Landscape Class at Woodmere – Three and Four

Over six weeks in June-July 2021 I attended an in-person landscape painting class at Woodmere Art Museum. We met each Friday for 3 hours and painted a scene from somewhere on the grounds.

Here’s another painting from the class for you to see.

Thank you to Marta, our instructor, and to all my classmates for a great experience.

In our third session my location-choosing difficulties continued. I began to realize that I was not much interested in painting trees and plants only. I really like having a building or people in my work and I was struggling to find a scene I felt any attachment to doing.

In the end I painted the garbage dumpsters and their surroundings next to the studio building. A little off the plan, I know. Anyway, the painting was just awful. I took it home and worked on it and finally – I got my husband to sand it down and I gessoed over it (it then formed the basis for Week 5, so it didn’t die in vain…)

That’s why you see no painting for Week 3.

For Week 4, Marta wanted us to try working with the palette knife. We had reviewed some paintings in the museum that made use of this tool Now we tried it for ourselves.

I chose to do the studio building and its surroundings. Yes, I know, a building. Well, that’s how things went.

I did two paintings. One was done 100% with the palette knife. I enjoyed using the knife but I am not so fond of the results. I feel it is a frenetic scene I have created and it makes me anxious to look at it.

Woodmere Landscape Four A

I finished up early (using the knife does make for a fast painting experience) and I started another one of the same scene (finishing at home), this time letting my abstract imagination take over a bit more, and using brushes more extensively. I pared down the “realism” and simplified many of the elements. I felt happier painting this version and I like it better, but…it’s all personal preference. Classmates liked the earlier version better.

Woodmere Landscape Four B

Woodmere Landscape Four A and Woodmere Landscape Four B, both 24 x 18, acrylics on Masonite, 7/21.

19 thoughts on “Landscape Class at Woodmere – Three and Four

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. Th palette knife was fun but I did not feel like the results were “me”. I think a whole painting done with it is too much but I do think using it in combination with brushes can work – I need more trials to see. I like the second one better for the same reasons – the colors seem to come out more naturally and I do love that set of blues.

  1. Diane

    While I like both paintings the defined shapes in the second one has a more organized, and I agree, peaceful feeling and is more related to your normal way of painting.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you.I have noticed that paintings done with palette knives seem to be more kinetic, I think, I don’t know if it is the way the knife tends to work or that kinetic people choose the knife or what. I did like using it, it felt good to be smearing paint.

  2. Laura (PA Pict)

    I had to laugh at you choosing to paint the dumpsters. I thought that was such a Claudia move to try and see the beauty in the mundane and ugly. I like the dynamism and visual texture of the palette knife piece but I agree that it doesn’t feel very “you”. One of the things I have learned over recent years is that some approaches and techniques can cohere with my style and some fight against my style. The second painting is, therefore, much more identifiably your style.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. Regarding the dumpster image I did not do them justice but I did draw them later in pen, also not doing them justice. I think the main happiness in that painting was just doing it. I still think there is untapped potential in that scene…And you are right – the palette knife is fun to manipulate but I don’t feel the results are ever really me. I wonder why, I’m still considering this thought all this time after doing this painting.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      You know, painting with a palette knife was actually very easy to do, just smear on the paint and it covers fast and heavy. All the class members agreed on this. We all also felt we lost control of the paintings and it took individuality away from our work, somehow. We agreed that our paintings from this exercise all looked more alike than any other week (and believe me, we had some wildly different styles in this group). I find the whole thing interesting to think about.

        1. Claudia McGill Post author

          Not going to happen. The palette knife will not let you down, just make the strokes and you will come up with something beautiful. I know this because I have seen your quilts all these years!

  3. Pingback: Woodmere Landscape Class: Epilogue 1 | Claudia McGill and Her Art World

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