Inside the Artist’s Studio with Victoria Brzustowicz: One Tree x 52

Victoria’s artwork is on view in “8x8x52: Weekly Paintings by Victoria Brzustowicz”. Her work is available for purchase in our Online Shop:
store.mainstreetartsgallery.com


In December 2015, I was looking for ways I could push my painting routine. I considered one of those painting-a-day challenges, but I knew that was an unrealistic goal given my crazy schedule and the vagaries of Rochester weather. See, I don’t have studio space, so I do most of my painting outside.

I came up with a painting goal that would be flexible enough  to accommodate works schedule, personal responsibilities, and that crazy, unpredictable weather—I challenged myself to a painting a week of my favorite tree in my garden. My ground rules were that I could paint it from any vantage or any angle, as long as that tree appeared somewhere in the painting.  I bought my 52 canvas panels and painted the first of the series on January 6th, 2016, at 9am.

8x8-01, the first painting in the series.

8×8-01, the first painting in the series.

As I worked on this series, I tried to be open to the moment for each painting. Knowing that I would be painting the tree over and over  made me freer to start with an open mind. I knew there was another painting in which I could explore some other aspect of the composition, the drawing, my palette, or my brush selection. I tried various colors to tone the canvas, tried starting with a white canvas, tried various limited palettes, tried mediums, tried to use up odd tubes of paint, and tried to see what worked or didn’t work for me and the way I feel comfortable painting.

My setup for painting #9 – you’ll see that my biggest task is editing and simplifiying what I see.

My setup for painting #9 – you’ll see that my biggest task is editing and simplifiying what I see.

8x8-09 March 5, 1pm

8×8-09 March 5, 1pm

Here are a couple of other pairs of images, showing my setup and the finished painting. Yes, simplifying what I saw was  a big part of each piece….

That morning, I wanted to capture the glow of the morning light on the foliage against the blue sky.

That morning, I wanted to capture the glow of the morning light on the foliage against the blue sky.

8x8-44 November 4, 9am

8×8-44 November 4, 9am

Here are three shots: one showing my set up, one showing the tree, and the last showing the final piece. This was painted in the evening with a floodlight illuminating the fall foliage — I knew a storm was coming and I wanted to capture that color one last time, even if it was under artificial lighting.

You can see my easel and my supplies, all lit with a small lantern; the tree is in the background, lit by the floodlight.

You can see my easel and my supplies, all lit with a small lantern; the tree is in the background, lit by the floodlight.

The flood-lit tree

The flood-lit tree

8x8-45 November 7, 6:30pm

8×8-45 November 7, 6:30pm

Victoria Brzustowicz is an award-winning  painter, illustrator, and graphic designer. She  graduated from Wells College with a BA in Studio Art. At Wells she studied with noted painter William Roberts. A native of Rochester, NY, Victoria is Co-Studio Manager at the Book Arts Studio of Flower City Arts Center (formerly Genesee Center for the Arts), where she also teaches linoleum block printing. Although she painted extensively through the years, she was recently introduced to the  techniques of painting alla prima by Carol L. Douglas. Victoria is also a co-founder and chair of the Greater Rochester Plein Air Painters, a chapter of the New York Plein Air Painters


Stop by Main Street Arts to see “8x8x52: Weekly Paintings by Victoria Brzustowicz” in our second floor gallery. The exhibition runs through February 17, 2017

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by ceramic artist Jillian Cooper.

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