Follow by email

Subscribe for email notifications of new blog posts

Subscribe to receive email notifications of blog posts

Monday, October 8, 2018

Plein Air Painting & Poetry

"Under the Cherry Trees" 20x24 oil on linen by Bridget Bossart van Otterloo, Poem by Michael Czarnecki
I've been getting ready to present the work created during our 6 month long project, Plein Air Painting & Poetry.
During this grant funded project Michael Czarnecki and I traveled together to 10 locations in Steuben County. We live in a beautiful part of the world, and there was plenty to inspire us. Along the way we talked about the similarites and differences between painting and poetry.
We can't wait to share it all with you!
Plein Air Painting & Poetry, Steuben County will be on exhibit from October 22 - November 16, 2018 at 171 Cedar Arts Center in Corning NY.
You are invited to a Reception and Artist/Poet Talk on Friday October 26, 5-8pm, during Corning's Urban Arts Crawl. We will begin our talk at 6pm. Michael will read his poetry and I will talk about my paintings. Please bring your questions!

You can see some pictures from our journey on our facebook project page:
Plein Air and Poetry: Steuben County
Plein air painting under the cherry trees in Denison Park, Corning NY

Grateful acknowledgments and appreciation to The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes for assistance in making this project possible by awarding us an Individual Artists Grant for 2018.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Sketching Along the Way - Yosemite National Park

Morning Light, Yosemite Valley
Whenever I travel I always make room for my sketchbook and painting supplies. Here's a peek into my sketchbook from my recent trip to Yosemite National Park. The light in this awe-inspiring place was amazing! This first sketch shown above was started at about 8 am, as the light was cresting over the granite mountains into Yosemite Valley.
I'm really liking Strathmore's hard cover watercolor sketchbooks, you can find them at our local Michaels Store. I still use my Winsor & Newton travel watercolor set from college. It's held up really well, and when I run out of a color, I just squeeze more into the well from tube paints. My favorite brush for traveling is a 1/4 inch dagger brush from Princeton Art & Brush Company. If you've taken a class with me, you've heard be talk about this brush.
There's something about capturing the feeling of a place that makes the challenges of sketching in the great outdoors worth it.
If you love to sketch too, consider meeting up with our friendly Urban Sketchers Corning Group. The group meets every weekend and anyone is welcome to join us. Check out more, including upcoming meet-ups, here on their Facebook page: Urban Sketchers Corning

My set-up: sketchbook, folding watercolor set that fits brushes, pencil box, plastic container for water, paper towels.
Giant Redwood Tree in Mariposa Grove, pen and watercolor.
Quick pen sketch of a Ponderosa Pine Cone
Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, pencil and watercolor. 
Aspen Leaf, pencil and watercolor
Merced River, near Happy Isles, Yosemite. Pen and watercolor
I'd love to hear about your sketching adventures and any sketching tips or questions in the comments below.
Happy Sketching!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Pollinators, 171 Summer Mosaics

Pollinators Series at 171 Cedar Arts Center
I've been working on a series of 50 6x6 oil paintings for this year's Summer Mosaics Exhibit at 171 Cedar Arts Center in Corning, NY. The Mosaics show includes 31 talented artists who created 50 works of art each in a variety of mediums. Go see the show now through July 22. Artwork will start disappearing from the gallery during Thursday's reception. For more information, and tickets to the two receptions click here: summer-mosaic-tickets-available-here

View all 50 Pollinator Paintings here in my website:

If one catches your eye, email me to inquire if it is still available:

50 Pollinators by Bridget Bossart van Otterloo

Monday, June 18, 2018

Summer Exhibits and Events

Still Life with Hydrangeas - watercolor 

World of Watercolors - Artist in Focus 

June 130, 2018

Franklin Street Gallery
209 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
607-535-2571 |

Hologram Moth - prints available 

Elusives: The Natural World We Seldom See - Guild of Natural Science Illustrators

May 17June 25, 2018
Beaver Lake Nature Center in Baldwinsville, NY

Finger Lakes Rieslings Palette 

Palettes of Keuka

July 1September 1, 2018
The Palettes of Keuka Art Display in Hammondsport, NY is a two month long display of painted palettes in and around the village of Hammondsport, culminating in the auction of the palettes on September 1, 2018. Pictured to the right is my palette for this year, "Finger Lakes Rieslings" 40×28 oil and aluminum leaf. For more info visit:
Palettes of Keuka

May Day Lilacs 

Ithaca Artists Market
with the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators

July 27, 12:00 pm7:00 pm
The Annual Ithaca Artist Maket is a juried show and sale of fine art. 88 booths filled with fine art, food, wine and music! We will be at booth #20. Stop by to learn more about the Guild's Finger Lakes Chapter. I'll have printed cards, unframed watercolors, and small oil paintings for sale.
Ithaca Farmer's Market Steamboat Landing, 545 3rd St, Ithaca, NY.

