Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Problem with Barnstone, Overview

Myron Barnstone runs a private art school called The Barnstone Studios, in Coplay, Pennsylvania, which is outside of Allentown.

This series of essays is intended to shed some light on the reality underlying Myron Barnstone's school and his teachings. I think that Barnstone is subject to both unfair criticism, and unfair praise.  Though the comments in what follows are mostly critical, I would like to recognize at the outset that there is a core set of ideas that Barnstone teaches that I have found very provocative, interesting, and even useful. However, I don't believe that the value of these teachings justifies the negative aspects.

Normally, one does not write multiple essays to analyze and criticize someone that one disagrees with. This is especially true in art, where poor teaching seems to be the rule. Why not just move on then, and forget about it? The reason is this... that Barnstone has taken upon himself the image of a kind-of latter day Renaissance Master, who defies the ignorant contemporary art scene, and trains would-be artists in the true knowledge of what real art is. Or something like that. There are many ways to express the same idea, many of which are pinned to his studio walls in the form of newspaper clippings, where the reporter gushes over how ingenius his school is.

Barnstone revels in this massive ego trip, and self promotes it shamelessly.

Some patience is required in what follows. The negatives aspects of Barnstone's teachings are not necessarily obvious. It took my quite a while to put together this critical overview.

I feel qualified to make critical judgments for two reasons. First, I attended 3 of his of his courses. I attended his basic drawing course twice (as is recommended) and his color course. Secondly, I have quite a bit of art education under my belt. I went to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts as a full time student for 2+ years, and also had received an associates degree in art from Montgomery County Community College. So I had a lot of studio instruction under my belt, as well as a lot of art history and theory.
I found out about Barnstone's school when I was casting about for an alternative to the art education I was receiving. I think I first heard about him via a reference in Juliette Aristedes book Classical Drawing Atelier. Aristedes had attended the Pennsylvania Academy (where I had heard her name mentioned), and had studied with Barnstone as a teenager.

What once looked like an interesting studio school with a gruff but likable old timer at the helm, has revealed itself to be more of an art copying factory, with a miserable cuss spending his last days on earth being pissed about how lame everyone and everything is. His occasional expressions of admiration are reserved for either unassailable master artists of the past (with whom he is in some kind of spiritual union), or else those artists of today that he has trained personally, and who use his methods.  

