Rural Life exhibit

Marcia Burtt, Spring Sky, Borrego, acrylic, 14×18 in.

Contemporary visions of rural life, from open spaces and cultivated land to farm animals and harvested crops, can be found in these paintings and photographs of life on the edge of the backcountry.

The subject is realist landscape, but a modern play with materials and representation succeeds traditional rendering.

Artists use colorful stripes of row crops and flat sharp shapes of barns and buildings to contrast with organic forms. Paintings of roadside vistas and aerial photographs provide the viewer windows to the broader topography. Cut flowers and fruit turn into abstracted trophies of agricultural landscape.

Diverse approaches to paint application, color, line, and composition create a realism that is relevant to our eclectic modern world.

Marcia Burtt Gallery, 517 Laguna St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101 | 805-962-5588

The Artist’s Garden

a creative ranch retreat

This secluded ranch has a quiet 19th century feel, yet is 20 minutes by car from Highway 101 and the town of Santa Maria, and a half hour’s drive to Pacific Coast beaches. Sowle Ranch is situated in a winding valley traversed by a dirt road passing through the creek bed. The Casita is on one end of the central quadrangle, the ranch house is on the second side, a grape arbor with picnic tables on the third, and large straw-bale art studio on the fourth. The studio has a Yamaha Ariel electronic piano, and the walls are nearly completely soundproof.

There are covered porches on both east and west ends of the studio as well as a bank of north-facing windows inside, set up for painting on gloomy days.

Cottonwood and sycamore trees, fresh air, pure and delicious well water, and ready-to-pick flowers and vegetables surround the buildings. A large swimming pool forms the center of the quadrangle, solar heated May through October. An infrared sauna for your use is available on a nearby covered porch.

The garden and buildings are surrounded by utter privacy, quiet, twelve hundred acres of cattle rangeland, and hills full of wildlife. In wet years, the running creek is a great painting feature.


This historic ranch was originally over 4,000 acres. It was divided into three parts in the 1930s. Sowle Ranch retained the corrals, hay barn, and ranch bungalow built in 1914 from redwood that floated ashore after a shipwreck off Pt. Conception. A tiny 1880s stone schoolhouse once served this rural canyon; it stands next to the cowboy house a hundred yards behind the ranch house compound.

Small Works

January 18 through March 10, 2019

Accompanying Pamela Zwehl-Burke’s CROSSING at Marcia Burtt Gallery, is an exhibition of small paintings by gallery artists. Using small scale as a lure, the artists entice the viewer to get close, creating an intimacy between viewer and art.

In Wildness: The Oak Group

Marcia Burtt, Leaving Condor’s Hope, acrylic

January 25-March 22, 2019Opening Reception: Friday, January 25, 4pm-6pm, H202Artist Panel Discussion: Wednesday, February 27, 5pm, H11
Oak Group Exhibition at SBCC Atkinson Gallery Will Benefit Los Padres ForestWatch
In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the San Rafael Wilderness, the Oak Group’s exhibition In Wildnesswill open January 25th at the Atkinson Gallery at Santa Barbara City College. A reception will be hosted by the Gallery on January 25 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. so the public can meet the artists and Los Padres ForestWatch staff as well as other lovers of wilderness and art.

The show will feature new landscape paintings by members of the Oak Group highlighting the Wilderness Area in Los Padres National Forest. Oak Group artists are passionate about nature and are committed to preserving local lands for wildlife, recreation, ranching, and farming. Working with conservation groups and landowners, Oak Group artists record the beauty of these endangered landscapes to draw public attention and to help generate funds to protect them. To date, Oak Group sales of $3 million have supported these goals. A panel discussion featuring Oak Group artists will be held Wednesday, February 27, 5pm, in SBCC Humanities Building, Room 111.

