Today, The New York Times published an article about a new installation at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum here in New York City.
I make it a point, whenever the opportunity would arise, to check out original art by the painters I admire the most: like Bouguereau, Gerome, Monsted, Paxton and DeCamp.
This past Saturday I did a portrait painting demonstration for my class, alla prima style, to show the students how I paint oil studies of clients.
I recently completed the above portrait painting of Fang Fenglei. It's a great honor to be chosen to paint such an exceptionally successful gentleman.
Contrary to popular myth, I consider black to be an indispensable and versitile color which I utilize wherever and whenever I deem it most appropriate.
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.
Today, was the beginning of the end, or the phase I refer to as the initial finish later (AKA the refinement layer).
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.
I spent the day explaining and demonstrating my procedure for the wash-in, the painting's foundation layer (see above). My mantra: work large to small. Below you can see the steps I took:
Artists have worked from photos for over a century and a half so you think the nay-sayers would get tired already and just shut up.
By now everyone in the universe is familiar with the controversy surrounding the first official portrait of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.
The art that’s most interesting to me is when the artist has something real to say. It doesn’t need a significant concept.
On the final day the plan was to modify color nuance, intensity, edges in order to further develop the solidity the forms:
Today was my next to last demo for the August Portrait Artist Workshop at the School of Visual Arts.
Today, August 9, I laid in the color over my wash-in underpainting during the second demo for my New York City Portrait Artist Workshop.I love brushing in the color.
My New York City Portrait Artist Workshop at the School of Visual Arts began on Monday August 6. Below is the progression of my underpainting on the first day of my demo.
I always tell my students, “Portrait painting isn’t brain surgery, it’s much more difficult.” Not that learning to be a portrait artist isn’t a terribly daunting task.
Today I completed my demo painting. Not as refined as my portrait commissions, but a very good representation of my process, none-the less.
Today I continued to develop my demonstration painting. I started out by oiling out the painting. First I scumbled over the skin and then began to restate my flesh colors.
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.
Today I experienced an epiphany. Simplicity is a function of clarity. The perfect way to camouflage not knowing, is to obfuscate your explanation.
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.
To me a portrait painting is a giant conundrum waiting to be unraveled. My approach to coming up with the best answer is hierarchical, going from large to small.
When analyzing the work of great master painters, like Anthony Van Dyke (above), we can see that breaking the so-called rules had the opposite effect.
Repetition is the evil step child of rules. The technical term for this is boring. The point of being an artist is creativity. The death knell tolls when artists mimic themselves, consciously or not.
"The most confusing part of painting is mixing color." How many times have you heard that?
What's the point of creating paintings that look as though they were painted a hundred or more years ago?
Praise may make you feel better, but learning to see mistakes will make you paint better. Only by finding out what doesn’t work, what needs fixing, or what’s out of kilter, can you can hope to improve.
When the meter is running how is it possible to create great paintings? I'm afraid I can't buy that the best strategy for a long, satisfying and lucrative career is churning out substandard work.
The key to true mastery of anything is understanding its essence. So the question is what is the essence of painting?
I have, over the course of my 40 year career as both a professional artist and educator, come to certain conclusions, many of which I will be sharing during the course of writing this blog.
Yogi Berra said, when you come to a fork in the road…take it. Forks are just a folksy way of saying it's time to choose. Life is a series of choices.
When I look at a masterpiece I very rarely concern myself with the technical aspects. I’m much more interested in the thinking process behind the painting.
Marvin Mattelson is an award winning portrait artist and educator with over 40 years experience as a professional artist as well as a member of the faculty at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. Marvin teaches virtual painting classes to students around the globe. You can read Marvin's biography, commission him to paint your portrait, find out more about his teaching or start a dialog by contacting him directly.