Friday, November 13, 2020

Seattle Atelier Classroom Demonstration of Tonal Impressionist Principles, Perceptual Painting.

Michael Lane Dounder of Seattle Atelier painting in front of students.

Class demo at Seattle Atelier, explaining tonal extensions, tone key, tonal relationships, multiple colors in five values or less and the order of visual importance. 

(Image features works by Max Meldrum, Percy Leason, Joseph Allworthy, Graeme Inson and John Singer Sargent.)

The program’s general textbooks are “The Science of Appearances” (1950) by Max Meldrum and “Experience in Painting, an Analysis of the Visual Impression as Applied to Painting” by Percy Leason.

Little Saigon Neighborhood, Seattle, WA.

(JULY 2021)

Seattle Atelier listed on the Seattle Street-Art Map. 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Michael Lane invited by Israel Hershberg to teach at the JSS In Civita Catellana 2018

From left: Students Kathy Paul, Min Zhong and Eve Parker make Alla Prima paintings at some marshes north of Seattle.

I’ve been invited by Israel Hershberg, for the third year in a row, to join the affiliate faculty at the JSS in Civita Castellana.
The title of the course this year is "Corot, Tonalism and the Roman Campagna" 

Dates are: July 23-August 6, Civita Castellana, Italy. 

Seattle Atelier students painting at Alki Beach, West Seattle

Seattle Atelier students painting at Pike Place Market, Seattle
Seattle Atelier students painting on a beach in West Seattle

Monday, June 26, 2017

Seattle Atelier Color System (intro)

Seattle atelier student painting

Once students have begun to master tonal divisionism or correctly related tone groups or families (referred to by Camille Pissarro as “the greatest innovation of Impressionism”) they begin working in color.

Our system uses three hues (warm, straight, cool) for all primaries and secondaries, so it’s an 18 hue color-wheel.

Students mix ten complete color wheels on top of a set of ten gray-scale value cards, matching the value of each. 

Seattle Atelier color chart lesson

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Meldrum: The Scientific Artist

Max Meldrum diagram from The Science of Appearances, Seattle Atelier, WA

Max Meldrum diagram from The Science of Appearances. Seattle Atelier

Hayward Veal walks the full length of his narrow studio because this is the only way to paint. 

It is Max Meldrum’s way. 

Examine the subject from a distance. 

You are objective. 

Detached both from the subject and yourself. 

The artist, Meldrum says, is a scientist of appearances.

Max Meldrum self portrait. Seattle Atelier

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Bibliophile Confessions

A partial view, from a video, of the Seattle Atelier library where many ring-bound copies of print-outs of old manuscripts and very rare artist's teaching and studio notes, letters and diaries from the archives at Harvard, Yale, the Smithsonian, National Gallery-Archives of American Art and many other libraries wait for you.

Open to the public without charge during business hours, with several scanners for free use and very inexpensive flash drives available for purchase.
There are couches, tables, chairs, natural light and a kitchen on the other side of the door with free coffee and snacks.

Visit us soon on historic Jackson Street in Seattle’s arts-filled Central District and Little Saigon neighborhoods, where there’s usually some kind of great festival happening.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Seattle Atelier Still Life Courses

All our still life classes are alla prima and solvent free.
Students finish each painting in one session after carefully creating their palettes as a scale of relationships.

In the above image student Jennifer Will creates a sight size Alla Prima still life in less than an hour, walking back and forth from her focus point, after first taking a couple hours to create a group of pre-mixed correctly related tone families and colors within each. 

Students enjoy getting at a subjects visual essence in this objective way and the classroom is open to students at all times and they often say well past the four hour to six hour class times. 

In the image below student Kathy Paul stands at her “focus point” twelve feet from her canvas, sensing out her shapes as she tries out her initial tone group “hypotheses”, adjusting constantly at this stage by physically adjusting large piles of paint on her palette and testing them against each other. 
That is not a value-match of each area but a painting of their relationships. 
 Anyone familiar with the general textbooks for the program also knows how many diagrams, charts, exercises and other practices help explain this both natural and analytical process. Frequent instructor painting demonstrations show the process.  

