The Secret to Positioning Your Brush

26 May 2014

Landscape painter Marcia Burtt is our featured artist today. In the video clip she discusses how crucial it is to position one’s brush at the correct angle to the canvas. Marcia’s an especially good instructor because she doesn’t put formulas before experience. She’s not going to attest to techniques she hasn’t tried herself, and she doesn’t believe there is a “right” way to approach plein air painting. It’s all experience, trial and error, and getting out there.

Lights, camera, action!


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on 19 Nov 2010 5:09 AM

I think this is a great idea. I would love to see Alvaro Castagnet, Charles Reid, Nita Casey Leger. Thank You

on 19 Nov 2010 5:35 AM

Great video.  I had a little trouble with buffering, but don't know how to get around that.  Good idea!

Steff6 wrote
on 19 Nov 2010 6:06 AM

Awesome idea!  Thanks!! Can't wait to see more!

on 19 Nov 2010 6:11 AM

I really enjoyed having a video showing technique. I would like to see more and then I will have an idea of which artists I really want to learn from. It's good to have techniques for artists at different levels of experience as well as using different mediums.

Thank you

on 19 Nov 2010 6:38 AM

I would love to have seen this video (and I like the idea of having them available), but the buffering problem was really bad.  I got half a sentence and it stopped, half another sentence and stop and so on.  You need to talk to your tech people about not starting until it's fully buffered (unless it's really long, of course).

on 19 Nov 2010 6:42 AM

Great quality video... unfortunately I could not get the audio to work.

doornik wrote
on 19 Nov 2010 6:48 AM

This is a great idea.  It helps me to be introduced to a teacher before buying her DVD course.

patbeeching wrote
on 19 Nov 2010 6:55 AM

Like this idea.  Loved the tip I will have to give it a shot.

desertdawn21 wrote
on 19 Nov 2010 7:04 AM

The video began great.  Good color, clear voice.  The video stopped before the artist finished explaining how to position the brush.  Disappointing.

on 19 Nov 2010 8:08 AM

Very nice. I'll look forward to many more of these.

For those people having a buffering problem, it's most likely your computer. Try pausing the video as soon as it opens and then allowing it to play once it has buffered completely.

I ordered a video on plein air painting some 6-8 weeks ago and have yet to receive it. Is there a reason for such a long delay?

willwoff wrote
on 19 Nov 2010 8:08 AM

this was absolutely useless. major techincal issues to work out with getting it to load. i got 3 seconds of video followed by several minutes of buffering. couldn't even view it because i gave up after 45 minutes. i have a good hi speed internet connection, and it still wouldn't load!! nothing personal, but you have to be able to be better than this.

Paul Darby wrote
on 19 Nov 2010 8:20 AM

Artist Daily Video Blog is a great idea, however, there is a buffering issue.

on 19 Nov 2010 8:48 AM

Great video, I had no buffering or audio problems as others have.  

bothebo wrote
on 19 Nov 2010 10:05 AM

I know the buffering problem can be annoying, but the viewer can stop the video him or herself in order to buffer; just click the "pause" icon at the lower left, wait for the video to load (it only takes a few seconds) and then click the "play" icon. (And thanks for making your video have this feature available--some do not.)

As for the video itself, this is valuable info that helps me evaluate whether I'd like to plunk down $$ for the DVD. I think you should do this with any videos you have available on your website. Excellent tips, well presented.

Florie wrote
on 19 Nov 2010 11:14 AM

I like the 'video' concept but didn't think I learned too much....2 minutes of repeating "set your easel up straight" would not make me buy it!

carynmarsh wrote
on 19 Nov 2010 11:15 AM

Love this idea! Had some trouble with buffering as well.

Sonni2 wrote
on 19 Nov 2010 12:34 PM

This is a great idea. However, after about every 12 words the sound and video pauses for a few seconds before continuing. Someone told me this was a buffering problem on your end--I don't know what that means.

mimistar wrote
on 19 Nov 2010 1:47 PM

Loved the advice,,,I have already ordered her DVD and so looking forward to it.  Love the idea of this video blog as we can get a glimpse of what an artist does and if we like we can order the DVD which will definitely help make wise decisions as to purchases.  A huge thank you.



