I learned more in two weeks with Marvin than in seven years and an MFA in art school.
Jenny Lyon Poggi
…The top 10 reasons to attend a Mattelson workshop at Binders, in no particular order:
(1) Marvin’s color system makes mixing skin colors much easier and faster, but without any compromises it’s also perfectly accurate and helps you to “see” the true colors on the model and understand what you are seeing. And yet it’s not (like the systems of other artists whose workshop I have attended) mysterious at all. It is perfectly logical and scientific.
(2) Adopting Marvin’s method of mixing and applying paints to a canvas made my own painting process much more efficient, accurate and fun. I have a limited amount of time to paint each week and this method gives me the most ‘bang for the buck’ during my painting time.
(3) This workshop is like getting a semester of knowledge in a couple of weeks. Marvin is very generous with his time and information, including evening workshops on art history (tying his methods and instruction into renowned artist’s work), marketing, color theory, etc. The students also pick up great information on drawing in general, and photography for artists, although Marvin also teaches workshops on those subjects separately.
(4) Marvin does not teach a particular ‘style’ of painting; he is teaching good, sound, time-tested basic art theory and practice, which can be applied to any style, and much of which can be applied to other media as well.
(5) Marvin demonstrates by creating his own painting alongside the students (on alternating days). The ability to watch an accomplished artist and how he applies paint to the canvas taught me as much as what I heard. And (unlike some other teachers) he explains what he is doing, and why, as he goes along.
(6) Being able to paint from a live model is invaluable. Most of us by necessity have to paint a lot from photographs, but the subtlety and accuracy in skin color that his students can achieve from life at the class just can’t be duplicated in working only from photos. I still keep my workshop paintings handy when I am painting from photos, to remind myself of what skin looks like “in the flesh”
(7) The facility the room, lighting, and staff at Binders is great, and having a fully-equipped art supply store right there is inspiring and convenient (not to mention the great restaurant next door).
(8) At many other workshops, you may learn (as I had) how to paint a 2-hour “alla prima” portrait, but I wanted to learn how to take the paintings to a further level. Marvin’s class is perfect for that by stretching the class over 2 weeks, it gives the paint time to dry between sessions so that the benefits provided by this “indirect” method of painting can be seen. Only after I had taken Marvin’s workship did I understand where I wanted to “go” with my portraits and how to get there. I look back at my older work now and wonder why I never “finished” them…although I keep them around as reminders.
(9) This is not a “gimmick” system (no “happy trees” here). What is taught and demonstrated is solid, from the foundation to the top, even though you can also pick up methods, and equipment, that make the application of this knowledge much easier.
(10) The workshop is great fun, with good music, lots of humor, and a ‘good time had by all,’ as they say. Anyone is welcome to contact me through my website at mattellrod.com for more recommendations for Marvin’s workshops.
So few people have the ability to operate at the level you do artistically, but even fewer have the skills and desire to teach others how it's done. You took what you learned about us as individuals and you developed custom, innovative teaching methods using them to push each of us to new levels. You understand how people learn and seem to genuinely thrive off of your students' progress. Selfless with your wealth of knowledge, you jumped at any opportunity to share what you know with your students. After only six days, every one of us walked away with more knowledge than we could have ever hoped to achieve in that timeframe and for that amount of money.
This workshop was, without a doubt, the best investment I've ever made in the development of my skills as an artist. I cannot thank you enough for everything you taught me this week, Marvin. You are a spectacular teacher and person, and I will be counting down the days until I can study with you again.
Mary Beth Lumley
I'm so pleased with everything that you taught me. It works so beautifully. I can't thank you enough. I'm totally jealous of all the people who got to put up with you for however many days it was in Santa Fe. I hope they appreciated your incredible genius, and strange sense of humor. I do.
Marvin teaches a system of oil painting that is not only ideal for portraits but is readily adaptable to any subject. His complete explanations during demonstrations reveal his years of experience as a university art professor. Class time was well-planned with demos followed by adequate time to implement the principles and techniques.
In my 20 years of painting & education, I have never had such a comprehensive & informative class. I now understand why I am doing what I'm doing. The great thing about Marvin's class is that he can teach a beginner all the way to the seasoned artist in the same class. I have never had such a fabulous teacher!!!
Wow, it took me till today to 'come down' from the high I was experiencing from last week! When I show people the before and after portraits they have all gasped in amazement that so much could be accomplished in such a short amount of time.
I feel like my brain was a dry sponge, and now it's filled with the knowledge you gave me of how to do a truly lifelike portrait. Your color palette is amazing. I can't imagine ever using any other colors!!
Thank you so much for such a wonderful experience, and I truly enjoyed meeting you! Your dry wit kept me cracked up all week long. I hope I can participate again in the future.
Marvin’s principles were refreshingly objective, and could be easily pieced together to form a larger whole. It soon became clear that his instruction would be the cornerstone of my painting education.
The beauty of Marvin’s teachings is that he never lets his own individual propensities overshadow his objective understanding of light, color, and form. By learning to depict earth’s natural forms as convincingly as possible on the two-dimensional canvas, one thereby acquires an entire visual language with which to communicate.
Marvin’s guidance has freed me. Without it, I may very well have been faced with decades of pursuing and assembling the technical knowledge that Marvin commands. He has provided me with firm ground upon which I may walk my own path, and for this I will always be grateful.
Best of Show Award & People's Choice Award Winner, Portrait Society of America 2005
Link to additional student feedback.