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MAY 2018 $6.95 U.S. 8.95 CAN.



THE PERFECT PLACE FOR ARTISTS TO GATHER WE BRING IN THE BEST INSTRUCTORS from around the US and the world for workshops and classes. Weekly open life drawing sessions, special events and exhibits are all programmed to bring together artists and art lovers and to foster the growth of the arts community.


WORKSHOPS: z Daniel Gerhartz

z Michelle Dunaway

z Quang Ho

z Kevin Beilfuss

z Jason Sacran & John Lasater

z Max Ginsburg

z Jennifer McChristian

z Roger Dale Brown

z Calvin Liang

z Randall Sexton

z Colin Page

z Marc Hanson

z Vladislav Yeliseyev z William Schneider z Larry Moore

z Scott Christensen z David Shevlino z Rose Frantzen z C.W. Mundy

z Dave Santillanes

z John Michael Carter

z Andy Evansen

z Greg LaRock

z Barbara Jaenicke

z Paul Kratter

z Kevin MacPherson z Qiang Huang z Mary Whyte z Hai-Ou Hou

EVENTS: z Weekly Classes z Competitions z Exhibitions

z Lectures & Demos

z Online Classes & Demos

National and internationally known artists work available for sale. Gallery open by appointment only

609 Thompson Creek Road, Stevensville, MD 21666 · 410-200-8019

Plein Air Heritage

Approaching Thunder Storm 1859, oil on canvas, 28 x 44 in. Collection The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Erving Wolf Foundation and Mr. and Mrs. Erving Wolf, in memory of Diane R. Wolf, 1975


lthough he kept a studio in the same building in New York City as several artists of the Hudson River School and became good friends with Frederic Edwin Church (1826–1900) — one of its most celebrated members — Martin Johnson Heade (1819–1904) operated on the fringes of the movement. His paintings exhibit the same influence of Romanticism, but while his building-mates turned to the wilds for inspiration for their majestic depictions of mountains, valleys, and waterfalls, Heade opted for decidedly more horizontal expanses of subdued scenery — primarily salt marshes and coastal settings, from Massachusetts to New Jersey. Even when he painted storms, a favorite subject, he preferred the somber buildup to the main event. Here, rather than the tempest itself, it was its prelude — the blackening sky and eerily illuminated landscape — that inspired the artist to capture the scene he witnessed on Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay in a sketch, which provided the basis for this painting.

Sketch for Approaching Thunder Storm c. 1858, graphite on off-white wove paper, 8 11/16 x 11 1/2 in. Collection The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Morris K. Jesup Fund, 2000

See how eight contemporary painters have approached painting storms in Plein Air Portfolio. / April-May 2018


Door County Plein Air

Events: July 22 - 28 Exhibition: July 28 - Aug 11

PUBLISHER B. Eric Rhoads • Twitter: @ericrhoads • Facebook: /ericrhoads EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Kelly Kane • MANAGING EDITOR Brida Connolly • • 702.299.0417 CREATIVE DIRECTOR Alfonso Jones • • 561.655.8778

The Midwest's Premier Outdoor Painting Event

ART DIRECTOR Kenneth Whitney • EDITOR EMERITUS M. Stephen Doherty DIRECTOR OF SALES Jason Kelley • • 802.579.1058 ART DIVISION DIRECTOR Anne Weiler-Brown • • 435.772.0504 NATIONAL SALES MANAGER, SUPPLIERS Richard Lindenberg • • 415.948.6142


NATIONAL MARKETING MANAGER Yvonne Van Wechel • • 602.810.3518

• 38 invited plein air masters from across the country • • Unparalled access to our featured artists • • Unique events for all ages • • A welcoming arts-centered community • • Relaxed, fun and lots of Midwestern hospitality •

R EGIONA L M A R K ETING M A NAGER S Krystal Allen We s t C o a s t 5 4 1 . 4 4 7. 4 7 8 7 Tr a c e y N o r v e l l Mid-Atlantic & Southeast 918 .519. 0141

Complete schedule of events and tickets online.

Gi n a Wa rd Central 9 2 0 .74 3 . 2 4 0 5 A n ne We i le r-B r o w n Mou nt a i n We s t 435.772 .050 4 Mary Green Northeast & International 508.230.9928 DIGITAL AD MANAGER Sarah Webb • • 630.445.9182

Image © Andy Evansen

DATA CONTROL MANAGER Faith Frykman • • 920.559.0685 PleinAir Today Cherie Haas, Editor ­Subscriptions: 561.655.8778 or WEBSITES • for artists for collectors Attention, retailers: If you would like to carry PleinAir magazine in your store, please contact Tom Elmo at 561.655.8778. One-year, 6-issue subscription within the United States: $39.97 (two years, 12 issues, $59.97) One-year, 6-issue subscription, Canada and Europe: $76.97 (two years, 12 issues, $106.97) Door County, WI 920.868.3455


April-May 2018 /

Copyright ©2017 Streamline Publishing, Inc. PleinAir Magazine is a trademark of Streamline Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. PleinAir Magazine (ISSN 2160-0694) is published 6 times annually by Streamline Publishing, Inc., 331 SE Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton, FL 33432, for $39.97 per year in U.S.A. (two years $59.97); Canadian and European subscriptions $76.97 for one year ($106.97 for two years). Periodicals postage paid at Boynton Beach, FL (and additional mailing offices). POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: PleinAir Magazine, 331 SE Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton, FL 33432. Any reproduction of this publication, whole or in part, is prohibited without the express written consent of the publisher. Contact Streamline Publishing, Inc., at address below. All subscriptions, renewals, and changes of address should include address label from the most recent issue and be sent to the Circulation Department, PleinAir Magazine, 331 SE Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton, FL 33432. Copying done for other than personal or internal reference without the express permission of PleinAir Magazine is prohibited. Address requests for special permission to the Managing Editor. Reprints and back issues available upon request. Printed in the United States. Canada returns to be sent to Bleuchip International, P.O. Box 25542, London, ON, N6C 6B2.

Auction & Quick Draw · 2018 CODY, WYOMING


Featuring 0ver 100 Outstanding Western Artists




MATT SMITH | Afternoon at lhe Lower Falls

Join Us for the Many Educational Opportunities: Painting on Porch | Artist Tours | Lectures & Great Cody Hospitality


8 8 8 . 5 9 8 . 811 9

W W W . B U F FA L O B I L L A R T S H O W . C O M


Museum & Organization Officers Peter Adams, President, California Art Club ( Sandy Askey Adams, En Plein Air Group, Facebook ( Antony Bridge, Pochade.Co.UK ( Christopher Forbes, Vice Chairman, Forbes Inc. ( Matt Smith, President, Plein Air Painters of America ( Lori McNee,


Clyde Aspevig ( Scott L. Christensen ( Donald Demers ( Michael Godfrey ( Jeremy Lipking ( Kevin Macpherson ( Joseph McGurl ( Camille Przewodek ( Ed Terpening ( Keith Wicks ( Randy Higbee (

331 SE Mizner Blvd. Boca Raton, FL 33432 Phone: 561.655.8778 • Fax: 561.655.6164 Chairman/Publisher/CEO B. Eric Rhoads Facebook: /ericrhoads • Twitter: @ericrhoads EVP/Chief Operating Officer Tom Elmo Production Director Nicolynn Kuper Director of Finance Laura Iserman Accounting Jaime Osetek Circulation Coordinator Sue Henry Customer Service Coordinator Nia Raeford Creative Director, Advertising Stephen Parker Assistant to the Chairman Ali Cruickshank


April-May 2018 /

CONTENTS 3 Plein Air Heritage 10 Publisher’s Letter: Why Community and Excellence Matters 12 Editor’s Note: At Your Service 47 Master Study 107 PleinAir Salon 154 Postcards From the Road

COVER IMAGE: Autumn Gusts, Gwennap Head Richard Suckling 2017, pastel, 24 x 24 in. Collection the artist Studio


The Artist’s Guide to Plein Air Painting in Northern New Mexico 48 PLEIN AIR PORTFOLIO




Beyond the Motif: Our cover artist makes a case for studio painters to venture outdoors. By Robert K. Carsten


Resplendent Light: With a bright color palette and limited brushstrokes, English energizes scenes of the everyday. By John A. Parks


Oil and Water: A Love Story: These two artists have made a life together, traveling, painting, and supporting one another. By Kelly Kane


Pastelist at Heart: Lesnichy paints in oil and pastel, but finds the latter gives her greater emotional connection to her subjects. By Bob Bahr

DIGITAL SUBSCRIBERS: Look for this icon to find additional images and stories.


April-May 2018 /

Along the River’s Edge: This New Orleans native finds inspiration in the city’s quiet moments. By Kelly Kane


Ever Watchful: A former smokejumper, Perkins learned to pay close attention to his surroundings. By Bob Bahr


Winter of Abstraction: Palecek’s work took on a new freshness after a season’s break from representational painting. By Bob Bahr


Turning Routine Into Ritual: Painting a lone tree in the Alaskan wilderness for one year changed this artist’s outlook and art. By Stefanie Laufersweiler


Choosing Your Moment to Capture Moving Clouds By Kim Casebeer


Designing Your Paintings With Purpose By John Hughes

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publisher’s letter

Why Community and Excellence Matter


ast night as I was dining with a couple of old friends who are gallery owners, they asked about the turning point — when the plein air movement went from a handful of people to a true movement of tens of thousands of people. As I briefly pondered my answer, it came to me for the first time that one thing made a giant difference: the launch of a single event that brought everyone together as a community. Of course, I’m referring to the Plein Air Convention & Expo. Though I want to make it clear that we don’t think for a minute that our magazine or our convention is responsible for this movement, what occurred at the first convention may have played a role. And what occurred there was the birth of the first major sense of community within the world of plein air painters. Before the convention, the largest events of any kind bringing plein air painters together tended to be occasional workshop weeks with a couple of hundred people, or small plein air gatherings that attracted no more than 50 or so artists. Though I had not considered the impact it would have, something magical happened at that convention, when about 400 people gathered in Las Vegas. They shared their common passion, they studied under a world-class faculty, and they met and collaborated, all for the very first time. Friendships and relationships developed, and the result was like lighting the fuse on 400 rockets. They all went home with enthusiasm and energy, recruiting more painters along the way. They had all improved their painting skills and become inspired. Think about the growth of plein air events, the number of clubs, the number of new painters since that first gathering as a community. Most people attending returned the following year to get another “fix” of friendships and personal growth, and many had encouraged others to come, making the community grow. And now, as we enter our 7th Plein Air


April-May 2018 /

Speaking to attendees at last year’s Plein Air Convention & Expo. We’ll have even more fun this year in Santa Fe!

Convention & Expo, a thousand people will gather, get to know one another, grow and learn together, and return home with more rocket fuel to bring others to painting. Plus, there are probably two or three thousand additional people who have attended PACE at one time or another and continue to carry the torch for plein air painting. Encouraging everyone in attendance to bring others to painting is starting to result in massive adoption. Plein air truly is becoming “the new golf.” Art historian Jean Stern recently confirmed my assertion that plein air is indeed the largest movement in the history of art, and with the growth we are experiencing, this movement has the promise of changing the lives of millions. And it is being built on your shoulders. Though I want others to discover the joys of outdoor painting so their lives will change like my own life has, I’d like everyone in this community of plein air to swear their allegiance to the ideals of quality and lifelong learning. The people who discover plein air painting are relying on each of us for individual coaching and encouragement. They are looking to us for direction. Therefore the critical message we need to send is that every painter, whether a hobbyist or a pro, should be focused on continual growth,

on getting better and making quality paintings their highest goal. This is important so that rapid expansion does not result in a lowering of quality. You are playing a role in history just by being a part of this movement, and your actions and the people you touch will have a massive impact on the world. This is an exciting ride that has only just begun, and it won’t ever end, as long as we continue to recruit new painters, bring younger people in, and remember the new mantra: plein air painting is about excellence. I’m also grateful that you’ve allowed me to play a little role myself in this thing we call plein air painting. I want to thank everyone for their encouragement and support. Together we can take this movement to the highest possible level of excellence.

B. ERIC RHOADS, CHAIRMAN/PUBLISHER E-mail: Phone: 512.607.6423 Facebook: /ericrhoads Twitter: @ericrhoads PS: This is the first issue done entirely by our new editor-in-chief, Kelly Kane. Please make it a point to welcome Kelly, let her know about you and what you do, and help her become part of the plein air family. She’s played some important art publishing roles in the past, including editor-in-chief of Watercolor Artist and content director of The Artist’s Magazine, Pastel Journal, Drawing, and Acrylic Artist, so she knows art, and she knows publishing. We’re blessed to have her! This is also a time when we will honor outgoing Editor-in-Chief Steve Doherty, who is retiring to paint full-time. Join us at the convention as we honor Steve!

Where In The World Is

Plein Air 2018 June 6th, 2018

5th Annual “Live” Online Plein Air Art Show!

1 Day / 1 Painting Per Day Per Artist / 3 Live Videos Per Artist Daily

54 of Our Amazing Gallery Artists / 35 Juried Guest Artists Follow your favorite artists live as they create masterful works of art at:

Stephen Stauffer “Red Tail on the Terrace” 15 x 30 oil on linen panel

Be the one to BUY IT NOW before it’s sold! View online from ANYWHERE ... as the artists paint from EVERYWHERE.

Allie Zeyer "Pasture Overlook" 8x10 oil

Michele Usibelli "Beach Cottages" 9x12 oil

For a Video commentary from B. Eric Rhoads, Publisher of Plein Air Magazine, visit our website: Sponsored by:

Visit Illume Gallery of Fine Art to see all of the completed works. Gallery Show begins July 11th.

editor’s note

At Your Service


s I sit down to write my first note as your new editor-in-chief, a light snow has dusted the landscape just outside my window, creating the kind of scene I like to imagine Steve Doherty will be out painting tomorrow morning. In fact, the last time we spoke, he’d just come in from painting an earlier snowfall, taking full advantage of his newfound free time and a few hours of sunlight. Although I’ve been in art publishing for more than 20 years and knew of Steve from his work at American Artist and then at PleinAir, I’d never had the pleasure of working with him. Over the course of the last few months, I’ve come to recognize him as the gracious, witty, and passionate plein air advocate that you already knew him to be. I know you’ll be as happy as I am to learn that Steve has agreed to stay on as editor emeritus, offering guidance and advice — but mostly, I hope, unchaining himself from his keyboard to paint and do the things he’s always wanted to do. Here at PleinAir, my steadfast managing editor, Brida; creative designers, Ken and Alfonso; and I will carry on the work that Steve and Eric Rhoads started. And we’ll be introducing a few new features to the magazine as well. To start, I hope you’ll enjoy the column we’ve created called “The Elements,” where we’ll invite a different artist each issue to share their take on painting a specific element of the


April-May 2018 /

landscape (in this issue, it’s moving clouds) or maximizing the use of a specific element of art in their work (for example, using line to draw the viewer’s eye through a painting). We’ve also re-imagined the back page as a place for you to share stories of your adventures — and misadventures — in the field. I want to thank all of you who have already reached out to welcome me in an e-mail or through Facebook. For some of you, I’m a familiar face. As editor of Watercolor Artist for more than 13 years, I worked with a number of plein air watercolor painters, promoting the benefits of painting from nature for anyone, regardless of their medium and whether or not they considered themselves a studio painter. Others may be familiar with the publications I managed as content director, including The Artist’s Magazine, Pastel Journal, Acrylic Artist, and Drawing. In addition to a passion for art, nature, and plein air painting, I bring with me a dedication to you, the reader. This is your magazine; I am simply its latest steward. Let me hear from you. What do you want to see more or less of? Who would you like to see featured? What topics would you like to learn more about? I’m at your service. KELLY KANE Editor-in-Chief

This retrospective catalog may be purchased at the Taos Art Museum at Fechin House, the Nedra Mattueuci Gallery in Santa Fe, or from the Gonske Gallery & Studio. Please send check for $40 to Walt Gonske P.O. box 1538 Taos NM 87571 This body of work was on exhibition at the Taos Art Museum at Fechin House from late September thru early February 2018. Thirty six of the forty pieces were completed en plain air. They were selected out of my own collective and are now at the Nedra Mattuecci Gallery in Santa Fe. A Public opening and sale is planned for June 23rd 2018.


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For a list of participating artists, schedule of events, artist information, to volunteer or be a sponsor, go to the festival’s official website:

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2017 People’s Choice Award Winner

Proceeds from the Carmel Art Festival benefit youth art programs in Monterey County The Carmel Art Festival is a non-profit 501c3 organization P.O. Box 7191, Carmel, CA 93921




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LEE MACLEOD Abiquiu 16x20 oil on board

Anticipation 16x16 oil on board

Purple Sage Gallery • Albuquerque, NM Forest and Ocean Gallery • Laguna Beach, CA

DISCOVER OUR 2018 PLEIN AIR WORKSHOPS! Scottsdale Artists’ School is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing the capabilities of artists and aspiring artists of all ages and skill levels by teaching the applied fundamentals of fine art.

