Portraiture - 5-Day Workshop

 This is an Advanced class for students who have completed the following prerequisite courses in my training track;

  • Drawing Andamento and Tessellation for Mosaic
  •  Value/Gradient/Color Mixing Principles for Mosaic
  •  Ravenna Method 5-Day Intensive.

Learn ancient methods of creating Classically styled mosaic portraiture, and explore creating expressive, accurate features and contours of the face with smalti and stone.  Students begin draw out the Value fields and Lead Lines of their portrait. Then students create a portrait in stone and smalti.  Portrait subjects need not be Classical in nature but will be created using classical principles.

There will be a brief review of the classical principles, but this is an advanced class and from the prerequisites you are expected to come in with this knowledge from previous classes already. On the first day I will go in depth into applying those previously learned principles specifically to my Portraiture style.

This is a very fluid class with the primary presentation occurring on the first day. The rest of the 40 hours is primarily work time with me supervising and mentoring, therefore there will be plenty of freedom and we can structure your time to fit your needs. After the first day it will seem like an Independent Study course as there will be no additional formal presentation but hands-on coaching and working. You will be free to take breaks and lunch when you wish. Each student can work at their own pace and there is no pressure to finish your portrait in class. 

You may work in either Directly into thinnest on plastic or plastic and mesh over the image or in the Ravenna Method in clay. I will provide the mesh, plastic, clay, bone glue, thinset, etc. I do not care how you cut your materials; you may work with hammer and hardie or nippers or both as you desire. Tools provided.

For those wishing to work in the Ravenna Method you would have two options:

  • You may choose to finish the mosaic at the end of the 3rd day so that you are in line with the gluing and setting processes during the final 2 days, and then work on a 2nd direct-method mosaic for the final two days, OR
  • If you feel comfortable with completing these processes on your own you may work on your Ravenna method mosaic for the full 5 days, glue it at the end of the the 5th day and complete the rest of the processes at home on your own. 

In this class the student is responsible for bringing in all materials for their Portrait project; stone, smalti, other, substrate, etc. I will not personally be assigning colors and amounts as in the reproduction classes; you are expected to come in with this done using the skills you developed in previous classes with me. I will have a supply of flesh tone mixes to scavenge from here and there in case you need something you may have miscalculated on. If you wish to order a wood frame to work in or transfer the mosaic into after complete, you need to order that WELL ahead of time with me so that I can order it made and shipped.

As far as criterium for your Portrait subject selection- just make sure it’s big enough to be manageable cutting-wise; that’s really up to you. I suggest working within the 14”x16” or 16”x16” ish range for a not-too-small/ not-to-large project range. But we can discuss your idea more in email consultation if you decide to take the course. I might suggest something with medium to dramatic highlights and shadow; nothing too washed out and monochrome. Something where you can focus on the facial features rather than too much excess subject matter; maybe some thing with personality to  challenge yourself to bring that out. frontal, 3/4, profile all are okay.


After the initial presentation, the goal on the first day will be isolating your value fields and drawing your andamenti or Lead Lines (classical or contemporary), creating your working sample board of colors and setting up your method of working. If time allows you  begin laying your mosaic.

Students consult with Michael via email and send him several portrait photos or images from which they choose one to render. From this choice Michael will recommend a size to work in, as well as provide a posterized version (if desired) of their subject which the student can then have printed to their size which the student will work from.

This course is for advanced students already familiar with using the hammer and hardie as well as classical mosaic and andamento methods. There is a prerequisite of Drawing Andamenti and Tessellation for Mosaics, Value/Gradient/Color Mixing Principles, and Ravenna Method 5-Day Intensive (which exposes you to both Ravenna Method and regular Direct method into thinnest).

This is a class for the serious mosaic student who is ready to knuckle down, work hard and discover how the classical principles of mosaic can be of value in developing your own mosaic voice. 

  • Tools and thin set will be provided, but students will bring all materials necessary for their portraits.


Held at MKMosaics Studio-San Francisco, CA

Portraiture 5-Day Intensive

Aug 23-27, 2017

Prerequisites: Drawing Andamentiand Tessellation, Value/Gradient/Color-Mixing Skills, and Ravenna Method 5-Day Intensive

Materials: Tools, thin set, and supplies for Ravenna Method process will be provided, but students will bring all materials necessary for their portraits.

Semi-Private rate: $750

Private rate: $950
Materials: Tools, thin set, and supplies for Ravenna Method process will be provided, but students will bring all materials necessary for their portraits.


Classes at MKMosaics Studio are kept to a maximum of 3-4 students. To run a class must have a minimum amount of 2 students.
Please do not delay in signing up. 
Many people come in from all over the United States for class and need to make travel arrangements.

Class is a go when the minimum amount of students sign up. 
If the minimum amount of 2 students is not met one month prior to the course, I will contact any student signed up to ask if they would like to pay the “private” rate and keep the class as scheduled. If the single student does not wish this, the class will be cancelled and they will have the option to reschedule or receive a full refund.

If student cancels after 4 weeks from class start date a refund will be made minus $50.00.
We will take payments for class with last payment to be made one month before class. 

Please contact me at to make arrangements.

My studio is located in an artist’s collective called “The Point” in the Hunter’s Point Shipyard in the Bayview area of San Francisco. Though it is accessible by Public Transportation, this area takes quite a while to commute to and from, therefore it is advisable to have a car. Once registration and payment are received I will send you more detailed information about your course and how to get here.