(Below: Student’s Alla Prima works in progress. Limited and full-color palettes)


Twice Yearly Free Introductory Classes and Painting Demonstrations, Daniel Smith, Seattle (2014-2020).

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Perceptual Painting in the Pacific Northwest

Students of Seattle Atelier have been rising to the challenges of painting in a perceptual painting program with outdoor painting built into every class, no matter the weather, year round. 
Many urban settings close to the classroom have been where we head out to work, rain or shine, using the same principles with which we paint alla prima still life in the classroom.

Students (above) making Alla Prima copies of the work of Corot, creating their palettes as a scale of relationships, tested and adjusted, before they all go outdoors to repeat the process while executing another Alla Prima painting in the open air on the streets of Seattle.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Teaching at JSS in Civita

I’ve been invited by Israel Hershberg to join the affiliate faculty at the JSS in Civita, Summer Art School & Residency in Italy. 

To learn more about his amazing program look here:

Monday, August 25, 2014

Founding an Atelier at the Request of Students.


Last winter I was asked to interview at DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond, Washington for an over-hire, adjunct position in the BFA dept. to handle overflow in figure drawing courses. (They are a school which specializes in the creation of video games.) When I interviewed by demonstrating the anatomy-based, constructive figure drawing lessons I had been teaching for a while in front of the assembled faculty they offered me a full professorship. I was in complete shock.

It’s a great school and it was a great experience but after one year I’m ready to begin a teaching project which can only be done within the framework of a truly independent program. 
A perceptual painting program (no drawing) that is logistically too costly for other schools, too lengthy and also not currently super marketable (like the “classical” or digital illustration oriented things which I’ve been previously asked to teach). 

In fact, it was my own long-term, firsthand experience of teaching at, and of the teaching within, a mass-marketed “classical” atelier in Seattle which made me sure that these perceptual, tonal lessons, which form a foundation for understanding Corot, are needed. 

The general texts for the program are “The Science of Appearances” by Max Meldrum and “Experience in Painting, An Analysis of the Visual Impression as Applied to Painting” by Percy Leason. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Michael Lane, Instructor and Lecturer at Gage Academy of Art in Seattle for 5 years.

I taught at Gage Academy in Seattle for 5 years.

Courses taught: 

Figure Drawing 
(beginner, intermediate and advanced)
Figure Painting in Oils
Portrait Drawing
Portrait Painting in Oils
Human Anatomy 
Linear Perspective
Drawing for Beginners
Oil Painting for Beginners 
Oil Painting-Materials and Techniques
Large Scale Figure Drawing
Large-Scale, Long-Pose, Portrait Painting in Oils 
Historic Artist’s Palettes and Techniques for Oil Painters (19th c. focus) 
Historic Artist’s Palettes and Techniques for Oil Painters (18th c. focus)
Recreating the Paintings of Caravaggio

Workshops taught: 

The Portrait Sketch in Oils
Tonalist Portrait Drawing 
Portrait Anatomy 
(human anatomy as it applies to portraiture)

Ran a public figure drawing and painting drop-in studio on behalf of Gage, as a volunteer, at Utrecht Art Supplies on Capitol Hill in Seattle. 

Started, as a volunteer, the public drawing nights, later titled "Drink and Draw", at Seattle restaurant\theater space, Capitol Cider.

Took groups of students as a volunteer to Museums.

The image below is from an email from Sheila Hughes, Executive Director at Gage in 2013 sent to me when I was asked to accept a full professorship at DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond, WA. That was one year before I opened Seattle Atelier.

The next lines express their commitment to me as an artist and teacher based on my demonstrated commitment to them.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Teaching the Juliette Aristides Classical Atelier.

