I call my work abstract realism. My work falls into a small category between realism and abstraction. Viewers who are wedded to either end of the spectrum are not always able to relate to my work. All of the forms are real to me and come from nature but I usually push them into shapes that could occur but are not necessarily recognizable to others. I hope that these shapes add up to a landscape that most people understand. I don’t paint with an image in mind. It evolves as I work.
The paper and paint seduce me. I rarely start with a subject in mind but anything to do with nature entices me. I never have a clear idea but I work from problems and spend a great deal of time analyzing what is not working and how I can fix it. It also produces unexpected effects that can’t be repeated so that each painting becomes special. I use watercolor so that it looks fluid and creates an illusion that the paint arrived magically. By allowing the paint and water to interact and react I celebrate what watercolor does that is unique and unlike other mediums… it does much of the work for me and will for you.
My style keeps evolving but my growing vocabulary of shapes is subtly recognizable. There can be an advantage to having a recognizable style but it can also become a trap and if there is no evolution or change the work can look dated. I like it when people get what I am trying to say but it does not affect how I paint. The true subject of my paintings is probably the act of painting itself. I do get turned on by the shapes in nature and the shapes that I put on the paper reflect this. I love it when I begin to make up a shape and then recognize that it imitates something I have seen in nature.
It is important for me not to paint purely for aesthetic reasons. What I try to say has a spiritual component based on my awe of nature. For me, a good painting is a balance between chance, intuition and technique. My compositions are usually complex and involve many different objects and shapes. This results in paintings that take time for the viewer to fully discover. When a painting unfolds over time, it makes the work feel fresh forever.
This workshop is for all who want to gain a deeper understanding of the creative process of painting, are willing to be flexible, take risks, have fun, be intuitive and inventive. You will not be subjected to rules and formulas; however, the emphasis will still be on concept, color and design. Barbara’s inspiration comes both from nature and the inevitable unpredictability of the watercolor medium, thus she’ll address both abstract and realistic forms, presenting and demonstrating a different method or idea each day. Using several techniques Barbara will show you how to construct original paintings from both source material and your imagination by controlling paint on wet paper, under-painting, layering and adding gouache. In her critiques, Barbara will approach problem solving based on the premise that there is always a solution that can turn an unsuccessful painting into into a successful one!
Barbara Nechis holds a BA in History and Fine Arts from the University of Rochester and an MS from Alfred University. She was a faculty member of Parsons School of Design for many years and has taught seminars at Pratt Institute and throughout North America, Europe and Asia. She has served as a juror and board member of the American Watercolor Society and awards judge for National Watercolor Society. Her work appears in more than 50 books and publications and is included in numerous collections, among them the Butler Institute of American Art, IBM, Citicorp, The Napa Valley Heritage Foundation, and Banco de Crefisul, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
She is the author of a coffee table book, Barbara Nechis Watercolors ( Art Book Printing, 2019) Watercolor from the Heart (Watson-Guptill Publications, 1993) and Watercolor the Creative Experience (North Light Books, 1979) and is featured in three instructional DVDs. For many years she maintained a studio in New Rochelle, NY before relocating to the Napa Valley in Northern California in 1988.
Some General Class Information:
We will make sure you know our 2021 Covid protocols well ahead; please be assured that we will do everything we can to provide a safe environment for you! Compliance with our protocols is required. We’ll decide on carpooling depending on necessary 2021 Covid protocols.
- We‘ll process your payment after we get your online Registration and will email you a receipt. A $300 deposit will hold your space. Cancellation and Refund info is at the bottom of the Registration Form…(please do read the Policies before you check that you have!)
- We’ll send a Supply List and more detailed info after you Register, and again about 2 weeks before the class. Print and tuck into your painting kit…then you’ll know where to find it all! It has the answers to most of your questions!
- If you will need mediums, let me know and I will have them here for you to buy when you get to class. You are also welcome to ship materials to arrive the week before…ask about details!
- The first day, the Studio will open at 8:15 AM… Classes run M-F usually between 8:30-4:30, but the exact hours are at the Instructor’s discretion…always an average of 6 hours/day, but starting and ending times may vary according to your instructor.
- We always have a 1 hr lunch break, to use or not, it’s up to you…and a lunch plan depending on where we are painting. We order in the AM and deliver to your location…you pay in cash on the last day before you leave!
- Our Studios are large, with good light and waterviews; you’ll have your own table space and you are welcome to leave equipment etc. there for the duration of the class. It is possible to stay and paint after hours, we’ll explain the logistics!
- The Plein Air plan for the day is weather-dependent and decided at the end of the previous day if possible, or more likely, when we meet in the Studio each morning! Make sure your Class Monitors know where you have set up, and try to stay close to the demo area. Less running around for them, more time for feedback to you!
- There is free parking at the Studio building, which is within a few blocks of downtown.
- We usually carpool (or sometimes walk if it’s close) to Plein Air painting sites, many of which have shade and at the least, a porta-potty or nearby facilities. You will get good directions. Please, do NOT depend on your GPS unless we say so!
- Each class has an experienced Monitor (or two!) as your Go-To person for any problems or needs…please ask…we all will do our absolute best to see that you have a great class experience!
- Downtown in both locations has great galleries, shops and food and the area is full of wonderful places to paint, many accessible to the single painter that a class can’t utilize…if you can, take a look around!
- For Lodging (scroll down for Belfast) and Travel info, click on the buttons on the Home Page.
- If you have any problems, tell us!! We can’t fix anything if we don’t hear till you get home. Be sure to contact us with any questions. Thanks!