Painting Napa Valley En Plein Air, California Bryan Mark Taylor I May 9-12, 2018

Plein Air: Painting the Beartooth Range, Montana Ned Mueller I June 25-29, 2018

Capturing the Light: Painting in Hope Valley, Lake Tahoe Kathleen Dunphy I August 1-4, 2018

Plein Air Painting at the Grand Canyon, Arizona Mitch Baird I September 17-21, 2018 | 480.990.1422



A view in Northern New Mexico. Courtesy Douglas Maahs

AG2 April-May 2018 /

2018 Santa Fe






“Nambe Hills”

“Approaching Storm”

“The Way to Truches”

“Sweet Blessed Rain”





CARRIE SCHULTZ “McKenzie Street”

MADINA CROCE “In Her Heyday”

PAINT OUT DATES – April 28 - May 2, 2018 SHOW DATES – May 4 - 18, 2018 OPENING RECEPTION – May 4, 5-7:30 pm

THANKS TO OUR GENEROUS SPONSORS: Plein Air Magazine, Southwest Art Magazine, Frame Tek, Kremer Pigments, Michael Harding Oil Colours, Panel Pak, Abiquiu Inn, Ampersand Art Supply, Art, Blick Art Materials, Fredrix Materials, Inc., Guerrilla Painter LLC, Jack Richeson & Co., Jeff Potter Memorial for Artistic Excellence, Jerry’s Artarama, Mike Mahon Art Workshops, Princeton Artist Brush Co., Royal Talens, Schmincke/Chartpak, Sourcetek For more infor mation visit: or / April-May 2018 AG3

2018 Santa Fe


“Ribbons of Light” by Cecilia Robertson Oil | 9” x 12” 7 Arts Gallery, NM

“Chimney Rock” by Terry Chacon Oil | 11” X 14” Catalina Art Gallery, CA

“Vendor” by Jane Chapin Oil on linen | 18” x 24” Sorrel Sky Gallery, NM AG4 April-May 2018 /

“A Bend in the Gold” by John Meister Oil on linen panel | 14” x 11” Purple Sage Gallery, NM

“Santa Fe River Turbulence” by Karen Halbert Oil | 10” x 16” Marigold Gallery, NM

“Taos Glow” by Margi Lucena Pastel | 20” x 16” Selby Fleetwood, NM

“North Fork Teton Creek” by Maryann McGraw

“Day Greets Night” by Tobi Clement

Pastel | 11” x 14” Purple Sage Gallery, NM

Pastel | 11” x 14” Guest Artist/7Arts Gallery, NM

For more infor mation visit: or / April-May 2018 AG5

A Rich Artistic Legacy


rtists have long been captivated by the charms of Northern New Mexico. Of course, the main draw has been, and continues to be, the landscape’s incomparable blend of light, color, and shape. But art had a foothold in the area long before the first Easterners ventured West. The Native inhabitants, who had lived in the surrounding pueblos for centuries, had their own artistic heritage, evident in their pottery, weaving, and architecture. Later, the Spanish colonists who settled the area in the 16th century brought European traditions of furniture making, wood carving, embroidery, and tinwork. By the time professional artists arrived in Santa Fe and Taos in the mid- to late 19th century, the area was teeming with exotic subject matter for painting and sculpture. In the beginning, most of the artists who traveled to Northern New Mexico already enjoyed a certain level of success, and were, at first, interested in no more than annual trips West or, at best, part-time residency — thus establishing a creative pipeline for sharing ideas back and forth from New Mexico to the East Coast. John Sloan, one of several who had exhibited at the famed Armory Show of 1913 in New York City, established a home off Canyon Road and spent every summer there for 20 years, while continuing to teach in New York in the winter. Randall Davey, another Armory Show exhibitor, settled higher up Canyon Road where it enters the wilderness, establishing a permanent residence that he left to the Audubon Society. For many of the early artists, including Gerald Cassidy and Sheldon Parsons, the inspiring landscape wasn’t the only draw. The fresh, clean air and dry desert climate provided a relief from respiratory illnesses contracted back east that threatened to end their careers. Plus, the simple (and comparatively cheap) lifestyle made it easy for artists to set up shop. Above all, however, they enjoyed the camaraderie of fellow artists. Among those who settled in Taos were Bert Geer Phillips and Ernest L. Blumenschein, who along with Joseph Henry Sharp, W. Herbert Dunton, E. Irving Couse, and Oscar E. Berninghaus, formed the charter membership of the Taos Society of Artists. And in Santa Fe, the colorful Los Cinco Pintores (The Five Painters) — Jozef Bakos, Fremont Ellis, Walter Mruk, Willard Nash, and Will Shuster — were among the first to make their mark. Artists continue to flock to Northern New Mexico to connect to the land, to the people, and to one another, making Santa Fe the perfect location for the 7th Annual Plein Fall in Pilar 10 x 10 Oil Air Convention & Expo. If you weren’t able to join us this year, I do hope you’ll have the opportunity to visit this magnificent part of the country someday — and if you do, don’t forget to bring your paints. The light. The REPRESENTED BY color. The shapes. Need I say more?



AG6 April-May 2018 /

Kelly Kane Editor-in-Chief

PUBLISHER B. Eric Rhoads • Twitter: @ericrhoads • Facebook: /ericrhoads EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Kelly Kane • MANAGING EDITOR Brida Connolly • • 702.299.0417 PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Nicolynn Kuper • • 561.655.8778 CREATIVE DIRECTOR Alfonso Jones • • 561.655.8778 ART DIRECTOR Kenneth Whitney • DIRECTOR OF SALES Jason Kelley • • 802.579.1058 ART DIVISION DIRECTOR Anne Weiler-Brown • • 435.772.0504 NATIONAL SALES MANAGER, SUPPLIERS Richard Lindenberg • • 415.948.6142 NATIONAL MARKETING MANAGER Yvonne Van Wechel • • 602.810.3518 R EGIONA L M A R K ETING M A NAGER S Krystal Allen We s t C o a s t 5 4 1 . 4 4 7. 4 7 8 7 Tr a c e y N o r v e l l Mid-Atlantic & Southeast 918 .519. 0141 Gi n a Wa rd Central 9 2 0 .74 3 . 2 4 0 5 A n ne We i le r-B r o w n Mou nt a i n We s t 435.772 .050 4 Mary Green Northeast & International 508.230.9928 DIGITAL AD MANAGER Sarah Webb • • 630.445.9182 DATA CONTROL MANAGER Faith Frykman • • 920.559.0685 PleinAir Today Cherie Haas, Editor ­Subscriptions: 561.655.8778 or WEBSITES • for artists Attention, retailers: If you would like to carry PleinAir magazine in your store, please contact Tom Elmo at 561.655.8778. One-year, 6-issue subscription within the United States: $39.97 (two years, 12 issues, $59.97) One-year, 6-issue subscription, Canada and Europe: $76.97 (two years, 12 issues, $106.97) Copyright ©2017 Streamline Publishing, Inc. PleinAir Magazine is a trademark of Streamline Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. PleinAir Magazine (ISSN 2160-0694) is published 6 times annually by Streamline Publishing, Inc., 331 SE Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton, FL 33432, for $39.97 per year in U.S.A. (two years $59.97); Canadian and European subscriptions $76.97 for one year ($106.97 for two years). Periodicals postage paid at Boynton Beach, FL (and additional mailing offices). POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: PleinAir Magazine, 331 SE Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton, FL 33432. Any reproduction of this publication, whole or in part, is prohibited without the express written consent of the publisher. Contact Streamline Publishing, Inc., at address below. All subscriptions, renewals, and changes of address should include address label from the most recent issue and be sent to the Circulation Department, PleinAir Magazine, 331 SE Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton, FL 33432. Copying done for other than personal or internal reference without the express permission of PleinAir Magazine is prohibited. Address requests for special permission to the Managing Editor.  Reprints and back issues available upon request. Printed in the United States. Canada returns to be sent to Bleuchip International, P.O. Box 25542, London, ON, N6C 6B2.

Louis Escobedo & 717 Gallery

Louis Escobedo “Paseo” 30 x 30

Louis Escobedo “Water of Life” 16 x 20

Louis Escobedo “Sweet Smell” 24 x 24

717 Gallery

Now in Santa Fe If you’re in town for the Plein Air Convention you’re invited to call Yolanda at 410-241-7020 to schedule an appointment to visit and see new Escobedo paintings. / April-May 2018 AG7

Perfect Places to Paint En Plein Air

Palace of the Governors. Courtesy TOURISM Santa Fe


100 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe (Bordered by San Francisco Street and Washington, Palace, and Lincoln Avenues) The heart of downtown Santa Fe for nearly 400 years, the Plaza is a National Historic Landmark and remains the central part of the city. The area is convenient for walking, with quaint winding streets featuring boutiques, restaurants, bookstores, and art galleries tucked into every block. Aspects of the past remain in the look and feel of the traditional Spanish Plaza, where local Native artisans sell jewelry and other arts made by themselves and their families beneath the portals of the Palace of the Governors.

Best known as the home of Georgia O’Keeffe and the subject of many of her paintings, Ghost Ranch is now a 21,000-acre retreat and education center located close to the village of Abiquiú in Rio Arriba County. The 700-foot striped cliff faces boast colors that range from dramatic maroon to sparkly white and yellow. To the south, the Rio Chama Valley draws the eye toward the blue-gray silhouette of Cerro Pedernal, the lopsided mountain that appears in dozens of works by O’Keeffe. The artist once wrote that God told her if she painted the Pedernal enough, “I could have it.”


El Santuario de Chimayó 15 Santuario Drive, Chimayo (25 miles north of Santa Fe) Situated in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the village of Chimayó is just 40 minutes from Santa Fe along the High Road to Taos Scenic Byway. The area is famous for its chili peppers and the weavings of the Ortega and Trujillo families, but the main attraction remains El Santuario de Chimayó, where the dirt floor is reputed to have healing powers. Known as the “Lourdes of America,” the sanctuary attracts close to 300,000 visitors a year and is considered a prime example of Spanish Colonial architecture.


334 Los Pinos Road, Santa Fe (15 miles southwest of downtown Santa Fe)

A view of Pedernal, with Abiquiú Lake in the foreground. Courtesy Douglas Maahs


280 Private Drive 1708, Highway US 84, Abiquiú (65 miles northwest of Santa Fe)

AG8 April-May 2018 /

A historic ranch and now a living history museum, El Rancho de las Golondrinas (The Ranch of the Swallows) is located on 200 acres in a rural farming valley just south of Santa Fe. Strategically located on the Camino Real, the Royal Road that extended from Mexico City to Santa Fe, the ranch provided goods for trade and a convenient rest stop for travelers. The museum strives to maintain examples of life during the period when Spain ruled the area.

Original buildings on the site date from the early 1700s.

Pecos Pueblo. Courtesy Tobi Clement


1 Peach Drive, Pecos (25 miles east of Santa Fe)

What is now the Village of Pecos and the surrounding area have been settled since at least the 8th century. At the Pecos National Historic Park, the remains of Indian pueblos stand amidst the piñon, juniper, and ponderosa pine woodlands of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Centuries before the arrival of the Spanish, Native nomads and traders built a multi-story pueblo, Pecos Pueblo, on what is now Glorieta Creek. In the 1400s, Pecos Pueblo was a regional power and center of trade for the people of the plains and area travelers. Located only a few miles from the park, Pecos Benedictine Monastery offers beautiful scenery and a quiet place to paint. “As a woman, I always look for places I can paint and feel safe if I am alone,” says local artist Tobi Clement. “One of my favorite spots is the monastery.”

Insider Tips From Local Artists 3. Pack lots of water. New Mexico is high and dry. It’s important to not only carry water, but to drink it and not be so distracted by your painting that you forget. Also, the high-desert temperature can change dramatically throughout the day. I always dress in layers and carry both a jacket and a raincoat with me. — Lee MacLeod

Arroyo Calabasas Diane Arenberg Oil, 16 x 20 in.

1. Keep an eye on the weather. I usually bug out at the first sprinkle, because dirt roads can turn slippery very quickly. Choose areas of higher ground on days when rain might be an issue. Arroyos, or dry riverbeds, are beautiful to look at, but can turn into flash floods when least expected. In 2015, a 25-foot wall of water blasted down the arroyo at Ghost Ranch and laid waste to buildings and workshop areas. The source of the water was a rainstorm 50 miles away! 2. Aside from sunscreen, a large-brimmed hat, and water (which are very important), I carry a rock named Harold who sits nicely in a canvas bag attached with bungee cords to the fulcrum of my tripod easel so nothing blows away. — Diane Arenberg

La Tierra Arroyo Shadows Lee MacLeod Oil, 9 x 12 in.

Mother Superior Tobi Clement Pastel, 22 x 26 in.

When All Is Said and Done Margi Lucena Pastel, 14 x 11 in.

4. In New Mexico, the old is not cleared away for the new. Be respectful of Native Pueblo boundaries, and be sure to ask for permission before you paint on or photograph Native Pueblo land. 5. The whole area surrounding Taos is beautiful, but if I had to choose one place to paint, it would be the Arroyo Hondo area, just north of Taos. No matter what time of year it is, the light and the views are just wonderful. Full of tiny ranches, as well as old adobe homes and farms that perch along the arroyo walls facing the mountains to the east, Arroyo Hondo is really inspiring. — Margi Lucena

6. When I go out to paint, I always take my camera; a thin skull cap to wear under my sunhat for cool mornings; hand warmers; a cotton scarf to keep the wind and sun off my neck — it’s also great for wetting and wrapping around my neck when I need to cool down; small bungee cords to tie things down when it gets windy and to close off my pant bottoms to keep out ants; moisturizer — the dry desert air leaves skin parched; hand wipes; tissues; and bear spray. 7. I can never get enough of the expansive views and ever-changing skies in Northern New Mexico. We have the most incredible light here; it gilds all it touches. The landscape can change colors with early-morning and end-of-day light. There’s a small window of time right before the sun sets when it looks like cadmium yellow has been squirted over everything, glazing it a delicious gold. — Tobi Clement / April-May 2018 AG9

campgrounds and picnic facilities in spots along the river for folks who want to stay longer than a morning or afternoon. — Peggy Immel

people from more humid climates. That is, until they realize that they are sunburned, dehydrated, and light-headed after just a few hours of painting outside. Painters visiting this area should wear sunscreen, bring shade protection, and drink lots of water. Hydrating several days before your trip to this area can help stave off the effects of altitude sickness as well. — John Meister

Vista del Arroyo Damien M. Gonzales Oil, 8 x 12 in.

8. Look up. In New Mexico, the sky is what oceans are to people who live near coastlines. Everybody is looking up all the time. 9. I usually have a general idea about what I’d like to paint, but I avoid forming any strong preconceptions regarding subject matter, composition, color, and lighting. I also try to purge thoughts about what others have done before me and just look for interesting scenes. — Damien M. Gonzales

Hay Bales Peggy Immel Oil, 11 x 14 in.

10. For me, must-have supplies include sunscreen; cerulean paint (for capturing New Mexico’s unique light); a Silver Grand Prix brush, size 8; my lunch (with lots of water); and my folding canvas lounge chair. 11. The Orilla Verde Recreation area of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument is one of my favorite spots to paint. The colors of this section of the Rio Grande River are vibrant and change with the seasons: green and lush in the summer, golden cottonwoods in autumn, and brilliant red willows in the winter. It offers ever-changing views of the Rio Grande to paint and is full of wildlife and birds, including bald eagles in the winter. The Rio Grande Visitor Center is located in Pilar at the southern end of the Orilla Verde, and there are AG10 April-May 2018 /

Rio Grande Richard Prather Oil, 9 x 12 in.

Autumn Lights John Meister Oil, 16 x 8 in.

12. I never leave home without my Airflo Tilley hat and a Green Chile breakfast burrito. 13. Although I love being out early in the morning to paint, the golden evening light in New Mexico is spectacular year-round. I especially enjoy painting the fall colors of the high desert, and have greatly enjoyed painting the chamisa, cottonwoods, and aspens this year. I also love to paint at the Aspen Vista pull-off, high up the road to the Santa Fe Ski Basin. There are a lot of accessible Aspen scenes and lots of enthusiastic tourists. I love to speak with people while I paint and share my enjoyment of painting en plein air. 14. Most of the northern part of the state is high desert (Santa Fe is almost 2,000 feet higher than Denver), and because of the crisp dry air, a 90-degree day can feel deceivingly tolerable to

15. New Mexico has a lot of rugged and remote lands, and in most cases there isn’t any cell phone service. So, for safety reasons, I carry a Satellite Emergency Notification Device (SEND). If I ever have a life-threatening situation, I can send an SOS via satellite that will bring an emergency response team to my location, or if I have something less critical happen, like my truck breaks down, I can link the device to my cell phone and send a text message to family or friends, letting them know my situation. These devices are very affordable, especially when you consider it could save a life. 16. There are so many great spots to paint in Northern New Mexico, but I’d say my favorite is the area just northwest of Abiquiú, along Forest Road 151, in what’s called the Rio Chama Canyon Wilderness Area. Why? This is Georgia O’Keeffe country. Here you’ll find the landscape that kept her busy for nearly four decades. I love the area for its towering bluffs and side canyons along the Rio Chama, but there is so much more beyond those features. It’s definitely a must-see for artists and tourist alike. — Richard Prather

For maps to some top painting sites (courtesy of Plein Air Painters of New Mexico), look for the digital version of “The Artist’s Guide to Plein Air Painting in Northern New Mexico” on 

Great Places to See Great Art CANYON ROAD

Historic District, Santa Fe (Paseo de Peralta to Palace Avenue) Initially part of a farming community, Canyon Road later became the site of an art colony, and today is one of the country’s top art markets. This historic street was named a Residential Arts and Crafts Zone by the city in 1962. Many of the old adobe structures have been converted to galleries, but some Santa Fe families who have lived there for generations remain. Nearly a mile long, the winding tree-lined road contains the highest concentration of galleries in the country — more than 100. Events take place year-round, including the October Paint & Sculpt Out, where featured artists can show off their plein air skills.


Just South of the Plaza, Santa Fe (Guadalupe Street between Agua Fria and Paseo de Peralta) A former warehouse precinct, the RailyardGuadalupe District is now home to restaurants, shops, cinemas, and a popular farmers’ market. It’s also a vibrant new scene for lofts, galleries, and museums like SITE Santa Fe, which showcases some of the world’s foremost contemporary artists. Railyard Park plays host to performance art shows, live music, interactive-art festivals, and film screenings.


217 Johnson St., Santa Fe With more than 3,000 pieces dating from 1901 to 1984, the museum represents the largest permanent collection of O’Keeffe’s work in the world, and the first museum in the United States dedicated to a single female artist. Throughout the year, visitors can see a changing selection of these New Mexico Museum of Art. Courtesy TOURISM Santa Fe

works in exhibitions that are either devoted solely to the artist’s creations or combined with pieces by her American modernist contemporaries.


107 West Palace Ave., Santa Fe Founded in 1917, just five years after New Mexico became a state, the oldest art museum in New Mexico houses 20,000 works ranging from the largest collection of Gustave Baumann prints in the world to important pieces by artists like Ernest L. Blumenschein — a founding member of the Taos Society of Artists.