Michael Lane teaching Juliette Aristides

The workshops in Juliette Aristides' atelier went well. We covered bolus earth grounds of the 17th century, different imprimaturas, under-painting strategies, use of a dual temperature palette for that, different palettes/paints of the time and their contemporary equivalents, all of which form the “indirect” painting methods of Arthur DeCosta (I recommend people read the excellent book “Alla Prima” by the Chair of the Painting Department at PAFA and former DeCosta student, Al Gury. The use of the term “indirect” is misleading but Al’s book explains it well).
Each student was given a document written by Mr. DeCosta which was beautifully updated and kindly sent to me by former DeCosta student Professor Patrick Connors of Philadelphia.
We took up the discussion of works of the painters of the Italian late baroque and early rococo, about whom my mentor Nelson Shanks was an expert. (He owned many masterworks of the period and frequently allowed me to assist his full time restoration staff.) Then we went over, at length, fine points about paint handling. Layering up an opaque light-mass on a bolus earth ground (as in Nelson Shank’s school’s “duo-tone” exercises) and the two things most neglected, when I was there, by the ateliers; a knowing use of opacity vs. transparency on various imprimaturas and very direct painting right from the initial block-in. (They we’re still transferring a drawing to a white surface and doing something called a wipe out). 

Each day consisted of a slide-lecture, painting demonstration, sometimes small study-copies of masterworks, another painting demonstration from life and the full atelier working from life.
The final days were devoted to more of the painting ideas of the period so beloved by all the original impressionists, the 18th century. The use of a warm gray imprimatura, examples of major elements of British portrait painting and the direct approach and classic palette, with premixed tints, of Gilbert Stuart, so often presented by Mr DeCosta, were central to those lecture-lab days.  
It was a lot of fun to have been invited by Juliette to teach her and her atelier these lessons.

Michael Lane teaching Juliette Aristides

All 20 of the atelier students at work.

Elizabeth Zanzinger at work 

Michael Lane teaching Juliette Aristides and Elizabeth Zanzinger. Seattle Atelier
Michael Lane teaching Juliette Aristides. Seattle Atelier

Heartfelt thanks to Juliette and all her dedicated students.
Michael Lane teaching Juliette Aristides. Seattle Atelier

This  (above) is Juliette’s painting done in my course. It was her first use of the ground/imprimatura and palette (transparent earth oxides, pure lead white, etc.), velaturas and other techniques essential to the approach and research of Mr. DeCosta. 

The plan is to incorporate the lessons into the permanent foundation curriculum as sections on master copying, lessons on “transparency vs. opacity” in painting and in other much needed ways.

Note: The image below is the painting which Juliette was working on when I met her by visiting her studio a couple months before I became her teacher. On that visit she showed me the drawing for this painting, she had just finished it (an elaborate contour-only drawing of the model) and was telling me about how she and all her students took these drawings down the street to a kinkos/fed ex shop where they could be copied on the machine used for large architectural renderings. She said they could be enlarged to fit the exact dimensions of a canvas. It would then be transferred to a white canvas and the usual atelier methods would follow (drawing “inked”, surface covered in brown paint, a wipe out method followed by painting with the “Reilly Palette”). 
Here is a link to the pedagogy of the atelier (prior to 2011).   Aristides Workshop San Francisco 2007

Juliette had to rush off while I was still there teaching her program to teach a workshop in San Francisco in 36 hours, about which an article was to be published. Here is an image from the article in American Artist Magazine with everyone working on the same imprimaturas, with the same colors in the same ways.

A link to the whole article: 

From left: Bust of Arthur DeCosta by J. Clayton Brown and “William Rush and the Nymph of the Schuykill” by Arthur DeCosta. 

“Forget not beauty, lest she finds you sleeping and leaves you as she found you.” -Arthur DeCosta 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Teaching at Path with Art. Seattle, WA.

Student of Michael Lane, Seattle at Path with Art

Path with Art is a Seattle based outreach program which offers multi-disciplinary art instruction, free of charge, to people who are struggling with the unique challenges of homelessness, addiction and mental illness.
I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with them, when I taught a course in self portrait drawing with a heavy journaling component (after Vincent van Gogh). It was a great experience and I made a few friends for life.
I now have the honor of working with this organization part time.
I'm sure that this will be one of the best teaching experiences I’ve had and I'm very honored to have been asked.
Read more about this great organization here: 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Workshops requested by Juliette Aristides.

