Voices of Experience - Carl Bretzke
Voices of Experience
If you've ever looked at and tried to understand a CT scan or MRI or any medical imaging, it becomes clear that the radiologist who deciphers these media must have focused and keen visual acuity. Carl Bretzke was trained as a Interventional Radiologist and worked in the field for many years, but his minor in college was Fine Art. He kept his artistic passion alive until he was able to retire early from his medical career and devote himself to his painting. His paintings reflect the sharp observation of a scientist and the perceptive sensibility of an artist. His work has been exhibited nationally and he has won multiple First Place, Best of Show and Artists' Choice Awards in plein air competitions. Bretzke wrote to us about the intertwining of his two careers into his full-time work as an artist.
My interest in art started in childhood. I had an aunt who lived in Minneapolis. She and my mother would send their kids to each other’s houses to get to know our cousins (likely also for a break from child rearing). My aunt was intensely interested in art and so those Minneapolis weekends were often spent at the Walker Art Museum and at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. I remember buying a poster of an Edward Hopper back then.
The Minnesota landscape has its own unique character. Would you describe to us some of the themes in that landscape that provide you with inspiration?
I am also fortunate to have had the opportunity to paint in an unbelievable number of beautiful places throughout the USA and Europe. Plein air events and workshops are typically in those places. On my website you will find paintings from Tuscany (Italy), France, England, US East Coast, US West Coast, Hawaii, Florida, Colorado, Great Lakes and more.
Nocturnes are also a strong theme in your work. We would be interested in learning more about your preparation for doing a nighttime painting. What equipment and palette colors do you maintain for working at night? Will you share your process?
Frequently, I will do a quick one minute sketch to work out a composition. Most often I will do some kind of underpainting to work out shapes and values and then apply my final colors. No photos in plein air events but often in the studio. It's not uncommon that I will complete a plein air piece in more than one session.
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The Artist's Road Store
Filled with inspirational examples by the masters of nightime painting, this little book is sure to fire up your creative energies. Never tried painting at night? We show you how it's done with a step-by-step-oil demo and a tale of night painting in the wilds of Rocky Mountain National Park. The Primer on Night Painting - Nocturnes is a 7 x 7" PDF download with 40 pages of text and images. It includes a gallery of paintings by masters of the nocturne, information to inspire and encourage you in your plein air nocturne painting, an illustrated step-by-step demo and tips for working in pastel and oil. Also available in a softcover edition. Check out the tools and other products that we use in our own art and travels in The Artist's Road Store. We only offer things for sale that we enthusiastically believe in.