Every question you ask him is either cut off before it ends, or else is misunderstood by him... as he desperately seeks to superimpose some pre-ordained answer he has long since memorized. In either case, the answer more than likely misses the point of the question (which he didn't listen to anyway), and the tone he takes in answering it… directing his answer to the room, not to the one who asked the question… serves as a mocking reminder of how you know nothing. The bravado contained in that moment would be thrilling if he were an were a bullfighter, or operatic tenor, unleashing a crecendo of emotional turmoil in song. But seeing the so called teacher there, beating the question into submission for the pure thrill of being a know it all… the pure, naked ego defensiveness is sad. 
He has erected and maintained a useful art school far from the clutches of the evil modern art world. But apparently the effort to do so has turned him mad, like the evil scientist in the movies, who turns his powers to destruction because of some past injustice that an "ignorant society" had perpetrated against him. Instead of being a steady mentor, who disseminates his wisdom with a calm hand… he has become a bully, to whom anyone who does not toe his line (to the letter) represents an infidel in his midst. 
The content of what he teaches, and his methods, are in stark contrast to the modern art school. He is strict, where they are lax. He explains the ideas, where they are unconcerned with conceptual content.  He demonstrates what he explains, where they only occasionally demonstrate without much explanation. He has structured home work, and a plan to build knowledge over time... where they have only 14 weeks of sitting in a studio with the occasional pointer or two whispered in your ear as your plug away at the art.  
But, the power of all that he has arranged there seems to disintegrate due to a series of corrosive attitudes that aren't immediately apparent. The number one problematic attitude is that, though he strives to explain the idea of things, in actual practice, he doesn't want you to "understand" what you do so much as he simply wants you to do what he told you to do.  
 The presumption is that by doing what you are told… that is, by doing specific exercises, in very particular ways, in a specific order… that you will come to understand the nature of the art problem that those very exercises are designed to teach. In union with his explanations, this is generally true. His system of doing things does indeed cause you to understand some fundamental ideas.
 The problem arises when you consider that he wants you to do it exactly one way. In his mind, it is the right way… and being the right way, why would you want to do it any other way than that. But in practice, the energy required to do something exactly as you are told is so complete, that it seems to leave no room for your mind to actively think about what you are doing. Absolute doing in this way makes you reject your own mind, in favor of the requirements that another mind has given you. This kind of annihilation… the shutting off of my active mind in favor of doing what I am told to do… I just can’t do it.
In Barnstone’s view, the doing is the end in itself. In my world, the comprehension of what you are doing is the most important thing. Of course, you can’t comprehend what you haven’t done… so the doing is needed. But I want to first comprehend the thing in a general way, so that I have a conceptual grasp of the idea. This allows me to connect it to the broad base of experience and knowledge I have. Once I have that comprehension, I can decide for myself if I need to push myself to a more exacting execution of technique. But I do not presume that some exacting execution is my goal.
 Barnstone’s approach makes exacting execution the goal. You are not required (nor are you encouraged) to form ideas along the way. All he wants if for your homework to look exactly like the homeworks of former Barnstone Champions that he has pinned to the back of the room, or that he shows in his slides.
 As an example of the mindless I give you the following scenario… two weeks ago in class I asked that young guy named Sam a question. I asked him what Barnstone meant by a certain procedure of mixing. Sam looked at me funny, as if he didn’t even understand my question (which was clear enough I think). He tells me that I can watch him if I want. So I said to him… “In other words, you don’t have an explanation”.  Then I told him that I could watch him, but still not understand what was going on. In my mind, just watching an action doesn’t explain the reason for the action, and certainly doesn’t connect the action to any broader picture. He just looked at me with a scared expression and said… “I can only do what I was trained to do”.  To unwittingly express your epitaph at such a young age is sad. He can only do what he was trained to do.
But in Barnstones view, that’s what art is. It is to be well trained in the practices of making certain paintings in a certain way… his way.. the Barnstone way. Although the lectures contain plenty of explanation of the concept of the things, he demands an absolutism that is inconsistent with understanding. For all of his talk of ideas, I believe that his school reduces to rote training, an emphasis on technique, and thereby locks the minds of his disciples into a rigid way of thinking. Their way of thinking allows them to dutifully learn and execute a collection of techniques that will make correct and reasonable pictures. But at what cost? When your mind is taken out of the equation, you aren’t even a human being anymore, let alone an artist.


  1. The old masters copied each other to learn, they copied Greek and Roman sculptures and casts, so if barnstone grosses you out, so must all the art from 1300 to about 1800 (except Leonardo and Durer, they studied nature mostly)...I love old art and methods, if one does not, one should not go to Barnstone. Question: A statue of Shiva in a Hindu temple looks similar to a statue of Shiva in another temple, also of a similar style...the creators of these were neither humans nor artists?

    1. My critique of Barnstone is contained in 5 essays, covering 15 pages, and contains reasoned analysis of specific points. Yet every advocate of Barnstone who writes to defend him NEVER addresses these points. Draw your own conclusions as to what that means.

  2. Hi Mike- I was also a student of Myron Barnstone. I studied there as a high school Freshman- Junior year. As a multi-talented student, at the top of my class academically and also artistically and musically inclined, on retrospect: his studio could have been the best place to focus true and dedicated talent.

    I agree. Taking his criticism and point of view was often hard. The work ethic required upon all his serious students was also a hard pill to swallow. When he encouraged me to focus on my artistic development over other athletic and academic endeavors, I jumped ship.

    I ended up a graduate of Georgetown University School of Foreign Service- majoring in Cultures and Politics. Their arts courses couldn't come close to the truth offered in the Barnestone School.

    However, with a more adult perspective and educated viewpoint, I will never look back and discredit his "ridged" was of training. As I attempt to musically educate my two young boys on string instruments, it is all too evident that the path to true excellence can only be achieved by a few, hardworking and determined individuals. Talent may play a small part- however, "it" can be mastered by any willing to persevere....a hard truth to swallow but wisdom never is easy.

  3. Dear Mr. Anonymous

    I don't know why you decided to go to Georgetown to study Culture and Politics, when you could have gone to the Myron Barnstone school of Culture and Politics. Instead of being exposed to a range of difficult issues, you could have spent your time in a DISCIPLINED fashion copying the works of David Hume, Aristotle, Plato, Cicero, John Lock. Just write down what they wrote, and memorize their arguments... so that when the time comes you'll know what to think.

