creative research gallery and drawing center
a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization







“Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together.” – John Ruskin

Throughout our lives as artists, we may speak in a variety of visual languages in order create images unique to our own, evolving perspectives. For many artists throughout history, these visual languages, or “styles,” have been assembled from both their investigations into the connotative potentials of multiple subjects (consider Piet Mondrian’s famous tree studies that preceded his geometric abstraction, for example) and the complex influences of their artistic community. 

The Painted Subject is a series of classes, grown out of our past Drawn Subject and ongoing Painting Essentials series, that offer curious artists the opportunity to experience such a survey of subject-matter connotations, systematically journeying through topics and Art History with a master painter as your guide…

• The Self Portrait


• Master Copies (November)
Flora/Natural Subjects (January)
• The Narrative (March)
• The Nocturne (May)

… while simultaneously building further upon previous knowledge and skills, as they gain a better understanding of their personal “language.” Through an array of new observational studies from a different subject each month, we will focus on what guides your own perspective and the ways that it can be refined to develop an artistic voice.


Series Instructor: Brad Davis

Fee:  Individual 4-week Classes: $185

Full Series Price (all five courses): $700 (a discount of $45 per class!)


Course Schedule: Saturdays, 1:30-4:30pm*
Dates and times may change with advance notice, depending on the demands of the month’s topic.

Minimum Enrollment: 4
Maximum Enrollment: 12


Level: The Painted Subject is specifically geared towards artists with basic knowledge of observational drawing and some painting media, but who may not have a clear idea of what to paint. This series will also benefit those wishing to brush up on their basic knowledge of particular subjects. Every class will feature short demonstrations, specific lessons, and individual feedback for each student. Painting is a practice that has a far reach, and whether your artistic goals are for pleasure or profession, we believe that anyone can learn to paint and in doing so, learn to appreciate the world more deeply.


Instructor Bio:
Brad Davis is a painter from Cincinnati, Ohio. He earned his BFA from the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 2016, and his MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 2019. His paintings are typically centered around the urban environment and seek to transform its banality through careful and personal reconstruction. In addition to teaching at Manifest Drawing Center, Davis also teaches at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning (DAAP). Davis’ work has been exhibited nationally and was included in the 2018 XL Catlin Art Prize traveling show. Most recently he has been shown at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. His paintings are in the permanent collections of the Union League of Philadelphia and Capitol One Bank.

LOCATION: Unless otherwise specified, all courses are hosted at Manifest's new facility at 'M1' in Clifton at 3464 Central Parkway (see map and directions below). Manifest's new facility provides multiple studio classrooms, private lesson space, a darkroom, a film processing room, and a multi-purpose lecture and class meeting space as well as on-site parking, grounds, and exterior spaces in which to relax, discuss, and make art. The studios are outfitted with professional equipment, furniture, and study aids.

Map to Manifest's M1 Studios   |   Studio Calendar   |   Darkroom Calendar

works by Brad Davis


Brad Davis



2022-2023 Schedule:
4 Meetings Per Course: Saturdays 1:30-4:30pm*
(See full descriptions in Subject menu below.)

* the Nocturne class meeting times are 8-11pm (night time!)


The Self-Portrait: Seeing Yourself Through the Brush
September 10 - October 1
Registration Deadline: Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Master Copies: Finding Yourself in Another’s Process
November 5-December 3*
*No class meeting on November 26
Registration Deadline: Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Flora/Natural Subject: Seeing the Sublime in Flowers
January 7 - 28
Registration Deadline - Wednesday January 4, 2023

The Narrative: Character, Context, and Communication
March 4 - April 1*
Registration Deadline - Wednesday March 1, 2023
* No class on March 18th

The Nocturne: Painting the Nighttime Landscape
May 6 - 27
Registration Deadline - Wednesday May 3, 2023





Questions?: Contact Adam Mysock at



The Self-Portrait:
Seeing Yourself Through the Brush

Master Copies: Finding Yourself in Another’s Process

Flora/The Natural Subject: Seeing the Sublime in Flowers

The Narrative:
Character, Context, and Communication

September 10 - October 1
Registration Deadline:
Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Portraiture is perhaps the most personal and psychologically engaging pursuit in painting because it is linked to what we most readily identify with—ourselves. We will explore the dynamism created by various lighting structures over the human face as well as the complexity in painting convincing flesh tones in this timeless pursuit of capturing the "self". 

Topics covered:

  • landmarks of the head
  • finding planes of light
  • color/temperature
  • defining parts of a shadow
  • turns of the head 

November 5-December 3*
*No class meeting on November 26
Registration Deadline:
Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Have you ever stood in front of a painting at the museum and marveled at how the artist achieved their results? One of the best ways to reveal the secrets of the past is by copying the paintings themselves. In this class, we will work directly from paintings in the collection of the Cincinnati Art Museum in the tradition of the academic “master copy”. By dissecting everything from color palettes likely used by the artist to their brush strokes and layering techniques, we will create a master copy that helps us better understand the minds of our heroes.

Topics covered:

  • techniques and processes of the past
  • mark making/paint application
  • painting materials/mediums


January 7-28
Registration Deadline:
Wednesday, January 4, 2022

From the Dutch Calvinists, all the way to Manet's last flowers, artists have continually sought the sublime from floral painting. They have also produced exquisite attempts toward preserving the ephemeral while studying such delicate plants. We will look at this lineage of artists as we dive into what is one of the most pervasive subjects in painting, the flower. 

Topics covered:

  • arranging an effective subject
  • building layered volume
  • recording translucency and volume simultaneously 



March 4 - April 1*
Registration Deadline:
Wednesday March 1, 2023

Beyond demonstrating an understanding of the human form, artists are constantly finding new and engaging ways of telling a story about the people they paint. In this class, we will look at a wide variety of figure painters that do just this. By painting the figure into our own images, we will explore how tools such as composition, value, and color all play a role in our conscious and unconscious interpretation of a narrative.

Topics covered:

  • working from photo reference
  • staging a reference
  • creating convincing atmospheres
  • developing eye movement
  • technical narrative vs. overt narrative

* No class on March 18th

still life setup by Brad Davis

The Nocturne:
Painting the Nighttime Landscape May 6 - 27


May 6 - 27
Registration Deadline:
Wednesday May 3, 2023

Painting after dark is one of the most exciting scenarios for any landscape painter because of the challenges and possibilities that it presents. For this section of The Painted Subject, we will work on site at area parks and downtown locations to capture what happens once the sun goes down, all while discussing how artists from the past approached this unique subject.

Topics covered:

  • how to observe color in artificial/low-light settings
  • understanding your palette in artificial/low light settings
  • low-key tonal arrangements
  • safe set-ups for on-site, after-hours painting 



 Josephine S. Russell
Charitable Trust, PNC Bank Trustee

Manifest is supported by sustainability funding from the Ohio Arts Council, and through the generous direct contributions of individual supporters and private foundations who care deeply about Manifest's mission for the visual arts.

gallery hours:

tues-fri 12-7pm, sat noon-5pm
closed on sun-mon

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Contribute to our Annual Fund



gallery map
2727 woodburn avenue
cincinnati, ohio 45206

drawing center map (m1)
3464 Central Parkway
cincinnati, ohio 45223



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