Iris Symphony 

In the Garden

July 629, 2018
Meet the Artist Open House - Saturday, July 7, 11am to 4pm
North Star Gallery, 743 Snyder Hill Road
Ithaca, NY 14850

Contact: 607-323-7684 or

Bee on Bee Balm 

171 Summer Mosaics: Pollinators

July 19July 22, 2018
Private Preview, July 19, 5:50 – 7:30 pm. Mosaic Reception, July 20, 7:00 – 9:00 pm.
Houghton Gallery, 171 Cedar Arts Center
155 Cedar Street, Corning NY 14830. 607-936-4647

Seneca Sunset - watercolor 

Plein Air Painting and Poetry Project

Summer and Fall 2018
Collaborative Project with Poet, Michael Czarnecki. Funded by 2018 NYSCA Decentralization Individual Artist Grant. ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes.
Follow our Facebook group for Free Workshops and Exhibits with Poetry Readings and Artist Talks: Plein Air Painting and Poetry, Steuben County at 171 Cedar Arts Center and Southeast Steuben County Library:

Plein Air Painting and Poetry Exhibit

October 22November 16, 2018
Paintings by Bridget Bossart van Otterloo and Poetry by Michael Czarnecki. Reception and Artist Talk on October 26, 5:00 – 8:00pm.
Houghton Gallery, 171 Cedar Arts Center
155 Cedar Street, Corning NY 14830. 607-936-4647

I hope to see you at one of these events this summer!


Friday, June 1, 2018

June Artist in Focus - Franklin Street Gallery

"African Weavers" 20x16 watercolor
For the month of June I have a collection of watercolor paintings and small oil paintings on display at the Franklin Street Gallery in Watkins Glen, NY.

Stop by the opening reception tonight, Friday June 1, 5:00–8:00pm to say hi and chat about art. Bring your questions!

Along with the Artist in Focus exhibit, I will be teaching a Botanical Drawing and Watercolor Workshop at the Franklin Street Gallery on June 10, 1:00–3:00pm. Call the gallery at 607-535-2571 to register.

"Still Life with Hydrangeas" 18x24 watercolor

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Arts in Bloom - Open Studio Weekend

Arts in Bloom
Welcome to my studio!
Come visit me next weekend during our annual Arts in Bloom, Arts Trail in Steuben County.

Arts in Bloom
6th Annual Steuben County Arts Trail

Saturday, April 28
10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Sunday, April 29
Noon - 5:00 pm

Visit me in my studio:
10 Jackson Circle, Corning, NY
  • See my newest paintings
  • Unframed watercolors
  • Watercolor cards
  • More Moon paintings
If you can't make it to my studio, you can always order online: BBvO Studio on Etsy

For a list of other artists and venues visit:
Currently my studio looks like a mess. I have a lot of work to do this week! Anyone want to be a volunteer studio assistant? (Kidding . . . not kidding :)
See you in the studio next weekend!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Tulip Fever

Tulip Fever, 18x13 oil by Bridget Bossart van Otterloo
It's the time of year when we all have spring fever, and I have tulip fever. Tulips are one of my favorite flowers to paint. I began this painting about a month ago from tulips growing from their bulbs in a beautiful glass vase, purchased at our local Wegmans. I've been posting the progress of this painting on my Instagram and Facebook pages, and now I thought I'd share the step by step process here in on my blog. I've heard back from many of you that you enjoy my process posts.

The visual idea behind Tulip Fever was to create an oil painting that looked like a classical botanical watercolor painting on vellum. I'll explain more in the process section below.

Tulip Fever will be framed and ready for a new home in time for the Arts in Bloom, Open Studio Weekend, an annual Arts Trail event in Steuben County. You can learn more about the trail here:

I hope to see you in person during this fun weekend. I'll have new paintings for sale, unframed watercolors, cards, and more moon paintings for you to take home!

Tulip Fever Process

Beginning Drawing
I love drawing. I usually begin a detailed botanical painting with a graphite drawing. Drawing allows me to work out the composition with gestural lines and erase mistakes easily. This painting was done on Multimedia Artboard—it's an absorbent surface made from paper soaked in resin. My late mentor, Tom Buechner, introduced me to it 15 years ago and it's still one of my favorite materials to work with.

