Classical Realism Oil Painting Classes with Marvin Mattelson

Fall weekly classes begin September 2017
Portrait Painting & Figure Painting Classes
Life Painting with Oils in New York City

School of Visual Arts Continuing Education Classes

Award Winning Portrait of Edward Cardinal Egan In-class Portrait Painting Demonstaration of the greatest teachers ever. Marvin Mattelson changes the lives of anyone paying attention. I know I wouldn't be half the painter I am without his guidance.
Dorian Vallejo

At no time in my education, which includes a BFA from Boston University and an MFA from Yale, did I encounter anyone who was qualified to teach on this level. I believe you have isolated some of the core truths in figurative painting. Thank you so much for helping me to see them. I feel that a whole new direction in painting has now opened before me.
Kathleen Speranza

Want your paintings to pop off the canvas? Good realism is more than merely copying what is in front of you; it requires the ability to understand and interpret your subject to be successful. These courses will present, to artists of all levels, a uniquely simple and logical approach to painting the portrait. The mindset and methodologies that have guided master artists for more than 500 hundred years will be emphasized, and you will learn the time-honored techniques that have served as the backbone for some of the greatest paintings ever created. Designed to develop your ability to create a believable three-dimensional illusion on a two-dimensional surface, regardless of how loose or tight you want to paint, you will rigorously engage with the principles of figure and portrait painting in the classical tradition. Working from a live model, you will explore techniques for capturing a likeness, handling paint, emphasizing the effects of light and atmosphere, modeling form and mixing lifelike complexions. Every step from stretching a canvas to applying the final highlight will be thoroughly demonstrated and explained.

Class Purpose
The goal of these classes is to teach you both the strategic thinking and techniques that great master artists have utilized for centuries. You'll learn exactly what it takes to paint life-like illusionistic paintings and how to incorporate these methods into your own personal approach and style.

Award winning classical realist oil portrait artist, Marvin Mattelson, will be conducting these classes for artists who desire to elevate their painting skills. He provides an opportunity for artists of all levels and styles to benefit from his thirty plus years of experience, both as a professional artist and as an instructor at the School of Visual Arts.

Shying away from tricky techniques and gratuitous effects, Marvin focuses on the most effective approach for creating realistic imagry that enhances your ability to express your true artistic vision.

He believes that the way painting is taught today limits all but the most precosiously talented and clever from ever succeeding. If they paint well, it's in spite of their education, not because of it. Unfortunately, many artists with great potential are thwarted, because they are not provided with the proper understanding and training.

Marvin has therefore created a refreshingly logical and clear strategy for all artists who want to improve their painting skills.

Class Specifics
Marvin's approach to representational painting is based on the idea that creating an illusionistic image requires far more than merely copying what lies before you. It requires the ability to understand and then purposefully modify what you see.

In this class, working from the live model, you will learn the very strategies master painters have used to create the illusion of three dimensional reality on a flat surface, by incorporating their knowledge of visual perception with their understanding of their medium.

Sound strategies for attaining drawing accuracy, for modeling and turning the form, and for finding an efficient and repeatable way to mix the subtle nuanced colors of human flesh, will be addressed in great depth.

The juxtaposition of objective observation with subjective interpretation are the keys to mastering a life-like classical realist approach to painting.

Marvin feels the most effective way of teaching is by demonstrating and explaining each and every step of his methodology. He will spend approximately one quarter of the class sessions demonstrating the following:

• Transparent under painting technique.
• How to achieve accurate drawing and values.
• Preparation and use of the Mattelson Flesh Palette.
• Scumbling and wet-into-wet paint handling.

Marvin will work one on one with his students during the class sessions when he is not demonstrating.

Want to demistify what representational painting is all about? Then this class may be what you've long been searching for.

Class Schedule
Realistic Figure and Portrait Painting
from Life

Friday 12:00PM - 6:00PM Jan 26 - Apr 27
12 Sessions
310 East 22nd Street
12:00 pm - 2:30 pm...morning painting session
2:30 pm - 3:30 pm...lunch
3:30 pm - 6:00 pm...afternoon painting session

Classical Portrait Painting from Life
Saturday 10:00AM - 4:00PM Jan 26 - Apr 27
12 Sessions
380 Second Avenue
10:00 am - 12:30 pm...morning painting session
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm...lunch
1:30 pm - 4:00 pm...afternoon painting session

Special Field Trip
During the semester Marvin will lead his students on a Sunday field trip to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. where they will have the unique opportunity to closely examine some of the greatest portraits ever painted. Marvin will analyze and meticulously break down these masterpieces while elaborating on how they inspired him to formulate his unique point of view.

