Atlanta Portrait Artist Workshop – Day 4 & 7 Demos

The workshop is moving along in the blink of an eye. I’m so impressed by the progress my students are making. Since my last post, I have given two more evening lectures: one: how I mix up my palette, and the other–my epic slide lecture: Everything I Know About Painting I Learned at the Met. The reaction was quite enthusiastic. The über talented Mary Beth Lumley commented on her experience in my previous entry, but I’m reposting it below because some of you may have missed it and I’m proud to share it with you.

Hi Marvin – In hopes it will benefit others, I wanted to post what I shared with you yesterday, after attending your “Everything I know About Painting I Learned from the Met” lecture. It never ceases to amaze me how enlightened and inspired I feel after leaving one of your lectures or workshops. All of yesterday’s epiphanies (and there were MANY), were suprising, given I’ve heard your lecture three other times! I realize most readers are probably thinking – Wow, she must be a really crappy listener and note-taker. :) On the contrary, I hear every word, but understand now that it’s only possible for us to absorb the information we’re ready to hear. Because I had been painting more than ever in the last year, I was further along in my development as an artist, and had the ability to absorb a new layer of information. While ‘doing’ is absolutely critical to becoming a skilled artist, it seems the consistent interweaving of doing, and giving yourself the opportunity to learn from a truly gifted teacher, is what can propel you rapidly to new levels. I thought of about 60 things to address in my current painting by applying the concepts in your lecture yesterday, and couldn’t wait to get to the easel today to practice what I learned while it was fresh. The beauty of your teaching is that you have a way of communicating things so that everyone – from the timid beginner to the proficient artist – benefits equally. Your passion and enthusiasm for painting is deeply infectious. Thank you so much, Marvin, for your incredible generosity and for continuing to point me towards a new horizon line.

Second Demo

My demo painting is moving along very nicely. Here is the progression as I built up color over the umber wash-in under-painting during my initial color lay-in, this past Thursday. I developed the painting by establishing both the drawing and color relationships. I work towards an end, rather than trying to finish from the start. I’m more interested in establishing the big relationships before going after smaller aspects. My motto: it’s better to be approximately correct than specifically wrong. Following this demo my students spent the next two days laying in the color on their portraits.

Third Demo

Yesterday (Monday) was the second day of color for me. Now that the umber underpainting has been covered, I was able to focus more on the refinement of the values, the hues and particularly on the drawing. To me, drawing is the most critical factor in painting. Unlike those artists who start with a very precise drawing, I enjoy having everything come together at the end. It gives me an opportunity to get a better sense of the model, so I can embed her character in with her likeness. By the end of today’s session the painting was beginning to shape up.

Today my students will apply what they learned yesterday. On Wednesday I’ll attempt to pump a bit more life into Little Opera Annie.

Tonight, Tuesday July 17, from 5:30-8:00 is my lecture on modeling factors–turning the form. It takes place at Binders Art Supplies and Framing in the Buckhead area of Atlanta. Admission is $25. For further info, call Jacob at 404-237-6331, ext. 203. If you’re in the neighborhood this week, please stop in Binders and say hi!

Until next time…


  1. Shaping up nicely Marvin. Beautiful model, good to study your early steps and can’t wait to see the end results! Enjoy the rest of your week. Miss you all!

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