As cases of the coronavirus continue to multiply and millions of students and workers must remain at home, Barnstone Studios Director Cat Barnstone Szafran had an idea of how she could help. Psychologists endorse art therapy as a proven way to de-stress and process emotions. Szafran decided to offer a free drawing class recorded by her late father, the celebrated art instructor Myron Barnstone. Barnstone's legacy is featured in the current issue of Fine Art Connoisseur magazine.
Today Szafran announced the Drawing Systems Class 1 recorded by her father, the late Myron Barnstone, will be available for free download through the end of the year. The class is available through the Barnstone Studios website at https://shop.barnstonestudios.com/barnstone-studios-drawing-systems-class-1-download/.
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“I wanted to help others while they’re following appropriate health guidelines during this challenging situation,” Szafran said. “Psychologists say art therapy is an effective way to help people process feelings and reduce stress and anxiety. Making Myron’s first class available to everyone seems like the perfect thing to do at this time.
“My hope is the class can help anyone, from young people to senior citizens, enrich their lives while they’re keeping themselves and others safe by staying home.”
After downloading the class and working on the assignments, students can receive additional support from Barnstone Studios alumni. The Barnstone Studios “Impaling Wall” on Facebook lets students post their latest assignments, and receive feedback from artists who personally studied with Barnstone.
Barnstone was internationally respected as a master art teacher. He made the dramatic shift from artist to teacher shortly after he became the toast of Paris for his 1967 highly lauded exhibit that protested the horrors of nuclear war. Barnstone was frustrated that art schools in the 60's and 70's stopped teaching the disciplined foundation and geometric precision embraced by master artists for centuries. Instead, schools were encouraging untrained young artists to simply “do what feels good.”
Barnstone was passionate about insisting his students learn the basics -- anatomy; the geometric precision of the Golden Section, the Fletcher system of a color-controlled palette. Talent, Barnstone would scoff, is a word used by the lazy to diminish the hard work of the highly trained, skilled artist.
During the 35 years he ran Barnstone Studios in Coplay, Pennsylvania, Barnstone drilled thousands of students from across the globe in the fundamentals of art. Many have gone on to prominent roles in art-related careers.
Barnstone’s legacy as a master artist and master teacher is featured in the current issue of Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. “Our editorial team knew that many artists we admire had studied with Myron Barnstone,” editor Peter Trippi said. “So we got curious to know more about his life.” The 7-page article chronicles Barnstone’s path from his childhood in Portland, Maine, to his studies at the Boston School of Art, and Oxford University’s prestigious Ruskin School of Art. The article also includes contributions from several of Barnstone’s distinguished alumni, who credit him with giving them the tools to succeed.
“Those students know that having these skills gives them the power and choice to do anything (artistically) in the future,” Trippi said. “They don't necessarily need to remain in their current mode, but they are not limited either. Myron Barnstone was clearly in the vanguard, preserving and relaying these skills at a time when few others were. Much of the world (not all of it, by any means) has simply caught up to his understanding of what art can be.”
Szafran has successfully continued her father’s legacy -- he died in October 2016 at the age of 83 -- with the Barnstone Art Education initiative. She provides art scholarships to promising students, and coordinated several workshops and an educational exhibit at Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania last fall. Szafran is currently collaborating with Barnstone Studios alumnus Prof. Mario Andrés Colón, Director of Utica College’s Barrett Art Gallery, on a Barnstone exhibit scheduled to run at the college September 4 through October 24.
Making the Barnstone Studios Drawing Systems Class 1 available for free is part of Szafran’s commitment to Barnstone Studios’ “2020: Focus on Art” initiative. The program also offers one-on-one instruction with an elite Barnstone Master Guide, a team of alumni who work with students studying Barnstone’s recorded classes.
Barnstone Studios at 202 A East Main Street, Thurmont, Maryland, is dedicated to fostering an appreciation of fine art, and helping to make art education accessible to all who desire to develop their talent and enrich their lives. Additional information about Barnstone Method classes, the Patreon program, private coaching from Barnstone Master Guides, original works or limited edition prints and other related products is available online at BarnstoneStudios.com, or by calling 301.788.6241.