The Maitland Art and History Center's new Artist-In-Residence Josette Urso, from Brooklyn New York, began her residency on April 28. Her residency continued through June 2. The program honors the legacy of founder J. André Smith, and the 75th anniversary of the Research Studio’s (now the Art and History Museums of Maitland) first Bok Fellow. This is the first formal, nationally competitive Residency program at the Art and History Center since Smith's fellowship program, which was funded by Mary Curtis Bok from 1938 through 1957. During her tenure, Urso will work in her studio and paint plein air, affording visitors an opportunity to see her create throughout campus.
On Saturday, May 11th, from 10 AM to 1 PM, Josette Urso held an official Plein Air Paint Day at the Maitland Art Center (231 W Packwood Ave, Maitland, FL). Painters from around Central Florida were encouraged to come and create alongside Urso. She showed us the tools and techniques she uses to create her widely-collected paintings. This program was FREE and the public was encouraged to attend.
Josette showed us a color wheel and explained how a limited palette could unify a painting. She had some empty slide casings which she said could help a beginner to see a composition. She said in a workshop she taught in Taiwan, several students taped the slide casings to the brim of their baseball caps. She explained the importance of thumbnail drawings and she demonstrated a thumbnail sketch using as few lines as possible. We then went off to do our own thumbnails. I excitedly sketched the fifteen or so students around me as they sketched architectural details or foliage. I knew artist Chere Force and Lynn Whipple. I checked out other artists progress and then returned to my own work.
The next step took me outside my comfort zone. We had to pick a thumbnail sketch, and work it up as a larger painting without using line. My primary issue seemed to be that my brush was to small to put down satisfying bold blocks of color. I found that my two color studies were done before the class was over so I couldn't resist putting in a few sensual lines afterwards. It was a fun workshop and I'm thinking I might work faster with my daily sketches by focusing on large washes first. The issue I've had is that the pens I use die the second they touch water. If I can find a good fountain pen, that might solve that problem. An even bolder decision would be to give up the pen all together. Time and daily experimentation will tell.