Overland Partners had the honor of hosting a live painting session with Jerry Fresia, an esteemed Impressionist painter currently living and working in Bellagio, Italy. Armed with the radical challenge of bringing Impressionism circa 1880 Paris into our contemporary setting, Fresia set up an in-house painting demonstration of a still life, followed by a discussion on his process and philosophy of painting.
For Fresia, the goal is not to make an accurate, hyper-realistic image of what is seen, but to respond emotionally to the scene that is being observed and depict these emotions on the canvas. As Fresia says, “Break apart the perception of reality into pieces of sensation that exist just below the surface of reality. Then put them back together in the right order according to the poet within you.”
The result of taking the creative risk of responding to sensations in the moment is something very personal; it allows you to let the world know and feel who you are. It is an expression of self which can teach you about who you are.
When looking at a scene, Fresia encouraged us to see only line and color, not objects—all the while not worrying about the final result. He repeated throughout his demonstration, “Hone sensory receptivity to the marvelous specificity of things,” meaning look for the slight differences in color and feel the scene—extract what is usually ignored. For Fresia, painting is about reaching enchantment, to live in the feelings of the moment and string the moments together.
*A special thanks to Marcel Van der Maas, my collaborator on this post*