When I'm happy with the drawing, I spray it with fixative, wait a day or so for it to dry, then begin the first layers of color in oil.
First layers of paint.
The first layers of paint on the multimedia board are mixed with a lot of Liquin. Liquin is a great painting medium. It thins down the paint without dissolving it like turpentine can do. These first layers are similar to the look of watercolor paint, with thin transparent colors. 

Tulips get color!
Brighter colors are layered on with a smaller brush. The initial light yellow layer shows through on the petals. After the flowers were painted, I started in on the greens of the leaves.
Leaves come to life.
Life got busy around the middle of the month, my tulips faded away, and I had to put my painting on hold. So, I scraped up the colors mixed on my palette, wrapped them in plastic and put them in my freezer. Oil paints will keep in the freezer for about a week or two. After that they begin to dry out. I don't know about you, but I hate wasting paint

Colors go on ice.

For the background of this painting I wanted to see if I could get the oil paint to look like vellum. Vellum is a semi-transparent parchment that was originally made from animal skins. I really like the look of this surface in traditional botanical and scientific illustrations. My animal loving-heart hates the idea of painting on animal skin, but my Artist heart loves the look of it.

I created this look with several thin layers of liquin and paint. The first layer was a mix of yellow ochre and lots of liquin. The second layer was titanium white and naples yellow with a touch of ultramarine blue. Lastly, I glazed the edges with more yellow ochre and liquin. I'm happy with the final look of the background. What do you think?
Dried bulbs for reference.
I finished the rest of the painting using the bulbs that I had saved and dried out. I'm going to try to plant them in my garden and see if they bloom again. I also used photo references to finish the final details in the overall painting.
Finishing touches
Tulip Fever, 18x13 oil by Bridget Bossart van Otterloo
Tulip Fever will be varnished, framed, and available for sale in time for the Arts in Bloom Open Studio Weekend. You're invited to see it in person and visit me in my studio on Saturday, April 28, 10am–7pm, and Sunday, April 29, 12 5pm. For more information click here: Arts in Bloom

I referred to many different art materials in this post. If you have any questions about them, feel free to message me. If you're in the area, take one of my painting classes at 171 Cedar Arts Center, or one of my Studio Workshops.

Happy painting!

Connect with me:

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Studio Workshops

Happy Studio Workshop Students

 Spring - Summer 2018 Studio Workshops

Join me in my light-filled home studio for an afternoon of drawing and painting. These classes are for all levels, no experience necessary. Materials are included in the price of the class ($50 per student per class). Feel free to bring your own materials if you have them.

Studio Workshop Setup

Botanical Drawing and Watercolor Workshops

Working with live plant specimens, students will learn to draw and paint plants with accurate detail. We will go over the basics of botanical drawing and watercolor painting techniques. I will be teaching the classical botanical style of working in thin transparent layers of watercolor. Our plant subjects will be different for each workshop, usually what's in season.
"Peony Tulip and Daffodils" by Bridget Bossart van Otterloo. Finished demo from workshop.

Upcoming Workshop Dates

    Sunday, April 8, 2018, 1:00pm – 5:00pm
    Sunday, May 27, 2018, 1:00pm – 5:00pm
    Sunday, June 24, 2018, 1:00pm – 5:00pm
    Sunday, July 8, 2018, 1:00pm – 5:00pm
    Sunday, August 12, 2018, 1:00pm – 5:00pm

$50. per Student per class (includes all materials)
Email me at or send me a PayPal or Square payment with a note.

Please send your email address and a note about which workshop you are signing up for when you use PayPal or Square.

Payment Options:
Mail a check to: 10 Jackson Circle, Corning NY 14830
Register with PayPal:
Register with Square:

Feel free to Call: 607-542-0662 or email me with any questions about the workshops. 

I hope to see you this Spring or Summer!
Happy Painting,

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Elusives Exhibit with GNSI Finger Lakes

Elusives at Cumming Nature Center

Enjoy art, maple syrup and pancakes this weekend and next!

Guild of Natural Science Illustrators - Finger Lakes Chapter members will be at Cumming Nature Center on March 24th from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm for a reception and some nature sketching. Maple syrup and pancakes too! Free and open to the public.

"Elusives: The Natural World We Seldom See"

Our exhibit showcasing creatures and plants that live in the shadows, under rocks, and in the depths of the water or the woods. Currently at the Cumming Nature Center in Naples, NY, through May 13, 2018.

