Mary McAndrew, director of the US Museum of European Art (Clarence, New York) has met the prominent Canadian painter Michael John Angel in Toronto. A native of England, the master painter now shares his time between his studios in Florence, Italy and Toronto.
Toronto-New York (mea) The American painter Mary McAndrew, taking part in an advanced painting program at the Angel Studios in Toronto under the guidance of Fernando Freitas, has invited the 'maestro' Michael John Angel to visit the Museum of European Art in Clarence, New York before returning to Florence. An exhibition of the works of some of the students attending the Angel Studios in Toronto and Florence is planned in the future.
Mary McAndrew recalls her first encounter with this unique art studio in Toronto: "It is through my work at the Museum of European Art that I came to know about the Michael John Angel Academy. I went to visit it with John Zavrel, the founder of our Museum, and were impressed with the level of talent from the beginner to advanced student. The head instructor, Fernando Freitas, took a lot of time to explain the program and look at my portfolio.
I was surprised in meeting the other students, that they were all different ages--from college student to senior citizens. We all had one important thing in common: we had gone as far as we could as artists, studying at various institutions or on our own, but we knew that we were still missing what we needed."
The painter Mary McAndrew felt that she had reached a 'wall' that she could not get over without the proper help. Finding the proper help was a problem for her, until she visited the Michael John Angel Academy. Then she knew that this was where she had to be. She says, "you feel an assurance that you will learn Classical Realism from master instructors at this school. They bend over backwards continually to help students from out of town. They will do everything to help a student to fit into his or her schedule."
Mary drives two hours from Buffalo to Toronto every two weeks and stay for two days. This is a tremendous commitment for her, as she has two young boys and a very busy husband at home! And there are some students at the studio, who come all the way from Montreal and Michigan regularly, because it means that much to them.
The school sets up firm parameters for students to become successful artists with real careers, but they do not force their style on you. The students will all take away the classical training they need for a solid backbone, and use it with their own style.
All students, regardless of their previous level, start at the beginning. They are required to do drawings from pictures of casts, then charcoal drawings from real casts. After many of these, they paint the cast from life, with a limited palette of oil paint. The last level is the still life. From the very beginning though, all students do figure drawing from life, learning how to do gestural constructs to lay in the proper proportions.
"I have been painting on my own for many years, and now feel that I have the help I need to get over that 'wall' I've come to", says Mary McAndrew. She highly recommends artists from the Toronto area to visit the school and see in person what they have to offer. They will not be dispappointed!
Michael John Angel Studios, 2738 Dundas Street West, Suite 100, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M6P IY3. Telephone 416-766-1280, ask for Colleen Johnston, Director and Chief of Operations. E mail: info@AngelArtAcademy.com