Summer 2019

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At 3pm every Open Day- dates above in bold – there will be a short talk and demonstration.

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The talk begins by explaining The Bargues as that is where all Academic Programs begin. I know it sounds a bit dry but it isn’t. . . it’s startling.

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The photographs I am putting here and there are of works I made during the full time Academic Program at Angel Academy in Florence – with one exception – ‘Barry’.  They won’t necessarily directly tie in directly with what I’m writing but do illustrate it & I hope they will make reading interesting for you.

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So now – Down to it

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Sometimes you just have to ask yourself questions.  

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Like  “Why do I paint like this?”

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“Barry” oil on linen 2019

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Questions mean progress, new challenges, horizons, directions, understanding   . .  or maybe not and being just fine with where you are and exploring that.

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In 2004 I went to my first two week workshop at Angel Academy.

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By day 8 – nearly at the end of the second week – the penny dropped.

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There are only shapes and values

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You can’t draw sadness, paint happiness, softness, hardness or depth or refinement or roughness or smoothness.

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First Nude at Angel Academy Workshop 2004

oil on canvas 2004

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BUT using paint in certain ways you can represent an illusion or version of your subject that may have these characteristics.

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Which meant and continues to mean for me –I want to get better at painting shapes and values.

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The Beautiful Bargues

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The Ankle Level 1 – graphite on paper

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And the exacting nature of the Bargues begins that life time’s journey of reaching for constant improvement – with every single drawing and painting one makes.

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But, these Bargues ?

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But what are they?

What is their value?

What do they teach?

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The Psyche of Naples – level 2 – graphite on paper

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A little bit of background

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In the late 1860’s the artist and lithographer George Bargue constructed and then published a Drawing Program to enable him to evolve his own capabilities and teach aspiring realist artists. He saw a way to attain the ability to create a strong sense of space, volume . . . actuality – his goals to make paintings in which things looked real.

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Every new student at a Realist Academy begins their program of application and learning by making extremely accurate copies of 3, 4 or even 5 of the Charles Bargue Drawing Program’s 67 lithographs. At each stage the work is more complex and difficult to reproduce. Only with permission by the studio teachers that they are satisfied, can one progress. And as they say- they don’t take prisoners ! Oh I do have a funny tale to tell you one day.

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Anne of Brittany – level 3 – graphite on paper (my favourite)

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Lets be pratical

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For those of you who draw and paint – let me recommend that you find Pejmann Amiri (pejmannamiri.com)  as he goes into drawing Bargues wonderfully with free pdf’s and painting casts with videos guidance.  Do try! 

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Milo of Crete – level 4 – graphite on paper

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Don’t like getting smudgy hands?

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For those of you who enjoy looking at drawings and paintings I hope you get a flavour of the first steps that go into making drawings and paintings and that Realist techniques are complex and require study to achieve results.

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I have an analogy

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Do you remember as a child trying to understand the idea of writing – having somehow conquered the remarkable function that speech plays in your life?  Probably don’t – but just thinking of it is quite something.

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Then possessing the dawn of realisation of writing’s function or can I say, power.   Holding the pencil ! . . .  trying to turn the line of a C into a C . . . or of course any other letter.  I had a friend who was very bright but simply could not do a small ‘r’.  Oh the tears and misery of that day, I can still see the classroom, my drawing of yet another fairy – yup, I could draw fairies and other little pals wanted one to colour in – the hours I spent . . .  but on that day, the silent unhappiness of the class room. 

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Then managing and managing to write a word, then a sentence, then a story . . . 

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Wasn’t an overnight success was it? 

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And here you have it.  Here you have all of it.  Trying to paint something to look as it does in Reality, because it has to be done.

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Elisa Seated – oil on canvas – 2012

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Be kind to us – please.

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I don’t return to childhood on a daily basis, in fact very rarely but just at present this analogy seems a good way to impart the, now sophisticated skills, knowledge and inspirational-need one must have to paint.  And when someone else likes it . . .  its very nice.

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I hope this interests you ? Do leave a Comment. And visit me in my Surrey Artists Open Studio all details above, address, times, sat nav guidance. On 14 & 15 we have the AIR SHOW here. There may be a bit of traffic and a little trickiness parking, but some of it will be in the form of red arrows, and spitfires zooming around the skies. Bring your family – have a picnic on the Common. Have some FUN.

Or contact me at studio@marilyn.bailey.com