Monday, June 22, 2015

Colleen Barry at the Grand Central Atelier, Long Island, NY

Colleen Barry, Copying in the Pitti Palace Florence, Italy 

Here, I'd like to share with you an article I wrote featuring Colleen Barry. She currently teaches at the Grand Central Atelier in Queens, New York. This article was recently published the Journal of the Portrait Society of America, (1st Quarter 2015). Please note: the title should read Long Island City, NY.

I first learned of Colleen Barry’s work at Oak Hollow Studios in Carthage, North Carolina. The owner of the studio had previously hosted a workshop led by Colleen and had several of her drawings, which she shared with me. Colleen’s drawings were exquisite, and I was spell-bound by her talent. Of course, her drawings are the tip of the iceberg. Colleen’s paintings are equally remarkable.

Barry, Draped Male Figure
Colleen’s path to her current level of artistry was diverse. Her background and education were not formulaic or traditional by most standards. Her classical training was atelier- based. She sought teachers with whom she could spend concentrated time studying with, and she learned their techniques or procedures one-on-one. This blend of diverse styles has helped her to create her style.

Colleen has had such distinguished teachers as Sam Adoquei, whose style is impressionistic with bold color; Andrea J. Smith of the Harlem Studio, who teaches the Bargue method and disciplined drawing skills; and Jacob Collins of the Grand Central Atelier, whose focus on classical realism helped to synthesize her love of the figurative art form.

Colleen, a native New Yorker, met Sam Adoquei, a New York based artist from Ghana, Africa when she was 14.  Still in high school, Colleen would study with him for the next eight years. During the day, she would attend high school at the Dwight School. In the evenings, she would cross Central Park to study with him at the National Academy of Design. During those years, Adoquei’s focus for his students was to observe nature and paint loosely and painterly. From 1996-2002, Colleen studied privately at his studio, doing life drawings nine hours a day, five days a week.     

During her time under his tutelage, a spark was ignited. It was here that she first saw her artistic path developing. Colleen found a resonance with the inner world of an artist, being in the studio, in that “space.” All of it was transformational. She describes her studio space as a sort of incubator, a place where you can create your world, and become completely immersed in your work.

After studying with Sam for eight years, her parents wanted her to go to college and pursue a traditional education. It was Adoquei, who convinced her to pursue an atelier- based approach, studying one-on-one with artists and teachers of her choice. Adoquei anchored Colleen in her formative years and introduced her to an environment that would evolve and become a lifelong passion. 

Wanting to learn more about realism, she began to look for teachers in this field. Around this same time, she received The Newington Cropsy Award, which allowed her to travel to Italy and spend time studying and copying from the masters. Her time spent in Italy was mostly independent study. Colleen loves Italy and believes “Italy is the motherland of classical art.  Art students who wish to understand classicism and the humanist tradition should study in Italy.”

After returning from Italy, she was in search of someone familiar with the teachings of the Florence Academy in Florence. She found Andrea J. Smith of the Harlem Studio. Andrea had studied in Florence and had set up a private Atelier in Harlem called the Harlem Studio of Art. Andrea’s teaching focused primarily on life drawing from plaster casts, copies from the Charles Bargue drawing course, and naturalistic still-life painting. This method was exactly what Colleen was seeking. She spent two and a half years studying with Andrea. It was a time to build her technical foundation through the use of site-size techniques.

Female Nude with Skeleton

After working with Andrea, Colleen was in search of someone to help her understand the figurative art form in a beautiful, respectful, and artful way. Then she met Jacob Collins, who was teaching privately out of his studio in Manhattan. Colleen feels Jacob’s work “holds up to the standard of excellence set in the Renaissance and Baroque periods”, a tradition she wants to uphold. Colleen believes that “the figurative art form is the highest and most challenging of all art forms, as well as the most intellectually probing.”

So began her four-year apprenticeship with Jacob Collins at the Water Street Atelier, which later became the Grand Central Atelier.  Here, Colleen would begin to work in a style referred to as classical realism, which is different from photorealism. It’s about interpreting the nude in a classical manner in a modern world, celebrating an older aesthetic, but relevant to today.

Colleen now teaches at the Grand Central Atelier. When asked what she loved about what she did, she said: “I love belonging to an old tradition. It keeps me focused on what is essential and guides my inspiration. It allows me to have a dialog with great art and artists of the past. I also love working from live models. It is an honor to study nature and convention and then puzzle piece them together in a work of art.” 

