As Best I Can - The Ultimate Portrait Painting Learning Experience

Marvin Mattelson indeed! Your insight into fundamental truths of visual expression are profound and your ability to teach them is extraordinary. I see your emphasis on detail combined with the understanding of how details relate to the whole as fundamental to important communication.

- David Terry - Portrait Artist

Inception to Perfection
Marvin Mattelson's
Classical Portrait Painting: Step by Step

Commissioned Portrait by Marvin Mattelson

Inception to Perfection
Marvin Mattelson's
Classical Portrait Painting: Step by Step

12 -15 Saturdays**
For late registrants: 
Watch classes 1 & 2 on video 
10am - 4:30pm ET
Fall 2024
Tuition: $1350
Class size limit: 20

I can always count on an amazing learning experience when I study with Marvin Mattelson. I have been taking his online workshops for 3 years now, and I keep on studying with him because he stretches my artistic thinking muscle, aka my brain. He is beyond generous with the information he shares. And the quality of his online classes can’t be matched. It's a front row seat to the best of the best!

- Sue Moore

What would constitute the ultimate learning experience?

This interactive course offering is the most comprehensive presentation of Marvin Mattelson's approach to portrait painting. He will reveal every aspect of his creative process. By cultivating a full understanding of the way in which all the pieces seamlessly fit together, this contextual overview will benefit all artists, regardless of their experience level, from beginners to seasoned professionals, no matter what or how they choose to paint. Understanding how to achieve unity is the most critical aspect of creation.

Imagine traveling back in time to the studio of a master artist and having a birds-eye-view of a classically painted portrait as it evolves from a blank canvas into a finished work of art. You would be able to observe every color mixture as well as see every brushstroke applied, in real time, without sped up time-lapse sequences or huge chunks of action edited out.

You, of course would also be able to engage the artist in conversation, ask questions and share your thoughts, while the the artist explained not only what they were doing, but most importantly, why – the reasoning behind every action they took. They utilized Old Masters' Intelligence.

This innovative and interactive approach to classical art education is something that Marvin believes has never been previously offered.

Why is this course so unique?

This class is a complete overview of every aspect of Marvin Mattelson's procedure to create a finished portrait comission. In his other classes Marvin focuses on the more technical painting processes: Drawing, Underpainting, Color Lay-in, Refinement and Finish – in order to best clarify the purpose and functionality of each. I this class he not only covers the technical side of things but expands into the all important aspects of picture-making, composition. Ultimately the goal is to orchestrate the multitude of varialables and create a unique and unified composition, one which fully manifests your artistic intent.

During several recent class sessions, under the pressure of an impending deadline, I spent the entire time painting a commissioned portrait. The students loved watching me paint and felt it offered them even greater insight into my process, so I decided to offer students the opportunity to experience my approach, from start to finished painting. I think that artists of any level would find great value here.

Marvin Mattelson

The main focus of this course is for students to observe, in real time, how Marvin Mattelson creates a commissioned portrait according to his understanding of the underlying principles intrinsic to the greatest artists in history, which he refers to as Old Masters' Intelligence. Students have the option of following his lead and creating their own portrait paintings or just sit back and watch the painting evolve, while having the opportunity to interact during the entire workflow. Marvin will set aside time, at the start of class, for feedback and critique. If you miss or just want to review a class, each sessions will be available to watch online for 30 days.

Commissioned Portrait by Marvin Mattelson

What is it that distinguishes Marvin Mattelson's teaching?

Encouraged by Michelangelo's words that, "A man paints with his brain, not with his hand," he has devoted his life to uncovering the mindset of the master artists he most admires: Anthony van Dyke, Rembrandt, Sir Henry Rayburn, Sir Thomas Lawrence, William McGregor Paxton, Ivan Kramskoy, Joseph Rodefer Decamp, Jean Leon Gerome, Peder Mark Monsted and William Bouguereau.

His teaching is the antithesis of the way classical painting generally is and has been taught. He challenges the belief that only by working from live models in a studio space is The Way! Marvin feels the advantages of his virtual studio far outweigh any minor disadvantages. Since we utilize technology in every aspect of our lives today, why should it be avoided when teaching realistic painting? If 17th Century artists were privy to modern advances, would they really be eschewing electricity, antibiotics and/or indoor plumbing? Always searching for the most effective and efficient methods to communicate, Marvin has successfully incorporated digital photography and photo processing software into both his own work regimen as well as his teaching, and he feels that his approach is a far more profound and effective means to an ends.

