Where To Draw The Line; Marvin Mattelson’s SVA Summer Drawing Workshop

“Matt-Ellrod-2192"Workshop drawing by Matt Ellrod

G. K. Chesterton once observed, “Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere.” For advice on morality you should seek spiritual guidance, but as far as where to draw a line, I think I may be able to help. I will be leading a portrait drawing workshop at the School of Visual Arts here in the heart of New York City from June 6-10.

Workshop drawing by Mandy BisestiWorkshop drawing by Mandy Basesti

In this workshop you will learn to create a portrait drawing using charcoal and white chalk on toned paper. It’s my take on a technique used by the great French draftsman Pierre-Paul Prud’hon in the late 18th and early 19th century. This technique, which actually dates back many hundreds of years prior to Prud’hon, allows you to develop a drawing in much less time than simply drawing on white paper. For that reason many artists such as Sir Anthony Van Dyck and Elizabeth Vigee LeBrun (both of which are currently featured in museum retrospectives here in NYC) have used this technique to save themselves valuable time.

Workshop Drawing by Carole KatzWorkshop Drawing by Carole Katz

Although the technical aspects of making a finished drawing will be covered in great detail, the primary focus of this workshop is learning to see proportions and tones more accurately. This will greatly enhance your ability to not only capture a faithful likeness, but also to better assess values, allowing you to render form more effectively. In class we will be working exclusively from live models. I will be demonstrating and explaining all aspects of my drawing methodology and the underlying concepts that govern my actions. You will come away from the workshop with a deeper understanding and a sound strategy for approaching any subject.

Workshop Drawing by Barry GraysonWorkshop Drawing by Barry Grayson

You will learn how to develop the illusion of three-dimensional form bathed in light and surrounded by air. Whether your goal is to improve your drawing for its own sake, or to enhance your drawing skills as a conduit to further improving your paintings, this workshop will provide you with the tools necessary to draw with more confidence.

Workshop drawing by Paul BeaudoinWorkshop drawing by Paul Beaudoin

Throughout this article you are seeing recent drawings by my workshop students. These drawings were done in approximately one day, not obsessively rendered over a period of either weeks or months. Notice the diversity of stylistic approaches. Rather than dogmatically insisting that my students draw in a particular way, my goal is to assist you in becoming the best possible version of yourself.

Workshop drawing by Pete GrillWorkshop drawing by Pete Grill

On Wednesday, May 11, there will be a Fine Arts Information Session: Painting, Drawing, Sculpture and Printmaking at the School Visual Arts at 133/141 W. 21st Street, room 602C, sixth floor from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. I’ll be there if you have any questions about my drawing workshop or my two-week portrait workshop from August 8-19, or just want to stop by and say hello.

Workshop drawing by Matt EllrodWorkshop drawing by Matt Ellrod

5 Day Realistic Portrait Drawing Workshop
June 6 – 10, 2016 • 9:00AM – 5:00PM
Find out more information about this workshop
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
Register online or call 212.592.2200
This course may also be taken for credit. Please call the registrar’s office @ 212.592.2200 for more information.

Marvin Mattelson Fall 2014 Continuing Education Classes at SVA in NYC

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Figure and Portrait Painting in Oil

I’ll be teaching two classes this fall at the School of Visual Arts for the Department of Continuing Education. Each class focuses on both Figure and Portrait Painting and runs for eleven weeks. My Friday class starts September 19th and goes from noon until 6 pm. The Saturday class begins on September 20 and meets from 10 am until 4 pm. These classes are an opportunity to study with me and avoid the expense of being enrolled as a fully matriculated college student.

Every aspect of my oil painting methodology will be fully demonstrated and explained in a concise and logical way. You will learn how to draw more accurately and how to mix the colors you see, particularly with regards to the subtleties of flesh, and so much more. My goal is to demystify the process of painting. Rules bog down the mind and inhibit flow. Understanding and clarity free you to manifest your full creativity. There are always two models posing, one portrait and one figure.

For more information about these classes you can check out my website.
To register for Friday’s class click here. To register for Saturday’s class click here. For more info or to find out about taking these classes for full college credit please call 212-592-2050.

Fine Arts Information Session: Painting, Drawing, Sculpture, Printmaking and Jewelry

There will be an open house at SVA for those interested and I will be there to answer questions and chat. Please stop by if you’re in the area. It’s Tuesday, August 26, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm at 133/141 West 21st Street, room 602C, 6th floor. Session begins promptly at 6:30 PM. Admission is free.

Above are a couple of shots of the demo I painted in my August New York City portrait workshop as well as a couple of pics of me with my model, Nora, courtesy of Bruce Brand.

New York Portrait Artist Workshop Demonstration – Day 4

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Today I completed my demonstration of Megan. I followed the same procedure as the previous day’s demo, but focused on smaller and more subtle nuanced shapes and transitions. I’m very happy with the way it came out and would have loved to keep working on it. When Megan came down from the model stand, after her next to last sitting, she looked and the painting, gasped and then hugged me. It was very touching. I’ve never had anything like that happen before.

Below are the progressive steps today’s journey took, followed by a few details. Unfortunately, there is some glare on these last images. I’ll try to get a better shot of the finished painting and post it soon.

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My workshop schedule for this year will be complete come tomorrow. For those interested, my continuing education classes at the School of Visual Arts begin in mid-September. Should be fun.

Until next time…

New York Portrait Artist Workshop Demonstration – Day 2

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Yesterday I demonstrated my procedure for mixing up the colors on my palette. Today I laid in the color in a logical and methodical way and even had time at the end of the day to start the edge handling. Next up: the refinement stage. Below you can trace my steps, starting with the drawing correction and finishing up with the complete coverage of the underpainting.

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Until next time…

New York City Portrait Artist Workshop-Demo Day #4: Grand Finale

Like all good things, the workshop has come to an end. The two weeks really flew by. It’s amazing how everybody bonded over the love we share for painting realistically. The rate of growth was truly astounding. I’ll try to share some of the student’s work in a future post. I know that my methods always produce great results, but it still never ceases to amaze me. It’s a great validation that the fruits of my life long search for answers is so universally effective. It’s always sad when it’s over.

Last Thursday I painted the final layer on my demonstration painting for my New York Portrait Artist Workshop. One of the main points I wanted to convey to my students was that the finishing is something that takes place at the end. That’s the biggest problem I see with so many working methodologies, too many try to finish from the get go rather than setting up the big relationships first, and play the smaller aspects off of those. I’m not saying that my approach is the only one that works, but it makes learning much less cumbersome. Trying to emulate the working methods of someone with great experience doesn’t necessarily make sense, because if an artist is good, it doesn’t mean their approach is universally applicable.

As my demo progressed the steps became much less discernible since I was constantly resolving smaller and smaller areas. My first step was to scumble over the larger areas to further unify everything:

Next I painted into the scumble trying to create greater variation of color and intensity and further develop the solidity the forms:

This is as far as I got. For the last poses I refined the eyes. I try to hold back on the important parts until everything else is in harmony. The worst thing is to have to repaint something you’ve spent a lot of time on because it just doesn’t work. Had this been a commissioned painting I would have spent several days more, but that’s the nature of demonstrations. I wanted to make the painting look as illusionistic as I could. When I finished, Myriam, the model, looked at the painting and said, “That’s me!” She had a great spirit and I wanted it to shine through.

If any of the participants are reading this, I’d love to have you share some thoughts.

Until next time…