When I was a child I liked to draw...... although it was never a passion of mine. When I became an adult, I began to wonder what I could do if I was given some professional lessons in drawing and design so in 1988 after my children were getting older, fate brought me to The Barnstone Studios, in Coplay, PA. Myron Barnstone had a school that was designed to be like the old ateliers of Michelangelo's day. This school enforced the idea that drawing and design was one of the humanities and a difficult intellectual discipline. He believed that discipline in learning one's craft was the only possible key to total freedom of expression. As he took me around his school and introduced me to all that was involved, I was intrigued by all I saw.........and so my passion began!
I stayed four years and then came back 10 years later to take his Foundation Drawing class again just to see how much I progressed. During those years away from the studio, I did these studies of Master Works, figuring out what root rectangle the old Masters used, their painting methods, their methods of drawing and design as well as reading all the books that he had on his list. For you see, when you learn the classical method, doing studies of their works, these Old Masters become your teachers. How sweet!
As the years unfolded, after moving to Summerville, SC which is about 1/2 hour from Charleston, I opened up my own Connie Olson Studios and followed in his footsteps passing on what was the missing link for people who want to draw well. Too many art schools after the 1930's started to teach the 'just express yourself method' having the belief that too many rules could stifle your self-expression. And so the popular belief became ingrained in people's minds that only those who are born artists can actually be artists. And that is just not true....it can be taught! There is one thing you do need though and that is desire! If you don't really want it and don't want to put in the work, then being a classical artist is not for you. But if you have the desire to be an artist, a whole new world can be yours.
Understanding art is more than just liking a painting or picking a painting to match your room decor. It is understanding why the painting speaks to you, how did the artist make everyone who looks at his painting feel the same way. Understanding and 'reading' a painting will also open up a whole new world for the art patron as well. I invite you to learn and read and begin to understand what you are looking at as you continue to grow in your appreciation of the Old Masters' systems which are still used to this day. It truly is an intellectual pursuit as well as having an emotional response to what we call Art!
Quote from Michelangelo:
" If everyone knew how hard I worked,
They wouldn't think it wonderful at all!"
Please check out the button at the top of the pages marked 'Learn More' to find many secrets into enjoying art as well as helping you, if you are a student, improve your drawing and design.
I trained under Myron Barnstone, who was a student at the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University, England. Barnstone utilized both critical thinking and the exacting science of geometric design, using the Golden Section to bring movement, drama and life to artworks. When he decided to stop exhibiting his works and to teach, he put away his own works never to be seen till today. His goal was to teach this method which can be used in all variations of art from abstract to realistic pieces without influencing his students. I had never seen his works until his passing in 2016. He was tough, always the teacher while pushing you further than you thought you could go. To learn more, please go to: www.barnstonestudios.com/autobiography/