Unfortunately the majority of artists today erroneously believe that the pursuit of style and technique will provide all the answers they so desperately seek. Yes, craft is vitally important and is a big component of both Marvin's work and teaching, but ultimately, these are superficial aspects of the painting process and, in the grand scheme of painting hierarchy, they are meaningless without the context of what Marvin refers to as the Old Masters' Intelligence.

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

Wayne Dwyer

There have been certain artists throughout history whose works have truly resonated with Marvin. The one commonality is that their paintings appear more alive than life itself. Marvin has spent the last half century searching for the core truths of how these artists were able to achieve their miraculous results. By frequenting museums, auction houses and private collections, he has meticulously examined and analyzed hundreds of original masterpieces as well as numerous unfinished works. In addition, he has spent tens of thousands of hours at his easel putting his theories to the test, as well as sharing and battle-testing his ideas with generations of students.

Marvin Mattelson, is an award winning professional artist and an Art Renewal Center Living Master, who, in addition to his artistic output, has spent the last 50 years teaching at the School of Visual Arts. So traumatized was he by his art school experience, where technical training was considered to be the antithesis of creativity, he didn't even attempt painting for another decade after graduating.

I had a really good teacher. Marvin Mattelson makes the impossible possible!

Pete Grill

Once he garnered the courage to try, he quickly realized that nowhere to be found was the kind of deep understanding he sought, because art is taught almost exclusively via rote learning. This is where formulaic approaches, dictated by arbitrary rules and anecdotal explanations, usurp the true essence of creativity - which is about making choices based on each unique situation.

Marvin, on the other hand, utilizes mindful learning. He fully demonstrates each step while simultaneously explaining the reasoning behind his every action, thusly empowering his students with the ability to make their own appropriate choices.

Commissioned Portrait by Marvin Mattelson

What can I expect from this course?

Although this class centers on every aspect Marvin Mattelson goes through when creating a comissioned portrait, its scope goes far beyond just that. Students will be able to apply the ideas set forth in this class to any type of genre, from landscape, to still life to abstraction as well as any medium, spanning traditional to digital. It's ultimately about creating a unified composition that delivers your ideas with the greatest impact. If you can paint a life-like portrait you can paint anything!

Marvin will demonstrate and explain the following:

• How to create a unified and balanced composition.
• How to light your subject.
• How to take and process high quality reference photographs.
• How to achieve greater accuracy in your drawings.
• How to create a full color underpainting..
• Preparing and using the Mattelson Flesh Palette.
• The appropriate use of opaque and translucent paint layering.
• Proper use of materials and how to achieve technical virtuosity.
• How to create the illusion of three dimensional space.
• Making your painting appear more real than life.

Regardless of your level of experience and acumen, whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, this class is designed to be a transformational experience. For more information on specifics, please click on the following links to learn more about Marvin's teaching methodology and his virtual classroom. If you want to take your work to a whole new level contact Marvin Mattelson to register.

Aristotle said, “Those who know, do. Those who understand teach.” Doers rely on intuition or formulas. Unfortunately intuition can’t be taught and formulas don’t allow for spontaneity or personal development (merely rubber stamping). Painting is solely about decision making.

Using multiple programmable-hi-def cameras, which allow you to closely observe, his brush's pathways, from palette to canvas and back, Marvin fully annotates the reasoning behind his each and every action. During the live presentation, you can freely interact, if and when the need arises. Each class will be available online for review for 30 days. Class size is limited to 20 students.

Those who champion the idea that creativity is a function of intuition are sadly misinformed. The greatest artists in history were not necessarily any more talented then their fellow artists, they were flat out smarter. The key is in developing a deep understanding.

Marvin demonstrates the actual process, step-by-step. You see his every action on screen while hearing his reasoning for doing it. Marvin is devoted to imparting knowledge – to teaching.

Daphne Miller

**The course will run a minimum of 12 sessions or for as many weeks as it takes to complete the portrait. There is no class scheduled on July 1st or September 2nd due to national holidays.

Marvin is now available for mentoring, coaching and portfolio evaluation. To arrange for a one-to-one session, please fill out the contact page form and he'll get back to you ASAP with the details.