When asked what she wants to bring to her students, she said, “I want to teach them how to look more closely at the human body and take the time to learn anatomy and structure. This takes years of learning and diligent study. I want to train my students to respect how long it takes to be an excellent draftsman. It is training that focuses on endurance, not sprinting. An artist can not achieve greatness if they get too excited over minor successes.”

Barry, Deposition of Christ

On her artistic journey, Colleen said that Sam Adoquei was central to her formative years while Andrea J. Smith helped her find discipline through the Bargue method. Jacob Collins gave her the foundation to mature in respect to figurative art. Each of these artists has their diverse style and teaching philosophy, and each one left an impression on her style. Colleen said she was “grateful to these artists for providing an environment in which this very special education could and can still exist”.

It was Colleen’s drawings that first inspired me. Through this article, I had the opportunity to meet her and learn more about her career. We had a lively conversation on the day Juno (the storm) was hitting New York City. Colleen was in her studio, and I was on the coast in South Carolina. After our conversation, I understood what drew me to her work. Knowing her as a person has now enhanced the inspiration I found in her work.

Thanks for joining me, and please continue to send me your comments.  I have been receiving emails, comments on the blog and on Facebook. I enjoy receiving your ideas, questions, and input. It's great to be bringing this to you. If you like this article please share this post with your friends or on Facebook.

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Artfully Yours,

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Annette Goings Fine Art Website

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Monday, June 1, 2015

New Portrait and Still Life Paintings

Ramy and Robert

After my last article, quite a few people contacted me wanting to see more of my recent work. This winter and spring have been a busy and exciting time. I've been working to finish paintings, to get paintings ready to send to shows and exhibits, and to write my blog articles. The hours have been long but worthwhile.

So I wanted to share a few new paintings, recent events, and accomplishments.

The above portrait of Ramy and Robert is completed and framed. The portrait has left my studio and now hangs in the Dining Room of its new home. Ramy and Robert are delightful. They are so full of life, very smart and have such loving personalities. Both boys were wonderful to work with and very happy with the end result. 

Sunflowers and  Feathers

The Brass Canister

Last fall, I needed a more permanent place to compose and arrange still life set-ups. Thankfully, my husband is handy with power tools and he built me a wonderful still life box perfect for composing arrangements.The two paintings above were painted in sequence and side by side on my easel. The Brass Canister was painted first and then The Sunflowers and Feathers. This is probably why they look so harmonious hanging together. These paintings were shown in the Seacoast Artist Guild Spring Art Show. I am happy to say The Brass Canister received Honorable Mention.

Mountain View

Mountain View was completed using charcoal and conte. I enjoy how this medium looks and the quality it gives to the finished work. The workability is good it's easy to make lines, hard edges, soft edges or smudging. They are versatile and you can get a variety of results.

Mountain View was juried into the spring exhibit at the Burroughs and Chapin Museum in Myrtle Beach, SC.


This recently finished painting, Nathan, is of a wonderful little boy who loves to drum and make music. He's always expressing himself through sound. 

This painting was also juried into the spring exhibit at the Burroughs and Chapin Museum in Myrtle Beach, SC. 


Jessie can be seen at the Elder Gallery in Charlotte, NC. Jessie was one of 110 pieces from North and South Carolina that was juried into the Carolina's Got Art Exhibition. 

Also, I've been busy writing and this past winter I was accepted onto the Literature Committee for the Portrait Society of America (PSOA)

This was the motivation I needed to focus more effort into my blog. My first PSOA article was published in April in the 1st Quarter Journal, just in time for the annual conference in Atlanta.

I am honored to say this past month, I was asked to become the Committee Chair for the Literature Committee for the Portrait Society of America.

It's been a busy winter and spring and a great year. I'm looking forward to what's coming next and to sharing this journey with you.  

Thanks for joining me, and please continue to send me your comments.  I have been receiving emails, comments on the blog and on Facebook. I enjoy receiving your ideas, questions, and input. If you like this article please share this post with your friends or on Facebook.

Subscribe to this blog by CLICKING HERE

Artfully Yours,

Please click to visit
Annette Goings Fine Art Website

Annette Goings Fine Art Facebook