“Flamethrower,” by Walter Bartman, oil, 12 x 24 in.

Walter Bartman is always looking for a sunset that has something unique about it. Boy, did he get one recently.

Bartman was leading a workshop on Tilghman Island in Maryland when he saw this scene. In his workshops, he paints with his students through the day as late as possible, knowing that in late afternoon in summer the storms come. One evening, this meant showtime for Bartman.

“This particular one was incredibly dramatic, with multiple layers of clouds at sunset,” Bartman says. “The orange red line is the sun setting through the storm. Whenever I paint sunsets, which I try to do often, I look for the unique approach to the ordinary, and that day Nature handed me something special. It lent itself to working with the palette knife to capture the emotion. Whenever I paint, I try to capture the essence. My response to it is felt. I never have a preconceived idea. I work in the moment. Everything is in motion, everything is changing — photo reference will not suffice.”

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