About the Artists:
What can you tell about an artist by looking at her work? A review of painter Brenda Orcutt’s most recent creations reveals a great deal about this tenacious artist’s life and passions.
Brenda Orcutt was born and raised in the Carolinas and has called Charleston her home for the past seventeen years. Her artistic methods have advanced and diversified as she continued her education and developed her own personal style and adaption to the gratifying practice of painting with oils. Brenda painted with a brush for many years, but in 2008 she was introduced to palette knife techniques. This was a life-changing experience for her. She was inspired by the texture and purity of color that the palette knife process produced -- many of her paintings reflect this unique style.
She enjoys painting outdoors in Charleston's historic district as well as by the marshes and waterways surrounding the city, taking advantage of the area’s coastal sunlight. Her art studio provides workspace for setting up a still life or experimenting with oil paint and palette knife.
Depictions of Charleston across the watery expanse of its harbor -- lowcountry flora and fauna in all their glory -- wild flowers or bouquets that convey a sense of peace and solitude are favorite subjects of the artist. Each composition reflects the beauty the artist sees in the world around her and invites the viewer to step back from life’s frenetic pace and journey with her.
Brenda Orcutt’s personal journey as an artist began in her childhood. Her father enrolled in art school on the GI Bill after serving in the Navy. “Although he provided for our family through other means, he never stopped creating,” Orcutt recalls. Fond childhood memories of discussing her father’s works helped spur an early interest in art. “I loved those talks and will always treasure his poems and artwork.”
Orcutt studied oil painting under noted Charleston artist and instructor Joyce Hall and trained with other instructors to further develop her drawing, painting and composition skills. She later advanced her palette knife techniques with international artist James Pratt and continued this work with Susan Sarback, who owns and operates the School of Light and Color in California.
Orcutt uses oil paint as her medium, and while skilled in both brush and palette knife, she has been painting almost exclusively with a knife since 2010. She was deeply inspired by the richness and contemporary feel the technique produced. “I’ve always loved the drama of the thickly applied paint, the texture, the pureness of the colors. The response from people who view the work has been very positive.”
The result is artwork richly rendered, with a fresh and exciting feel. The effort and diligence is obvious in Orcutt’s paintings. But one can also sense the importance she places on the vitality that comes through. The knife lets her use paint strokes to show spontaneity and movement in her work. She paints quickly, alla prima, allowing texture and bold color to be seen without perfecting form. Her goal is not to reproduce a landscape or still life with precision. Instead, she wants to translate the creative concepts she has into an artistic image.
The lowcountry has long been favored with artists who produce capable renditions of the natural landscape and Charleston scenes. “My goal is to develop new visions of time-honored subjects, and how I use the palette knife is what gets me there.”
Charleston has a strong reputation as an art destination. Brenda Orcutt is going to be an artist to watch in this exciting, developing scene!