Cleveland Native Paul Beel Returns Home for Portraiture Classes at BAYarts

Cleveland native Paul Beel returns home this weekend for a special two-day painting workshop for intermediate to advanced students at BAYarts on Saturday, March 12, and Sunday, March 13. Throughout the weekend, Beel will teach technical and perceptual skills. Topics will include: color, light, expression, gesture and composition, as well as features of the face and seeing the “space between” spatial relationships. During the workshop, participants will paint the human face from a live model.

“Portraiture appeals to me more than other subjects because we react to a human face in a way we react to nothing else,” Beel says. “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. The most important lesson is to catch fire with making art, to allow yourself to become somewhat obsessed with it.”

He continues: “It is partly from living in the age of photography, I don't trust pictures of people smiling; it feels to me like so much life has been left out,” Beel explains. “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.”

Paul Beel was born in Cleveland in 1970. He returns home every year to visit his parents and sister’s family, who still live in Westlake. He was constantly drawing and painting throughout his early childhood. His parents encouraged his early interest by enrolling him in his first oil painting course before his 10th birthday. By 16, Beel began studying portraiture.

In 1993, Beel travelled to Italy on a full scholarship to the Studio Art Centers International in Florence for Post-Baccalaureate studies. After earning his MFA from Bowling Green State University in 1996, he returned to Florence to paint and teach.

“I was fortunate to receive a scholarship from Studio Arts Centers International in Florence, and I studied there for a year between my Bachelor and Masters study,” Beel remembers. “I 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 brush mark, 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.”

Since then, he has become a dual citizen on both the U.S. and Italy. He currently lives in Germany’s Pfaelzer wine region.

“The Pfaelzer region is a really great place to live,” Beel says. “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 plane made by the Rhein river. Across that plane on a clear day you can see the town of Heidelburg. This is wine growing country, and is known as Germany's Tuscany. I am a dual citizen, USA/Italian, so as a European citizen I can stay as long as I want.”

Beel’s dynamic portraits have won numerous awards and critical acclaim. He’s had solo shows in Venice, Milan, Florence, Mantova, as well as in the US, and group exhibitions in London, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, San Marino and throughout Italy. Beel’s artwork has been represented in London by Gofigurative Gallery since 2012 and in Manova, Italy, by Bonelli Arte Contemporanea since 1998.

The workshop is $200. For more information and to sign up, visit the “Classes” tab on

(BAYarts) 28795 Lake Rd., Bay Village, 440-871-6543,

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