Thursday, July 29, 2010

Maurice River Plein Air Workshop; Patrick Connors.

This is the fabled "Burcham Farm," situated on a hill that has a wonderful, expansive view of the
Maurice River. Its' lush green fields are actually lower than the water level of the river, and are
protected from flooding by dikes. Pat Witt's childhood friends, Janice and Jeanette Burcham, were twins,
and until their recent deaths, they ran a very active and productive working farm here, raising sheep and pigs, baling hay, and selling eggs from their many chickens, ducks, and geese. The farm is over 130 years old.
 For many, many years, Pat has been bringing students and instructors here, to paint the  farm and its' limitless, wonderful views and cloudscapes. In spite of threatening skies, optimistic students showed up for our second day of the workshop, ready to paint, and learn.

 The instructor was Patrick Connors, who teaches at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
For his demo, we decided to play it safe, and gather on the porch. We soon found out why Patrick is
such a popular instructor at PAFA. Patrick is encyclopedic in his knowledge of Art History, and techniques
and their origins. And he is one very funny Dude!

He introduced us to classical methods of "Representational" painting, explaining in great detail the use of painting methods with wonderful Italian names." Imprimatura, Velutra, Chiaroscuro", and the always popular "Bozzeti," which is the plural of "Bozzeto," as we all now know.

 Here is Patrick's version of the classical "Earth Palette." His medium is one part Blond Linseed Oil,
and one part Mineral Spirits.

And here are examples of Patrick's "studies," which he passed around to students.

Patrick chose elements from this view out towards the Maurice River, for his demo.

On his previously prepared colored "ground," he sketched  the shapes in the landscape, painted the
"Darks," then with a rag  went back into the wet paint, for the "rubbing out", of the "Lights."
This left a transparent and glowing image, much like a water color. Quite beautiful in itself.

But in this demo, that was merely the "Under-painting." Following the rule of "Fat over Lean," he then started
to apply very considered passages of opaque paint, laying each stroke onto the surface with a "loaded" brush.
Because it was time for a lunch break, ("Pizzeria" being another fond Italian word) Patrick decided to end his demo with this unfinished painting.

 After lunch the students found sites to paint, for the rest of the afternoon.

Patrick made the rounds, offering his thoughts on each artist's work-in-progress.

Despite a few brief showers, this second workshop day provided students opportunities to explore
the concepts introduced to them by Patrick Connor, a very talented painter and instructor.
I had to leave around 5 P.M., so I missed the late afternoon-early evening landscape session,
taught by another wonderful artist and instructor, Ruth Formica. Everyone loves painting at the
Burcham Farm.     



  1. Looks like such fun!
    Love his early stage atmospheric painting...

  2. Brought back some wonderful memories from the mid '80s...Janice, in rubber Wellington boots and checked flannel shirt, and hair cut so short I first mistook her for a man, strode each morning to the kitchen at the back of the Holly Diner, pail in hand, getting "slop scraps" for her pigs. Had no idea who this strange woman was until I took classes with Pat Witt, and I had the honor of painting landscapes from the porch of the Burcham farm.