  4. I've only recently been introduced to the Barnstone Studio methods, but also have past art education from formal to informal experiences. In my humble opinion, even though Barnstone is rigid in his perspective, and opinionated in his taste, it gives a solid foundation of tools that can later be exploited by a creative inclination.

    To me, it is just like learning the scales in music so when embarking on learning a 'new' piece of music, or exploring and composing a new piece, you are prepared and ready to use the foundation of elements that you learned and know what will work for your expression in a fresh new way.

    In my own struggle with painting, I often found I didn't understand how color interacts and use a lot of raw color in a very naive way, but with examples in Barnstones lectures very often I get small 'aha' moments come and like an epiphany, I immediately see what would improve an old piece I've done rather clumsily.

    If you don't understand what is being communicated, jump in and make the mistakes because it will help you learn what not to do and it will eventually click if you stay with it.

    I took a literature class with an instructor who gave the assignment and wanted the students to report on a story from my own perspective. There were no examples or understandable clues on what she meant and I struggled desperately. I wrote the report at least 3 times and then, like a light bulb turned on and it became clear what I needed to do and rewrote it again successfully.

    All this said doesn't mean I will ultimately use the same palette of color as in the exercises that appeal to Mr. Barnstone, but the system of color theory will prove to be invaluable.

    I've mostly been addressing the issue of color, but I'd like to address the subject of drawing also. Classical drawing foundation is lacking in most modern art classes, but imagine if an architect just did whatever he felt like without the knowledge of what makes a strong structure. That would be a building I wouldn't wish to walk into.

    The architect that has the foundation of what constitutes structural integrity can design and build an amazingly beautiful structure that is fresh and contemporary, but he used the basics every other architect learned over the ages.

    I'd like to use one more analogy - that is something in nature. Every season of every year the same flowers appear, with the same color, but once in awhile comes an anomaly that is more exquisite than all the other blooms. The underlying structure/foundation is the same, but this one bloom just had something a little extra to express and share for anyone who wishes to observe its unique quality.

    I think the best way to understand Barnstone's method is to see it as a basic foundation of study overlooked by many art schools. And if understood this way, the curious creative mind of the artist will go beyond the foundation of the craft to create something extraordinary. I think someday you will have an aha moment and be grateful for the discipline. It isn't so much about 'what to think' as learning 'how to think' for solving the next problem presented in our pursuits to create something beautiful.

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  6. Roseanne, why do you think it's necessary to explain Barnstone to me, when my 5 essays covering 15 pages clearly indicate that I am fully aware of what he teaches? Are you like all the Barnstone defenders, who presume the critic of Barnstone "just doesn't get it"?

    But imagine this... imagine that I get it... that I understand it... and that I've seen through it to something troubling. So instead of trying to encourage my having an "aha moment", why don't you take the time to have the aha moment over what I wrote... and before it's too late.

  7. I studied with Barnestone. And I had a full-time job so it was not easy to get time to do the assignments to his standard or my own for that matter. Further I have studied too, at PAFA in the 70s, at Moore, and at the Barnes Foundation under Violette di Mazia. And during all that time, I knew artists ought to be trained the way an engineer or any professional should be trained and I found that at Barnestone Studios. Further, I did not find an egomaniac at all; I found a man sure of his topic, and remarkably eager for his students to learn and enthusiastic to share knowledge. I say remarkable because he has been at it for quite some time. Up til then, I always had the feeling in art school that if Raphael, or someone more 'modern'- Lucein Freud let's say - if they looked at how we were being trained, they's sneer and walk away.
    Your comments are dripping in emotional dislike of the person. I have met teachers who coddled pets but he is not one of them. He was fair to me; he took time with me, even when I did not have time to complete totally, the assignment. I studied drawing x2, Color, and Figure Drawing; I also have his dvds; the one dvd 3 hr lecture on Figure Drawing should be seen in every art school. Every professor and student could learn something. If artists could learn what is really at the core of Barnestone's teaching: art is NOT drawing what you see, design and drawing are inseparable, the artworld would come back to life. It would matter again

    1. My critique of Barnstone is contained in 5 essays, covering 15 pages, and contains reasoned analysis of specific points. Yet here comes another defender of Barnstone's honor who does not addresses these points. Draw your own conclusions as to what that means.

