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​A Question of Style ... A Common Quest for Excellence (Newsletter 1981 Nov-Jan)

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Student artwork in The Barnstone Studios, Photograph by Tavis Leaf Glover

Were I approached by some enthusiastic fellow, wishing to hear my views on establishing an art school like ours, I would quickly alert him to a few home truths: Once a central body of dedicated students becomes established, one must be prepared to assume a subordinate role. The instructor's purpose is to serve the tradition in which he teaches and the needs of his students.

Like the gardener, one must not tamper with the seed once the soil has been carefully prepared. Nourish and support in every possible way . . but, allow each discrete individual to realize his or her full potential. Pay close attention to the community in which you teach. It takes a good few years for the character of a group to emerge. One can not anticipate the interplay of the personalities which, if one is very lucky, will blend to become the dynamic nucleus of the workshop.

If the fates are kind, a foretaste of what is to come will present itself in about the fourth year.

In spite of the wide range of works on the walls of the Studios, visitors have often noted an unmistakable stylistic order which has become the hallmark of our efforts.

Student artwork in The Barnstone Studios, Photograph by Tavis Leaf Glover

The stylistic interests which inform our work represent a lengthy evolution. This development is the result of a marvelous alchemy: Industry, study, interest, tenacious questing after skills and an unusual group of individuals: Hardly your garden-variety of mere serendipitous coincidence.

In truth, I am the instructor for the adult classes . . . however, I only teach. Mary Catherine Tachovsky, similarly, just teaches. . (however, I have watched her with the children's class . . . and, she is a very gifted lady.) Without students, without interested and very special people with whom to work, our efforts would amount to little . . . Nothing.

Student artwork in The Barnstone Studios, Photograph by Tavis Leaf Glover

We design lessons which illuminate concepts. To illustrate these we employ examples of masterworks from many periods. So wide-ranging are these choices, there is little room for the promotion of a particular style. If a Studios style has emerged, and one most certainly has . . . where has it come from?

The Studios are a situation as much as a school. Such a facility provides the environment in which this particular community of interested workers pursue their goals. The most industrious make break-throughs which excite the interest of their peers. Very gradually the cumulative effect of these high achievers makes its impression on the work of the less experienced . . . and, we have a Studios' style, a unique style, native to this particular workshop, derived from the mutual strivings of this distinct group: Product of the students and not the instructors. For, at the Studios, it is the students who do the drawing and painting.

Student artwork in The Barnstone Studios, Photograph by Tavis Leaf Glover

Barnstone Studios llc


202A E. Main St.
Thurmont, MD 21788


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