International artist Paul Beel to visit BAYarts

Portraiture artist Paul Beel will visit BAYarts for a painting workshop in March.

One of Cleveland's own will be returning to Ohio this March. In the early '90s, artist Paul Beel traveled to Italy for a full scholarship at Studio Art Centers International in Florence. And after receiving his MFA degree in painting from Bowling Green State University, he returned to Florence to paint and teach. Since then, he's put down roots overseas, having become a dual citizen of the USA and Italy.

Currently, he lives in the Pfaelzer wine region in Germany, known, he says, as Germany's Tuscany. "The Pfaelzer region is a really great place to live. I live in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse. On the hill above my house I can see Hambacher Schloss, a castle which is credited with the founding of German Democracy. On the other side of us sits a great plain made by the Rhein river. Across that plain on a clear day you can see the town of Heidelberg."

Beel's portraiture work has won numerous awards and accolades. After having studied the human face for so long, he's curated keen insights on why he's so drawn to that niche. "Portraiture appeals to me more than other subjects because we react to a human face in a way we react to nothing else. When we are young, the first thing we learn about seeing is that those two spots in front of our face are eyes, and from there we learn how to read all sorts of feelings and thought in a face. It is about connecting to another person, and portraiture is also a great challenge."

And a challenge it is, for Beel actively works to show the life in a person's face.

"It is partly from living in the age of photography ... pictures of people smiling, it feels to me like so much life has been left out. When I am painting people, particularly from life, I am not looking to 'freeze a moment' like photos do, I am looking for a longer view of their lives. And if that view doesn't include some tragedy, sadness, loss ... it doesn't seem complete."

As a visiting artist that Cleveland is lucky to have access to, BAYarts is hosting Beel as he teaches a two-day portrait painting workshop on Saturday, March 12, and Sunday, March 13. The cost for the workshop is $200; more information is available at, under the Classes tab.

When asked about important lessons he's learned and likes to impart to his students, two things stand out. "The most important lesson is to catch fire with making art, to allow yourself to become somewhat obsessed with it." As Beel continues to strive in his quest, he encourages others to never stop reaching for the same.

Beel's second lesson comes from a former teacher. "I've studied under Jules Maidoff, a really great painter and pretty tough teacher. He passed this idea to me, that if every bit of a painting, every brushmark, doesn't serve your content, then it's not art. It's an ideal that you probably will never reach, but the quest for it makes all the difference."

Jessica Stockdale


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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 9:31 AM, 02.16.2016