Friday, 28 September 2018

The start of a new term at BARA - pastels, charcoal and water colours!

It's always an interesting challenge to decide what to give students at the beginning of the Autumn term. Some are new to the class, and some are returning but feeling rusty after perhaps not doing any drawing or painting all summer.

Ann, Natasha, Fernando, Ben and Clive working hard at the drawing boards. 
A useful start to a fresh block of classes is to work in black and white, and pastels are a great way to cover the whole page relatively quickly. It also requires that students use their whole arm to draw, working large, which is kinder (as a warm-up session) than working too intensely with pencil. Working very small can make us feel more tense, and tension isn't good for our creativity!

Catherine, Liz, Jackie, Hilary, Carolyn and Glynis (all looking happy!!) showing their lovely drawings!

This was Angela's first class - great drawing!

Catherine, also her first class, doing really well with the pastels. 
Upcoming classes in October - Oils, Friday Night Life Drawing, Portrait workshop and Children's art. For info email 

Friday, 14 September 2018

Paul Foxton and the Munsell Colour Mixing workshop, Belfast 2018

Little colour chips, prepared by Paul - a full set for each student

If you've ever attended a workshop which runs smoothly and apparently effortlessly, you can bet your bottom dollar that a lot of time and effort has been put in ahead of time to prepare. With Paul Foxton, the care and attention put into the pre prep was astonishing. From painted cubes and spheres to individual colour 'chips', to home made 'grids', nothing was left out or forgotten.

Paul trimming the chips, the ay before the workshop
We were blessed to have Paul teaching this workshop. He reckons that only three people in the WORLD teach this method of colour mixing, and the other two artists are in America.  We had two fantastic days of Paul's wealth of knowledge, passed on in a caring and understandable way.

Judy doing a little pre-workshop homework! 
Paul explaining the process, surrounded by Mark, Suzanne, Siobhan, Roisin and Tess.
After describing the origin of the Munsell system, and the logic behind it, students spent the first morning mixing and matching colour chips at the long tables, to a student-sound-track of much sighing, gnashing of teeth and ocassional 'aHA...' moments!

Paul brought large tubes of his own (personally mixed) colour values, mixed in large quantities to save time at the easel. 

Paul demonstrating using the Munsell chips.

Students watcing the demo. 
 Students spent the afternoon painting a grey sphere, sight-size. Day two we moved on to colour, using Orange.

Choosing Munsell values

Each work station is equipped with a photographers lamp to cast an even light on the subject, which was placed on individual book shelves at a height which suited each student.

 Lunch was a shared ocassion around the big table in the drawing room. It's important to relax together and refresh before starting the afternoon sessions.

Tess painting her orange cube
Judy painting the orange cube
  The studio is in an old school building, and the chairs from the junior classes came in really useful for those who chose not to stand to work.
Paul helping students 
Mark, in one of the little chairs!

Paul's final demo of the orange sphere

Demo completed
Back row: Tess, Margery, Paul, Mark, Siobhan, Roisin, Christopher
 Front row: Judy, me, Paul Foxton, Suzanne
It was a very full two days, and I'd like to warmly thank Paul for all his hard work, and the students for studying so whole heartedly. I'm delighted that Paul will return in the spring to deliver a five day workshop. Dates to follow! 

During the Autumn, there are five weekly classes in the studio as well as Friday Night Life drawing, and alternate Friday evening oils. The next weekend workshop is 20 & 21 October, in portrait drawing and the next children's classis Saturday 27th October. 
For info email 

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Maestro in Belfast - August 28th - September 5th 2019 - book early!

After delivering a wonderful workshop at BARA in August 2018 Maestro John Angel is looking forward to returning in 2019. Sudents will choose one of the images below (two by Bouguereau, two by Gerome, and three still life options) to do an oil painting master copy, guided through the full process by Maestro.

Option 1

A detail of the work process, MJ Angel. 

Option 2 

Option 3

Option 4

Option 5

Option 6

Option 7

Based on the successful system established in 2018, the 2019 workshop will run over 8 days, with one day off in the middle. The studio will be open that day for students who wish to continue working.
Maestro will deliver demostrations in the morning, and just after lunch and will guide and advise students individually. He also works on his demonstration paintings in the studio while students are working, which is incredibly useful.
Class runs from 10am - 5pm. Tea, coffee and biscuits are provided in the studio. There are several eateries and take aways within a few minutes walk from the studio, which is on the outskirts of Belfast, in the east of the city.

The BARA studio comfortably fits 16 students, each with their own dedicated lighting, wall space, chair/stool and shelves. The second room has large tables for flat work, tracing and cutting, with room for students to eat as well as a comfy seating area (The Parlour - a traditional Irish welcome space!). Students are looked after by Julie Douglas, who liases with local art stores, and arranges nights out together and is a font of local and artistic knowledge. You will feel welcome and at at home.

For booking information and all enquiries please email  NOTE - SPACES ARE STRICTLY LIMITED.

Mr Angel is highly regarded as one of the foremost figurative painters, and his paintings and portraits hang in both public and private collections worldwide. For the last 20 years, he has been the Director of Studies and senior instructor at the Angel Academy of Art, Florence. 

Mr Angel has taught workshops in Florence, in Toronto and at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. He also lectures at the Florentine campuses of several American universities and at various private schools in Rome and in North America. From 1982 to 1988 he was the Director of the National Portrait Academy in Toronto, Canada, and from 1992 to 1995 the Assistant Director of the Florence Academy of Art in Florence, Italy. As an ARC living master, Mr Angel is considered one of the most inspiring and successful teachers in classical and traditional art today.

A short biography can be found at He is listed in the Art Renewal Center’s Living Masters gallery and is one of the ARC’s Board of Judges. As well as judging the ARC’s Annual International Salon, he is a judge on several other national and international painting juries, such as the Collection Beaux-Arts Réaliste, IlluxCon, and the Portrait Society of Canada.

Maestro John Angel working at his demonstration painting

Students at work!
Students at the easels


What is the difference between attending a workshop in Belfast, compared to elsewhere? Well, it's the Irish welcome! Students (and maestro!) love coming to Belfast. The locals are friendly, and you will be well looked after by Julie Douglas, who will do her best to accommodate your creative needs. Julie has been teaching drawing and painting for many years and is therefore your best hands-on co-ordinator. She will liaise with local art suppliers to ensure the correct materials are available and she also arranges group evenings so that students get to know each other. This is great fun and a bonus, as many students come from all around the world. It's good to make friends. One student from Dubai said "Julie thinks of the details that make all the difference". Julie has been honoured to collaborate with Mr Angel on several workshops and expects that this one will be the best yet! Hope to see you there! 

Terms & Conditions:
A 50% non-refundable deposit is required to hold your place. Full payment must be received by 1st July 2019, and if that time has passed, payment in full is due upon booking. 
Minimum number of students is 16.

COST: £1350 to include instruction, tea/coffee and some materials. A list of materials will be sent upon booking a place. 

Not included:
Accommodation and flights, transport and all other personal costs.  Fees are non refundable unless the course is cancelled for any reason. 
If traveling, it is recommended that you take out insurance to cover costs in the unlikely event of cancellation etc. 
If necessary, we reserve the right to replace the tutor in an emergency. 

Details of accommodation near the studio will be provided upon booking. 

For booking information and all enquiries please email 

Belfast is a vibrant city with a warm friendly atmosphere. If you are traveling for this course, you will find lots of things in the city to enjoy in the days before or after the workshop.