About Myron

For nearly 50 years, the globally acclaimed paintings and drawings of the late Myron Barnstone stayed hidden from the world.

A native of Portland, Maine, Barnstone’s own artistic vision evolved from his first painting as a student at the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University, England, in 1958.  Through years of disciplined practice, Barnstone became proficient at creating work in the tradition of the classical masters.  He utilized both critical thinking and the exacting science of geometric design, dubbed the Golden Section, to bring movement, drama and life to his pieces.

When he lived in Europe in the 1960’s, Barnstone sold many pieces and staged several highly lauded exhibits.  Despite his early success, he stopped creating and showing his works – and even burned hundreds of them – when he made the life-changing decision to concentrate on teaching.

Myron was frustrated that contemporary art schools failed to provide students with a strong foundation in the fundamentals of drawing, and simply urged students to ‘do what felt good.’  While Myron desired to give the next generation of artists the proper tools, he never wanted his own creations to unduly influence his students’ artistic vision.  He locked away over 500 paintings, drawings, and photographs, and destroyed hundreds more.

During the 35 years he taught at Barnstone Studios in Coplay, Pennsylvania, Barnstone stressed to his thousands of students that “talent was a word used by the lazy to dismiss the work of others.”  Only through diligent practice and countless hours of hard work, he warned, could they truly understand epic art, and create their own.

In elaborate dissections overlaying masterpieces by greats like Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Picasso, Barnstone illustrated how the precise application of geometric principles brought movement, depth and feeling to design, sculpture, photography, and any other artistic medium.

A good measure of Barnstone’s effectiveness is how hundreds of his alumni have become art instructors, authors, sculptors, professional artists, and leaders in industrial design, pastels, photography and even animation. They fill key positions in global corporations, and their work is held in private and public collections around the world.

It wasn’t until after Barnstone’s death October 29, 2016 at the age of 83 that his daughter, Catherine “Cat” Barnstone Szafran, took on the responsibility of becoming the new director of Barnstone Studios, and relocated the facility to Thurmont, Maryland, an hour outside of Baltimore.  She continued to make his recorded classes available through BarnstoneStudios.com, and also started revealing some of Barnstone’s own work to the world.

Barnstone has been described as a modern abstract figurative painter who is related to the ‘School of London’ artists that include Ron Kitaj (who was a friend of Barnstone), Francis Bacon, and Lucien Freud. Barnstone was a virtuoso draftsman and master anatomist, and applied his traditional fine art training to create a powerful framework for his forceful and vibrant expressionist style.

In March of 2018, ArtistAngle Gallery in Frederick, Maryland hosted the American debut of Barnstone’s work.  Most of the pieces in the exhibit had been locked away for half a century. The 5-month revolving show drew wide acclaim, and visitors from around the country.

Barnstone’s legacy continues with the Barnstone Art Education Project, working with individuals and schools to share the video series of Barnstone’s drawing and color theory classes.  Distinguished alumni teach Barnstone Method workshops and serve as Barnstone Master Guides, nurturing the next generation of artists.  Barnstone Studios also works with museums and galleries to schedule exhibits, and sells both original works and gallery-quality prints.