Ormond Museum hosts Plein Air painting classes on Saturdays
ORMOND BEACH – For award-winning painter Robin Weiss, there is a difference between what an artist sees and what is observed.
This important distinction is at the heart of two days of plein air painting workshops that opened under the Granada Boulevard Bridge on the west bank of the Halifax River on Friday.
The event, which will continue on Saturday with a second workshop, is sponsored by the Ormond Memorial Art Museum & Gardens.
WHAT: Introduction to outdoor painting with Robin Weiss
WHEN: 9-11 a.m. Saturday
WHERE: Fortunato Park, 2 John Anderson Drive, Ormond Beach
COSTS: $ 112.50 (museum members); $ 125 (non-members)
It’s part of a week-long series of demonstrations that coincide with the opening of a pop-up window display of Weiss’ award-winning work Thursday in an empty shop on 9 W. Granada Boulevard, a free display case that will run until May 3.
The events are part of the museum’s effort to maintain its reach amid a nearly year-long $ 3.5 million renovation project that has temporarily closed its building on the corner of East Granada Boulevard and South Halifax Drive, Nancy Lohman said, immediate former president of the museum’s board of directors and longtime advocate of its mission.
More:The Ormond Memorial Art Museum is under renovation for $ 3.5 million
“The building will be closed for the next year, but we felt it was important to continue our community outreach,” said Lohman. “We knew we wanted to find other ways to do it.”
The students receive tips from the artist while painting
On Friday, half a dozen artists of various skill levels took a critical look at easels on the sidewalks under the bridge on the west bank of the river. As they sketched pencil outlines and then dabbed paint on canvas, Weiss strolled back and forth between them for tips.
“It’s pretty much about watching,” he advised Alicia Scott, 50, of Ormond Beach, who was sketching a ficus tree against the backdrop of an iron railing that curved behind it. “You have to learn to see and not just to look.”
When she got back to work, Scott said the painting lesson would improve her work as an associate professor at Rollins College in Winter Park. There she teaches prospective teachers the importance of integrating art into lesson plans for core subjects such as math and science.
“I’ll start over,” she said of her ongoing work, “because I see it differently now.”
Close observation is required
Based outside Edmonds, Washington, Weiss has won Best-in-Show, First Place, and Artist awards at shows like the Central City Plein Air Festival in Colorado. the Winslow Plein Air Festival in Bainbridge Island, Washington; and paint the Peninsula Festival in Port Angeles, Washington.
He was also recognized by Plein Air Magazine as one of the “Eleven Artists Now Collecting”.
The plein air style was introduced by Impressionist masters in France in the mid-19th century when artists began painting outdoors, mostly in daylight. It differs from studio painting in that an artist can capture a scene or subject in its natural light.
On Friday, Weiss held a brief demonstration and created an oil-on-canvas painting of a palm tree along the riverbank, framing a view of the water, a boathouse, and the sky in the distance.
During his work, Weiss asked various questions about equipment, colors and the way in which he plans and executes his paintings. One of the key skills is the ability to see light and shadow, he said.
“You have to do some close observation, guys, to know where those dark shapes are and not get too carried away with the details,” he said. “When I look into the distance and blink, I judge how dark this object is compared to this object.”
Afterward, museum member Janet Silverman, 50, who works for a local insurance company, marveled at the painter’s seemingly effortless style.
“The biggest thing I learned was about the color mixes,” she said, “using different colors to make the shapes. It’s amazing how a little red dot in the shadow totally changed it.”
Organized with social distancing and other COVID guidelines in mind, the week’s events were enthusiastically received by residents, said Susan Richmond, museum director.
“You could say people are so relieved to be out there and reconnecting in person,” said Richmond. “We’re all overdue.”