Restoring My Ability to Paint – Barb Witlin

Barb Witlin currently has two paintings in the Omnibus 3D virtual gallery in Dresden Germany.  She also is featured in the online gallery Ten Moir.  Her painting God is in the Whirlwind (featured image for this post) won honorable mention, and in the gallery’s description they talk about the painting’s mastery of color. Her show last December was at the Mirella Cimato Gallery in St Petersburg Florida.  Check out Witlin’s moving, funny account of her marriage to another artist, available on Amazon.    

I have always loved to paint. As a child I was often sick. I lived in my imagination and spent my time illustrating stories.

I always did artwork, and became severely symptomatic in my forties. It was then I understood that my chronic malaise was due to environmental sensitivities. Those sensitivities were greatly exacerbated by living in an environment with oil paint and turpentine fumes and I had to change the way I lived. Years passed and there was some healing, but I could not work with any color medium (except for short work times with Sennelier oil pastels.) After decades I found Art Treehouse paints, with which I could safely paint.

It was so exciting to use paint again. Art Treehouse colors are clearer, brighter, more beautiful than any paint I had used before. This is meaningful for my painting style which employs a full range of color gradients for its 3D effects and luminosity. Even mixed, because of their purity, the colors do not get muddy. I seldom use thinners. For monochromatic areas, paint can often be put on the canvas straight out of the tube and spread with a large brush. Small amounts of paint go far. One enjoys the sensuality of knowing each color-its weight, flow, covering power, drying time. For an artist who loves dream-like images in harmonies of color, painting with Art Tree colors is like using a Stradivarius as an instrument.

In December, at my first one person show after many years, the lighting at the Mirella Cimato gallery in St Petersburg Florida was perfect which was so important in bringing out the color of the paintings.

This month, I exhibited three paintings in two online galleries, Ten Moir and Omnibus Dresden, a virtual gallery. I found the “calls for artists” on the St Petersburg Art Alliance site.

I was not happy with the Omnibus photos in the gallery. Camera focus is very important when the painting relies on vibrations of many colors rather than simpler strongly contrasting areas of color – space can be flattened and distinctness lost if the gallery reduces photographic resolution. In future I will try to compensate for this by using some more simple contrasting colors, like shades of white and black. Even with reduced camera focus, I believe the colors of the Treehouse paints play an important part in the painting’s resonance online.

Whale Song

Whale Song – Exhibited at the Omnibus Dresden 3D Virtual Gallery, Dresden Germany

Howling Dog of War – Exhibited at the Omnibus Dresden 3D Virtual Gallery, Dresden Germany

Three Stages of Dreaming – Unfinished painting laying out basic colors painted without solvents or thinners. Later stages of the painting with figures will use thinners for details.