Detail of

Seven artists “diverge from realism” and paint the landscape in this exhibition, which runs through September 1 at Marcia Burtt Studio in Santa Barbara, California. Painter Michael Ferguson explains what’s happening in this close-up of the plein air painting “White River” below.

“This is a scene on a river located on the north side of Mount Rainier in Washington state,” reports Ferguson. “It is fed by several glaciers and is always cold and silty. I was facing into the sun while I painted this. My mood was exuberant because I had not been painting in a while and it was a gloriously bracing day. The sun angle and moving water made everything shimmer, with light glinting and glancing everywhere. I knew that I wanted a very direct and ‘skippy’ execution to the painting, with no ponderous over-painting. The dragging brush with broken white patches as shown in the detail is a direct result of wanting to capture the glinting light. Generally I work with lighter values first and fracture them down gradually with darker shapes as I go.”

“White River,” by Michael Ferguson, oil on wood panel, 11 x 13 in.

Other artists participating in “Approaching Abstraction” include Marilee Krause, Patricia Doyle, Robert Abbott, Anne Ward, Bill Dewey, and Susan Petty. “Susan Petty’s drawings and paintings of waves and eddies are inspired by Bill Dewey’s photographs,” writes Burtt. “Petty extracts lines and droplets, flattening space. She adds color and painterly brush marks to reveal influences of abstract expressionism, pop art, and Japanese woodblock prints. These paintings constitute a larger metaphor about the influence of art on an artist’s work. 

For more information, visit the gallery’s website.


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