Camino Lejo, Santa Fe A short trip by car, Santa Fe Trails bus service, or the free Santa Fe Pick-Up Shuttle, Museum Hill provides a central destination for exploring some of the region’s greatest collections and Native works of art. It’s home to the Museum of International Folk Art, containing objects from more than 100 countries; the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture/ Laboratory of Anthropology, which exhibits artistic, cultural, and intellectual achievements of the Indigenous peoples of the American Southwest; the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art; and the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian. And if you leave the museums inspired to make some art of your own, just pop over to the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, where you can sketch some of the many native plants on display.


227 Paseo del Pueblo Norte #A, Taos Nicolai Fechin was born in Kazan, Russia, in 1881. His father, also an artisan, fashioned iconostasis in the Russian Orthodox Church, thus Fechin was exposed to carving, woodworking, architecture, and painting from an early age. He spent his teenage years at the

Taos Landscape Nicolai Fechin Oil, 11 1/4 x 17 1/2 in. Private collection Courtesy Zaplin Lampert Gallery, Santa Fe

Kazan Academy of Art and nine more years of training at the Imperial Academy of Art. Faced with the amazing deprivations following the Russian Revolution, Fechin came to the United States in 1923, already an established artist. He and his family settled in New York City, but he soon developed tuberculosis. John Young Hunter, another artist who had discovered Taos, suggested the dry climate of the area would be of benefit. Fechin went for a visit to the “real America” in 1926 and quickly decided to move there. In 1927, he purchased a small, square adobe home that he spent the next six years refashioning into one of the most beautiful and original homes anywhere, “a Russian home made of New Mexico mud.” Everywhere you look, you see his aesthetic vision and exquisite craftsmanship, from the graceful, sculptural shapes of the fireplaces to the surfaces of the doors and cabinets, glazed to create undulating surfaces that play with the light; from the ornately carved furniture, where even the hardware has been creatively incorporated into the plans, to the beautifully designed and patinated light fixtures. Taos was one of Fechin’s most prolific painting periods, also. His favorite models were indigenous people, from the tribes of Siberia in Russia to the Pueblos of New Mexico and later to such exotic locales as Mexico and Bali. Fechin left Taos in 1933, following a divorce from his wife, but he always considered Taos to be his American home. Now housing the Taos Art Museum at Fechin House, the home is open to visitors Tuesday–Sunday, 10 to 5. — Cindy Atkins, Taos Art Museum at Fechin House / April-May 2018 AG11

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Cody Delong Robert Goldman Bruce Gomez Linda Glover Gooch Hai-Ou Hou Michael Chesley Johnson Calvin Liang John Lintott

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Plano, Texas The Cove, 11 x 14 in., watercolor Available through the artist | 972.965.2078 | Represented by Thunder Horse Gallery, Ruidoso, NM; Willowbrush Gallery, Tulsa, OK.


Houston, Texas Lindner’s Feed, 18 x 24 in., oil on linen panel | 832.524.8117 |


Arlington, Texas Out of Service, 11 x 14 in. | 817.874.3032 | Represented by i.Ward Fine Art Studio, Arlington, TX; Upstairs Gallery, Arlington, TX; Art on the Square, Waxahachie, TX.


Granite City, Illinois Fiddler, 24 x 20 in., oil on panel Available through the artist | 314.456.3498 | Represented by Studio 8369, Grand Lake, CO; Glass Tipi, Ward, CO; Gallery Augusta, Augusta, MO.


Antigonish, Nova Scotia Sails Up and Ready to Go, 15 x 22 in., watercolor on cotton paper Available through the artist | 902.863.6797 | Represented by Zwickers Gallery, Halifax, NS; Lyghtesome Gallery, Antigonish, NS; Gallery 117, Hamilton, Bermuda.


Spicewood, Texas Prickly Pear, 8 x 10 in., oil Available through the artist Represented by RS Hanna Gallery, Fredericksburg, TX; Beach Gallery, Va. Beach, VA; Art Connections Gallery, La Grange, TX.


Merriam, Kansas Down Co-Op Road, 12 x 9 in., watercolor Available through the artist 816.803.9244 Represented by Charles Fine Arts, Gloucester, MA; The Rice Gallery of Art, Overland Park, KS; Strecker Nelson West, Manhattan, KS.


Waxahachie, Texas Waitin’ for the Crew, 20 x 24 in. Available through the artist | 972.741.6154 | Represented by ART on the Square, Waxahachie, TX; Dutch Art Gallery, Dallas, TX.


Overland Park, Kansas Lanes Cove, 18 x 30 in., oil Available through the artist | 913.707.8337 | Represented by Folger Gallery, Midland, TX; Mr Miller’s Art Emporium, Saugatuck/Douglas, MI; Cathy Kline Art Gallery, Parkville, MO.


Missouri Boquillas Canyon II, 14 x 10 in., watercolor | 816.665.4911 | Represented by Charles Fine Art, Gloucester, MA.


Albuquerque, New Mexico Otero Canyon, 16 x 12 in., oil Available through the artist 505.410.2444


Mount Vernon, Illinois Cautious, 8 x 10 in., watercolor Private collection | 618.516.3860 Represented by OA Gallery, Kirkwood, MO; Gallery Augusta, Augusta, MO.

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Collectors’ Preview and Artists’ Gala Reception Saturday, June 9, 2018 Signature Artists in the Exhibition include: Meredith B. Abbott Peter Adams Sunny Apinchapong-Yang Béla Bácsi Thomas Blackshear Brian Blood Eric Bowman John Budicin John Burton Cathey Cadieux George Carlson Warren Chang Lorenzo Chavez Lynn Christopher John Coleman John Cosby Gil Dellinger Karl Dempwolf Dennis Doheny Kathleen Dunphy Lynn Gertenbach Max Ginsburg Jeffrey C. Horn Gregory Hull Richard M. Humphrey

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Montrose, Colorado Juniper Snag, 10 x 14 in., watercolor Available through the artist | 970.249.1098 Represented by Simpson Gallery, Montrose, CO; Maynard Dixon Gallery, Mt. Carmel, UT.

Please enjoy these featured pieces from many of the PACE 2018 Faculty! Be sure to look for and meet all of them while in Santa Fe, and be inspired by the talent and passion they invest in their work.



Kensington, California Haven Beneath The Golden Gate, 13.5 x 19.5 in., watercolor | Represented by The Holton Studio Gallery, Berkeley, CA.

Plano, Texas The Pigeon Roost, 20 x 16 in., watercolor Available through the artist | 972.965.2078 Represented by Thunder Horse Gallery, Ruidoso, NM; Willowbrush Gallery, Tulsa, OK.


Knoxville, Tennessee Song Within, 15 x 24 in., oil on linen |


Sandy, Utah High Mountain Autumn, 30 x 40 in., oil on linen |


Fairfax, California With the Sun Behind Me, 12 x 16 in., oil | 415.717.2351 | Represented by Edgewater Gallery, Middlebury, VT; Gardner Colby Galleries, Naples, FL; Altamira Fine Art, Scottsdale, AZ.



Ralston, Nebraska Purple Mountain Majesty, 24 x 36 in., oil on linen panel Available through the artist | 402.592.6552 | Represented by Mary Williams Fine Arts, Boulder, CO; The Mission Gallery, St George, UT; Montgomery-Lee Fine Art, Park City, UT; SouthWind Gallery, Topeka, KS; Vanessa Rothe Fine Art, Laguna Beach, CA.


Escondido, California Morning At Dockyard, 12 x 18 in., watercolor Private Collection | Represented by California Watercolor, Fallbrook, CA.


Lexington Garrapta Surf, 20 x 30 in., oil Available through the artist | 859.229.5806 | Represented by Artists’ Attic, Lexington, KY; The Rice Gallery of Fine Art, Overland Park, KS; Copley Society of Art, Boston, MA.


Portland, Oregon “Fishing Boats” Koh Rong Cambodia, 20 x 30 in., oil Available through the artist | 503.329.2167 | Represented by Art Elements Gallery; Brian Marki Fine Art; Cole Gallery; Dragonfire Gallery; Gallery 903; Miller Gallery; The Grand Fine Art.


Sun Valley, Idaho Summer Rains, 12 x 24 in., oil Available through Kneeland Gallery | 208.720.3724 | Represented by Kneeland Gallery, Ketchum, ID; Dana Gallery, Missoula, MT.



Eldora, Iowa Seasons Change, 18 x 24 in., pastel Available through the artist | 641.751.1803 | Represented by Outside the Lines Gallery, Dubuque, IA; Horizon Gallery, Jackson Hole, WY.


Clarkdale, Arizona Amber & Lapis Autumn, 18 x 24 in., pastel Available through the artist | 928.679.0357 | Represented by Chasen Galleries, Richmond VA; S-Scape West Studios, Clarkdale, AZ.


Ohio Farmland, 11 x 14 in., plein air pastel on Ampersand panel Available through Turner Studio & Gallery | Represented by Castle Gallery Fine Art, Fort Wayne, IN; Eisele Gallery of Fine Art, Cincinnati, OH; Turner Studio & Gallery, Columbus, OH.


Portland, Oregon Cattails, 14 x 14 in., oil on linen panel Available at The Mission Gallery, St. George, UT 435.688.7278 Represented by The Mission Gallery, St. George, UT; South Street Gallery, Easton, MD; Brian Marki Fine Art, Palm Springs, CA.


Julian, Pennsylvania Sailing Buddies, 17 x 21 in., watercolor on paper Available through the artist | 801.755.4933 | Represented by Green Drake Gallery, Millheim, PA.


Edinburgh, Indiana Mid Summer at McCormick’s Creek State Park, 11 x 14 in., oil on canvas Private Collection | Represented by Castle Gallery Fine Art, Ft. Wayne, IN; Brown County Art Gallery, Nashville, IN; O’Onda Gallery, Richmond, IN.



Williamstown, Massachusetts Winters Retreat, 8 x 16 in., oil on linen Available through the artist | 413.458.0056 | Represented by The Greylock Gallery, Williamstown, MA; The Lily Pad Gallery, Watch Hill, RI, and Milwaukee, WI; Christopher-Clark Fine Art, San Francisco, CA.


Taos, New Mexico Full Glory, 16 x 20 in., oil on linen panel Available at Sorrel Sky Gallery, Santa Fe, NM | 617.875.0691 | Represented by Sorrel Sky Gallery, Santa Fe, NM; Sorrel Sky Gallery, Durango, CO; Wilder Nightingale Fine Art, Taos, NM.

NANCIE KING MERTZ,PSA-M, IAPS-MC Chicago, Illinois Sun Tracks, 16 x 20 in., soft pastel 773.832.4038 Represented by ArtDeTriumph, Chicago, IL.



North Haven, Connecticut Sam the Wonder Dog, 20 x 16 in., oil Collection the artist | 203.215.5255 | Represented by The Salmagundi Club, NYC; Commissions, contact the artist; Art Ambassador, Royal Talens NA; artwork featured in forthcoming DVD from Streamline Publishing.

Bellefonte, Pennsylvania Sante Fe Cloudscape, 16 x 11 in., pastel 814.360.2116 Represented by Faustina’s Gallery, Lewisburg, PA; SNicholas Studios, Bellefonte, PA; The State College Framing Company, State College, PA.


San Diego, California La Jolla Afternoon Glow 18 x 24 in., oil on canvas panel Available through the artist Represented by The Mission Gallery, St. George, UT; Vanessa Rothe Fine Art, Laguna Beach, CA; Debra Huse Gallery, Newport Beach, CA.




Monte Vista, Colorado Taos Gorge, 9 x 12 in., oil in linen Available through the artist Represented by Sorrel Sky, Santa Fe, NM; Wilder Nightingale, Taos, NM; Silver Street Gallery, Lake City, CO.

RICHARD LINDENBERG Novato, California Snow Canyon Wall, 12 x 16 in., oil on linen Available through the artist Represented by Holton Studios Gallery, Berkeley, CA.


Fallbrook, California Twilight Glow, 20 x 24 in., oil on canvas Available through the artist | Represented by Forest and Ocean Gallery, Laguna Beach,CA; Brandon Gallery, Fallbrook, CA; Gallerie Amsterdam, Carmel, CA.

master study

Marsden Hartley (1877–1943)

Arroyo Hondo Marsden Hartley 1918, pastel, 18 x 28 in. Private collection


n 1918, Marsden Hartley joined the budding artists’ colony in Taos, New Mexico, where he intended to experience nature directly and work exclusively from his own firsthand experiences. He believed that a new American aesthetic could be created through an artist’s “definite reaction from the soil itself.” Over the following year, he created a series of representational paintings in pastel, which he found perfectly suited to the arid terrain. He wrote his friend and mentor Alfred Stieglitz: “It is the only way I can get a line on the qualities [of New Mexico]. It is a very important and typical medium for this country, which has such wonderful dry quality of color, and such hardness and brilliance.” The artist had trouble, however, translating his impressions of the landscape into oil, and by the time he left New Mexico at the end of 1919, he was creating tentative generalizations of the area. In a series called “New Mexico Recollections,” painted from memory a few years later when the artist was living in Berlin, the work became even darker and less connected to the actual landscape, leaving artists like Georgia O’Keeffe to pick up where he left off.

Marsden Hartley Alfred Stieglitz 1916, gelatin silver print, 9 3/4 x 7 13/16 in. /April-May 2018


plein air portfolio



o stranger to painting directly from nature, J.M.W. Turner went to extraordinary lengths to capture its fury in Snow Storm – Steam Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth. As the story goes, the 64-year-old artist had sailors lash him to a steamship’s mast for four hours in the midst of a raging storm so that he could experience its effects firsthand and — if he survived — to record the scene later on canvas. Today’s artists find similar inspiration in the dark skies, voluptuous cloud forms, and dramatic colors of storms. Although none of the artists featured here went to the extreme measures Turner did, all were driven to brave the elements to commit the scenes directly to their painting surfaces, make quick sketches or studies, or, as circumstances dictated for one, simply to burn the imagery into her memory to serve as inspiration as soon as she got to her easel.

“I painted this scene during the 2017 Olmsted Plein Air Invitational in Atlanta, Georgia,” says Vladislav Yeliseyev. “Just before the event started, a fire caused a bridge to collapse on one of the most heavily traveled highways in the city. As if that wasn’t enough, a terrible storm rolled in one morning that had radio and television newscasters advising residents to take shelter with the threat of a tornado warning. That’s when I knew I needed to go out and paint. “To paint carelessly on the street, however, would be too dangerous, so I arranged to paint the storm from the balcony of one of the local participants, a wonderful watercolorist named Kathy Rennell Forbes. There, from the 14th floor of her building, we executed a couple of paintings, treated to a fantastic view, which just does not happen every day. I’m always on the lookout for these types of weather conditions, because watercolor seems to have been created precisely for this kind of mood and dramatic color shifts.”

Storm Over Atlanta Vladislav Yeliseyev 2017, watercolor, 15 x 22 in. Private collection Plein air 48

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plein air portfolio

“Storm clouds are prominent in many of my paintings,” says Jill Basham. “I find them to be poetic, dramatic, and incredibly moving. In order for the clouds to take center stage, I often simplify the land or water below. I work to give the viewer a glimpse into the feelings that I get from what I see. I help to convey the mood with the level of energy I use to apply each brushstroke in the storm clouds. I’m fortunate to live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where the horizon line is quite flat, and storm watching and cloud painting are at their best. The high humidity of summer, as well as the warm and cold fronts of spring and fall, bring an endless supply of fantastic storm clouds and painting inspiration. Here, a storm is arriving that will soon cover the sun, which hangs low on the horizon. I worked in black and white, as I believe limiting the color palette can intensify the mood of a particular moment, as well as bring attention to form and design.”

Vanishing Jill Basham 2018, oil, 30 x 30 in. Collection the artist Plein air

Just before dawn, her favorite time of day to paint, Karen Ann Hitt made multiple plein air studies to capture the vibrant color and dramatic light effects created by a fast-moving incoming cold front. “This day set a record cold temperature for us in Southwest Florida, dipping down to 32 degrees,” she says. “The sky appeared almost divided, a beautiful side effect of the cold front moving through. Photographs could not do justice to the vibrant colors lacing through the clouds as the sun neared rising.”

Fronts Waking Karen Ann Hitt 2018, oil, 20 x 16 in. Collection the artist Studio 50

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Seascape Shrimp Boat and Stormy Day Roos Schuring 2017, oil, 9 1/2 x 12 in. Collection the artist Plein air

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“In Southern Holland, the beach is an important part of life,” says Roos Schuring. “The Dutch don’t fear a stormy day; they walk their dogs, fly kites, or go to the beach to enjoy the cold breeze and wild waves. In summer it’s a different story, but for 75 percent of the year, it can get cold, rough, and certainly not ‘ideal’ for painting outdoors. There’s a (good) chance for rain most of the time. “Eventually, I got tired of watching weather forecasts to decide whether or not to go painting. I created a schedule and committed to going out no matter the circumstances. I’ve painted in the roughest of storms, slapped in the face a thousand times by my own jacket while working. I secure my easel with bags of sand, and staple the canvas to my easel. Of course, in a storm, a painting umbrella is useless. "I’ve found that the sky is at its best just before or just after the rain. If you’re home looking at it, gauging when to go out, you’re probably already too late to paint it. Just going is always better than waiting until the time is right. In order to catch these magnificent skies, you need to already be there. The window of opportunity comes and goes very quickly. It becomes a game. Can I catch it in time, or at all?” / April-May 2018


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plein air portfolio Storm Clouds at Sunset Liz Haywood-Sullivan 2016, pastel, 20 x 40 in. Private collection Studio

“Inspired by the New England marsh paintings of Martin Johnson Heade [American, 1819–1904], I set out to find the exact spot of one of the locations he was known to have painted on the South Shore of Boston, near where I live,” says Liz Haywood-Sullivan. “Using Google Maps to review the current marshes from above, I was able to pinpoint the man-made channels created a century ago to allow for boat access. In the 139-year gap between our paintings, the industry along the marshes and their rivers has changed from salt haying to recreational pursuits, but the essential geography and magnificent sky vistas remain timeless. “Heade’s marsh paintings exhibit a number of consistencies that I incorporated into my painting. They are horizontal, usually 1:2 proportionally. The horizon line often sits at the lower third, so the paintings focus on a dramatic sky, which is often stormy. Occasionally, a peek of blue sky appears through the storm clouds at the very top of the picture plane. “I did numerous sketches of this piece on location with a view of the marsh and the North River looking east toward the Atlantic Ocean, at the dramatic end of day. Although the iconic salt marsh haystacks are gone, I included mooring posts, a clue to the area’s past, which also served to add a contemporary vertical interest to the horizontal image. “It’s interesting to note that Heade almost always painted the marshes at high tide. Today, these same marshes are often completely underwater at high tide. It makes you wonder if they will still be in existence to be painted 139 years from now.” 52

Storm Over the Blue Ridge Mountains Kathleen Hudson 2017, oil, 11 x 14 in. Collection the artist Plein air

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South 60 Iva Morris 2017, pastel, gouache, and watercolor, 28 x 36 in. Private collection Studio

“I love painting tornados, lightning, and dust storms,” says Iva Morris. “I live in rural New Mexico, so I have plenty of opportunities to ‘explore’ extreme weather. I also cross the country once or twice a year and camp on the way. When translating these weather events into a two-dimensional painting in my studio, I start by preparing a textured surface — sanded paper on Gatorboard, covered in a ground of pastel and turpentine. I like to build up thin, transparent layers in order to create the dense atmosphere of dust, wind, and debris. The color of a stormy sky is also very fluid, with many layers of color and light playing off one another. In order to try and capture this event, I use water, alcohol, and an air compressor to manipulate the pastel, gouache, and watercolor. I hope that these materials will perform in unexpected ways, mimicking the texture and movement found in extreme storms. I painted this piece from memory, inspired by a violent storm I saw brewing on the West Mesa while driving home from Albuquerque.”

