Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Earlier this month, I took part in a still life workshop taught by Ellen Rolli at the Concord (MA) Art Association. My aim was to loosen up my painting, have fun and learn how not to agonize over every detail. What I didn't know right off is that, while the workshop was posted as being for both oils and acrylic, Ellen teaches only in acrylic. I'd never used acrylic for "fine" art before. Yikes! Though I could have used oils, I decided to jump in over my head and go for the acrylics. I felt like a new person! For starters, I re-learned how to hold a brush (not like a pencil). The paint (mostly Golden) was wonderful: juicy, fast-drying, intense color. In the one-day workshop, I did eight small paintings, about half of which I'll save from demolition. My days of painting tight, overly obsessive, niggly paintings are over. I still like other artists' realism; I just don't want to do it myself. I'll save my urge for detail for woodcuts, where it's needed. At least for now.
The painting above is "Flower in Bottle on Blue," approx 9" x 6," acrylic on gessoed paper.


Mo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eraethil said...

This painting has a wonderful feeling and intensity Barbara! The loosening up was obviously a renaissance for you. Tell us more about the workshop when you have some time!

dino_burger said...

It seems that you have to choose your strokes much more carefully, because you have far fewer of them. Pollack claimed that every drip was intentional -- I am very skeptical of that claim. Is this art intentional or accidental?


Barbara said...

Mr Burger: the painting, though it looks sort of sloppy, is pretty intentional. I put down a stroke or a few, then "worked" it until it looked the way I wanted it to. A lot of color mixing was done on the painting instead of on the palette. Pollack's drips probably WERE intentional, in that he chose the colors, where to start and stop, etc., even though he couldn't have been in complete control.

Barbara said...

And Eraethil- You're right; I was finally able to "get" what so many people say about loosening up while painting. There's a 12-page article in the current issue of "Workshop" magazine about Ellen's workshops, which she also gives at her Boston studio. Ours followed the process she gives in the article. It's simple, straightforward and very effective. Plus, I was REALLY ready!

Thank you both for your comments.