion that there’s no one-size-fits-all formula which will solve the myriad of problems an artist encounters in the course of  creating a realistic painting.

Recently I went to see the Van Dyck portrait exhibition at the Frick Collection here in New York City. I went a total of four times. Each time I went back I was able to pick up on more subtle touches, which served to further validate the ideas that have been percolating in my head for over thirty years.

Van Dyck is one of my great heroes and he has played a significant role in my artistic evolution. In 1988, The National Gallery in D.C. had a show of over 100 Van Dyck portraits and figurative paintings. It was there my ideas about painting took a 180 degree turn when I realized it was possible to not merely replicate reality but to greatly enhance it. Compared to the people looking at the paintings in the gallery, Van Dyck’s figures appeared far more alive and dimensional. To be able to achieve that same enhanced sense of reality became my Holy Grail.

I wasn’t interested in having my paintings look like they were painted by Van Dyck. To merely copy his stylistic devices, would be the artistic equivalent of feeding myself a fish rather than learning how to catch them. I didn’t want to merely copy what he did, rather, my sole focus was to get inside his head and fully understand his thought process.

Understanding why and when he varied his approach seemed to be the key, since he solved seemingly similar problems in a plethora of ways. Little by little, I was able to assimilate his thought process and, I realized, when I began analyzing the paintings of the other great artists I admired, they too employed a similar strategic way of thinking and were also able, without compromising their own unique look, to achieve the same sense of enhanced dimensionality and aliveness as Van Dyck.

With each subsequent Frick visit, this past spring, I felt more and more validated in the approach I utilize when I’m painting and teaching. I believe that once understood, this knowledge can help any artist take their work to a higher level.

What I teach is not a dogmatic cookie-cutter solution but a context within which you can make intelligent and appropriate choices. Conventional thinking never worked for me. I don’t believe that keeping halftones cool or shadows warm or any specific action or series of actions comprise the secret to exceptional painting, No magic medium, fancy palette or specific color is going to transform you into a great painter.

I’m leading an eleven day portrait painting workshop at the School of Visual Arts in New York City from August 1-12. I will be demonstrating all aspects of my teaching. (You can see the demo above, from a previous workshop.) We’ll be working from live models and also be spending one day at the Met, where I’ll be analyzing some of the greatest portraits of all time, and showing you exactly what it is that makes them so effective. This is the only painting workshop I do all year, so if you’re interested in what I have to offer you can register online or call 212.592.2200.

11 Day Realistic Portrait Painting Workshop
August 1 – 12, 2016 • 9:00AM – 5:00PM • No class August 7.
Find out more information about the workshop
This course may also be taken for credit. Please call the registrar’s office @ 212.592.2200 for more information.

Until next time…