Located in the Los Padres National Forest in Santa Barbara’s backcountry, the San Rafael Wilderness was the first primitive area to be designated as wilderness under the Wilderness Act of 1964. The San Rafael is home to rare and endangered wildlife and among the wildest, most remote, and most rugged landscapes of California’s central coast region. To earn permanent protection of the San Rafael Wilderness, local residents worked with members of Congress and conservation groups in Washington, D.C., laying the groundwork for citizen-based wilderness initiatives throughout the nation. Today, a half-century later, the San Rafael remains the largest permanently protected open space in Santa Barbara County, featuring landmarks like Hurricane Deck, Castle Rock, Manzana Creek, Sisquoc River, and Big Pine Mountain.
This art exhibition is inspired by the words of famed naturalist Henry David Thoreau, who wrote “In Wildness is the preservation of the world.” A portion of the proceeds from each painting sold will benefit Los Padres ForestWatch, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of wilderness, wildlife, and clean water throughout the Los Padres National Forest, the Carrizo Plain National Monument, and other public lands along California’s central coast.

Through legal and public advocacy, scientific collaboration, community outreach, and volunteer field work, Los Padres ForestWatch promotes sustainable public access and protects local public lands from oil development, commercial logging, and wildlife habitat degradation.Atkinson Gallery at Santa Barbara City College is a learning laboratory that promotes visual literacy and critical thinking. The Gallery hosts contemporary art exhibitions featuring international, national, regional, and student artists working in a wide range of styles and media.

The exhibition is sponsored in part by the Foundation for Santa Barbara City College. It  will be on display from January 25 through March 22, 2019, and can be seen during regular gallery hours noted on the website or by contacting the gallery for an appointment at 805.897.3484. 

To purchase a painting or view our online gallery for a sneak preview of artwork featured in the exhibit, please visit, or contact Rebecca August at Los Padres ForestWatch at 805-617-4610 extension 5.
Featured artists: Whitney Abbott, Marcia Burtt, Chris Chapman, Bill Dewey, Rick Garcia, Carrie Givens, Kevin Gleason, Jeremy Harper, Ray Hunter, John Iwerks, Larry Iwerks, Linda Mutti, Rob Robinson, Ann Sanders, Richard Schloss, Skip Smith, Arturo Tello, and Thomas Van Stein
For more information:The Oak Group: Padres ForestWatch: Gallery at SBCC:

Marcia Burtt featured in Athens Embassy catalog

Marcia Burtt has been a proud participant of the Art in Embassies program that is put on by the US State Department. “Art in Embassies (AIE), a program within the U.S. Department of State, creates vital cross-cultural dialogue and mutual understanding through the visual arts and dynamic artist exchanges.” Her art has been recently been exhibited in Athens, Greece.

The Art of Plein Air Painting

Marcia Burtt is a featured artist in the just published:

The Art of Plein Air Painting: An Essential Guide to Materials, Concepts, and Techniques for Painting Outdoors
by M. Stephen Doherty

You can find it on Amazon here:



Lightweight alternate acrylic setup

used by Alison Levine

“Here are pictures of my setup using a Masterson Stay-Wet Palette minus the sponge.
Instead of the sponge I line the bottom with a piece of Jack Richeson gray palette paper.
I’ve attached two clear pill organizers using strong adhesive Velcro cut to size. The seal to this box keeps acrylic paints from drying out for many days. Continue reading

Sarasota workshop

Lovely beaches, beautiful paintings and big brushes in Florida!

Recommended Supply list


Workshop Supply List

You may bring any medium you like and any easel you are comfortable with.
If you want to learn to use the acrylic medium, bring:
paint box
minimum 3-color acrylic paint palette plus white
homemade palette for mixing
cotton rags
spray bottle
stool or other support for your open paint box
at least once good large brush made for acrylic
canvases, panels, or boards gessoed with white primer, size recommendations
Professional grade acrylics compared -link to Lindsey Bourret’s
Choosing the Acrylic Paint that’s Best for You

Plano 2-tray tackle box

Plano 2-tray tackle box

Continue reading

Limited Palettes

You can get along with any of the three limited palettes below, or you can get all of the colors I like to use. You’ll have to work harder using fewer colors, but either the limited OR full palettes below should allow you to mix nearly any color you see. Continue reading