Virtual Art Academy
Barry John Raybould and Bato Dugarzhapov

The Art of Bato Dugarzhapov

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

Bato Dugarzhapov’s thoughts on painting

Here is a book created by Bato Dugarzhapov that summarizes some of his key thoughts on painting.

Bato Dugarzhapov is one of the master painters of our time. I have been fortunate enough to spend time with him this year 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 – an philosophy of painting 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

Biography

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.

An artistic legacy

When you are learning how to paint, whom you study with is one of the most important things to consider. The best knowledge on painting passes down from generation to generation, and from one master artist to another.

Barry has apprenticed in his early training with many of today’s finest painters and counts amongst his friends many more. He always shares his knowledge with other artists and engages in long discussions with these master artists about the finer points of painting. The process is one of mutual learning and exploration

When you study with the Virtual Art Academy, you get the benefit not only of Barry’s own apprenticeship with the many fine masters he studied with, but also of these advanced discussions on art and painting. His goal with the Virtual Art Academy has always been to make sure this high level of knowledge on painting is documented and preserved for future generations.

Some of the fine artists that Barry has studied with, and the artist friends who have most contributed to his own artistic development include:

Ultimately an art school depends on the legacy of its teachers. Very other online art school can claim such a pedigree.

Tip: When you sign up for an online art school, find out who taught your teacher (and not just from reading a book!)