Atlanta Portrait Artist Workshop – Day 1 Demo

Today I started a two-week portrait artist workshop at Binders Art and Framing in Atlanta. This is the underpainting phase of my workshop demo–the first time I’ve ever posted one in progress. Being a part of history in the making is exciting, right? While I painted, I described–to my students–what I was doing and why. First, I toned the canvas with raw umber. Next, I scratched a drawing into the wet tone, working from large to small shapes. Once everything was in the relative right place, I lifted out the light areas with a rag and brushed for the darks. I continued to refine shapes and values until the session ended. I made no attempt, whatsoever, to finish anything. What would be the point of that? I’m just trying to set things up with the end in mind.

Annie, my model, did a terrific job and I’m very excited to paint her, because the set-up feels like classic Boston School. (Note to self: Don’t be so funny if you want the model to keep from smiling!) Teacher, students and model are all having the greatest time.

Lucky students get to paint for the next two days. Tomorrow night is the first in the lecture series. Wednesday, I’ll add my first layer of color.

Until next time…


  1. Hi Marvin,
    I am enjoying your blog more that anything else that I follow on the computer…it is very interesting and informative. I look forward to every posting. I attended Art College in the early seventies but I have learned more about portraiture since following your blog than I did in four years of College….

  2. I love it

  3. This deeply depresses me because Cleve workshop cancelled: I SHOULD BE THERE!!!! 🙁 Well, I will be gracious and tell you to tell your students to enjoy these two weeks, they are life changing for any portrait artist. Thanks for posting the progress on your Blog. It will be fun to watch!! And to all who read your blog, I promise we will fill a class next summer in Cleveland Ohio area, so let me or Marvin know now!

  4. Thank you for sharing Marvin! I like the scratch out technique and plan to try that on my next painting. Recently, I toned the canvas the same way but after it dried I used charcoal to draw the figure, then painted the outline with a darker tone. That is fine for the darks, but it doesn’t define the light territories as you demonstrated. Though I could not attend your workshop this time around, these posts will truly help folks like me to stay motivated. Please keep the posts coming!

  5. Catherine Pica says

    Fantastic underpainting, Marvin. You’re very lucky to have Annie modeling for you. The blog is a great idea, as is posting stages of the painting. “(Note to self: Don’t be so funny if you want the model to keep from smiling!)” So true. I miss you all!

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