Painting and drawing like old masters. Passion for the crafts.

ExpatsTimes is pleased to share our interview with Olga Golubova and Anar Rasulov. The pair are co-owners of the foundation Traditional Art Technique Atelier (TATA) set up in 2016. TATA is dedicated to classical realistic painting and drawing techniques of the old masters.

Traditional Art Technique AtelierOlga Golubova is a PR and communications professional and her partner Anar Rasulov, an artist specialized in painting and drawing techniques of the old masters. Having both lived in The Netherlands for over 15 years, they also share a Russian speaking background. In their classes, hosted in Amsterdam and The Hague, they focus particularly on working with authentic materials and studying traditional oil painting techniques. Read their interview here.

Where did the idea of starting the foundation come from?

Olga: I have worked in various PR and communications functions at Dutch companies before I started my own freelance adventure in 2014. At the time when I met Anar, I was involved in several artistic projects. Soon after we decided to set up a project together and gradually our ideas evolved into a foundation that aims to promote and preserve traditional art techniques and knowledge about authentic materials. Art has always been my hobby, but stayed in the background, and now I can deepen my understanding through our foundation.

Tradition is not to preserve the ashes, but to pass on the flame – G. Mahler.

Anar: The foundation aims to offer a unique knowledge that is not being taught at Dutch art academies anymore. As an artist, I want to contribute to passing on the knowledge about key materials such as oil paint, mediums and pigments. Today there is a lack of insight into materials with which the artists work, so we want to educate people closer to the traditions, spirit and techniques of the old masters. TATA is about going back to the basics: know your materials, study the old masters’ techniques and shed light on the time-tested ways of making things.

schilderen olieverf Amsterdamstilleven schilderen olieverf

In your opinion, what makes the drawing and painting techniques of the old masters unique?

Anar: I am inspired by the craftsmanship and the effective time-proven methods that were used by the great artists of the Golden Age. These techniques are timeless and I strongly believe that they provide the most efficient way to learn realistic drawing and painting. Skills and craftsmanship that had been used by the old masters can give people the tools needed to express their ideas and visions through the medium of realistic painting and drawing.

I have always admired the painting and drawing style of the artists such as Rembrandt, Rubens and Van Dyck, for their way of capturing the narrative with the use of certain materials and the story behind it. Also, the visual language that the old masters used differs from the approach in the modern art. We are teaching students about the materials that the great artists of the past have used and how you can apply this knowledge in a modern setting.

Anar Rasulov sketch
Anar’s sketch of a horse with sanguine.
Anar Rasulov oil paintings
Left to right: Detail of Anar’s reconstruction of Frans Hals’ painting “The Lute Player” (1623).
“Imaginary view of Delft”, inspired by the Dutch painter Van Goyen (with handmade oil paint).
“Girl with a Pearl Earring” – a grisaille study.

Do you think visual art is important for the one’s general development? Why?

Anar: I think that visual art gives many useful perspectives in different aspects of life. Through the observation of life and nature around us we can develop a deeper understanding of it and come to see the world more as holistic rather than consisting of separate things. By looking at the nature that we paint or draw we can learn to become one with it. It can also help us understand ourselves and our behavior more. In my opinion, we would be happier and healthier if we paid more attention to developing our mind (skills, knowledge), body, and spirit. Art is a good means to achieving this balance.

drawing class Amsterdam old masters painting class Amsterdam

What is the difference between self-made oil paint and the oil paint from manufacturers?

Anar: Since ready-to-use oil paint from manufacturers is sometimes stored for long periods, stabilizers and preservatives are added to make it last longer. For this reason, some artists who want pure oil paint decide to make it themselves, in order to have total control over the creation process. By using only a few key materials you can make your own oil paint from scratch. It does feel different to paint with handmade oil paint, our students say. It also looks different because of the physical and optical abilities of natural raw materials that we use.
handmade oil paint  pigments oil paint

Is it possible for people who like art but have never tried to paint before, attend classes at TATA?

Anar: Our classes are suited for beginners up to intermediate and advanced artists who want to broaden their possibilities, gain more areas for experimenting and understanding the materials and learn new painting techniques. The classes are kept small to allow a more individual approach. sketching class Amsterdam art class Amsterdam

You also do museum tours and have cross-border cooperations. Can you elaborate further?

Olga: We are currently discussing plans with our partners – a private art school “Practicum”, which is connected to the Classical Art Academy in St. Petersburg (I. Repin). They have a gorgeous studio tailor-built inspired by the 17th-century atelier style. Ideally, we will organize cross-border art related activities, such as intensive tailored art courses and museum visits (e.g. in Amsterdam and St. Petersburg). We will be having a kick-off team meeting in Amsterdam soon, to dive into our plans further.

Studio Artist Atelier  Classical Academic Drawing

Would you like to say something to the people who might be interested in joining the world of art?

Anar: Art can help us experience life in a deeper sense; it means if you want to live fully, you can learn to do so by the means of art. It is also the language that all people can speak and is the medium to connect with the world and ourselves. In the modern world, we are disconnected with the nature and with ourselves. We tend to not see ourselves as part of the bigger picture anymore. This can make people unhappy and cause psychological and physical problems. Art is one of the ways to reconnect yourself, because through observation we understand more about the world.

Traditional Art Technique Atelier will host an introduction oil painting workshop on April 16th in Amsterdam. Feel free to join if you are interested, there are still a couple of places left.

All details were correct at time of going to press. No responsibility can be held for any omissions or errors contained herein. The companies featured in this blog are unpaid.

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