Michael Lane teaching Juliette Aristides, Seattle Atelier

Gilbert Stuart's Palette
National Portrait Gallery
Smithsonian Institution

This Spring I will be teaching workshops on historic grounds/imprimaturas and palette settings (the pedagogy of ArthurDeCosta) in the Juliette Aristides Classical Atelier in Seattle.
I'm happy to have been asked by Juliette to present this series of lessons and excited to work with her and so many students who have been drawing for a while on this intensive series.
We will be covering bolus earth grounds and techniques based on certain 17th century Neapolitan painters and also the grounds and palette settings of many of the leading portrait painters of the 18th c.

Link to Juliette’s work. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Nelson Shanks Apprenticeship and Master Class at PAFA.

Michael Lane with Nelson Shanks. Seattle Atelier.

This image is from an article in "The Portrait Signature" magazine about my mentor Nelson Shanks.
In the article there is a mention of my successful efforts to create a "master class" at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (the first such class ever offered at PAFA) which would include an exhibition in the museum.
That is how I got to know Nelson.
His home and studio were located 20 minutes from Philadelphia and there had always been talk around the Pennsylvania Academy of his, then defunct, apprentice-program.
When I first met Nelson he was telling me that he had never been invited to do anything at PAFA in all the years he had lived so close to the school. I thought that if I wanted to take a class with him that I would have to request the creation of one that he would be willing to teach so I took up a petition among the students and some of the faculty ( Al Gury, Deborah Deichler, Edith Neff and others) also signed it.
There was a new President at PAFA, Gresham Riley, and he was receptive to the idea, so I made appointments to meet with him to further discuss the possibilities of creating this kind of class.
When Nelson received a letter from Riley inviting him to teach a workshop/seminar at the academy, which would also include a solo show in the academy museum, he was more than happy to invite me over for dinner (risotto and beer) to get to know me.
The following morning, at 6am, I was back there working in his studio and I just kept returning day after day, each day proving my willingness to be there by working hard. I recall that I lost a lot of weight running for trains and working long hours and eventually stayed there but the education I received was better than I had ever hoped for and I am very grateful to Nelson for taking the time to teach me.
Here is the entire article. 

Michael Lane apprenticeship with Nelson Shanks. Seattle Atelier.

Michael Lane apprenticeship with Nelson Shanks. Seattle Atelier. Painting by Nelson Shanks

Michael Lane apprentice to Nelson Shanks. Seattle Atelier. Painting of Luciano Pavarotti by Nelson Shanks.

Michael Lane apprenticeship to Nelson Shanks. Seattle Atelier. Paintings by Nelson Shanks.

Michael Lane apprenticeship to Nelson Shanks. Seattle Atelier. Home of Nelson Shanks. Lane and Shanks together.

Nelson Shanks at Pafa. Michael Lanes apprenticeship. Seattle Atelier
Nelson in the Cast Hall of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts teaching the first Master Class held at the school. The cast hall and two large studios off of it were filled to capacity for the program. 
(Image from the artist’s website). 

A letter from Nelson Shanks. 9/8/2003

A partial list of artists with whom Nelson Shanks studied closely:
Wilbur Niewald
Edwin Dickinson
Henry Hensche 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Pedagogical Work of Arthur DeCosta

When Pamela Belyea and Gary Faigin asked me to teach traditional drawing and oil painting courses full time at the school which they founded, The Gage Academy of Art in Seattle, I worked for a while on a special series of foundation courses and workshops which would include as much of the pedagogy of Mr. DeCosta as possible. 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Philadelphia Tradition.


Here is some of the work of my teachers. People with whom I studied at PAFA or sought out for private tutoring or apprenticeships.

Ben Kamihira

Arthur DeCosta

Deborah Deichler

Sidney Goodman 

Nelson Shanks

Scott Noel

The Philadelphia School of painting is observational in both its nature and history. That tradition forms an unbroken line at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the first art school and museum in America (and one of the earliest schools of its kind anywhere in the world). 
While always welcoming to the highest levels of modernism it’s been a renowned example of realist traditions since at least the time of Thomas Eakins. In the 1990s those traditions were transformed under the influence of Scott Noel. Noel’s demonstrations and articulation of painting ideas extending back through Lennart Anderson, Edwin Dickinson and Charles Webster Hawthorne, among others, gave rise at the Pennsylvania Academy to the school of art known as Perceptual Painting and to a new, or refreshed, era of relevance for observational painting.