NJ ART wrote
on 19 Nov 2010 2:12 PM

This is a very helpful video-unfortunately it kept starting and stopping every two seconds. Please  fix this problem-thank you

LPBaker wrote
on 19 Nov 2010 3:51 PM

Good video, although I'd have liked to see the finished painting she ends up with, that's always a criteria for me to decide if I want to see how it was painted. I had no troubles with buffering at all.

ArtistRoss wrote
on 19 Nov 2010 3:55 PM

This was a great idea. Technology is advancing so fast and it's great to see you guys grabbing hold of it and using it for all of our advantage. Keep up the good work!

CoArtist41 wrote
on 19 Nov 2010 6:20 PM

I loved the video, and I look forward to more! I, too, have forgotten to keep the easel upright instead of on an angle. Great reminder!

I had no problem with the video or sound.

Babsj wrote
on 19 Nov 2010 6:36 PM

This is a great idea!   I'd love to see pastellists featured too, their various ways of starting a portrait or landscape.  

Babsj wrote
on 19 Nov 2010 6:36 PM

This is a great idea!   I'd love to see pastellists featured too, their various ways of starting a portrait or landscape.  

ricardodajo wrote
on 19 Nov 2010 9:04 PM

Foi enriquecedor. É uma maneira de divulgar seus DVDs, facilitando a nossa escolha para qual adquirir. Muito obrigado.

Bmunford wrote
on 20 Nov 2010 6:02 AM

what a great new addition to a great website!  Loved the tips and can't wait to see more. thank you!

Bruno54 wrote
on 21 Nov 2010 6:31 AM

Great Idea!  No Buffing Problem at all... Of course I own a Apple Computer!

Can't wait for more!

Yours in paint,


JenniferD2 wrote
on 23 Nov 2010 3:31 AM

I am stuck in buffering hell too.   Gave up.

paartcart wrote
on 30 Nov 2010 1:02 PM

Love the idea and just love Marcia.  She's fresh and I actually learned something in this  little clip.  Watching someone paint is the ultimate lesson.

VizMin wrote
on 12 Jan 2011 12:50 PM

Great idea, poor execution. The bufffering problem is too frustrating to deal with. Perhaps I'll visit in a while after you've worked it out

Tony Mujica

VizMin wrote
on 12 Jan 2011 12:52 PM

Great idea, poor execution. The bufffering problem is too frustrating to deal with. Perhaps I'll visit in a while after you've worked it out

Tony Mujica

VizMin wrote
on 12 Jan 2011 12:52 PM

Great idea, poor execution. The bufffering problem is too frustrating to deal with. Perhaps I'll visit in a while after you've worked it out

Tony Mujica

Trepidation wrote
on 11 May 2011 11:09 AM

Quality of the video itself was exceptional...but it did not stream well.  I will try again later. I could smell the ocean!  Lori Secouler-Beaudry (starting over after a long hiatus)

CarolineA wrote
on 19 Apr 2014 7:15 PM

Great idea, I had no buffering problem, but then I am writing this comment at a time when most people would not be around to use the internet. Its not always a personal computer problem.

Buffering like this can occur when the high volume of internet traffic slows everything down. I cannot watch streaming video when the children come out of school (I'm in Australia) and local internet usage goes up. My speed drops so drastically I can't even watch social networking videos! If I want to watch streaming video from the US, I have to make sure its also not a peak use time there as well. It is possible to work this out, but its very frustrating.

Slowdown can also occur when there is too much traffic to a particular server. This happens before the server is so completely overwhelmed by the amount of traffic that the page refuses to load at all. This problem can only be solved by the webmaster. If that keeps happening, contact the F & W webmaster (usually webmaste@ whatever website you are trying to reach)  and tell them.

on 27 May 2014 12:31 PM

It's excellent that you post these videos, it's really helpful to take advices from people like Marcia who has a lot of experience and likes to show it in a very nice way.

Talking about myself, I've never thought that the position of my easel could affect the painting in a certain way, now I remember when I didn't have any easel to work and used to do it hanging the canvas directly on the Wall, it was better...

wendygoerl wrote
on 31 May 2014 12:36 PM

This is mistitiled. She isn't talking about brush angle relative to canvas, she's talking about canvas angle relative to subject.

I also disagree with her. If you lower your head to look at the canvas, and the canvas is vertical, then your angle of view to the canvas will NOT be the the angle of view to your subject. She's fixing on the wrong part of the equation.