In 1970 he enrolled in the class of world famous portrait artist Everett Raymond Kinstler at the Art Students League of New York City. The following school year Mr. Principato was selected to study with renowned Boston painter Robert Douglas Hunter, and two years later was invited and accepted in the atelier of R.H. Ives Gammell at the Fenway Studio Building, Boston, MA.
After this Mr. Principato decided to round out his studies by returning to the Art Students League where he received a Ford Foundation Scholarship and a Merit Scholarship enabling him to study portrait and figure painting for the next three and one half years. A this time Ernest studied with the international sculptor Jose Decreeft and anatomy teacher Robert Beverly Hale.
In Robert Schultz's morning classes for two years, Ernest also studied the 'Reilly' Method of Painting and Drawing. This was particularly important because much of the old masters' knowledge and technique of drawing was painstakingly gleaned and combined by Frank J. Reilly himself to bring together the best and most complete approach to draughsmanship painting.
From 1970 to 1978, Mr. Principato studied nine summers at the Cape Cod School of Art with painter and colorist Henry Hensche, the protégé of Cape Cod School founder Charles W. Hawthorne established in 1899.
This unique combination of training has given Mr. Principato the seldom acquired artistic skills and vision to bring together the age old conflicts between the linear drawing approach of the Renaissance Masters/19th century academicians and the colorist tenets of the founding fathers of impressionism (culminating with Claude Monet at that time.).
Art is a journey whose end should never be reached. The growth of one's personal artistic development is primarily dependent upon an attitude that should be cultivated with great care, wisdom and open mind constantly searching. At the end of one critique Henry Hensche once told Mr. Principato "The Greeks excelled because they had the love for learning."
"My artistic vision is to maintain my first impressions so I can capture the freshness of the moment on canvas."
This is the way in which Ernest Principato describes his approach to painting. Mr. Principato's unique style creates the vibrant colors of the early impressionist school of thought and the American School of Color combined with the compositional structure of the Old Masters. After many years of study, he has developed a very different and personal perspective that allows traditional standards to be reinterpreted with the added element of color structure.
Collecting many prizes, this innovative style of American Impressionism has been exhibited throughout the United States and Canada including the National Gallery of Art in Hamilton, Bermuda. While traveling to paint and teach around the U.S., Mr. Principato has spoken on radio programs explaining the concepts of his artistic vision and various experiences leading up to his style of painting.
In addition to numerous art associations, he has been a member and participant in the following art organizations: National Arts Club of New York City, Pastel Society of America, Society of American Impressionists, the Art Students League of N.Y., and the International Society of Marine Painters. The artist founded American Art Productions to expand an understanding of color as the essential element of impressionist painting.
During his early art education, Mr. Principato sought out some of the most accomplished artists of the last 50 years to glean knowledge. Beginning with the Vesper George School of Art, Boston, Ma; then training with Robert D. Hunter, Boston, Ma; selected as a private student by R. H. Ives Gammell Atelier, Boston, Ma; studied with portraitists Everett R. Kinstler and Richard L. Seyffert, Art Students League, NYC; sculpted with Jose DeCreeft, NY; and studied eight summers (one year straight through the following summer) with Henry Hensche, Cape Cod School of Art, Provincetown, Ma. He has also been granted the good fortune and privilege of being under the tutelage of the nationally renowned fine artist/illustrators the late Tom Lovell and Cleve Woodward (incidentally Mr. Woodward was the portrait/figure monitor for Charles W.Hawthorne's summer classes at the Cape Cod School of Art.
In addition to the above, Mr. Principato had the recent privilege to have studied with nationally-renowned portrait artists Cedric and Joanette Egeli of Edgewater, Maryland. For the last two years he has participated in the January portrait workshop for advanced studies, held in Maryland, and has also participated in a two week summer course for outdoor portrait/figure classes offered at Cape Cod, Massachusetts in July. Of these special training sessions Mr. Principato enthusiastically states "Cedric and Joanette offer a unique blend of knowledge and experience to generously share a high level of information that gives even the most talented portrait artist a greater ability to improve and reach new heights of artistry and skill. I am very honored to be under their professional teaching and guidance. They make learning an exciting lifetime journey!"
First to recognize the artist's talent with a series of commissions for his private collection was Dr. Cornelius Vermeule, Curator of Classical Painting and Museum Curator at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. Since then other commissions have followed and his painting are now included in corporations, public institutions, and private collections both in the U.S. and abroad.