Stormy Eve Tamara Rymer 2017, oil, 22 x 25 in. Collection the artist Plein air and studio

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Expanded Digital Edition Content Distant Rain Stephanie Marzella 2015, oil, 5 x 7 in. Private collection Plein air

Storm on the West Mesa Tom Blazier 2015, oil, 15 x 30 in. Collection the artist Studio

Rain in the Canyon John Cogan 2017, acrylic, 20 x 16 in. Collection the artist Studio April-May 2018 /

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Expanded Digital Edition Content Cloudburst John Bayalis 2017, watercolor, 18 x 30 in. Private collection Studio

Storm Over Eagle Marsh Beverly Bruntz 2017, oil, 8 x 16 in. Collection the artist Plein air

Silver Queen Tobi Clement 2017, pastel, 11 x 14 in. Private collection Plein air

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BEFORE THE MOTIF Cornwall, England, pastelist Richard Suckling makes a compelling case for studio painters to venture outdoors with paints in hand. ——— BY ROBERT K. CARSTEN ———


could work with. Obviously, it would have been too difs a child, Richard Suckling loved to draw ficult to make a living from pen and ink. So I first tried comics and cartoon characters. Later, he beoils, but that was a complete nightmare. I just didn’t have came a fan of illustration and would attend England’s Cambridge School of Art, studying the know-how of mixing colors and enough patience. Next graphic design and then majoring in illustra- up was watercolor, which I didn’t really take to. Then my wife bought me a small set of pastels. I liked them, but tion. “Working mostly in black and white, I learned how wasn’t convinced. So I cycled through all of the mediums to draw, which was the one thing I wanted to learn how again, struggling. I needed something where drawing was to do well. The downside was that I didn’t learn anything about using color,” he recalls. Afterward, Suckling worked involved, so I eventually settled upon pastels. That was as a freelance editorial illustrator in London for a number when things really began to take off for me.” First working with harder pastels, he soon found that of years. But as the illustration field began to rely more they weren’t quite what he was after. He then tried Unison upon computers, he struggled with the new technology, soft pastels. “That really was the breakthrough for me. I’ve much preferring the look and feel of pen on paper. With used them pretty much exclusively ever since,” he asserts, an ever-shrinking market for his work, Suckling had to adding, “I’m impatient and quite heavy-handed, so I want make a choice between giving up art completely and changing direction. Fortunately, he chose the latter.

A NEW MILIEU “I knew next to nothing about the world of fine art,” admits Suckling. “It was at first a matter of finding something I

Sierra de Aitana 2016, pastel and pastel pencil, 10 2/3 x 10 2/3 in. Private collection Plein air

Richard Suckling lives in the seaside village and fishing port of Newlyn in southwest Cornwall and finds endless inspiration in the nearby iconic scenery of picturesque beaches and rocky cliffs.


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Spanish Palms 2016, pastel and pastel pencil, 21 2/3 x 19 2/3 in. Private collection Studio

immediacy and don’t want a pastel that’s too soft or too brittle. I take the sleeves off them, and I prefer to use the full length rather than breaking them. I find the way the full sticks wear down offers a world of possibilities when it comes to expression and mark-making.” The artist worked diligently in studio, using his own photographs and on-site pen sketches as reference. Starting with little knowledge about color mixing and theory, he slowly found his way, in part by studying the works of master artists, particularly those of Pierre Bonnard (French, 56

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1867–1947). Suckling recollects, “Color sense was the hardest thing, but the broad assortment of colors available in pastels was of great help. I still had to work by trial and error. With lots of practice, I gradually got a feel for it, and things started improving.”

OUT AND ABOUT Eventually, Suckling became successful, selling seascapes and coastline scenes in several galleries across southwest England. Fifteen years later, despite having gained both confidence and stature in landscape painting, he felt a longing for further improvement. “I reached a plateau and wanted to take my art to the next level, but didn’t know how. I decided to try something different,” he recalls. Inspired by the beauty of

his surroundings as well as his village’s artistic heritage — that of the influential Newlyn School of painting, begun in the 1800s — Suckling decided to take his pastels out into the wide world, trying his hand at plein air painting. At first, the artist was baffled about what to paint and how to do it. “The light kept changing, there was a vast tonal range and a plethora of colors, I didn’t have the right pastels, not to mention the occasional interruptions of passersby. But once you’ve done a few, you get better, and that’s what made me want to make a habit of it. Plein air teaches you a great deal, and it’s a lot of fun. Before, in the studio, I thought I knew it all, comfortably working from my photos or tablet screen. Was I wrong! It’s like the difference between thinking

Zennor Cottages 2016, pastel, 10 x 19 2/3 in. Private collection Plein air and studio

you know something through secondary experience, and experiencing your subject firsthand. Outside, I feel the wind, hear the tide and the birds singing, all the while breathing fresh air suffused with lovely scents. Somehow this all figures into my painting. In art, that’s really important. I can’t say enough in praise of working before the motif. Plein air painting can be a purely sublime experience,” Suckling commends.

ONLY THE ESSENTIALS Over the years, Suckling has learned to reduce and refine his plein air painting supplies. He prefers to keep it simple, low-tech, and adaptable. He has two Manfrotto tripods, one lighter for airplane travel. For a drawing board, he has a quick-release tripod attachment bolted to the back of lightweight veneer plywood. On windy days, though, Suckling will happily put the board on his lap, while his pastels, in the original Unison boxes, rest on the ground. He takes six boxes (72 pastels) out locally and three boxes (36 pastels) when he travels abroad, selecting which colors he wants prior to going out. For paper, he prefers dark, warm tones (salmon, peach, or sienna) of Sennelier La Carte and also enjoys working on mount board or Gatorboard, which he prepares by brushing either terracotta or aubergine Art Spectrum Colourfix primer on in various directions to reveal lots of texture.

Bodmin Country View 2017, pastel, 12 x 12 in. Collection the artist Plein air / April-May 2018


(TOP LEFT) Spanish Interior Soft Glow, 2016, pastel, 18 1/2 x 17 3/4 in., private collection, plein air • (TOP RIGHT) Scillonian Sunset, 2017, pastel and pastel pencil, 12 1/2 x 11 in., private collection, plein air • (BOTTOM LEFT) Autumn Gusts, Gwennap Head (Study), 2017, pastel and pastel pencil, 12 x 12 in., collection the artist, plein air

As he works relatively small on site, everything except the easel neatly fits into a camera bag that he keeps packed, ready on moment’s notice to take advantage of any fair weather intervals amidst west Cornwall’s often inclement weather. When unable to go outdoors, Suckling typically works up larger paintings using his plein air works for inspiration. It is instructional to compare his plein air Autumn Gusts, Gwennap Head with his larger studio painting by the same title (on the cover). The former was executed while

THE NEWLYN SCHOOL The Great Western Railway arrived in west Cornwall in 1877, bringing with it artists drawn by the beauty of the scenery, quality of light, simplicity of life, and drama of the sea in fishing towns like St. Ives and Newlyn. Artists Stanhope Forbes (1857–1947) and Frank Bramley (1857–1915) settled there in the early 1880s and formed the Newlyn School of painters, who practiced the impressionist method of working directly from the subject, often en plein air. For subject matter, they drew inspiration from rural life, particularly that of the local fishermen.


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Chyandour Sunrise 2017, pastel, 17 x 12 in. Private collection Plein air

like the violet and turquoise, freely float across the surface of the board. “I like an active surface that often includes a few outrageous colors because I find if I get stuck and don’t have the right color, I can counter that by using some surprise colors. They aren’t the right colors, but they’re the right colors for the painting. I’m not after a photographic effect. I want an impression, my impression. Art, for me, is not about what you see, it’s how you see it,” he explains. Surely a masterwork that clearly illustrates his viewpoint and manifests lessons learned from plein air painting is Zennor Cottages. The artist summarizes, “One of the things I love about plein air painting is how my eyes adjust to different areas of the scene and I can draw out much more information. Photos can be too extreme in the shadows and lights. The camera doesn’t see the way the eye and the brain see. This has impacted my painting massively. What plein air painting has done for me is kind of miraculous, really.” ROBERT K. CARSTEN (

perched, albeit precariously, on the edge of a cliff. Throughout, Suckling deftly employs a brevity of strokes to convey the unrelenting wind, sheer drop of the craggy precipice, and the resounding notes of waves crashing. All are depicted with an immediacy of reaction and heightened emotion; nothing is superfluous. The latter, painted on primed Gatorboard, recollects his experience in a studied manner, developed as a more detailed statement, yet clearly informed by its predecessor.

bold mark-making. In his Spanish landscape is an artist, writer, and instructor. A master Sierra de Aitana, briskly painted on primed pastelist in the Pastel Society of America, he mount board, Suckling marries linear rendering paints both in the studio and en plein air. to colors that intermittently anchor to form and,

PLEIN AIR POWER Spanish Palms further denotes plein air’s influence. “This was the first work where I could plainly see the benefits of plein air showing up in my studio painting. It clearly shows the skills I learned — the mark-making, note-taking, and quickness in decision-making with more confidence in color choices and composition,” says Suckling. His vivacious plein air Bodmin Country View assuredly bears testimony with its Torre Palms 2016, pastel, 9 1/2 x 12 1/2 in. Collection the artist Plein air / April-May 2018


Expanded Digital Edition Content

Mediterranean Vista 2016, pastel and pastel pencil, 12 x 12 in. Collection the artist Plein air

Winter Light Zennor 2017, pastel and pastel pencil, 11 x 12 1/2 in. Collection the artist Plein air

Late Afternoon Sparkle 2017, pastel, 15 3/4 x 15 3/4 in. Private collection Plein air April-May 2018 /

Expanded Digital Edition Content

Dappled Shade Trengwainton 2017, pastel, 9 1/2 x 12 1/2 in. Collection the artist Plein air

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Easton 2010, oil, 12 x 14 in. Collection the artist Plein air



Kim English favors back streets and narrow passageways to more obvious painting fare. With a bright color palette and limited brushstrokes, he energizes scenes of the everyday. ——— BY JOHN A. PARKS ———


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im English paints pictures exploding with light and pulsing with life. His energized, direct brushing delivers finely judged color to create passages that are at once immensely subtle and yet seemingly painted with almost effortless spontaneity. At the same time, the figures in his work are imbued with enormous vitality as he describes pose, posture, and gesture with sure draftsmanship and considerable empathy. “Everyday life is just interesting to me,” says English. “It’s always more interesting than anything I could think up. When I work with a model, for example, I don’t choose the poses, the model does. That way the images feel more natural. In fact, it’s the idea of a ‘pose’ that I’m trying to avoid. That same idea holds true to my work outside. I’ve always liked the ordinary, familiar scene that we all see every day. It makes me feel comfortable; I feel at home and I paint.” An enthusiastic traveler, English has painted everywhere from Rome to Bali, as well as widely in the United States, so that his work exhibits a huge range of light, color, and atmosphere. His ability to manage such a wide variety of situations is clearly helped by the selection of paints he keeps on his palette. “I don’t use the earth colors,” he says. “There are no ochres, siennas, or umbers. I don’t use black.” Instead, the artist lays out a palette that includes alizarin crimson, cadmium red, cobalt blue, quinacridone red, cadmium yellow, cadmium orange, ultramarine blue, and cerulean blue hue. Of this last color, the artist points out that he usually avoids paints

labeled “hue,” because they’re composed of substitute pigment. But in the case of cerulean blue hue, the pigment is a tint of phthalocyanine blue and has a punch he finds useful. By mixing the more muted and subtle colors from a group of brilliant pigments, English feels that the painting retains greater life in the color throughout. To secure the range and nuance he needs, he does his initial mixing with a knife. “I can mix more color more cleanly than with a brush,” he says. “A little preparation on the palette goes a long way. Once I’m working on the painting, I will make a few color adjustments, mixing with the brush.” Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Kim English grew up near Colorado Springs and now makes his home in Kentucky. He travels extensively to paint and is seen here in Honfleur, France.

Winds of Avignon 2007, oil, 12 x 10 in. Private collection Plein air

and detail available in any scene in order to make a coherent painting in a limited amount of time. “I always try to keep it simple,” he says. “It’s best to have a simple idea from the beginning and stay with it. If you’re excited by the way the light falls across that particular street, then paint the scene with just that in mind.” For English, imbuing his painting with a sense of light is a primary concern, and he works hard to orchestrate the color and tonal values A SENSE OF LIGHT AND SHADOW In starting a painting, English faces the challenge throughout the picture to achieve this. “Shadows that all plein air painters come up against — how do all the work, and light gets all the credit — isn’t that what they say? Most of my efforts are in the to select from the vast amount of information / April-May 2018



shadows,” he says. “I try and keep the lights fairly simple.” We can see how this works in practice in Winds of Avignon, a view in which much of the right side of the picture is shadowed foreground, while the street beyond is brilliantly lit. To achieve the subtle color in the shadow, the artist has first placed a warm dulled orange throughout the area and then painted on top with various gray-greens and gray-violets. These cool hues are dragged over the thin warm ground beneath, giving rise to all kinds of nuances. In the deep background, which is again shadowed, the artist uses a slightly more saturated violet over his underpainting, a maneuver that serves to convince the eye that the space recedes considerably. Set against these quiet yet complex areas, the brilliant, almost blinding, light of the street is achieved with comparative simplicity as the artist delivers a quick flourish of powerful strokes loaded with near white paint.

Building Up Color With a Minimum of Brushwork

ECONOMY OF BRUSHWORK This surety with the brushwork, and the resulting sense of immediacy and directness, are among the most attractive features of English’s work. “I don’t like to fuss around too much,” he says. “I like the first brushstroke. It always feels appealing, and it looks terrific. As soon as you mess with it, you miss the freshness.” The challenge, of course, is to execute exactly the right stroke in the first place. “The ideal brushstroke is the right size, color, and value,” he says. “If you have to adjust it in some way, then you sacrifice the freshness. So there’s a tradeoff. If you change too much, then you can cross a line that’s hard to go back on. And sometimes you don’t know when you’ve crossed that line.” With plein air painting, direct brushing is not only attractive, it’s invaluable for its speed. “You must be efficient when you paint outside,” says English. “You often don’t have a lot of time, so it’s important to trust your first stroke. I try to be sparing with my brushwork. I try not to put too much information in places that aren’t helping with the story. I’ve always liked economy of stroke. The fewer strokes I use, the more I like it. This of course isn’t new, it simply comes from experience.” Apart from delivering attractive, fresh brushstrokes, this approach can also give rise to a kind of magic when the brushwork somehow takes on the properties of the object it represents. In a sense, the artist rebuilds the world in paint. “Translating the world into paint is what we do,” observes English. “Having our translations understood, that’s our reward. It’s our language.The strokes are our words, the colors our expression. We paint what we can’t say with words or music.” 62

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Step 1 The artist begins by putting a thin, uneven wash of dull orange on his canvas. “Sometimes I just put a few strokes on to kill the white of the canvas,” he says. He then draws in a few simple perspective lines to lay out the street, still using his warm dull orange. And then he begins blocking in the large area of shadow on the left with very loose brushwork.

Step 6 The artist adds more architectural elements at the top of the painting and more cars in the deep background. Note how effective the light blue-violet is as a reflection on the roofs of the cars.

Step 2 Still working mostly on the left and center of the canvas, the artist now blocks in the color of the street and begins to establish some of the cars. Although the brushing is direct, he must still be careful to mix a variety of color for each of the cars.

Step 3 The artist now brushes in a warm underpainting on the right side of the painting. Note that he has used a lighter, slightly yellower orange than he did for the left side.

Step 4 Various small blocks of color are placed in the background as the artist selects and simplifies. Note how he maintains the variety of color.

Step 5 The strip of light falling across the street is added in a strong yellow. This spot of drama was one of the key things that attracted English to the scene.

Final Step He modifies the color in the left foreground by applying a subtle gray, going over some of the warmer color. The drawing of the roof on the left is shifted. A couple more figures appear on the street. Some of the background detail is modified. At this point, the artist stops. “I try to put just enough detail in to tell the story,” he says. “I'd rather my painting be unfinished than overworked.” Step 7 English gently softens the deep background and adds more detail in the foreground. We can now see that the lighter color of the underpainting is going to give some extra glow on the right side of the painting.

City Streets 2008, oil, 15 x 10 in. Private collection Studio / April-May 2018


French Afternoon 2014, oil, 12 x 10 in. Private collection Plein air

ARTIST’S SETUP Kim English makes his own pochade boxes. Taped to a wood panel that slots into the top of the box, you’ll recognize French Afternoon, which is being painted on Claessens portrait linen glued to a board. Sometimes he’ll have another painting on the back of the wood panel, and he has designed the box so that it can hold several panels. A drawer at the base holds brushes and paint while a wooden holder slides out from the side to hold his turpentine jar. The artist doesn’t keep linseed oil out, although he will sometimes use a little Liquin if he needs the painting to dry quickly. The whole box attaches to a camera tripod. “It’s a very quick setup,” says the artist, “and I can be painting in a minute. I don’t have to struggle with more cumbersome equipment.” Note that the artist has laid his color out in a gradient and in this view we can see the transition from the mid-reds up through the oranges and yellows.

