9/5 – 9/9
Re•Treat Summer Series
David Kassan and Shana Levenson
Painting the Portrait Beyond the Photo


Thursday – Sunday 9/5 – 9/8/24
10:00 – 4:00

Monday 9/9/24
Optional Open Studio Day/Critique Day determined by the class

Transformation Studio


Join artists David Kassan and Shana Levenson in a transformative 4-day in-person painting workshop where you’ll explore both classical and contemporary oil painting techniques. Together, we’ll deep-dive into the formal elements of representational painting like form, tone, value, color matching, edges, proportions, and composition, while also providing guidance to venture into conceptual art, using representational portraiture as a springboard. The workshop includes a photo shoot for source image referencing, ongoing demonstrations by Shana and David, and personalized one-on-one guidance, making this opportunity ideal for artists at all levels of experience.


A required materials list will be provided. Tuition will be non-refundable after August 1st. Class is limited to 12 students.


About the Artists

David Jon Kassan is an internationally recognized contemporary American painter, filmmaker, and philanthropist best known for his life-size representational paintings, which combine figurative subjects with abstract backgrounds or “tromp l’oeil texture studies, ”Of this dual representation strategy” Kassan notes, “my effort to constantly learn to document reality with a naturalistic, representational painting technique allows for pieces to be inherent contradictions; paintings that are both real and abstract.”


Kassan is a much sought after drawing and painting instructor because of his steadfast commitment to the age old discipline of working from life and creating compelling expressions of the human condition. He has given painting/drawing seminars and lectures at various institutions, and universities around the world. In 2013, he founded the Kassan Foundation in hopes of giving grants directly to underprivileged talent in both the visual and musical arts. Kassan works can be seen in many public and private collections worldwide. 


Shana Levenson is a representational painter from Albuquerque, NM.  Her passion for the arts led her to pursue a BA in Fashion Design from The University of Texas, in Austin, and after the birth of her children in 2009 and 2010, an MFA in Fine Art Painting from the Academy of Art University, in San Francisco. 

Shana’s work focuses on the figure and still-life mantras.  Her inspiration comes from painting people that are important in her life, and her goal is to capture each person’s story in an honest and meaningful way. Shana draws inspiration from her own experiences and uses specific series to illustrate chapters in her life.  Her background in fashion design has informed her work with the exploration of painting different textiles and jewelry.

AIDS has been a huge factor in her life and the impact it had upon our family is beyond the disease.  In 2014, She focused her work towards painting long term AIDS survivors. A project she calls Beyond the Illness to tell stories of these survivors through something that lasts forever, art.  In 1992, Her Uncle Alan died of AIDS.  The impact it had on her was significant.  Through the AIDS community, she met an amazing young woman who shared her story through public speaking and Shana was present in the hospice when she passed.  She was 12.  Alan and Sherry’s lives live on through her work. Shana currently lives and works in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her works can be seen in regular exhibitions across the United States and abroad.


About Re•Treat


A transformative series of six unique, curated workshops, each dedicated to providing a rich exchange of ideas and skill enhancement. Workshops take place in the Ah Haa School for the Arts state-of-the-art Silver Jack building, a 10,000 square-foot, purpose-built arts center with enhanced studios and thoughtfully designed classrooms. Each workshop will run Thursday – Monday, with the final day (Monday) dedicated to open studio and critique time for the class to finish their work independently. In addition to an intimate learning experience and one-on-one focused time with our visiting artists, students will enjoy a seasonal supper with a local chef, the opportunity to take a private historic walking tour of beautiful Telluride, and discounted lodging at the Madeline Hotel Resort & Spa.


Re•treat gives the modern traveler a chance to reimagine, reengage, refocus and reinvigorate their art making practice along side renowned artists in an intimate classroom setting, surrounded by the stunning San Juan Mountains.


30% off with our lodging partner (provided at time of registration)

Seasonal Supper with a local chef in Ah Haa’s Culinary Classroom

Optional private historic walking tour