My painting, "Hologram Moth" is on display in this group show. I have limited edition prints with hand applied copper leaf available for sale in my etsy shop:

"Hologram Moth" watercolor and copper leaf by Bridget Bossart van Otterloo
Read more about my process in creating this paintings on this post:

You can view the GNSI Elusives show catalog by following this link:
Elusives Catalog

Maple Sugaring Weekends

March 17–18 and March 24–25

A springtime tradition for many Western New York families, Maple Sugaring Weekends returns.
Join us as we celebrate 40 years of serving up steaming-hot stacks of pancakes at the beautiful Cumming Nature Center! Take in the gorgeous landscape, enjoy a hearty, locally sourced meal, and wander the trails. On the trail, learn how a tree makes sap and discover the different processing techniques while enjoying the outdoors.

Pancake Breakfast: 9am–1pm
(*Gluten-free pancakes available)
Trail Demonstrations: 10am–2pm

Cumming Nature Center

6472 Gulick Road
Naples, NY 14512
Information: 585.374.6160

Wednesday–Friday: 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Saturday–Sunday: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Sanctuary Show

Sisters, oil and gold leaf, five 7x5 inch canvas panels, by Bridget Bossart van Otterloo
Remember the beginning of this piece from last winter? Inspired by the Women's March back in January of 2017, I wrote about her start in a post called "Postcards from the Past". My finished artwork, Sisters, was accepted into the juried Sanctuary Show along with work by 35 artists. 
The Sanctuary Show is on exhibit now through April 6, 2018 at the Evelyn Peeler Peacock Gallery, ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes, 79 West Market Street, in Corning, NY.

I hope you'll join us for an Opening Reception during Corning's Urban Arts Crawl - Friday, February 23, 5- 8pm.

Sisters was inspired by a visit to Seneca Falls last January for the Women's March. The portraits of these five women were painted from postcards that I picked up at the Women's Hall of Fame. From left to right they are: Lucretia Coffin Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Caroline Parker (Seneca), Jane Clothier Master Hunt, and Mary Ann M'Clintock. These women helped to plan the First Women's Rights Convention held in Seneca Falls in 1848. They drafted the Declaration of Sentiments stating “all men and women are created equal”. The Women's movement was inspired by the Haudenosaunee women living in Western New York and their systems of gender equality.
The design in gold leaf connecting all these women is the Wampum Belt of the Iroquois Confederacy.
Iroquois Confederacy Wampum Belt
This belt symbolizes the five nations of the Iroquois Confederacy: Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, and Mohawk.
The third layer of symbolism incorporates the White Pine at a different life cycles on each panel. For the Haudenosaunee, the white pine is the tree of peace. The Central Onogaga Nation is represented by the Great White Pine tree in the Wampum Belt design.
Native Americans inspired the women of Western New York towards change, and forming the nation of the United States into what it is today. Our values of peace, equality and acceptance can be traced back to their influence. 

The Sanctuary Show seeks to capture the grace and humanity that sanctuaries highlight, revealing the very best of our communities - the unwillingness to live in fear of the other, the unwillingness to give in to hate-fueled political or ideological bigotry, and the unwillingness to close our doors to those who most need safety and protection.

Thirty-five regional artists explore this notion through a variety of responses across a diversity of mediums and techniques including painting, photography, pate de verre, ceramics, fiber art, and more.

The Sanctuary Show Programming

Sanctuary Speakers Panel

How are the themes expressed in the artistic works of The Sanctuary Show experienced in life by people in our community? Join us Tuesday, March 13 at 6pm for the Sanctuary Speakers panel in the Evelyn Peeler Peacock Gallery at The ARTS Council. We will hear from the life experiences of people who have sought political sanctuary, who have built religious sanctuaries, and who maintain the resources and community connections that make our region a sanctuary for immigrants and refugees today.

pARTner Up: Using the Creative Process to Explore Sanctuary

What would it be like to move to a new country and not speak the language? How about leaving your friends behind or not being able to eat the food you're used to eating? These are some of the questions we will explore during pARTner Up: Using the Creative Process to Explore Immigration, Refugees, and Sanctuary. Visual artist Filomena Jack and poet Michael Czarnecki will lead participants through the concept of seeking sanctuary in a new place. Join us Saturday, March 24 from 1-2:30pm at the Chemung County Historical Society for this unique family program, free and open to the public.

Evelyn Peeler Peacock Gallery at The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes