Sam & Adele Golden Foundation Residency New Berlin, NY
June 2013

In June 2013, I was the lucky recipient of a month-long residency at the Sam & Adele Golden Foundation Residency. While in residence, we were offered technical instruction in the use of acrylics, oils, varnishing, faux tools and applications, and image transfer techniques. In addition to the technical support, we were given access to all the products offered by Golden Artist Colors, including Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colors.

The goal of SAGF in creating this residency program is to offer an environment for experimentation with paints, mediums, or any product they currently make or could try to make for you. I found their enthusiasm, support and technical knowledge was the perfect creative environment for the artists in residence.

While in residence, I experimented with painting in oil on Arches Oil Paper, and I explored the medium of acrylics for the first time. In this portfolio of images, I’ve included the works on paper, but I have not included my first acrylics. I’ll be keeping those to myself for a while to let them evolve and grow as they need to.

This is a description of my time in residence that I posted for the Residency Open Studios:

During the past month at the Golden Foundation Residency, I have split my energy between oils and acrylics.

For the past 23 years, I worked solely in oils but I never truly experienced the color, quality or texture of what oils could be until I had the opportunity to work with Williamsburg Oils. My life has changed; my art practice has been renewed. This may sound like hyperbole but it’s true: I’m overwhelmed by the luxuriousness of these paints every time I drag them across a surface and see the colors explode into variations I never could have imagined. It was a struggle to pack up the oil paints three weeks into the residency and turn my focus to acrylics.

BUT, once I started to work with the acrylics, I was immediately engaged – what were these paints? Why would I choose these over oils – especially since I had just discovered the most amazing oil paints ever?

I was in turmoil.

I was really struggling … destroying canvases, overworking surfaces – confusion settled into my studio…and then I gave up. I’ve found in my art practice that giving up is the hardest thing to do. But it can also be the turning point, and in this case it was.

My initial goal working in acrylics was to embrace canvas (I paint on panel or paper when using oils). I have always been drawn to fabric and I wanted to find a way to allow the fabric to work with the paint but to do this with oils had always been disappointing.

As soon as I allowed the fabric to stand as its own element and stopped trying to use acrylics in the same way I would use oils, I began to see what the acrylics could do. I’ve found them to be light, airy and fast. They embrace my impulses and then force me to give up control – the paint leads me through the painting.

I don’t paint the same way in acrylics as I do in oils and for that reason I think they will mesmerize me for a long time to come.

Rose Umerlik

June 2013