Mar 16, 2024 | By: Sammy Holladay

In Focus: New Crossing Arts Alliance Exhibit Compares ‘Oil and Water’

Oil and water don’t mix, but the Crossing Arts Alliance in Brainerd found a way to make it happen. Their latest exhibit, “Oil and Water,” features the work of two Minnesota artists and explores the differences between rich and textured oil paintings and delicate watercolor paintings.

Both oil and watercolor paintings can be appreciated and require different techniques to get their respective mediums right.

“To help people understand the difference between an oil painting and a watercolor and the kinds of depth and texture and colorations you can get with each format, we thought that that would look really well together,” said Jennifer Jacquot-DeVries, Crossing Arts Alliance Executive Director. “That’s how the show came about. Oil and water, you know, they mix, they don’t mix. So we just thought that was a fun title to work with.”

The most glaring difference between oil and watercolor paintings is the time an artist has to work on them. You can take your time with an oil painting, but with watercolors, it is essential to have your idea planned out.

Laporte artist Darcy Brambrink, whose work is featured in the exhibit, explained, “In oil, you can start with a base and put the color down and if you don’t like it, you can let it dry maybe for a while and do it over. A watercolor is a one-shot. You put the water on the paper, you decide what colors you’re going to use, you put the pigment down on the paper and watercolor is built up by layer.”

Apple Valley artist David Linner was not able to attend the opening reception, but Brambrink was able to give a trained eye’s perspective on Linner’s work.

“He’s got a lot of structure in his work. He’s got a lot of texture,” said Brambrink. “You can see if there is a shoreline or a tree line or something. He’s got texture and color in that so that you know that it’s either far away or it’s in front. He’s very good at doing that, and I like his watercolors. I think he does a very good job.”

Brambrink describes herself as a landscape artist and gets inspiration by taking a deeper look into the nature that inspires her paintings.

“When I’m in a boat fishing, or if we’re out in the woods for a walk or something, I am paying attention to the light of the day, the colors of the trees,” she said. “It sticks in my head. So that’s what motivates me, is all that coming together, and a lot of people don’t see that.”

The “Oil and Water” exhibition will be on display until April 6. Both artists are also hosting workshops at Crossing Arts: Brambrink will lead a watercolor poppy painting class on March 17, and Linner will teach a watercolor landscape class on April 13.

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