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Artwork by Jacqueline Raatz
It once happened that I spent twenty years in the American army as a part-time reservist,
often carrying a sketchbook in my rucksack along with my issued gear, to be yanked out at a lull
in activity. I scribbled images of Humvees, weary soldiers, dusty mountains— even the
occasional comic strip for entertainment’s sake. During a deployment to Washington, D.C., I
would spend hours marveling at the Neoclassical architecture at the National Mall, as well as the
National Gallery’s incredible collection of 18 th century French art.
Upon returning home, I enrolled in a university BFA program, where I learned some of
the basics of oil painting and graduated in May of 2023. I recently moved from the Upper
Midwest to Northern Japan, where I have access to interesting landscapes and a novel arts scene.
Now I am about to begin painting again in my new little home studio, wishing for a little
guidance from an accomplished teacher. I believe the Old Masters Academy Course will help me
go from just “skilled” to “master” in time. In particular, I would like to increase my color-mixing
knowledge, make great sanguine/chalk drawings, and to better understand the old painting
technique of “glazing.” I was pleased to see that the Old Masters Academy offers training in
these valuable skills with their Academy Course— they are beautiful traditions!
As an artist, I am interested in painting the people and places I see with the same kind of
joyous refinement seen in the French Academy. Having traded my army uniform for an artist’s
apron, I look to the subjects of 18th century French painters for camaraderie: from Watteau’s
reposing soldiers, to Fragonard’s costumed portraits and Chardin’s heavily-textured objects, to
Boucher’s lavish, pink-fleshed figures, the things I make are— hopefully— an affirmation of
I would be grateful to have the votes to win the Old Masters Academy Art Competition,
as it would give me great confidence to keep working towards such a lofty goal. Thank you for