  8. I just stumbled across your blog having recently watched Barnstone's DVD and I agree with pretty much everything you said, I think your points were relevant and well made. It's interesting that you described him as a bully because, although he does seem to teach useful techniques for realist drawing the main thing I felt from watching it was that he was just quite an unpleasant character as a teacher. He just comes across as really angry about something but I'm not quite sure what. It wouldn't encourage me to attend any of his classes. Quite a contrast to Glenn Vilppu, who seems like someone who really enjoys teaching and in whose company it would be great to spend time.

    1. Thanks for the positive review. It's the first unqualified positive review I have received. Barnstone is angry at the current state of art instruction, and (I presume) the modernism that has led to it. It's not unreasonable to be angry at such things. I am annoyed at it too... and it is a huge problem in the culture.

      However, Barnstone turns his anger against his students, as if they are part of the problem. Any perceived deviation from his rote instructional methods is seen as selling out to the forces of modernist evil. I kid you not. Unfortunately, learning any subject (particularly art) requires deviation from instruction, if only because no instruction is capable of literally placing ideas into your head. On must always formulate and reformulate what they are told, so that one can fit it into their individual understanding of the world. This is what it means to take ownership of knowledge.

      The old adage "listen and learn" is not quite true. It's "listen, reformulate, learn". Barnstone does not want you to reformulate. He equates learning with the words coming out of his mouth, or the drawing he presents to you to copy. He becomes seriously annoyed with any student who tries to truly grasp "what he means". He does not want you to grasp what he MEANS… he wants you to grasp what he literally SAID.

      At any rate, this is the topic I refer as "Absolute Doing", which is located here

      As for Villpu, I haven't heard of him. I took a quick look at his web page. He strikes me as yet another realist draftsman who presents appealing figure drawings interspersed with rhetoric about how to think and do what he does. Naturally, one can learn from anybody. But again, until and unless one stops seeking for authoritative methods and masters, and instead seeks knowledge… and then take the dangerous step of pursuing that knowledge as your own… then one will never be free from… from… well… one will never be free at all.

    2. I also just found your blog and wanted to say thanks for taking the time to write up your thoughts. It was very interesting. I'm new to learning art and just discovered Barnstone (only watched the first part of his DVD).

      As for Glen Vilppu, I haven't seen a large amount of his teaching videos but from what little I have seen his main quote was "There are no rules, just tools." and said many times that he's just showing the way he does things and you can take and use what you see fit. But your assessment of him could well be true.

      The final part of your paragraph about seeking authoritative methods and masters is so relevant/eye opening, especially for me a beginner, as I have fallen into the trap of trying to find the one right or perfect way to do things.

      So thanks again and I'll check out some of your other posts on this blog.

      Take care.

    3. Everyone learns differently, and to different degrees... and has different standards both for what they are looking for, and what they accept as an answer. My tendency is toward philosophical understanding, which strike people as odd when applied to art. After all, art is simply [fill in the blank].... where the blank can be filled in with... realism, beauty, personal expression, therapy, and so on.

      Whatever one chooses, just assert that and be done with it. If one wants to draw things with realism, then they just assert that as relevant, and learn to draw with realism. Boom. You're good to go. It's just a craft, and so learn some craft processes that will allow you to achieve a result.

      Of course, one can wonder whether art is simply so simple. Is learning a craft process the end, or just the beginning. It's common for teachers of realism to assert that the learning of the craft steps is simply the beginning... that you are learning to use tools... and that what you build with them is up to you. But this overlooks the fact that the MANNER in which you learn craft steps has a major impact on what you will be able to do with them. The manner in which you are taught trains your mind to a certain disposition toward the art object.

      At any rate, I could go into depth on that topic, but maybe I'm not speaking for your concerns at this moment, so I will just leave it at that. Thanks.

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  10. I can only judge Barnstone by watching his DVDs but I think everything you said seems to be right. I disagree about Vilppu, though, he's a great teacher, there's no didacticism in his DVDs, just demonstrations and explanations. He often repeats the mantra "There are no rules, only tools".

    1. Yeah, like I said... I really don't know anything about Vilppu specifically. I was lumping in him with all the other drawing experts, and pointing out potential problems.

  11. hey there, i watched 2 first classes of barnstone drawing method, and i kinda feel that yes, he is an opinionated bully, but also, there's good stuff to be extracted from his lessons. i didn't do the silly homeworks, but all in all, i think i will learn something from him in the end, and i am sure you did too.