French Stripes 2013, oil, 10 x 12 in. Collection the artist Plein air and studio


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Through Sorrento 2017, oil, 12 x 12 in. Collection the artist Studio

English’s brushing language extends well beyond simply placing bold strokes. In French Stripes, for instance, much of the subject is an interior with shadowy light in which the artist again brushes muted color into a warm ground to create subtle but active interplays of warm and cool. As he does this, he’s careful to create a considerable variety of edges. Some of them are dragged to create very soft transitions, while others are left crisp. In the case of the male figure wearing jeans, on the right, you can see that the artist has “knocked down” the silhouette by dragging the color of the floor across the outline of jeans with an active criss-cross stroke. “I wanted to make him part of the scene,” says the artist, “to fold him into the space.” Another technical challenge that arises in this kind of piece is how to handle the painting order in foreground-to-background situations. In Easton, for instance, the dark lampposts on the left are silhouetted against a very light blue sky. The artist has chosen to paint the lampposts first and then lay on the sky color around them. “You could just paint the dark posts over the sky,” says English, “but it doesn’t work as well that way.” Instead, he chose the tricky maneuver of laying the heavy strokes of light paint over the wet darks without dragging or dirtying his color. “You only have one shot at it,” says the artist. “It’s the sort of moment where you almost close your eyes and just go for it.” In the end, English’s technical prowess and sharp eye accomplish far more than merely rendering credible scenes. The vibrancy, engagement, and sheer sensual pleasure of his work convey a zest for life and a real joy at being in the world. It’s a feeling that’s contagious, so it’s hardly surprising that students flock to his workshops and collectors avidly seek out his delightful, light-filled paintings. JOHN A. PARKS ( is a painter, writer, and member of the faculty of the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Business Day 2014, oil, 10 x 12 in. Private collection Plein air / April-May 2018


Expanded Digital Edition Content

Classroom Table 2013, oil, 9 x 12 in. Collection the artist Plein air

Noelle Painting 2015, oil, 12 x 12 in. Private collection Plein air April-May 2018 /

Westcliffe Farm 2013, oil, 12 x 14 in. Private collection Plein air

Newport Bridge 2010, oil, 12 x 14 in. Private collection Plein air

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Summer Break 2016, oil, 12 x 14 in. Private collection Plein air

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OIL AND WATER: A LOVE STORY Who says oil and water(color) don’t mix? Not James Asher and Joe Anna Arnett, who have made a life together, traveling, painting, and supporting one another.



ogether for 34 years, watercolorist James Asher and oil painter Joe Anna Arnett have traveled the world, capturing their favorite scenes in paint. From India to Europe and locations around the United States, they’ve shared adventures that have informed their art and enriched their relationship. Asher has esophageal cancer, so the two travel less nowadays, but continue to paint as much as possible. I caught up with them recently, and they shared the joys and challenges of being part of an artist couple, their favorite stories from the road, and which one of them is the better cook.

Kelly Kane: How did you two meet? Joe Anna Arnett: We were fixed up. I was in process of moving from New York to Santa

Fe. I had the good fortune of gaining representation with Texas Art Gallery, even before I left New York. Jim was also represented by the gallery, and the director, Candy Bedner, was a good friend. She thought we would make a good pair, so she introduced us. She was right. That was in 1985.

Kane: I suspect that having two artists in a relationship can be challenging. James Asher and Arnett: When it became known in art circles that we were engaged,

well-meaning friends told us it was a bad idea. They said that when two artists are in a relationship, one suffers. One inevitably subjugates. That has not been the case with us. We’ve been a great team for a very long time. There are situations when one gets more attention at an event than the other. But it works out to a fair mix. Being supportive of the one you love and admire is also an art. Kane: Certainly, being in a relationship with another artist must have its unique joys as well. Asher and Arnett: We share a passion for art. We share a language. We share a sense of

wonder and discovery. When we go on a painting adventure, we both work; we both play. We see a lot of relationships where one of them is an artist and the other is bored. What does their partner do when the artist wants to stand in one spot for three hours to capture that amazing subject they just discovered? We don’t have that problem. We drive along, see the same thing, and don’t even have to discuss what we are going to do. Time to paint.

James Asher and Joe Anna Arnett have been together for 34 years. They make their home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 66

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Kashmiri Flower Seller James Asher 1987, watercolor, 10 1/2 x 17 in. Private collection Studio

KASHMIR, INDIA “Though it took two years to put our honeymoon trip together (this was pre-Internet), we wound up spending a month living on a houseboat on Lake Dal, Srinagar, Kashmir,” says Arnett. “Jim captured our houseboat as well as a hopeful flower seller in Kashmiri Flower Seller.”

Arnett and Asher sketching on shikaras on Lake Dal, Kashmir, India / April-May 2018


Forgotten Fleet James Asher 2015, watercolor, 14 x 21 in. Private collection Studio

No Tide Waits Joe Anna Arnett 2014, oil, 14 x 21 in. Private collection Studio

STAITHES, ENGLAND, AND BELLE-ÎLE, FRANCE “We both love boats — in water, at low tide, at high tide, in a marsh, any place,” says Arnett. “I made a small plein air painting that became the inspiration for No Tide Waits, which I painted later in the studio. In the original, I’d painted the boats from the opposite direction. The information, colors, forms, and gesture were good, but I wasn’t happy with the composition. It contained everything I needed, however, to inform the larger studio painting.” On the same trip, Arnett had signed up to teach a workshop in France. They took the Chunnel over, and while she taught, Asher did the preliminary work for Forgotten Fleet. “The quiet light of the day, with the textures of the peeling paint and the foreground vegetation, drew me to this subject,” he says.

Kane: What have been some of your fondest memories of traveling and painting together? Arnett: We learned on our very first date that we’re both

dedicated travelers. Our first trip was our honeymoon to Kashmir, India, and we’ve been traveling ever since. We’ve created so many wonderful memories in the past three decades, but we’ll try to share just a few. One time, in a tiny town in the Cotswolds, we accidentally started a tiff between neighbors over whose garden we should paint. In Amsterdam, we found that the best way to find painting locations was by bicycle (even though I had a broken foot on that trip). On weekends, though, we rented a car to go out and paint the tulip fields. On one particularly cold day, Jim found me painting next to a huge pile of fresh manure (fertilizer) to stay warm. He’s still laughing at me for that one. One moment that lives with me to this day, however, occurred on one of our many trips to Venice. We were both painting, sitting next to one of the small canals in Dorsoduro. There were no tourists. No one was awake yet. The only sound was the soft lapping of the water. We weren’t talking — we don’t do 68

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Arnett, Amsterdam

Drying Sail James Asher 2001, watercolor, 4 3/4 x 6 2/3 in. Private collection Studio

CHIOGGIA, ITALY “We both love this little seaside town, south of Venice,” says Arnett. “Many of the fishermen who supply Venice’s famous Rialto Fish Market live in Chioggia, which boasts its own fish market, the best we’ve ever seen. We rented an apartment there and enjoyed seafood for our dinner every day. It just doesn’t get better than Chioggia for painting — and eating. “The boats we painted are working boats. For me, the story in Chioggia Evening is the dramatic late light and the glow of the gold sail. This subject was such a great opportunity to use impasto and a variety of paint applications.” For Jim, texture was the draw. “The crumbling plaster of the old building and, of course, the reflections of all that texture was irresistible,” he says of the scene that inspired Drying Sail.

Chioggia Evening Joe Anna Arnett 2018, oil, 20 x 24 in. Collection the artist Studio / April-May 2018


Battenkill Bridge Joe Anna Arnett 2017, oil, 12 x 16 in. Collection the artist Plein air

MANCHESTER AND ARLINGTON, VERMONT “I went to teach a workshop for the Southern Vermont Arts Center,” says Arnett. “We stayed to do our own work at a couple of our favorite places in Vermont. A red covered bridge is just too irresistible. I was attracted by the red and green color world, as well as the beautiful form of the bridge, along with its reflection. The Battenkill River was very low that day, so I could stand on the rocks in the riverbed to get this angle for Battenkill Bridge.” “For Homestead, it’s all about the red,” says Asher, of his painting inspired by an earlier trip. “Plus, of course, the weathered texture of the farmyard.” Homestead James Asher 2013, watercolor, 8 1/2 x 14 1/2 in. Private collection Studio

that when we paint. I remember just pausing for a moment and thinking, “I’m in one of the most beautiful places in the world. I’m with my true love, my best friend. This is as good as it gets.” Kane: I know you’re both committed to your chosen mediums, but have you ever been inspired to try your hand at your partner’s medium? Arnett: Jim painted in oil before we were mar-

ried, but he had already switched to watercolor before we met. He has a penchant for detail, and the way he handles watercolor suits that. I had done some watercolor in college, but I love paint texture, and oil suits that passion. While we both understand and appreciate each other’s medium, we both know we chose the right one for us.

Kane: At the height of your busiest workshop season, how often were the two of you traveling a year? Arnett: If the workshop was in Europe or a

We’ve made lots of trips around the United States also — and we have many more exciting destinations planned in the future. Today, if I’m teaching and it’s just a quick turnaround, Jim destination that was exciting to both of us, then may not go. Since his diagnosis, we haven’t been we would both go — usually at least once a year, back to Europe. Winning that battle has kept us Kane: Of course, painting is only part of having a successful art career. How do the two of sometimes twice. France and Italy were favorite in the country. you manage the business-related tasks that stops, although we loved England, too. come with the territory? For my workshops in Europe, we would Kane: So, let’s say you’ve landed in a new Arnett: Jim and I agree together on our schedstay for at least a month before or after the place. Do you both like to hit the same spots? class to do our own work. We usually rented If not, how do you compromise? ules, obligations, and expenses, but the techniArnett: We’ve usually worked out where we cal side of the business usually falls to me — for an apartment or a little house so that we could have our own kitchen and good workspace. We want to paint by the time we get somewhere. In the simple reason that my typing is faster, and would work within a radius of our base location. the planning stages of a trip, we talk about our it’s just simpler for one person to do it. Too much moving around, and you don’t get Don’t worry about me, though. Jim does favorite places, our favorite towns, and we’re quality work done. all the cooking. most often in agreement. That said, once we get 70

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(AT RIGHT) Long House, Joe Anna Arnett, 2013, oil, 12 x 16 in., private collection, plein air • (BELOW) Anasazi Fare, James Asher, 2014, watercolor, 14 1/2 x 18 1/2 in., collection the artist, studio

MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK, COLORADO For several years, Asher and Arnett have participated in Rims to Ruins, a fundraising event for the Mesa Verde Foundation. “As we scouted painting subjects in the park, we saw lots of wild turkeys roaming around,” says Asher. “I did some research and learned that turkeys were an important food source for the Anasazi. The foreground textures in this subject interested me, as well as the unusual composition, which included putting the ruins in the far background.” Arnett completed her painting on location. “This was only part of the historic pueblo, Long House,” she says. “I painted from a windy overlook, holding my easel steady with one hand and painting with the other. I wanted to create a very simple color world, letting the dramatic forms dominate the composition. I also didn’t want to freeze or blow off the cliff.”

to a site, we rarely paint the same subjects. One time, we literally painted back to back, each facing a different barn that we liked for the unique light effects on each one. I like painting en plein air more than Jim does, which is probably evident in the complexity of his work. For that reason, he may walk around more, do more drawing and photography than I do. But no one is ever bored. We entertain ourselves, each dealing with the location in our own way. Asher and Arnett: There are so many stories we could tell, so many adventures. And we’re not done yet. We have painted all over, and there are so many places to which we’d like to return. Whether we’re going around the world, or around the corner, we enjoy it together. And we are grateful for every moment.

Editor’s Note: The couple would like you to know that “Jim is doing really well.” KELLY KANE is editor-in-chief of PleinAir.

Arnett and Asher on location in Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado / April-May 2018



PASTELIST AT HEART Painting in either oil or pastel makes this Virginia artist happy, but pastel allows her to connect even more strongly on an emotional level with her subject matter. ——— BY BOB BAHR ———


ike all of us, Julia Lesnichy has ups and downs in her life. But collectors often comment that her paintings seem so happy. There’s a reason for this. Even when life is difficult, painting is a joy for this Virginia artist. And it’s a greater joy when she’s working in pastel. Her oil paintings are selling more dependably than her pastels, but the Russian-born painter says it has more to do with people’s perception of pastel paintings than a difference in quality. She relates a recent conversation with a collector in which the patron asked a number of questions about how to frame and preserve a pastel. This coincides with a continuing preference for oil paintings in the current market. “I like both pastel and oil, but the gallery that represents me sells mostly my oils,” says Lesnichy.

Julia Lesnichy paints on location near her home in Crozet, Virginia.


Cloudy Day in November 2016, oil, 24 x 30 in. Collection the artist Plein air

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Azaleas in the Morning Light 2015, pastel, 20 x 16 in. Collection the artist Plein air

Redbuds 2017, oil, 16 x 20 in. Private collection Plein air

“But I really like pastel, and I have won awards for my pastels and earned membership in pastel societies. So I do both.” Lesnichy will choose to work in pastel if she knows she doesn’t have a lot of time for a painting, or if she is traveling light. “Traveling with pastels is much easier,” she asserts. “They’re less messy, and you don’t need turpentine. I also think pastels help me to work fast and finish what I intend to finish right away.” But it’s not just convenience that makes pastels appeal to her. “Pastel is a very emotional medium,” says Lesnichy. “It allows me to reveal my feelings toward the landscape better than oils can. And with pastel, all of the colors are right there in front of me; there’s no mixing like with oils. I just pick the one I want to use. I am a color artist, and I’m particularly drawn to vibrant color. Here in Virginia, I paint a lot of blooming gardens, trees, and spring scenes. I see so many colors, and I get so excited about all that’s in front of me. With pastels, I can react quickly and keep this inspiration while painting. It’s also much easier to work on a detailed painting with pastels, including cityscapes and similarly complicated subject matter. The only drawback with pastels is they can be ruined by moisture.”

Peach Trees in Winter 2014, oil, 24 x 30 in. Collection the artist Plein air and studio


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Creating Color Harmony << Step 1 Julia Lesnichy chooses a 20 x 16-inch board from Jack Richeson Co., toned a neutral gray. She makes an initial sketch with thinned burnt sienna. “This is just a drawing, a possible block-in of the darks,” she says.

Step 2 >> The artist then moves on to put in the local colors of the landscape. “I’m just using general colors — I’m not going into any specifics,” Lesnichy says. “I’m keeping the strokes loose and establishing values.” She has already moved on to the palette knife by this point.

<< Step 3 Next, Lesnichy moves to brighter and more saturated colors — even going so far as applying cadmium orange straight out of the tube in places. “I try to keep everything simple,” she says. “I usually start with warmer colors, saving the cooler ones for later.” She points out that her darks are not created by black paint, but by mixtures of dark colors.

Step 4 >> Now the artist looks to set off the bright color with masses of neutrals. She applies paint to cool off the background elements, especially the mountains. “I’m working to establish relationships between the color masses,” she says. “This scene was a landscape in full foliage, so there was a dialogue between the bright orange and burnt orange of the leaves, the deep blue shadow of the road, and the cool blue-violet of the mountains. This relationship of the colors is enhanced by neutrals surrounding the bright colors. At this stage I am still introducing new colors and seeing how they will relate to each other.”

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Country Road in November 2017, oil on board, 20 x 16 in. Collection the artist Plein air

Final Step At this point, Lesnichy picks up a small brush, even one as little as a rigger, to add detail and make fine adjustments to color and value. “I try to see that a color is repeated elsewhere in the painting,” she says. “I also compare all color masses to make sure they are in harmony with each other, making any necessary adjustments in value as well. I worked less than two hours on this piece. By the end, the light was gone, but I was already done except for the trees. The key is the palette knife; it is much faster, and the colors don’t blend as much, so it’s easier to add more color layers.”

INSPIRED BY COLOR Lesnichy and her husband lived in Moscow for several years, and she found herself pivoting toward oil paints in this period, largely because she was not satisfied with the quality of the pastels or paper she could find in Russia. The artist worked with oil pastels, but that medium is not fully embraced by U.S. pastel societies. Upon returning to America, she kept her oil painting work going, while returning to hard pastels. 76

Lesnichy found herself in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains amid a riot of color — a drastic change from the Russian landscape. “This is a very beautiful place, with lots of overlooks,” she says, “and it’s gorgeous in the fall. And then you have the mountain laurels in the spring.” While it was an adjustment, it was a happy one for a colorist such as Lesnichy. In both media, Lesnichy goes straight to the local color and endeavors to make marks and

leave them. In oil, she draws in the darks with thinned burnt sienna to set the composition. In pastel, she blocks in colors, sometimes blending them with a bit of water. “But this means waiting for the underpainting to dry, and I like to paint right away,” Lesnichy says. She usually works on untoned Uart paper, and moves from darks to lights. “I don’t paint lightly for a block-in — I just paint right away with the right color,” she says. She will build layers in oil using her palette knife. But overall, it is clear that she paints in oil like a pastelist — very immediate and fresh. As seen in the demo in this article, Lesnichy’s paintings become recognizable and nearly finished very early in her painting process. “My approach to color is the same in both media, but my technique is a little different,” says the artist. “Compared to painting with oils, where I tend to create multi-layered paintings with a palette knife, with pastels I work primarily alla prima, blocking in dabs and strokes of colors as I see them. Drawing on the principles of color division or pointillism, I place cool colors near warm ones, and neutrals near pure colors, creating color harmony in both my oils and pastels. This way, I repeat colors throughout a painting, balancing major color masses. “For each landscape, I pick out a different palette of colors depending on the time of day and season. I may work with a wide range of colors when painting a blooming garden or switch to a limited palette for working on a foggy night. For me, the initial stage when I block in major color masses is the most important, as it’s during this period that I define my palette and establish how these masses relate to each other in terms of color and value.”

