Capture the changes with acrylic landscapes. Marcia Burtt paints bold modern outdoor landscapes with acrylics, requesting the subject with a spirit of experience and innovation. As you describe your process, your voice conveys a thrill-seeking type of energy. This service allows you to catch the short and breathtaking minutes that happen where light, land, and sea meet with California’s Smooth shore. Burtt is fearless, walking any time of day, in all seasons, with his easel and paintings to the many beaches, coves, and islands within walking distance of her home in central California.
Directly from life
Ever since she is an artist, Burtt has worked straight out of life. Her first appearance to her art was as a teen at the Otis School, where she attended figure drawing sessions. Her life experience in drawing has refined her approach to painting, basing it on keen observation and quick and decisive marking. Burtt’s early education also prepared him to execute quickly, so he can often create outdoor art in the afternoon. Other times, you will return to the same place, at the same time, day after day, until you get a perfect image.
Paint the moving water
In Littoral Drift, Burtt’s work with the gestural drawings of figure subjects informs how she draws water in action. Burtt describes the painting of the ocean and its waves as the challenge of painting motion, trying to capture a wave in a second or two and then wait for the next wave to arrive to claim or revise that impression on the canvas. You don’t realize how different the waves are until you wait for eight, ten or twelve to pass. It’s an experience that requires a lot of patience and some Zen attention. There is a huge variety of water conditions along the coast.
Above, his brushstrokes at the edge of the day represent different waveforms as they wash onto the shore and dive into foundations. Small cocoons sift through the soft sand in the foreground, while stiff vertical bursts create waves that bounce off the breakwater beyond.
Calm water challenge
Meanwhile, calm waters, such as a lake or estuary, present a different challenge. It’s really about vertical elements. The cooler the day, the more the ideas spread, but they grew vertically. In Midday on the Slough, up, the light from the sky scatters into the middle of the canvas, creating a strong vertical axis that widens in subtle ripples at the bottom of the painting. The smooth blue-violet blows meet with the upward reflection, describing the wind on the water’s exterior.
Adoption of the climate for outdoor landscapes
The cold and the report don’t stop Burtt from going; he enjoys that unfavorable weather situations create especially exciting positions for his portraits. I love fog because, like in a Japanese woodcut, you only get one value from the things in the foreground and the next closest value. I love the winter storms we have off the coast of Santa Barbara in January – the real tides, the big waves and the oncoming wind, along with the storm clouds.
The coastal setting provides Burtt with variety in inspiring forms of water and land and unusual directions of light that illuminate cliffs, sand, clouds, and waves. A turn along the coast of Santa Barbara creates south- or west-facing beaches, while the nearby Channel Islands offer north-facing views. Of his visits there, Burtt says, the light is behind me. During the day, the light is coming from something to the south, so I see that the light enters the water and shines on the sand completely differently.
Trust trial and error
Although he paints on medium-sized surfaces, Burtt’s compositions seem spacious and expansive. He usually paints on a horizontal surface, but he also uses a square or nearly square format. I love a court because it starts right at the spectator’s feet. Create a stage and bring the viewer closer as real life does. Landscape elements cut out at the edges of the painting suggest that the shapes continue beyond the world of the image. Although the mass of mountains and trees is trimmed on either side of the artwork in Ruffled Water, the long shadow in the front increases the illusion of space.
To start each of his outdoor landscapes with acrylics, Burtt starts with a 1-1⁄2-inch hazelnut Is acryl brush. He works on large blocks of color, then uses smaller and smaller meetings to add detail. It shines in his work without easy landscape drawing or coloring plan to face the surfaces of the water and the sky as three-dimensional shapes. However, he doesn’t intentionally paint to achieve that dimensionality. Everything is by trial and error. I never know what I’m working to make. I often paint over large areas and small areas consistently, so I always paint underneath. It wouldn’t be happy for me to have to think about it.
Intuitive color and details
Burtt’s approach to coloring his outdoor landscapes with acrylics is just as natural. A pale yellow moon encircled by a purple sky contrasts with a deep orange that illuminates a sandbar at high tide as the moon rises. I stare at what’s at the beginning of me and paint it. I try to believe what I see instead of referring to a system or some form that I know it should be.
Burtt wants to offer a kind of truthfulness in his outdoor landscapes, but his intention is far from being a photorealistic illustration. Alternatively, it’s about including the power of the environment. He believes that the large ocean, sky, and sand shapes provide an environment where small details speak. If a touch conveys meaning, body, and form, I don’t have to paint every sheet.
Calling Vincent Van Gogh
Deep yellows decorated with bold blue blows at low tide, end of the day, Torrey Pines, celebrate the glow of late afternoon sunlight bouncing off still water. The colors are reminiscent of one of Burtt’s greatest influences: Vincent van Gogh. He speaks reverently of the passion he paints and strives to bring that spirit into the process of him. When you work with great abandon, intensity, and love, says Burtt, you don’t think about it, but somehow you are encoding your experience on the canvas. If people stare at that painting with an open spirit and mind, they can feel what he was feeling and understand what he was trying to say.