The Making of a Masterpiece II

Jack Winslow's art supplies.

Summers are very short in Vermont, where Jack Winslow lives and paints with his wife, Karen, out of their studio in Cambridge, Vermont. Before winter sets in, Jack tries to paint as many plein air paintings and floral paintings as possible. He paints his large studio pieces during the long winter.  It was September by the time Jack got to work on some of the drawings for his large work, By the Upper Brewster, which hangs in the foyer at M Gallery of Fine Art.

Jack Winslow drawing beside the Upper Brewster.

Jack returned to the site of the Upper Brewster to work on some drawings of particular trees, weeds, and rocks, so that he would have enough information to complete the large landscape.  He uses rag paper that he prepares with a tint for his drawings.  His drawings are usually in pencil, pen, or wash, and sometimes they are heightened with white.  These drawings are working out the “bones” of the trees, etc., or trying to understand their underlying structure.

Jack Winslow working on a study for a larger painting.

Jack painted several plein air oil studies at the Upper Brewster River, which is located in Jeffersonville, VT, before deciding on what to use in his larger painting.  These became the catalyst and inspiration for the larger piece.  When an artist works from life (not photos), these smaller studies are the basis and are part of the “behind the scenes” preparation to creating a big studio piece.

In these pictures, you can see his landscape set-up. He uses a gradated palette, with vertical shelves containing value steps for various colors, which is a marvelous aid in managing plein work, allowing him to work logically along a tonal scale.   These colors are not necessarily used directly, but are a reservoir for mixing.  He uses his hand-held palette to mix the correct color/value, taking paint from these shelves.  Jack paints slowly and thoughtfully, going back several times to the same location at the same time of day so that the light will be consistent and he can carefully model his form.

Jack Winslow working on a study for a larger painting.

Stay tuned for Part III…

For more information about this blog or inquiries regarding “The Upper Brewster,” by Jack Winslow, please call 843.727.4500 or email To view Karen and Jack Winslow’s inventory at M Gallery of Fine Art, SE in Charleston, SC, visit us online at


About mgalleryoffineart

Owner of M Gallery of Fine Art in historic Charleston, SC
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