THE JOY OF PAINTING OUTDOORS Lesnichy is a devoted plein air painter, but she will work from reference photos in the studio when the weather absolutely prohibits outdoor painting. “I’m definitely an outdoor painter,” says the artist. “When painting from photos, I’m using my knowledge, what I remember or know was there. But outside, I paint the colors I see, and this is the reason all artists should paint from life. Emotionally, it’s so different outdoors. You get so excited, so delighted and inspired that you feel like you really want to create something. You don’t even think about

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(ABOVE) September in the Blue Ridge Mountains, 2017, oil on board, 12 x 24 in. , private collection, plein air • (BELOW) Sunset in January, 2015, pastel, 20 x 16 in., collection the artist, plein air

being good, you just start painting. There is a connection between you and the landscape. You are so happy to be outside painting that it doesn’t feel like you are working very hard, even though you clearly are. Painting is hard work.” Her subject matter ranges from cows to creeks, but Lesnichy says the actual content of the scene is less important than its traits. “For me, it’s about the color and the play of light on the subject and the resulting dark planes,” she says. “I may be attracted by a beautiful sunset or a shaft of light crossing the snow, creating beautiful patterns. I’m also attracted by different weather conditions, from bright summer days to overcast, rainy days. Even the limited palette of a foggy morning is intriguing to me.”

A PASSION FOR CREATING Lesnichy has another outlet for her creativity. She is also a composer of electronic music, having finished music school in Russia and pursued the practice further here in the United States. Her work can be found on SoundCloud under the moniker “jlesnichy.” Her compositions suggest drama and beauty, quite similar to that in her vibrant paintings of flowers and foliage. Lesnichy finds much commonality between these two disciplines. “The main thing is to work every day in both of them,” she says. “You need to work hard and learn something new all the time. Even an accomplished artist needs to stay attuned to learning. You also need to know what you want to express in art or music, how you feel about different things. You must decide what the most important thing you want to communicate with a song, or what you want to show in a particular painting. People say my paintings are so happy. Life can be hard, but I still come up with happy paintings. The truth is I see beauty around me and I try to show that beauty in my music and painting — and be myself. I am not supposed to change that. I am who I am. And what I create is a part of me.” BOB BAHR has been writing and editing articles about art instruction for more than 12 years. He lives with his wife and two young sons at the northern tip of Manhattan.

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any fit

(CLOCKWISE) The Blue Ridge Mountains in October, 2016, oil on board, 24 x 36 in. , private collection, plein air • Stormy Sky, 2013, pastel, 16 x 12 in., collection the artist, plein air • Wild Cherry Trees, 2014, oil, 20 x 24 in. , private collection, plein air • The End of Winter, 2017, pastel, 18 x 24 in., collection the artist, plein air • Cornflower Field, 2017, oil, 24 x 36 in. , collection the artist, plein air and studio

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(CLOCKWISE) February in Virginia, 2015, pastel, 19 1/2 x 27 1/2 in. , collection the artist, plein air • Pines, 2015, pastel, 26 1/2 x 18 1/2 in. , collection the artist, plein air • The Blue Ridge Mountains in June, 2017, oil, 24 x 36 in. , private collection, plein air • Sugar Hollow Creek in October, 2016, oil, 30 x 24 in. , private collection, plein air

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With music pouring onto the streets from every corner of the city, Sean Friloux finds a unique vantage point from which to capture New Orleans in tonal watercolors. ——— BY KELLY KANE ———


ear “New Orleans watercolor paintings,” and no one could fault you for picturing brightly colored renderings of jazz musicians. But where others draw inspiration from the city’s more flamboyant offerings, native Sean Friloux finds the charm in New Orleans’ quiet street scenes — when the sun is just coming up and locals are gathering for a cup of coffee, or during the lull before revelers pack the bars in the French Quarter at night.

Sean Friloux paints on location in New Orleans.


Riverscene, New Orleans 2017, watercolor, 15 x 22 in. Private collection Plein air

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Meauxbar, New Orleans 2017, watercolor, 15 x 22 in. Private collection Plein air

“For sure, the city has a bar culture; people like to party,” says Friloux. “But my experience of New Orleans is much more muted. I like the everyday aspects, the calm moments, of living here.” The artist maintains a studio that sits conveniently on a streetcar line that can get him to the French Quarter in 25 minutes, and is just a short 10-minute walk to the river in the opposite direction. “New Orleans is a great place to paint en plein air,” he says. “It has the feel of a European city, and there’s always something going on — always music playing somewhere, and always people around. I tend to draw a crowd when I’m out painting, and I feed off that energy.” One question he gets asked frequently — “I don’t see that; where are you looking?” — reveals an interesting aspect of the artist’s process. Rather than a strict documentation of the scene before him, Friloux aims primarily to convey a mood or create a sense of atmosphere. “A painting that exudes a particular mood has more longevity than a painting made simply to depict an interesting car or house,” he says. “That’s the essence of what I do when I paint on location; I soak up the mood, the light, the sounds, and imbue the work with all of those details.” 80

CREATING ATMOSPHERE If Friloux has to imagine or concoct an element that isn’t in the actual scene to help create the mood he’s after, he does it without hesitation. Inspired by film noir and the work of filmmaker David Lynch, he finds it helps to think of his subjects as movie scenery that can be manipulated to create a cinematic feeling. To maximize that effect, he looks for subjects that are “slightly off.” Shifting a bit to the left or

Cafe DuMonde, New Orleans 2017, watercolor, 15 x 22 in. Private collection Plein air and studio

right of a scene, painting the shadow of a building rather than the structure itself, or rendering only half the scene all work to create the unique look of Friloux’s compositions. To accentuate the dream-like quality of his work, Friloux makes the best use of soft

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Jackson Square, New Orleans 2017, watercolor, 15 x 22 in. Private collection Plein air

Magazine St., New Orleans 2017, watercolor, 20 x 30 in. Private collection Plein air and studio

edges, which he creates by painting a series of glazes. “When I do a glaze, it softens everything,” he says. “To soften a hard line or edge, I’ll glaze a really diluted transparent wash over the top. By the time I’m finished, a painting may contain as many as five to 10 glazes. Sometimes, I’ll make a gray-scale painting and then just glaze color on the top at the end to knock back some of those grays and soften everything up.” He’ll also use his hands, paper towels, or rags to rub and smear the paint to soften edges further. He’ll even hit the edges with water from a spray bottle. Friloux attributes his attention to atmosphere to Joseph Zbukvic. He took a weeklong workshop with the watercolor master that he says opened his eyes to all that he could achieve in the medium. “I paint differently than he does,” says the artist. “Zbukvic does a lot of wet-into-wet painting, whereas I build up really thin transparent layers — a very


Paper: Arches 140-lb. rough Watercolors: Daniel Smith: Prussian blue, yellow ochre, pyrrole red, burnt umber, turquoise blue, and titanium white for highlights Brushes: Escoda Charcoal: Nitram

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Napoleon House, New Orleans 2017, watercolor, 15 x 22 in. Private collection Plein air

J.M.W. Turner method of applying watercolor. But where a lot of watercolor artists are colorists, Zbukvic is more of a tonal painter, like I am, and I really responded to that.”

Drawn to the works of Rembrandt and the artist’s use of chiaroscuro from an early age, it’s perhaps no surprise that Friloux gravitated to instructors like Zbukvic who paint with a similar focus on value over color. Apart from a few key workshop experiences, however, Friloux has been largely self-taught, and plein air painting has been part of his process since the beginning. After being employed as a graphic designer for 13 years, he started doing drafting work for an architect, who introduced him to watercolor by way of architectural renderings. “I worked all day on a computer, so painting got me excited for a chance to go outside,” he says.

OVERCOMING OBSTACLES Painting outdoors in New Orleans, particularly along the river, and at night — his favorite time to go out — presents some unique challenges. “The rivers are nice around 6, 7, or 8 o’clock,” he says. “But the conditions can be very windy. I learned the hard way — by Green Streetcar, New Orleans 2017, watercolor, 15 x 22 in. Private collection Plein air


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CHARCOAL STUDIES Sean Friloux also works in charcoals and oils, and although he prefers watercolors, especially in the field, he finds that the techniques tend to bleed over from one medium to another. “I actually work in layers in watercolor like an oil painter,” he says. “I also use my hands a lot when I’m painting with watercolor, similar to the way I work with charcoal, softening edges and lifting color to reveal my lights. “I make charcoal studies for exercise, often late at night. I’ll lay down a solid layer of charcoal and then start lifting the image out with a rag or my hands, like Rembrandt, using chiaroscuro. I’ll get my shades how I want them to be, then I’ll go in at the end with an eraser to create the more refined details, like the sun or the moon in these examples.”

watching a painting fly into the river — to always strap my easel to the railing that runs along the riverwalk.” To compensate for the lack of natural light at night, Frioux attaches LED lights to his setup or stands inside parking garages with a view onto his subject. He’s even been known to set up on the sidewalk under a well-lit awning and paint an interior scene, looking through the

bar or cafe windows — at least until it gets so busy that he finds he’s in the way. “In the night scenes, I sometimes have to create lighting that isn’t there,” he says. “I’ll bump it up to how I’d like it to be.” Even in the daytime, Friloux has a unique relationship to light. No blue-sky paintings from this artist. In fact, if it’s a bright sunny day, he tends to retreat to an alley or other shady

spot, or else he’ll do an interior scene. “I like the angles that the sun creates between buildings, and the cast shadow of a balcony railing on the side of a building,” he says. “Usually when I do a piece like that, I’m not painting the sky anyway, just the effect of the light, creating the illusion of an overexposed image.” Sometimes, he’ll finish a plein air piece in the studio; other times, he’ll go out with just a sketchbook; but most often, the artist likes to complete a half-sheet watercolor on site every time he goes out. “En plein air, it’s always a race to capture what you saw 40 minutes ago; you’re still painting, but now it’s totally changed,” he says. “I try to envision the finished painting before I start, and I try not to stamp the scene with a rote approach, so that every image ends up looking the same. I try to push myself with every piece I make, striving for a fresh, contemporary look, using this ancient medium.” KELLY KANE is editor-in-chief of PleinAir.

New Orleans 2017, watercolor, 52 x 44 in. Private collection Studio

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Cafe DuMonde, New Orleans 2017, watercolor, 15 x 22 in. Private collection

Gooring Brothers, New Orleans 2017, watercolor, 15 x 22 in. Private collection Plein air

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Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans 2016, watercolor, 15 x 22 in. Private collection Plein air

Napoleon House 2016, watercolor, 11 x 14 in. Private collection Plein air and studio

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WATCHFUL In his work as a smokejumper in Alaska and the Western states and as a paramedic in crisis hot spots around the world, California oil painter Davis Perkins needed to pay close attention to his surroundings — a discipline that has had a direct impact on his paintings. ——— BY BOB BAHR ———

Davis Perkins paints on location at the Santa Margarita Island Preserve, not far from his home in San Rafael, California.


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Sawtooth Mountains 2015, oil, 30 x 40 in. Collection the artist Studio

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Hills Above Nicasio 2013, oil, 30 x 30 in. Collection the artist Studio St. Mary’s 2014, oil, 20 x 16 in. Private collection Plein air and studio


avis Perkins used to be one of those people who jumps out of airplanes to parachute down near raging forest fires in remote areas to contain them. Strangely enough, this prepared him for plein air painting. “When you are fighting a fire in the forest, you are really cognizant of the terrain, of what kind of fuel is around, and certainly the nature of the wind and how it is going to affect the fire,” Perkins says. “When I was in the Army, I was a paratrooper, and with aviation, you are cognizant of the clouds as well. So this is where it all started. Once you are a smokejumper, it never leaves you. You are always calculating, ‘If the fire were to come up this draw, where would I go?’” Examine the clouds in a Perkins piece such as Hills Above Nicasio to see his informed depiction of clouds. Likewise, look at the mist described in St. Mary’s. “I often think of smoke when I paint fog,” says Perkins. “It has a similar consistency. I love capturing clouds and fog and their movement. I’m still trying to perfect the look.” The motif of fog is the subject of a 36 x 48-inch painting that Perkins is completing for MarinScapes, a fundraiser for Buckelew Programs, an agency that helps people recover from mental illness, provides housing, and offers addiction services in Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties in Northern California. Perkins was chosen as the featured artist, which means his painting will appear on the event’s posters and the original will be sold to benefit the non-profit. It’s a prestigious honor. Susan Schneider Williams, the widow of Robin Williams and an accomplished painter, served as last year’s featured artist at MarinScapes. 86

Perkins approached this painting as he does most of his work, by doing preliminary studies en plein air, then painting the finished piece from scratch back in his studio, based on the plein air reference. In this case, he is chasing the fog. “I’m calling it Fog Over the Marin Headlands,” Perkins says. “I’ve been doing preliminary studies around Marin County. The fog just races through there.”

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN Perkins’s path to Marin started in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, where he was a paratroop sergeant; there is where he first became acquainted with aviation, clouds, and jumping out of airplanes. He moved on to a special forces unit, and after an honorable discharge, took a job with the forest service as a smokejumper, stopping forest fires using controlled burning and fireline cutting. It’s dangerous work, and like most dangerous work, it binds co-workers into a tight family. If smokejumping made him hyper-aware of weather conditions, this is not the biggest way the job influenced his painting career. “Smokejumping had an amazing impact on my life as an artist,” says Perkins. “I would often sketch while working, during quiet times, such as when waiting to get picked up by a helicopter. I was only in my mid-20s, just out of the Army, and the other smokejumpers were like brothers. They said, ‘You have some talent here, don’t squander it. You can do something special.’ Those guys gave me the confidence to be a painter and take it seriously.” A second boost was the support that came from his art teacher at the University of Oregon, a retired Air Force colonel named Alan Haemer. Haemer pushed Perkins to paint his experiences as a smokejumper

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for a series that would comprise his graduation thesis. “So during summers when I was jumping, I would sketch and paint,” Perkins recalls. “I developed a series about my experience as a smokejumper, a large body of work that I used to apply for shows.” This gambit worked — spectacularly. In 1981, Perkins received a solo show for one year at the Smithsonian Institution. The artist calls this a “lucky break,” but his continuing success suggests the show was fully deserved. The Smithsonian took three of his pieces for its permanent collection, and Perkins secured several more commissions with aviation as their theme. The Pentagon has a Perkins in its Air Force Art Collection. In the meantime, he kept smokejumping — and painting. “When you are out there fighting a fire with very limited resources, you have to be aware of all the risks and have a constant vigilance about what’s happening around you,” says Perkins. “You are thinking of your own and your crew’s safety. So even now, when I am perched on the hillside painting, I am thinking about clouds and the winds

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Callahan Barn 2014, oil, 12 x 12 in. Private collection Plein air / April-May 2018


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Gold Fort Creek 2015, oil, 9 x 12 in. Private collection Plein air

associated with them. As a painter, I am trying to be aware of the changing weather patterns and how that is going to affect my light and how long I can be out there. There’s more of an awareness of what’s going on around me.”

FROM ONE HOT SPOT TO ANOTHER Forest fires constitute such an enormous amount of energy that they create their own weather and their own dangers. Perkins walked away from smokejumping, then became a firefighter in the San Francisco area. This led to training as a paramedic, and eventually retirement from the fire department. Time to relax and paint, right? Not for Perkins. The painter is often traveling internationally as a volunteer paramedic, helping people in the worst situations that arise in this world. Perkins flies to hot spots to help in relief efforts. He was in Nepal after the devastating earthquake in 2015. He worked in Liberia during the worst of the Ebola outbreak. And he flew to Greece to help with the refugee crisis involving Turkey and Syria. More recently, he’s been working in Mosul, Iraq, treating Iraqi soldiers and civilian casualties during the battles against ISIS. Although 88

Chilkoot River 2014, oil, 11 x 14 in. Private collection Plein air

there is beauty everywhere, even in a war-torn area, Perkins rarely picks up a brush or even a pen when working as a paramedic in such conditions. “Being in a war zone was the most intense thing in my life,” Perkins says. “We treated hundreds of both Iraqi military and Iraqi civilian casualties. The whole thing was an indication of how fragile and fleeting life can be. And seeing man’s inhumanity toward others was incredible. Especially in Mosul, in the battle area, it is incredibly intense. There’s combat all around you. You are trying to save lives. There’s a side of me where these images are burned into my brain, some of them horrific images. But there is no time to sketch. And if I can’t do a preliminary plein air on scene, I don’t feel comfortable just copying a photograph.”

PAINTING INFLUENCES Perkins, a signature member of Oil Painters of America, admires the work of Matt Smith and Lynn Boggess, the latter for his large-scale plein air work done with a cement trowel. Perkins uses a palette knife, which is similar but decidedly more delicate. “A palette knife can give a painting a feeling of spontaneity,” says Perkins. “You can’t control it completely, and

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Chena River 2012, oil, 12 x 12 in. Private collection Plein air

that keeps a painting fresh and provides texture.” From Smith, Perkins draws inspiration for striking compositions and a brilliant color palette, which includes several blues along with the standard split-primary palette (warms and cools of red, blue, and yellow). In terms of materials, Perkins is mostly loyal to Gamblin paints, RayMar panels, and Rosemary brushes, which all join his Open Box M palette in his old Army rucksack. He employs a number of styles and sizes of brushes, but stresses that he “tends toward synthetic flats, with some rounds. I sometimes use a sable fan to blend clouds.” Viewers may notice rhythms in Perkins’s paintings—repeated trees, or cascading ridges in the mountains. The painter says this is mostly nature’s work, although he is always trying to stay attuned to abstract concepts to strengthen his designs. “It’s true that I will vary a ridge line or horizon; I will not paint exactly what I see. Geometric lines, especially diagonal lines, will draw you in to the focal point of the painting. I try to be cognizant of that all the time.” Perkins happily works out of a historic 1878 opera house that has been renovated into artist studios in San Rafael called the ArtWorks Downtown, and his plein air work is usually done on the road as he visits friends. “I travel a lot when in the U.S. and see my old smokejumper buddies along the West Coast and in Montana and Idaho. I visit them and set up and look for paintings. I have this wonderful circle of good friends, mostly former smokejumpers. That’s where I do most of my plein air painting.” And he jets off to wherever there are people hurt and in need, taking as much as nine weeks per mission “off” to serve as a volunteer paramedic. “Sometimes I’ve wished I had my easel and paints with me to document it,” Perkins says. “I do plan to continue to sketch more, everywhere. I am getting a little better at bouncing back and forth between painting and my medical work.” BOB BAHR has been writing and editing articles about art instruction for more than 12 years. He lives with his wife and two young sons at the northern tip of Manhattan.

