Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Inside Outside Upside Down

I had the great pleasure of working with Marcia Burtt last week. She held a 5 day workshop at the beach and allowed me to come for two days to learn her methods of working in acrylic paint on location.

Now I have been strictly an oil painter and devout studio hermit these last 23 years. Over and over I've tried working outdoors and what I've found is that I paint extremely trivial, conservative, representational compositions when I'm faced with the actual landscape in front of me.

I don't know why that is. My guess. . . that I feel like I need to be true to what I'm looking at, honor the actual scene that stares back at me. I thought perhaps working quickly with a water based medium might help, something that dries too quickly to fuss with and allows me to work later in the studio with oil.

Marcia has a wonderful set up with her acrylics that makes it light and easy to travel. I had a great two days with her. I am still wondering if it is something that will get folded and stitched into my process, but exciting possibilities continue to flower in my mind.

These were three of the unfinished compositions from the time spent at the beach. The colors are brighter, perhaps it's the new medium and perhaps it's being outside. I know it will take some time to learn how the acrylic tints mix. That was one of my struggles, learning to mix the right color with the new medium. Just when you thought you got the color, the tide would ebb, the sun would dry it out on your palette and the race continued to catch the fleeting moment while mixing and remixing the colors.

It's not bad for a first effort. I still look at these and see Marcia. It is her palette of colors after all. She is a most convivial and generous teacher. It really was a joy-filled two days despite the struggle with working in a new and unnerving situation.

Tideline 20x30"

Ebbing 14x36"

High Tide 14x36"

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