Learn to see the world as an artist


The works of Leonid Gervits exemplify a pure and, in many respects, traditional historical phenomenon. Amidst the inevitable flux of popular influences, styles, and subjects, Gervits’ work has remained essentially realistic, and the artist’s humanistic spirit grants the work coherence. This humanism manifests mainly in portraiture, though other forms in the artist’s oeuvre include multiple-figure compositions, landscapes, and still lifes. Though all his works bear the mark of Gervits’ technical mastery and keen sensibility, these traits manifest differently when applied to conscious subjects. Gervits’ portraiture is distinguishable by its outstanding artistic form, harmony of color and tone, and accurate representation. In addition to these traits, his works contain an even more valuable quality: a sense that the artist is not copying but interpreting. This is a quality imbued by time, aesthetic decisions made, and relationships formed on the canvas.

“It is wonderful that figurative realist painting and especially portraiture is alive and thriving, despite the introduction of photography over 170 years ago. To me this proves that an artist’s hand and soul, along with his eagle eye, cannot be replaced by a machine. The vibration of the artist’s heart and his/her unique skills have been the most valuable part of realist painting for centuries,” Gervits wrote in his introduction to the The Art Students League early catalogs.

“Since I myself do not make up anything except what God gave my eyes to see in this real world, my teaching method is based on pure observation and comparing parts to parts, shapes to shapes, colors to colors, values to values. I experience an almost physical pleasure by just looking and being excited by what I see around me. What a wonderful gift of life to be able to make something from nothing, to take just simple clay (which is paint itself) and create an image almost equal to life.”

At the core of my teaching method is very careful observation of the subject. Only from this type of observation, will the student learn to make accurate comparisons. For example, the subject can be subdivided into various parts. Every subdivision must be compared against itself , and then compared against the subject as a whole. The result will be a rendering of correct proportions. The goal of this learning exercise cannot be overstated. The goal is a rendering of correct proportions.

With respect to color, the student should proceed with the same careful observation and comparison of chroma relationships within the subject as observed in nature and brought to the canvas with truth and harmony.

I see the task of the painter as being described by the following three words: feelings, knowledge, and skills in that order.




18:15 - 21:30


8:45 - 16:45

Painting from Life

Portraiture, Composition, Still life, Drawing, Acrylic, Oil. All levels welcome.

New York Student League

Private lessons available upon request

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