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Master Profile: The Art of Bato Dugarzhapov

Barry John Raybould and Bato Dugarzhapov
Barry John Raybould and Bato Dugarzhapov

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Bato Dugarzhapov is a contemporary painter from Moscow, Russia. He is arguably the foremost painter in the new contemporary style known as neo-impressionism. This approach to painting combines both realism and abstraction in an innovative way.

Landscapes by Bato Dugarzhapov

Landscape Painting, by Bato Dugarzhapov

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Seascapes by Bato Dugarzhapov

Bato Dugarzhapov’s thoughts on painting

Here is a book created by Bato Dugarzhapov that summarizes some of his key thoughts on painting. Click the square button bottom right.

Bato Dugarzhapov is one of the master painters of our time. I have been fortunate enough to spend time with him, painting and learning about his thoughts on what it takes to produce truly creative and masterful work.

It turns we are very much aligned in our thinking, and in particular on the Visual Music & Poetry™ concept – a philosophy of painting that gradually emerged when researching information on painting for the Virtual Art Academy online painting classes.

One of the core ideas behind the Visual Music & Poetry idea is that creating a master painting is not at all about making a faithful reproduction of what you see. Rather it is all about creating a beautiful visual experience, that is based on some fundamental truths of nature. It is the latter that makes the painting more powerful, since it relates to us on a human level.

This means that when you paint you have to do two things:

  • #1 Have Fun And Relax
    When you are painting you need to use the scene you are painting as just a starting point. Then play with your colors until you come up with something beautiful on the canvas. Do not think too much. It help to paint quickly. React to things in the scene that interest you and get their essence down quickly. Play with the paint on your canvas until something beautiful happens, even if its not completely true to the actual scene. In fact it won’t be. This is the Visual Music of the painting.
  • #2 Respect The Visual Truths Of Nature
    There are key things you have to know about the visual characteristics you find in nature. Things such as how colors change depending on how far away from you they are. And what are the color variations you see in every sky, no matter where you are in the world. These are the fundamental truths of nature. You have learn these things so that you can apply them while you are playing on the canvas. If you violate these truths, your painting will lose its Visual Poetry

The book includes some of the paintings he created in China with me and one of my students. That’s me on the right in his book. (Bato was painting behind us).

Barry (right) and his student Meng (left)
Barry and Bato Dugarzhapov painting in China
Barry John Raybould (in back) and Bato Dugarzhapov (front left) painting in China

Book of Paintings by Bato Dugarzhapov

Here is a book of paintings by Bato.


Bato Dugarzhapov (1966 – ) was born in Duldurga in the Chita Region of Siberia. He studied at Moscow Art School and graduated from Surikov’s Moscow Art Institute. He is a member of the Moscow Union of Artists, and lives and works in Moscow.

A key strength in Dugarzhapov’s work is his excellent combination of both far music and near music. The compositions are always very strong, with an interesting arrangement of shapes, and beautiful color harmonies. He uses many types of contrast: contrast of detail, contrast of temperature, and contrast of thick and thin. The paintings are usually painted in middle values with a few dark accents, and sometimes in a high key to emphasize the feeling of strong sunlight.

He uses a very interesting optical color mixing brushwork technique using multi-colored brushstrokes sometimes in combination with a wet-in-wet adjacent brushstrokes technique. It is tempting to see his technique as being the main reason for the painting’s beauty, but in fact the beauty arises to a large extent from his strong foundation in color observation and in his drawing skills, where he skillfully uses suggestion. He is very accurate with hue changes on a form, made much more difficult because of using optical color mixing at the same time. Without this foundation the brushwork technique would not have the desired results.

He is one of the very few painters who can take a representational painting to the verge of abstraction and still make it feel real. Another painter who was able to achieve this was Feodor Zhakarov, but with not with quite the same degree of color harmony.

Thank You

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Please feel free to share it with friends. If you are interested in a structured approach for learning how to paint, take a look at my online painting classes.

Happy painting!

Barry John Raybould
Virtual Art Academy

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