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Leili’s Ranch 2014, oil, 16 x 20 in. Private collection Plein air and studio / April-May 2018


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Expanded Digital Edition Content

A Painter’s World With Fire and War

Plein air painting can be exciting, but Davis Perkins’ s work beyond art is gut-wrenchingly intense. Perkins was a smokejumper, parachuting into wilderness threatened by forest fires, working to contain them. He spends most of his non-painting time now as a volunteer paramedic in hot spots across the world.


n smokejumping, there’d be lightningcaused fires, and we’d jump in to try to contain them,” Davis Perkins says. “A lot of times, we were able to stop them before they got very big. If we lost a fire — if it went wild — it created its own weather. A fire generates massive hot air, massive energy that’s released into the atmosphere, and cold air comes rushing in, creating hellacious winds. You must be a trained observer of your surroundings — and even then it could surprise you. We smokejumpers would talk about Big Ernie. Big Ernie was the god of smokejumping. He would toy with us. He’d backfire, and winds

would completely reverse themselves, causing the fire to blow up out of control.” The fires Perkins typically dealt with, as devastating as they could be, were part of a natural cycle. But he deals with a lot of catastrophes that are made or exacerbated by humans. Does this get him down? He laughs ruefully at the question. But Perkins puts himself back into the fray, repeatedly. He can’t seem to explain precisely why, but it almost seems to be executed by him as a sort of apology, for what Americans have done or not done, or what humans have done or not done. Perkins feels compelled to help. “It’s a fulfilling life,” he says.

Cliff Lake 2014, oil, 32 x 32 in. Collection the artist Studio

Along the way, he experiences some poignant moments, like this one, in Mosul, Iraq. “ISIS was pretty well surrounded and we were in an old bombed-out house on the second floor, treating patients,” Perkins recalls. “I looked down and there was an old teddy bear in the road. I picked it up and put it on a ledge and sketched it. It was a spontaneous sketch, and I noted the smoke plumes from the bombing in the background. It was so incredibly symbolic to me. So many children are casualties of war. Forest fires have a lot to be said for them, compared to seeing what humans will do to other humans.”

Scott Valley Barn 2014, oil, 10 x 12 in. Private collection Plein air

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(CLOCKWISE) Sawtooths (study), 2015, oil, 9 x 12 in., collection the artist, plein air â&#x20AC;˘ Maroon Creek, 2013, oil, 11 x 14 in., private collection, plein air â&#x20AC;˘ Scott River, 2013, oil, 16 x 20 in., private collection, plein air

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Taking a season’s break from representational painting, D.K. Palecek challenged old habits and her familiar way of working. She emerged in the spring with a new outlook and fresher pieces.


——— BY BOB BAHR ———

here are good habits and bad habits, and the first step in building good ones and breaking the bad ones is self-awareness — recognizing the habits we have in the first place. Because Wisconsin oil painter D.K. Palecek makes meditation and self-awareness a part of her overall life, she is able to apply it to her painting approach. This has produced considerable and notable fruit. Palecek holds an MBA in business from UC Berkeley and a work history that includes stints as an investment banker, CFO, and entrepreneur. She didn’t turn to painting in earnest until she retired nine years ago. “I was a math major,” says Palecek. “I am so left-brain. And I am adrift in a sea of right-brain people.” A class at a local art school got Palecek started about a decade ago, and she hasn’t stopped painting since. But she did stop painting representationally — for a winter. She took the time to delve deeply into this different way

D. K. (Deke) Palecek, of Appleton, Wisconsin, paints on location in Maine.


Ye Old Button Factory 2016, oil, 12 x 12 in. Private collection Plein air

(NEXT PAGE) Sizzling Heat 2017, oil, 14 x 11 in. Collection the artist Plein air

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Ominous 2017, oil, 11 x 14 in. Private collection Plein air

Farm Fresh 2016, oil, 9 x 12 in. Collection the artist Studio


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Returning to Shore 2016, oil, 12 x 12 in. Private collection Plein air

Before painting, Palecek sketches her composition, writes something inspirational, titles the painting, and puts down why she is painting the scene (her “because”).

of seeing and working last year in order to learn and grow. “When I first started painting abstract, it blew my mind,” she relates. “I didn’t know where to go. In abstract painting there is nothing to reference, nothing to hang on to. Your brain goes into a routine that is at least 80 percent subliminal. “So I read and came to understand the language of abstraction. For example, I found that the line across the page or canvas is always going to be seen as a horizon line. Even if I had no reference whatsoever, I still had that line in there. From there, it became a matter of texture, layering, and vibration. I had so much fun playing with all that.”

Palecek says the biggest takeaway from her winter of abstraction was the idea of exploring what the painting needed, rather than what she thought it should be. Removing any reference material from the process had her

Feed Mill Blues 2017, oil, 12 x 16 in. Private collection Plein air

TAKING WHAT SHE LEARNED INTO THE FIELD “When I went back out painting en plein air, I was in danger of just returning to my comfort zone,” says Palecek. “I had tried to break the groove of my mind over the winter. What happened was surprising. My mind went ‘boing boing boing’ looking for a familiar place to land, but I forced myself to explore other dimensions in my work. The results were a combination of familiar with a lot more creativity.”

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listening more closely to what the painting was asking for. “I would ask the work in progress, ‘What do you need from me? What do you need to be a better painting?’” “The other dimension I learned was color,” she adds. “With abstraction, you could layer colors and stand back and consider what the juxtaposition and overlay would make the painting do. This heightened my awareness of multiple colors and had me focus on what as many as four colors working together would do.”

LONG-TERM IMPLICATIONS How did this have a lasting effect on Palecek’s painting process? It changed the way she painted during plein air events, for one thing. “Initially, you go through the first stage of painting where it’s just technical,” says the artist. “You are juggling all these balls — value, color, edges, composition, drawing, and the like. As you keep practicing, you learn how to get more balls in 94

the air. The next phase — which is a bit more Grey Illumination creative, not just painting what you see and jug2017, oil, 11 x 14 in. gling — is enhancing the scene, capturing the Private collection atmosphere, choosing the value key, or showing Plein air the story behind the painting. “In competitions, you are painting for an MATERIAL MATTERS audience. You have that in mind, which curbs Her choices in materials are logical, in that they your expression a little bit. The people who buy at allow both experimentation and discipline. She these events, and the organizers, want to see you tends to keep about 10 colors on her palette, express the local area. So what I did was paint for but the number and the hues are somewhat the competition — paint to sell — in the mornchangeable. “I have a set color palette, but it ings, and then in the afternoon, I would paint changes just a little bit as I take workshops or for me. In the afternoon, I would be braver and see artists using a different color,” Palecek says. force myself to let go a little more. I’d use what “I generally use ivory black to mix greens, but I learned from abstraction. And those paintings I was just introduced to chromatic black from were the ones that would win awards. So it’s been Gamblin, and I like that. I’ve been going more an interesting year.” Palecek says her education in toward transparent colors — that has been a big abstraction now works in harmony with her repre- trend in my work. sentational art, similarly to the way that swim“One of the most important things I heard ming, cycling, and running work together well in an instructor once say was, ‘Never have more triathlons. It’s cross-training, painting style. colors on your palette than you can take care

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of.’ I think that is wise. Know what each color does when you mix it with every other color. If you don’t, don’t have it on your palette until you do.” She favors flat brushes with synthetic hair. The palette knife often makes an appearance, especially when she feels pressed for time. Depicting atmosphere is one of her goals, and color temperature is one of the tools she uses to pursue atmosphere. Looking over her portfolio, one detects a preference for the color white. “This year I was drawn to high-key paintings,” says Palecek. “It was not conscious; it’s just what I was drawn to. I loved catching that little bit of reflected light on white barns and buildings. You can see or feel that light better in the high key. It’s in the subtle changes of white.”

THE SKY’S THE LIMIT The sky is one part of a painting in which Palecek can play with this concept. Using what she learned during her foray into abstraction, Palecek puts various hues and temperatures into the sky colors to activate that area of the piece. “I’m interested in a color vibration in the sky and the impact of that on the rest of the painting,” says the artist. “Looking back at my body of work, it’s interesting to see how much of it incorporates that vibration. Would that be my signature style? I don’t think so. I’m not done exploring.” Yes, she’s a relentless experimenter, so it’s not surprising that two of her influences are C.W. Mundy and Quang Ho. Mundy remakes his painting style so often he seems like a chameleon, an innovator in the mold of a jazz genius. Quang Ho is an iconoclast who thrills in breaking rules. “You might go to a Quang Ho solo exhibition and ask who all these different artists are in the show,” Palecek jokes. “It’s not perfecting one thing or going deeper into one style. It’s curiosity outside of painting. I have some habits I want to keep or that I have developed carefully, but I’m always thinking about what habit I may want to change. Painting can be like driving. It can feel automatic. My goal is to be more conscious of what I am trying to capture.” Palecek’s mindfulness extends to the literal study of the human brain. She’s read up about it with the sort of due diligence one would expect from an investment banker. “Have you read about the activity of the brain? It used to be that people believed the brain developed from when you are an infant until age 20, then from age 20-50 it is stable, then after 50 it

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Cow Crimes 2017, oil, 9 x 12 in. Private collection Plein air

starts to deteriorate,” states Palecek. “It turns out the brain is very ‘plastic’ and malleable. Through meditation, I’ve learned ways to be more effective. Part of it is visualization. I think about how I hold my brush or how much paint I mix. These kinds of habits have an impact on how I paint.” She says, “I start every painting by writing. First I’ll do a thumbnail sketch or two, then I’ll write, ‘Before I paint:’ then I write something. I may express thankfulness, or beg a muse, or just remind myself to breathe. Then I name the painting and write, ‘Because:’ and explain the ‘why’ of my painting. It might be the light, or the subject matter — whatever. Of course, it doesn’t always turn out the same as I wrote, because the painting evolves.” Palecek’s mind is one that combines an artist’s creativity with a businessperson’s strategic and pragmatic thinking. She is somehow managing to use both sides of her brain with great results. Her work experience has, incidentally, also yielded a comfortable retirement, which gives her even more room to experiment.

“My art does not have to pay the light bill,” says Palecek. “I don’t know how the added pressure of having to pay the light bill would affect me. I count my lucky stars that this is not where I am. It would have really changed how I approach painting.” So what’s next for Palecek? “My focus now is texture, and toward that end, I’m learning how to employ cold wax in my plein air painting. Cold wax for me is walking away from traditional painting and all the expectations that go with it. It’s a straightforward medium. You simply mix the wax in with your paints. It mattes the paint immediately, and you can carve, cut, use a brayer, use a squeegee, do all sorts of things with it.” Palecek will have to exercise patience and discipline, two things she doesn’t seem to lack. “Cold wax painting takes layers, and those layers have to dry before you move on,” she notes. “It will require a whole new habit.” BOB BAHR has been writing and editing articles about art instruction for more than 12 years. He lives with his wife and two young sons at the northern tip of Manhattan. / April-May 2018


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Expanded Digital Edition Content

Almost Home 2017, oil, 12 x 12 in. Collection the artist Plein air

The Ascent 2017, oil, 14 x 11 in. Collection the artist Plein air

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Expanded Digital Edition Content Port Washington Historical Society 2015, oil, 12 x 9 in. Private collection Plein air

Morning Has Broken 2017, oil, 11 x 14 in. Private collection Plein air April;-May 2018 /

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Painting a lone tree in the Alaskan wilderness for one year forever changed the art and outlook of David Pettibone.



ike many young artists, David Pettibone gravitated toward New York, where he earned his MFA in painting at the New York Academy of Art and worked mostly indoors, with models or still life. “Occasionally I’d get together with friends and paint along the Hudson or the East River,” he says. The city may have called him, but city life did not enchant. Pettibone had grown up in Arizona, sur-

rounded by acres of desert and mountains and entertained by frequent visits from coyotes, rattlesnakes, Gila monsters, and tarantula hawks. “Like most kids with that kind of access, especially before the age of the Internet, I was always outside,” he says. However, New York is where Pettibone first thought of painting a single tree, en plein air, over time. “I think part of it was a reaction against the city — this desire to block it out, slow down, and zero in on something as seemingly unassuming as a tree,” he says. It would be several years, though, before he would find himself doing just that for his series Year With a Tree, a collection of more than 50 oil and watercolor paintings of an old cottonwood that he made from May 13, 2016 to May 13, 2017, at the Eagle River Nature Center in Alaska. May 12, 2017 Watercolor, 10 x 7 in. Collection the artist Plein air

David Pettibone paints on location in Anchorage, Alaska. He is donating 10 percent of his profits from original works sold from his Year With a Tree series to the Eagle River Nature Center, a part of Chugach State Park, where the featured cottonwood lives.


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July-August, 2016 Clockwise from top left: “Sunny, Rain, Sunny, Partly Sunny, Partly Sunny, Overcast” Oil, 112 x 74 in. Collection the artist Plein air

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September-October, 2016 Clockwise from top left: “Sunny, Cloudy, Sunny, Sunny, Cloudy, Overcast/Rain” Oil, 112 x 74 in. Collection the artist Plein air

June 30, 2016, watercolor, 7 x 10 in., collection the artist, plein air • August 25, 2016, watercolor, 15 x 20 in., collection the artist, plein air

PAINTING A TREE IN REAL TIME The tree series that followed gave Pettibone the chance to conceptualize time far differently while teaching community outreach and art than he ever had before. Chronicling for one What first led Pettibone to Alaska after a classes and working for a science-based logistics full year a tree that has existed for hundreds decade in New York was a different painting organization in exchange for housing and a small more — “responding to the environment in real opportunity, inspired by a newspaper article per diem. Personally experiencing the “incredtime, just like us” — helped Pettibone see trees on subsistence whale hunting in the Arctic. “I ible and resourceful” Inupiaq people and their as the active living creatures that they are and had been making paintings about the complexireverence for the whale their community relied witness more intimately some of the changes ties of our species’ relationship with the rest of upon was critical to Pettibone’s resulting artwork. they go through. “A day for me is barely a flash nature for a while, and this seemed like the next of a moment for a tree that lives four or five direction to go.” In 2013, the artist moved from “When painting is at its best, the brush becomes Brooklyn to Utqiagvik, the northernmost city in a research tool,” he says. “It was important to me times as long,” Pettibone says. “What is it like the United States, where, with the locals’ blessing, that I represented the tradition and the people in to live in a reality where time passes so slowly? the most sincere way that I could.” What am I missing out on by living so quickly?” he spent seven months following whaling crews, 98

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December, 2016-January, 2017 Clockwise from top left: “Direct Sun, Direct Sun, Snow/Rain, Indirect Sun, Indirect Sun, Overcast” Oil, 112 x 74 in. Collection the artist Plein air

ARTIST’S TOOLKIT PAINTS: “I make most of my paints — I mix dry pigment with walnut oil and keep small batches in jars in my freezer. It keeps the cost down, and I enjoy the process. “I have a pretty limited palette that I tinker with once in a while: titanium white, ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson, transparent red oxide, raw sienna, and yellow ochre. I recently stopped using raw umber and bone black, instead mixing neutrals and black from the above colors to get a bit more variety in temperature. I occasionally use some store-bought chromatics: naphthol red, a chromatic yellow, and three different greens. I used to mix my greens from the palette but quickly discovered I was unable to capture all the subtle differences of green in Alaska’s vegetation during the summer months.”

The tree he painted is located in a picturesque valley off the Iditarod National Historic Trail, surrounded by mountains. The paintings he created, all on site, took anywhere from a few days to weeks or months to complete. Every aspect of the process transcended routine and became ritual — something that happens, Pettibone says, when you love what you’re doing and you’re doing it enough. “I wanted to focus on this one tree and dedicate a year to painting it as much as possible. I needed a sense of ritual in order to

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do that,” he says. “Preparing for the weather, gathering my supplies, packing, driving to the trailhead, hiking to the tree, painting, hiking back out, and driving home, four or five days a week for a year — it all became ritualistic.” The elements challenged Pettibone in ways he came to enjoy. “During the summer it was the weeks of rain to paint through, and when it wasn’t raining, it was the swarms of insects. During the winter, there were days when the snow was high enough that I had to snowshoe in to the tree,” he says. “The most memorable experiences

MEDIUM: “I only use walnut oil as my medium. I save the mineral spirits for changing colors and try not to clean my brushes very often. Instead, I put them in the freezer with the paints.” SURFACE: “I paint on hemp canvas with a heavy weave. When it gets below freezing, the slightest pressure on cotton duck canvas will crack through the gesso. The hemp is bulkier and sturdier, which is better for outdoor painting in extreme cold. I use a small wooden easel.” / April-May 2018


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April-May, 2017 Clockwise from top left: “Overcast, Rain, Sunny, Cloudy, Sunny, Sunny” Oil,112 x 74 in. Collection the artist Plein air

September 22, 2016, watercolor, 7 x 10 in., collection the artist, plein air • August 5, 2016, oil, 18 x 20 in., collection the artist, plein air

were typically those that provided a struggle, and those struggles helped keep things fresh and kept me engaged throughout the year.” So much time spent painting the same subject in ever-changing circumstances taught the artist a few things. “I learned to pay a lot more attention to the nuances in color and temperature,” Pettibone says, referring particularly to the shadows on snow. “Where the plane of the snow angles up to the blue sky, the shadows reflect blue, but on the planes that angle closer to the horizon, the temperatures within 100

the shadows warm up, just like the sky warms towards the horizon, and you can find ochres and reds. The shadows reflect a bit of the hue of whatever else is within the landscape.”