  12. sounds like you didn't do too well in his class. If you don't like criticism that much, find a different profession lolol. Who cares how many pages you wrote about his "flawed teachings" you're just butthurt.

    1. My critique of Barnstone is contained in 5 essays, covering 15 pages, and contains reasoned analysis of specific points. Yet here comes another defender of Barnstone's honor who does not addresses these points. Draw your own conclusions as to what that means.

  13. I was about to purchase Barnstone's DVD videos and googled for opinions just to see what other people thought about him. Your article has been quite informative. Not sure if I want to buy his videos now. Probably going for Riven Phoenix "structure of man", which now reveals itself like a no brainer for someone like me who is more interested in learning how to draw the human figure. Plus the price is really low compared to Barnstone's.

  14. Okay, I've read all five articles and I can only agree with a previous comment. You do seem "butt hurt." Myron is simply Myron, and that's who he is. I have found academia far, FAR worse in terms of megalomaniacs with crazed (or no) ideas. At least Myron teaches clearly a system for HOW to draw, something I have not found in art school from BFA to MFA yet.

    You obviously have personality issues with Myron. To which I can only say, "who doesn't?" He's not easy to stomach, but what he teaches WORKS. Are there other systems? Of course, but who is teaching them? Not the $30,000 a year art schools.

    You also seem to be arguing for more "creativity" and "imagination" than you found. Well, that's not what Myron is selling. What you draw is up to you. Myron is simply providing a methodology for accurately representing objects in a realistic fashion, and he IS a curmudgeonly old coot. I think that falls into the "tough shit" area, and you are more than free to find the same information and disciplined training elsewhere. Good luck with that.

  15. "Butt-hurt"... really? You say you read my 5 essays, and that's the best you can do? Name calling is fun... and easy... but all it means is that you have distaste for me and my ideas. Wouldn't it be more challenging to actually explain yourself?

    "Myron is Myron"... really? What does that even mean? That Myron is identical with himself? That's the language one uses to talk about God, not about an art teacher. The fact that you see him as an irreducible, unquestionable entity is troubling. Don't you think a teacher... the person presumably pouring things directly into you brain... should be something you can question and understand?

    By the way, I never used the terms "creativity" or "imagination"... that is your language... and your derogatory use of the terms reflects Barnstones distaste for those very things. My problem with Barnstone's teaching wasn't the lack of creativity involved. I accept that the method must be learned before one can be creative with it. My problem is that the way in which the method is put across is via rote, memorized, non-cognitive doing.... which I argue is damaging to the mind... and the mind is the source of meaningful art.

    My read on you is that you are somewhat desperate for a method of "doing" so that you can get things "done"... and thereby feel validated. It's not unreasonable. So fine... learn a method. But know this... that the MANNER in which the method is absorbed has a far ranging impact on your art. As they say... the medium becomes the message in time. So go for it with Barnstone... today you do what you are told... tomorrow you make a proper drawing... next week you make another one... but in time you will suffer from having accept that rote, mindless approaches are ok. And tell me... what kind of art do you think will be produced from such a mind?

    It is utterly short-sighted to commit to mindlessness for the sake of a method today, when your whole future is at stake. There are other resource out there for learning to draw that do not involve the radical non-cognitive doing of Barnstone. It is challenging to find these things, or construct them yourself. But if you're serious about learning a method AND about keeping your mind fluidly engaged... then what choice do you have?

  16. Wow. You do realize you are every bit as dogmatic in your position here as Myron is in his?

    Your entire fourth paragraph is a theoretical assumption of some abstract learning principals that can be easily rejected from a historic perspective: Renaissance artists well trained in craft through a menial apprentice program created incredible work under continual religious, social and philosophical pressure for conformity. 20th century art is severely lacking in the essential craft skills Myron teaches, resulting in a lot of incoherent, emotionally pretentious and poorly drawn art. Personally, I wish I had had access to Myron's teaching 30 years ago so that I would not have lost so much time figuring out the basics -- and that's all Myron is selling, the basics.

    Is he his own worst enemy? In many ways, yes, but that is who he is. "Myron is Myron" is not some deep religious concept, just a recognition of reality, where most of us live. The empirical ideal of a wise and benevolent teacher is your construct, and just irrelevant to the truth that Myron provides information almost impossible to find anywhere else.

