under construction

As the lingering spring rains have given way to summer in Minnesota, I’ve been getting outdoors to paint. Trying to find my way around the canvas again, I’ve done a number of unremarkable paintings. Over the last week I had the opportunity to take painting classes with two great plein air painters which helped me get back on my feet again and move forward. For the second year in a row, I took another excellent weekend workshop with Todd Voss up in Grand Marais, and started a multi-week class with Christopher Copeland.

In yesterday’s class, the heat was so intense that our class decided to meet indoors at the new White Bear Center for the Arts building. Fortunately our room had a large window, so I was able to paint a view of the patio which is still under construction. Chris initially assumed that I would focus on the more “natural” vegetation in the distance, but I loved the odd assortment of building materials, with their varied colors, shapes and textures.

Christopher is quite a fluid, energetic painter, and I felt encouraged in my desire to be more loose and spontaneous with my own painting.

WBCA courtyard construction

One thing Chris said was that painters are most distinguished by their brushwork – it’s like handwriting. I’ve always loved to draw, but have had trouble translating that sense of ease and directness into painting. His statement really helped me experience my relationship to the brush in a different way.


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