Some of the original works on Marvin's itinerary are paintings by Rembrandt, Velasquez, Van Dyke, Vermeer, Raeburn, Ingres, Bouguereau, and Paxton. This guided tour, in conjunction with the class, will forever alter the way you look at and think about painting.

Registration Is Now Open
Realistic Figure and Portrait Painting from Life
Friday 12:00PM - 6:00PM • Jan 26 - Apr 27
12 Sessions
310 East 22nd Street
For more information or to register online
or call 212-592-2200

Classical Portrait Painting from Life
Saturday 10:00AM - 4:00PM • Jan 26 - Apr 27
12 Sessions
380 Second Avenue
For more information or to register online
or call 212-592-2200

Links to learn more about the program

Click on the following links to learn more about Marvin Mattelson, and to see examples of some of his commissioned portraits. You can also view examples of his portrait painting demonstrations, and look at his students' in-class figure paintings and portrait paintings.

You can also read additional feedback from participants of Marvin's workshops and classes.

You can find out more about Marvin's unique point of view regarding art education, read his teaching philosophy , course descriptions, and his thoughts regarding the painting process.

Who is Marvin Mattelson?

Marvin Mattelson is an multi-award winning portrait artist whose paintings hang in collections worldwide, including both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery.

Marvin has been an instructor at The School of Visual Arts for over 35 years. His former students have achieved both critical and financial success in all areas of fine and commercial art.

STStudent Work and Feedback

Student Portrait Painting Classes Student Portrait Painting Classes
Julia Gavrilova

Joseph Daily

Martin Wittfooth

It was a fantastic experience for me to participate in the workshop. My instincts had been pointing me in that direction for some time now and it's very gratifying to know that they were correct. I was able to connect to a part of myself that has been dormant for many years. The supportive environment and the excellent instruction were exactly what I needed to become involved with portrait painting again. I've decided to put all of my other obsessions on hold and pursue this direction for the entire next year. I'd also love to make studying with you an ongoing "habit". I know that I have only scratched the surface of the knowledge you can provide.

I would also like to say that I think your generosity is rare indeed. All of the hard work and research you have done over the last several years is a gold mine for your students. Your own work is a testament to the beauty and logic of the color system. I have been describing it to my friends as a typewriter analogy. I have been hunting and pecking for 25 years and have finally been given a keyboard I can understand. I'm confident that with practice I'll be able to reach that all important "flow state" with respect to color and value.

At no time in my education ,which includes a BFA from Boston University and an MFA from Yale, did I encounter anyone who was qualified to teach on this level. I believe you have isolated some of the core truths in figurative painting. Thank you so much for helping me to see them. I feel that a whole new direction in painting has now opened before me.

Kathleen Speranza

Marvin Mattelson's technique and teaching philosophy have been an invaluable asset to my own understanding of painting. A tremendous amount of the knowledge and experience that I have acquired in this class greatly informs the way that I paint in my own time as a full time professional artist, regardless of what subject matter I choose to depict. Everything from the best choice of materials, to a thorough understanding of color, to the handling and application of paint and the achievement of compelling realism is covered in Marvin's method, and in a manner that is extremely easy to absorb and process. The method allows for immense personal development for an artist at any stage in the game. In the various classes I have attended throughout my studies and my career, I have never witnessed such great strides of advancement in well-rounded skills as in the students in Marvin's class. I am grateful to count myself among them.

It really has been a hugely transformative experience for me, and I wish that more aspiring artists who had the chops to progress with their painting discovered your class. I do make a point to tell anyone asking about my portraits or just painting-advancement to consider signing up.
Martin Withfooth

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.
Elsie Hammerlich

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.
Parrish Hirasaki

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!!!
Claire Bradford

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.
Susan Carter

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.
Joseph Daily
Best of Show Award & People's Choice Award Winner, Portrait Society of America 2005

Link to additional student feedback.

No motion capture or audio recording is allowed during the class or lectures!
Film and/or digital still cameras are permitted.

© Marvin Mattelson 2002
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