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Glowing Portraits on Copper

With Master Artist

Steven Assael

2 Days | Fri. February 24th & Sun. 26th, 2023 | 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Course Description

Historically, copper supports were for many artists a practical and relatively simple way to prepare for oil painting. Artists such as Rubens and Rembrandt painted on copper. Examples through the centuries that have survived, exhibit great luster and remain as fresh as the day they were painted. Paintings on copper do not suffer from the same types of degradation as is the case for paintings on canvas or wood.

Preparing copper plates for oil paint is easy. We will go through some of the traditional methods as well as some of Steven's processes of priming copper. The very smooth surfaces also provide an ideal substrate for rendering fine detail. Over time lead and other metal paint pigments fuse to copper in an enamel like hardness without the problem of sinking in such as canvas sometimes can.

Perhaps the most attractive reason among painters for using copper is the gleam of its metallic surface. There is a luminous jewel-like appearance that paintings on copper can exhibit.

This workshop will provide a demonstration painted from the live model. Steven will demonstrate that copper can allow for glowing transparent shadows and also give the feeling of light that jumps from the surface.

We will also cover basic construction of the head in light and shadow.

What You'll Learn

Learning traditional methods of preparing copper plates for oil paint.

Learning Steven's personal methods of preparing copper plates for oil paint.

Formal instruction: construction of the head, proportion, value, light logic, shadow, etc.

Introduction to archivability.

Understanding the luminous jewel-like qualities of painting on copper with oil.

Personalized instruction

Kline Academy Visiting Instructor Shaun Berke


Steven Assael

Steven Assael is an American painter recognized nationally as one of the leading representational figurative artists of his generation. His portrayal of the human image is empathic, ennobling, and psychologically penetrating. Assael's figure compositions synthesize the characteristics of the past masters with a selective eye for the present, suffusing elements of naturalism and romanticism to blend contemporary techniques with those of the past. Born and raised in New York, NY, Assael showed an enthusiasm for art at a young age, taking art classes at the Museum of Modern Art at the age of four. He attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and currently teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York and at The New York Academy of Art. Assael's work is included in public and private collections around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY) and the Chicago Institute of Fine Arts (Chicago, IL). In 1999 his work was exhibited in a ten-year retrospective at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, Washington and CBS Sunday Morning ran a feature on the artist and the show.

Workshop Gallery
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