Author Archives: ateliertalk

Perfected Artist…Morteza Katouzian

Morteza Katouzian – that’s his name. He’s from Iran, and to me, he is one of the perfected artists alive in this era. His paintings are phenomenal, masterly, and timeless. His drawings are also excellent. Actually, he’s one of my favorite artist of all time. By the way, one important mindset is to truly and fairly appreciate great artist from all over the world. I think beauty is beauty. Sure, there are many manifestations of beauty, but if you only look at the artworks of those from your country and culture…or from a certain time-period, you will definitely be limited in your creation. Now, we wouldn’t want that, would we?

Please check out his website:

Here are some works of his, to whet your apetite for this man’s colors and brushstrokes on canvas.


Day 7: Perfected Artists – Claudio Bravo

Claudio Bravo is a significant and perfected painter I discovered about four or five months ago. I say ‘perfected’ because from looking at his paintings, his finesse is perfect. What can one suggest he improve on? His paintings look as close to reality as humanly possible, and he painted challenging compositions and still life paintings. He has absolutely mastered painting elements like skin/flesh tones, drapery, wood, stone, glass, clouds, and more.

Here are some of his works…I encourage you to look on the web for more of his paintings…



This is a very crafty and skillful tribute to Vermeer’s ‘The Astronomer’…notice how now, the globe has been replaced with a telescope. Bravo!


The depiction of wood in these ‘Mortars and Pestles’ is impeccable.
By the way Mortar and Pestles(the wooden shaft and ‘bowl’ used for pounding) are staples in Africa. Very common in Nigeria. Claudio lived in Morocco, so I think this kitchen tool definitely is used there too.


Nice, luminous, glowing, smooth…like the Dutch Golden Age Masters’ painting style (e.g. Rubens)


Day 2 – On giving and getting back…verses from the Bible.

On my way to the atelier, I was reading Luke 6.

From my ‘guestimation’, Luke 6 is Luke’s own ‘Sermon on the Mount’…in some ways, similar to Matthew 5,6, and 7. Check out thes verses:

Luke 6: (Words of Christ)
v 30: Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. v 31: And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.

These are really important concepts. One might ask, what if everyone takes my things? And I am not left with anything? Well, you don’t have to worry about that. Why? Please look at verse 38:

Luke 6:38: (Words of Christ)
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you”

2 Corinthians 9:6-8:
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity;
for God loves a cheerful giver.

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

Today was good…in the morning session, I felt a little more comfortable drawing from the live model. Trying to be resourceful, I brought a tape measure from home, as well as a liquid level. I didn’t really use the liquid level, but I used the tape measure, since it’s always straight, can be held with one hand to compare horizontal points.

Below I have posted a picture of the model drawing today and my progress in the Bargue copy.

Some lessons for making Bargue copies:
– Use a plumb line, and from the shaded plate you’re trying to make a perfect copy of, you should even tape a plumb line to it – then draw a vertical line on your own sheet, which will be your own static ‘plumb line’, so you can accurately develop your drawing, using the plumb line as your main reference point.

– Use light, straight lines to ‘block-in’ the figure. These light lines will be easy to erase, without leaving dents in the paper, also, it will encourage you to keep tweaking it, until all the straight lines are at the right angles.

– Gradually add more detail. e.g. replace one sketched straight line with a more accurate curve.

– It is much more important to have the overall resemblance, than to render one part and have it looking great, but the overall drawing is inaccurate. e.g. it is better for the whole foot to look exactly like what you’re trying to copy, than to draw and shade one perfect toe, and have the rest of the foot looking like something else.

Here’s a photo of my works thus far:


Praise be to God.

Day 1: A Foot in the door

I must admit, I felt a surge of energy in me when I woke up, knowing today was to be my first day at the atelier. I got ready, and walked confidently to the bus stop, and waited.

Getting to the atelier, I met the instructors(who I had already met), and other students. There are two of us who are just starting.

From 9 to 12 am, we drew from a live nude female model. I think there were four sessions, and five minute breaks between. Everybody drew her. This is a routine exercise at this atelier. One aim of this is to work on the sight-size method.

There were several new ideas I learned: sight-size method, bloocking-in, using a plumb line, as well as using straight lines to get a really accurate outline and basic form, rather than drawing curves and details early…which makes later corrections and adjustments hard and messy.

After our long break between 12pm and 1pm, Jenna introduced us to Charles Bargue drawings. I knew some things about Charles Bargue drawings, and told us about this history (it was commissioned by Jean Leon-Gerome, a giant amongst painters, as part of the routine for training painters in the French academic tradition). All of Bargues drawings are absolutely excellent. The precision, shading, tones, even his long curved lines are perfect, without glitches.


We were asked to pick relatively simple drawings of Charles Bargue, which we are going to copy. I am now copying this one:


What’s interesting is how long it might take to get a perfect copy!

However, I am trying to learn that life is a journey…and so is making art. I am learning that it’s important to be fully in the moment and enjoy it as you draw or paint. Nobody ever ‘gets there’. OR, when you ‘get there’, you find that there’s a whole world ahead of you!

I’ll try to make this blog a comprehensive record of my experiences at the atelier, as well as a good record of the steps involved in being trained in the classical academic tradition.

Till then!