I first started painting at 15 years old at The High School of Art and Design, when I became part of a very special group of kids and teachers who would come into school at 5:30 in the morning to paint before class. We lovingly called the group “The Old Hat Club”, because in those days, realistic painting from life was “old hat!”
We came in to paint every morning, not for credit, not for accolades, but for love. The group was run by two gifted teachers who painted right along with us every day. They were Max Ginsburg and his best friend Irwin Greenberg, and they did it for love as they were not getting paid for this.
Present in that group were budding artists such as Steven Assael, Costa Vaviakis, Garin Baker, Helen Oh, William Low, Maria Jiminez, Carlos Rosado, Gil Robles, comic book art legends Mark Texiera and Joe Rubenstein, children’s book great Eric Velasquez, and many others.
That was 45 years ago. Max and Greeny, as we lovingly called him, instilled in us a love for painting, and a passion for art. I would like to pass on the fruits of that passion.
In this course, I will start you with the very basics of oil painting, starting with drawing, or to be clearer, the ability to get your proportions and make stuff look like stuff. Then I will be teaching an approach to color that is mired in the tradition of retinal painting that goes back to Sargent, Hawthorne, and the American New York and Boston Schools. For this we will be using a limited palette that is not limiting. I will teach you how to properly mix and match colors in a way that gives us utmost control.
I will be teaching you exercises to develop your hand-eye coordination to make you faster and more accurate without being a slave to your measuring devices. Every other art form (dancing, music, singing), has exercises and warmups to improve your technique. It’s about time painters who choose skill-based art did as well.
I will teach you about form and structure while taking advantage of both optical and structural drawing techniques. Optical drawing to get the proportions of the subject you are painting, and structural techniques to develop the sculptural qualities of your painting.
And we will be doing all this solvent free; when we paint solvent free, oil painting is no more toxic than watercolor.
The artwork of Ricky Mujica was initially influenced by the old masters and this connection has helped him achieve a high level of success as an illustrator. Before returning to his roots as a fine artist, Ricky Mujica created art for all the top publishing companies including Harper Collins, Harlequin, Bantam, and Scholastic. He has created art for major magazines including the New York Times Magazine and Ebony. His work has been seen in commercials for such products as Cherry 7-Up, on murals for Sony and Leows theaters, and on clothes for fashion designer Rachel Roy. His artwork has been represented at the Museum of American Illustration on several occasions.
Since returning to his first love, Fine Art, Ricky has received many awards. This includes a first-place finish at the April round of The Representational Art Conference 2015 competition (TRAC2015). The Representational Art Conference Cadmium Award (TRAC2019). A signature Status from the Portrait Society of America where he has been a finalist and certificate of merit recipient in their international competitions on several occasions.
He has been a finalist in the OPA National, Regional and members competitions, the Salmagundi Club members and non-members competitions, the Allied Artists Competitions, the National Oil and Acrylic Painters National competitions, the Richeson Competitions, the Artist Magazine figurative art competitions, and the ARC International Salon Competitions, he won the Art Expo Solo Award, and has received an Honorable Mention in the Figurativas competition in Barcelona. Most recently, Ricky won the Florence and Ernest Thompson Memorial Award at the 103 Allied Artists Exhibition, and First Place at the Lore Degenstein Gallery of Susquehanna University Ninth Annual Figurative Drawing and Painting Competition.
Ricky has been designated an ARC Living Master by the Art Renewal Center and his paintings are in the Art Renewal Center collection.
Ricky currently teaches at the acclaimed Art Students League of New York, The Florence Academy Masters Program, the DaVinci Initiative, St Peters University (Adjunct), formally at Chelsea Studios Atelier, and has been on the teaching faculty at the Portrait Society of America. He has given demos and workshops on representational painting all over the world.