    The fact is that artists do refer to Barnstone as a unique source of arcane knowledge. If you have alternate sources for such knowledge, at a similar price and learning schedule, please enlighten us. Seriously, people go to Myron after having exhausted academia, and many would welcome alternatives that did not involve moving to Allentown, Pennsylvania.

    There's a line in "Once Upon a time in America," where a character says
    "people are weirder than shit." Okay, granted, Myron is an eccentric. So what? Most of us have to deal with crap every day, and Myron is actually one of the BEST teachers I ever had because everything he taught was backed up with lines on paper. I cannot say that of any college level professor I ever had -- they babbled a lot of creative theory but could not convey practical information on how to draw to save their lives.

    In closing, I'm sure Myron will appreciate being mentioned in the same paragraph as God.

    Seriously, dude. You and Myron are just reflections of each other here, except Myron has backed up his position with functional results. You and he obviously have different views on how to teach, and I look forward to your announcement of a school to correct everything Myron does wrong.

  17. It's so strange that my critique of barnstone has the effect of forcing respondents into defending rote, menial, non-cognitive memorization lessons.

  18. While doing taxes, I do not do the math of 9 times 12. I write down the rote, non-cognitive answer of 108 and keep moving. I do not give a gnat's shit HOW the math works anymore, and that's how I use a lot of Myron's information. Over-thinking is way overrated in relation to the Barnestone process, which IS a lot of mechanical construction that does not entail introspective or imaginative thought. Myron provides tools, not the magic pencil or the secrets of creativity. You really do have to find another dead horse to abuse.

  19. When you write down 108 you know full well what it means as a multiplied sum. Memorization and rote methods are simply conveniences that only mean anything when you grasp the underlying idea to begin with.

    What you should want to argue is that in art there are ideas that can only be grasped in the act of "doing". Which is true. That is how it art works. My argument against barnstone is that his approach to "doing" does not allow for the grasping of the ideas related to what you are doing. It's a subtle distinction… I realize that… and easily lost in the excitement over learning how to draw a bottle.

  20. I know, I know: nothing like responding to a blog three years after the fact, but I see the comments still going strong; so this should be fun. Thank you for pointing out that you not only went to community college but also studied art for a whole two years! I think this certainly lends a credibility to your assessment that would have otherwise read as just the bellyaching of some poor sap who got his feelings hurt.

    1. Another barnstone defender with nothing useful to say. This anonymous guy's pissy reaction is revealing. His art educational model is a one room schoolhouse with one teacher preaching one perspective on art training to a room full of passive neophytes with neither the ability or opportunity to critically assess what they're being told… and this gives him the confidence to mock my 60+ college level art courses and ignore 15 pages of considered critique? Clearly a case of not knowing what you don't know, and the mindless confidence such ignorance brings.

  21. ATTENTION BARNSTONE DEFENDERS… I will no longer respond or publish any blog comments posted as Anonymous, for the obvious reason that anonymity only encourages bullshit responses like some of those above, which prefer the ease of agitation over the honest effort of comprehension. If you want your comment published then login with an actual name… and deal with the content of my critique.

    I realize that most of you are pissed that I criticize your hero, but lashing out at me won't change the facts. This isn't about me anyway. Being pissed at me is simply a way to deflect attention away from the real issue. Your only concern should be the sanctity of your mind, not that I called out the very person who teaches you how to mechanically draw a bottle while simultaneously negating the mind that you will someday rely on to produce art… to produce something more than mechanical drawings.

    You are a human being. You do not owe barnstone the mindless allegiance he demands. But you do owe it to yourself to always consider the nature of the art instruction you receive… because HOW you are taught has ramifications well beyond WHAT you are taught. For example, if you learned how to tie your shoes because your mother put a knife to your throat, then out of fear you might very well become proficient at tying your shoes. But the activity would be forever linked to the physical intimidation from which it sprang. If you relied on shoe-tying as an expressive medium, the psychological weight of the past would get in the way. This is exactly the case for art. Yes, art is reliant on tools and techniques… but it requires too that those tools and techniques are conveyed in a manner consistent with the future artistic use of your mind. This is a subtle issue of which I've said enough here, and have said more than enough in my essays. If you can't or won't understand this issue, then it is YOU who are truly fucked. I really hope that barnstone students will try to understand that the psychological negation inherent in rote, mechanical, mindless instruction is the worst investment they can make in their artistic futures.