The mindful approach of the masters supersedes frivolous rules and rote learning
If you want to reach your full artistsic potential, look no further. Marvin Mattelson has developed an exciting and innovative way to accelerate the learning curve for the centuries old practice of traditional drawing and painting skills. By incorporating modern technology with a contextual mindset, he empowers his students to be the best versions of themselves, regardless of their current levels. He challenges the religious dogma of how we have been led to believe what constitutes the best practices for teaching painting and drawing. Based on 50 years as a highly acclaimed professional artist and teacher Marvin developed his current curriculum by incorporating what worked best for both him and his students, while always remaining open to the possibility that a better way may be on the horizon.
As a result, Marvin employs the latest in live-streaming technology, via his multi-camera high-resolution broadcast virtual atelier. The three most important arrows in a teachers quiver are demonstration, explaination and feedback. Live streaming allows students to witness Marvin's every brushstroke up close and each mixture on the palette, while he simuntaniously explains the purpose of his every action. He uses photoediting software, while critiquing, so his students can more readily understand his suggestions. Most importantly, he will answer any question or respond to any comment on the spot.
Marvin Mattelson believes that history's greatest artists did far more than simply copy their subject matter. His unique approach to teaching students how to paint realistically is based on the idea that to create a truly lifelike portrait, one that conveys vitality, you need to go far beyond just mimicking what you see. By integrating what he refers to as Old Masters' Intelligence you'll learn exactly what it is and most importantly, how to utilize it to your greatest advantage.
Like no other instructor I’ve known, he breaks down a careers worth of powerful insights and concepts in figurative painting, and masterfully guides you through them, with warmth, humor, and great stories.
It is not an overstatement that Marvin has created a “career altering” approach to teaching oil portrait and figurative painting. I thank him for being instrumental, in so many ways, in my decision to change my decades-long career in a way that will allow me to profoundly pursue my love of painting.
Those who know, do.
Those who understand, teach
Today, art is primarily taught via rote learning – by mimicing the instructor you'll learn their rules and then you can allegedly break them. Marvin, on the other hand, employs mindful learning: whereas he explains the reasoning which precipitates his decisions, thusly empowering his students with truths – not arbitrary rules – and therefore the ability to make their own appropriate choices.
During class, Marvin works one on one with each of his students to provide insightful feedback, Since it's being live streamed, each student can benefit from all his advice. He critiques and evaluates each student's work and provides pertinent visual feedback via imaging software, (a critical factor, not available when watching canned videos.) In a live classroom setting, an instructor has two options: he can tell a student what to do, and hope they understand, or he could paint directly on their canvas, showing them what to do – thus denying them the experience of doing it themselves. The online format allows Marvin to explain what to do while simultaneously showing them what he's talking about, on screen, freeing them to make their own adjustments. Furthermore, every student has the opportunity to profit from each of their fellow classmates' critiques, an impossibility in a large painting studio.
I would not be showing in galleries nor be a painter today had I not met Marvin Mattelson. Simple as that. Not once had I considered classical painting as a viable goal and I was under the assumption that the train had already left my station in regards to learning such a daunting skill set. But Marvin took the seemingly insurmountable alchemy of realistic oil painting and broke it down into a manageable step by step approach. With swiftness and ease he presented and communicated the most intricate age-old concepts behind some of the most beautiful artworks in history. The debt my life and career owes to his teaching cannot be overstated.
The notion that the only way to learn these skills is by working from live models, in a natural light studio setting, is far from the most efficient. (That's not to say working from life is bad. It's actually fun and helpful but it's a terrible way to develop the necessary skills.) Models move and take frequent breaks so painting time is limited, the color of the light changes, and most students can't hear or see, and thusly benefit, from their teacher's critiques of their fellow students. If and when, the teacher actually does demonstrate (usually in silence), the students are too far away to actually observe what is being done or how colors are being mixed, If you miss a class for any reason, too bad! Worst of all, it requires additional time for traveling, not to mention expenses. Fortunately, none of these factors come into play in Marvin's Virtual Atelier. Each class is available for 30 days following it's broadcast date if scheduling prohibits you from the live presentation or you just want to review the class. Obviously, this is not possible in a live class. Additionally, Marvin provides each student with an excellnt color-corrected, high-resolution, perfectly lit photo to use, in lieu of a live model.
Observe Objectively, Interpret Subjectively & Modify Accordingly
All fundamental and technical aspects are covered in easy to understand and comprehensive detail. Marvin's methodology is rooted in both sound logic, and strategic thinking. This is a mindful (not a mechanical or rote) learning experience. He breaks down the entire process into simple steps. Since the essence of portraiture is the ability to capture a likeness, the initial focus is on developing greater drawing accuracy. Next, you'll learn how the power of value structure enables you to model and turn the form, as well as to create the effect of light and air. Drawing and values set the stage for color. Being able to manipulate the colors you see, and not slavishly copy them, is the ultimate weapon in the artist's arsenal. Color mixing – which seems to be the biggest struggle for most – can be approached methodically and repeatedly. There are far more efficient and repeatable ways to achieve the color nuances that abound, particularly those of the human complexion, compared to the random and unreliable chore of hunting and pecking, betwixt and between warms and cools.
Sadly, the central focus of the majority of realistic teaching today, results in either perfectly rendered, but lifeless works, or paintings whose brushwork overwhelms the subject matter. In either case, the majority of the students are destined to be, at best, second rate versions of their teachers. Marvin believes that the principles he sees manifested in the Old Masters' works are rarely in evidence in contemporary realism.
If you really want to learn to paint the figure, the methods you learn by studying with Marvin are invaluable. He is extremely knowledgeable about the craft of painting and breaks down something so extremely complicated into something simple and easy to digest. Studying with him for two years during my undergrad, gave me a solid foundation of information and a methodology to approach the figure. This way I know that no matter what I paint in the future, I have what I learned of value, hue, chroma, and different methods and techniques to create turning, space, and accuracy with my drawing to pull from. It gave me the confidence to push what I thought I was capable of and to take on bigger and more ambitious figure paintings.
Marvin's teaching is not a simple cookie cutter approach. Every class is tailored to the unique needs and abilities of his attending students. Where appropriate, Marvin will reference a wide variety of digital slide presentations, including lectures on lighting, color theory, photo reference, and composition. During each course, Marvin leads his students on his eye opening, Virtual Museum Tour, where he will meticulously analyzes and break down some of the greatest masterpieces ever created, explaining how they employed the very same concepts and methods which you are being taught.
Marvin not only trained me to paint from life (something I had only done once before), he taught me to see life. He instructed me to look objectively, without cognitive bias, and then to draw and paint what I saw. He brought order and process to my painting, something I had never been taught. And he shared with me the tools to capture the illusions of reality, or as he calls them, the “weapons” to create life-like painting.
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 please click on the following links to learn about Marvin's teaching methodology and his Virtual Atelier. If you want to take your work to a whole new level contact Marvin Mattelson to register.