EMBRACING CHANGE Plein air painting often involves racing against the change that the passing time creates, but Pettibone chose to embrace it instead. “Rather than fighting the change, I tried to work with it by changing the painting as the subject changed,” he says. “So one small section of a painting may contain a dozen

layers depicting fresh snow and a dozen others representing bare ground, all layered and woven into each other. Eventually, as certain parts of the painting resonate with others, I leave them alone. I end up with a network of translucent and opaque layers of different light and different elements, which speaks to the passing of time while painting, rather than trying to capture a single moment. I think this process gets me closer to the reality that I am experiencing as I paint.” On the four large, multi-canvas paintings that anchor the series, one for each season,

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May 12, 2017 Oil, 13 x 18 in. Collection the artist Plein air

Pettibone goes so far as to record the unique light or weather conditions he experienced in the course of making each 3 x 3-foot panel. “I took each canvas out to the cottonwood individually,” he says. “There could be gaps of several weeks between each one, so the difference between the panels can be quite dramatic, but together they provide an authentic portrayal of the season.” Pettibone knew the seasons would dictate the palette for each painting, but it wasn’t until he saw the entire series displayed chronologically at the Anchorage Museum that he realized how much they affected the way he painted the tree. He notes the purity in the values and hues of the paintings done in spring, when the sky in Southcentral Alaska tends to be bluest. “There are fewer clouds to filter the light, and the sun sharpens the shadows and brings out the texture of the tree,” Pettibone says. “Also, the overwhelming green everywhere in the landscape has yet to come

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back, so the reds and oranges in the tree aren’t affected by the ambient green from the vegetation, making them more vibrant.” Pettibone remains in Alaska, currently teaching painting and drawing at the University of Alaska in Anchorage. “Just like when I was a kid, I’m outside again as often as I can be,” he says. “We are part of nature, not separate from it. Some people find comfort in the false notion that we are a separate entity, but our fate is the same as the tree or the whale, or anything else on this planet.” The idea that everything is constantly changing — the light, the subject, even the artist — provides an infinite number of creative paths to take, Pettibone says. “My work has always centered around nature, particularly life and death,” he says. “Living in a place with such raw beauty — where the elements are such an overwhelming aspect of existence — these themes seem right on the surface of the landscape in every direction you look.” STEFANIE LAUFERSWEILER is a freelance writer and editor living in Cincinnati, Ohio.

PAINTING IN THE COLD Venturing outside to paint during winter — in temps that could easily dip below freezing — is not for the faint of heart. Pettibone offers some advice: Bring cardboard. “Use it to stand on as insulation from the snow, when winter boots and wool socks aren’t enough.” Carry foot and hand warmers. “I’ve learned to use them before my fingers and toes go numb — it extends the amount of time I can be outside.” Drink, but try not to eat. “When you eat, the blood moves to your stomach to help with the digestive process, and as a result, your fingers and toes pay the price. Instead, bring well-insulated hot coffee.” Wear multiple layers of gloves. “Wear two or three layers of gloves, with the last layer being mittens with a hole in the tip, where the brush handle goes.” / April-May 2018


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(CLOCKWISE) November 17, 2016, oil, 22 x 18 in., private collection, plein air • June 8, 2016, oil, 20 x 20 in., collection the artist, plein air • May 13, 2017, oil, 18 x 11 3/8 in., collection the artist, plein air • October 8, 2016, oil, 20 x 16 in., collection the artist, Plein air

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(CLOCKWISE) September 13, 2016, oil, 20 x 16 in., private collection, plein air • October 25, 2016, oil, 16 x 20 in., private collection, plein air • July 5, 2016, oil, 24 x 18 in., collection the artist, plein air • November 1, 2016, oil, 16 x 22 1/2 in., collection the artist, plein air

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the elements




The unique challenge of painting clouds is that, unlike other landscape elements, they’re in constant motion. Use thumbnail sketches to find the right time and place to anchor the shapes in your composition. ——— BY KIM CASEBEER ———

In reality, this scene contained a lot of small clouds, but I grouped some together in order to create larger, more simplified shapes. I kept the values of the sky and the clouds close, saving the greatest value contrast for the area where the sun peeked out behind the clouds, creating a focal point. I was careful to keep the paint in the clouds thinner while loading up the brush for the lightest parts of the sky. 102

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A Tucson Sky 2017, oil, 8 x 8 in. Collection the artist Plein air

Sunset at the Clark 2016, oil, 8 x 10 in. Private collection Plein air

I painted this piece on the grounds of the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The clouds got increasingly interesting toward evening, but I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have a lot of open space. I decided to use the diagonal of the tree grouping, from lower right to upper left, to lead the eye into the painting, then continue the diagonal line with the clouds, from the lower right to upper left, which provided movement across the painting. The clouds were very warm and bright. Sometimes when clouds are warm, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more effective to include a cool highlight on the brightest part of the clouds instead of using a warm color. I used a very light, cool yellow and very light blue combination for the highlight on the largest cloud. /April-May 2018


the elements


hen I was a less experienced plein air painter, I would head out on those wonderful Kansas days when layers of clouds move across the sky and create dramatic shadow patterns on the land, but with no plan for how to capture either in my compositions. The beauty of a big, open landscape with rolling hills is that you can get to a place where you can see 10 miles away, and I wanted to paint it all. I’d start with the shapes in front of me, but soon the clouds would move and I’d think, maybe these shapes are better than what I started with, so I would change them. Then the cloud shapes would move again, and as they did, their shadows on the ground changed, too. You see the problem. I had a lot of exciting material to work with, but I didn’t have a plan. After attempting this type of composition over and over, but fumbling each time, I finally realized the necessity of starting with black-and-white thumbnail sketches. Thumbnails are a quick way to make decisions about your composition, so that you have something concrete to stick with when forms and light change.

PLANNING SHAPES Even in landscapes where the clouds are background for other subject matter, their

shapes are important and need to work with the rest of the shapes in the painting. When I first started, I had trouble getting my shapes to work together because I would just paint the clouds as I saw them at that moment, without regard to the overall sense of movement in my painting. For my students, I often equate movement with directional lines. Horizontal lines create a feeling of calm or quiet, vertical lines stop the eye, and diagonal lines move it. As the designer, you need to orchestrate how the viewer’s eye is going to move through your landscape painting — and clouds play an important role in helping you do this. To start, you need to make sure that your clouds connect to the rest of the painting. When you look abstractly at your cloud shapes, most of them should touch. The farthest clouds, those closest to the earth, should also connect to the land. Without that connection, it’s difficult to find harmony in your work. So, even if the shapes that you see in front of you don’t connect, you need to make them do so in your painting. Often, you can look elsewhere in the landscape to find good shapes to mimic and duplicate if the shapes of the clouds in your subject range aren’t very compelling.

If the day boasts a gorgeous sky, and I want to establish a low horizon line, making the clouds my subject, I’ll start by looking around the sky for strong shapes. If I see something I like, I’ll immediately sketch those cloud shapes in a thumbnail. If I don’t see something I like right away, I’ll find the form of the land I want, and that will determine the direction in which I set up my easel. That, in turn, will determine the direction of the light in my painting. I always use the same light source for the land and sky, even if I’m looking elsewhere in the landscape to find cloud shapes. In that case, I simply adjust the light on my cloud forms by looking at the clouds directly above my subject for a true representation of the light, ignoring the form.

CREATING FOCAL POINTS If the sky dominates your painting, you’ll also need one or more points of interest to catch the viewer’s attention. A common mistake I see artists make when painting clouds is to use too much white, making them all uniform in color. If you incorporate a range of color in your clouds and reserve the lightest values or highest chroma for just a few areas, then those spots of color can create several areas of focus in the sky.

I painted this plein air on the grounds of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Though I didn’t have a very open landscape in this location, I loved the movement in the sky and the interesting shadow patterns on the hills created by the low-hanging clouds. I chose to make the painting a cloudscape, showing just a small portion of the hills and trees. As the clouds were moving at a decent pace, I had to watch closely for the right time to capture the large shapes of the clouds in my thumbnail, and at about the same time, also capture the long cloud shadows on the hill, so that all the shapes worked together.

Rockwell Cloudscape 2016, oil, 8 x 10 in. Collection the artist Plein air 104

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Creating Harmony Between Land and Sky

View of clouds and landscape

<< Step 1 I set up my easel so that I have an interesting, open vista in view. From this location, I also have a good line of sight on most of the sky, which is important for cloud viewing. I watch the sky for a while, creating a couple of thumbnail sketches. In the first thumbnail, I’m unsure of the direction I want to take, but by the second, I feel much more comfortable with the shapes and directional lines.

Step 2 Using the second thumbnail, I draw my composition on canvas with thinned paint. I’m concentrating on design, so I’m not looking at the landscape, only at the thumbnail drawing in front of me. Until the drawing feels right, I won’t move on to the painting.

<< My palette, all Gamblin oil paints, from bottom left to top right: ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, viridian green, permanent green light, titanium white, cadmium lemon, cadmium yellow deep, transparent orange, cadmium red light, alizarin permanent, burnt sienna, and asphaltum. I’m using the warm gray mix shown below the asphaltum for the drawing in Step 2.

Step 3 >> Once satisfied with the drawing, I begin massing in the large shapes. Looking to the landscape for light and color temperature, I find the average color in each large shape. I premixed most of the sky colors to compare value and temperature on the palette and keep momentum while painting. The sky must inform the color of the land, so I use the mixes for the sky to mix the colors in the land. /April-May 2018


the elements


Step 4 Once the canvas is covered, I begin to define form in each mass, focusing on shadow and light. It’s important to show the direction of movement in the clouds at this stage, and to keep that movement consistent. When breaking up large shapes into smaller shapes, I want to keep values tight in some places and show greater contrast at several points to direct the eye. I use white sparingly.

• Decide on the composition in a thumbnail. When satisfied, stick to that composition. Using the thumbnail reference, draw the composition on your canvas. • Connect your clouds to each other and to the land. • Make sure your light source remains consistent, even though you may look elsewhere for cloud shapes. • Be aware that clouds and their shadow patterns on the land must work together. • Premix colors so that you can compare value and chroma on the palette and not interrupt your momentum once you begin painting. • Show cloud movement and keep it consistent (think: directional lines). • Don’t use too much white in your clouds; instead reserve the lightest values for points of interest. • Push contrast in some areas and tighten it in others to help lead the viewer’s eye through your painting.

Step 5 >> In the final stages of the painting, I adjust edges, making some softer and some stronger. I push contrast in select areas, such as the highlight in the cloud and the light on the back hill. I tighten the contrast in other areas, such as the cloud to the right of the highlight. I also add some taller grasses in the lower right corner of the painting to stop the eye.

KIM CASEBEER lives in Kansas and draws her inspiration from the simplicity of the Flint Hills, an area of wide open ranch land. 106

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A Winter Arrangement 2018, oil, 8 x 10 in. Collection the artist Plein air

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Expanded Digital Edition Content Mid Day Break, oil, 12 x 20 in.



hat makes a good design? Specifically, what makes an effective design in a landscape? At its basic level and without the added enhancements of color, edges, and brushwork, a good design in a landscape painting involves an interesting balance of lights, darks, and mid-tones, which are arranged into patterns that have well-proportioned mixtures of linear and mass elements. If one can learn to recognize these underlying abstract patterns, without the organic embellishments and details of nature, one will be well on one’s way to creating compelling landscapes that will capture the imagination of art lovers and collectors everywhere. Like anything else, design can be learned, and there are certain principles at play in a pleasing arrangement. Once you understand what these principles are, it’s necessary to practice and make a real effort to incorporate them into your work. I’m going to begin with a list of objectives, elements, and general principles of good design.

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1. To communicate our fascination with the subject.

Ask yourself what the painting is about, or what the purpose of the painting is. If it’s about the sky, then let everything in the painting work to feature that idea. If it’s about a river, or a clump of trees, or a grouping of boulders below the trees, let the viewer know that by not giving equal importance to everything in the picture. By doing this, you create a theme in the painting that makes it understandable to the viewer.

2. To paint the subject in a way that reveals our equal fascination with the painterly means of expression used to produce it. For most artists, this is just as much of a thrill as depicting the scene itself. This is where facile brushwork and a thorough knowledge of the elements of painting come into play. “Elements” is just another way of saying tools, and there are five of them: drawing, color, value, edges, and brushwork. They are our means of designing as well as depicting light. These five tools are also expressive in and of themselves. Learning to use the tools of design in isolation is an ineffective way to paint. Without an understanding of design principles and the way light works, artists are just spinning their wheels. These two concepts give purpose to our brushstrokes, and everything we do hinges on this understanding, as well as mastery over these tools.

3. To create an interesting abstract motif that will hold the viewer’s attention by employing the principles of composition and design. Most of us paint to please ourselves, but there is also a wider public to inspire with our work, and that can be gratifying as well. A solid sale further enhances gratification, knowing that someone wants to enjoy one of your creations for a long, long time.

12 BASIC PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN 1. Balance 2. Dominance 3. Subordination 4. Simplification 5. Economy April-May 2018 /

That brings up dominance and subordination, which require that certain things are emphasized while others play supporting roles. This further enhances the original purpose and theme of the painting. In a Hollywood movie, for example, if the producers want a certain leading man or leading woman to stand out, they don’t surround them with supporting cast who are just as interesting in terms of good looks, intelligence, quick wit, or any other characteristic that would compete too much for attention. The principles of design start with balance, This is no accident; use it in your work by which primarily deals with weight distribution and letting some areas of the painting stand out and proportion. This simply means that each of the others fade into the background as a foil to the five tools or elements can create weight in various real star of the show. To accomplish this goal, parts of the painting, depending on how they are it is often necessary to employ another of the used and how much emphasis is placed on each. principles listed above: simplification. Simplicity Large and small objects, linear brushstrokes vs. of design is a good overall strategy in general. We massed-in areas, bright and dull colors, dark vs. sometimes overload our paintings with too much light values, hard edges against soft, thick brushdetail and wind up with a busy mass of “things” work juxtaposed with thin washes — all have a certain weight that must be controlled to maintain that are all competing for interest. This can be as balance in the painting. It’s easy to overdo the eye- simple as too many competing value and color catching aspects of these combinations and feature shifts, known as over-modeling. The artist needs too much pizzazz in your paintings. Be careful here, because more is not always better. A Spot of Red Place

6. Relationships 7. Depth — Linear and Aerial Perspective 8. Painting Shapes vs. Painting Things 9. The Power of Suggestion 10. Light, Mid-tone, and Dark Patterns 11. Unity 12. Contrast 13. Gradation 14. Movement

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Renewal, oil, 24 x 48 in.

to develop the ability to edit the unnecessary items and economize to achieve simplicity of design. Additionally, you may have too many hard edges in your forest, and that can be confusing. Think about how this idea can be applied to all the other elements and you will begin to see the possibilities. Everything in a good painting should have a reason for being in the picture — other than the obvious reason: “Well, it just happened to be there.” You are the artist; you are not re-creating nature, but recording your visual and emotional response to it. Besides, nature is arranged naturally, it is not arranged to suit your painting. Act accordingly and edit economically; your work will be better as a result. Now let me say something about economy. How many “things” do we need to include in our paintings to make them work? If one or three or five will work well, will more be even better? Just like in a business, the “Law of Diminishing Returns” plays a part in our designs. In a restaurant, for instance, 10 employees may be just the right number to run things efficiently, while adding one more won’t necessarily increase efficiency and sales. The extra help may even have the opposite effect, and disrupt an otherwise well-functioning business. Beware of this effect in your paintings. More is not always better, and sometimes the addition of

Location that inspired Renewal

one more thing gets you to the point of diminishing returns. Let’s move on to relationships. This principle needs to be thoroughly understood, because all paintings depend on a series of relationships of drawing, color, value, edges, and brushwork to be effective. All of these tools must work together to give the painting its characteristic look. Correctness in one area of the painting is highly dependent on how it functions in relationship to all adjacent areas. No one area or object in your painting stands alone; to be right, it must stand as one part of the greater whole. For example, imagine that you are painting a distant mountain, and it doesn’t seem right in

value and color until you paint in the sky. Suddenly, it all comes together, once the correct relationship is established. It’s these types of comparisons that give meaning to each other in painterly representation. Learning to use design and light principles will make these relationships come alive. There are also design relationships that constantly crop up when spacing objects in a painting. One example of this might be the spacing of trees. One tree by itself, as long as it is not placed dead center to the sides of the frame, will be just fine wherever it is put. As soon as you add another tree, it creates a relationship to the first tree, as well as the sides of the painting. Placing a third tree complicates matters even further and requires a little April-May 2018 /

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The Golden Section

more ingenuity on the part of the artist to space without setting up monotonous rows, all lined up like toy soldiers! For these situations I usually rely on my knowledge of the “golden section” to produce spacing that is not overly mathematical in nature, but draws from this time-tested principle. In addition to the flat spatial arrangement we are after in a pure design, we must also consider the optical illusion of depth, using linear and aerial perspective. Depth is achieved by using the aforementioned tools, especially drawing, to create proportions and linear perspective, as well as color, value, and edges in the depiction of aerial perspective. Simplification of distant objects in the painting and a general graying or cooling will enhance perspective and the illusion of physical space. Another important principle when painting is to “see like an artist,” rather than a mere casual viewer! This is accomplished by painting shapes vs. painting things. Again, this is an artistic way of approaching a visual reality by seeing through the lens of artistic representation. A good design procedure in landscape painting starts with a series of large general shapes. The artist must then check these for compatibility with other shapes in the painting, before proceeding to refine them further. Compatibility generally means that no two shapes are the same in overall size and configuration. The refinements consist of modeling the forms and creating sub-shapes, or shapes within shapes, until the painting is done. Certainly, this can involve individual objects like rocks and trees, after the larger shapes have been adjusted April-May 2018 /

to work together. By then, these will have been well integrated into the overall design and not act independently of the whole. In the studio this is often accomplished by working in several layers, scraping back unwanted textures from previous painting sessions,

Principle of Suggestion

then cleaning up or simplifying what is already there. It’s interesting how a painting you are working on through several sessions in the studio will begin to suggest ideas, if you are sensitive to its needs. Never rush to finish these works, even when bravado in brushwork is desired. One last note on forms within the design: something needs to stand out and be rendered faithfully, so the less defined objects in the painting can draw meaning from it. This brings up the power of suggestion. It’s not desirable to render all objects in your painting equally. Remember that forms in nature are not all seen in sharp focus, and rendering some while suggesting others is often the best method of depiction. Light, mid-tone, and dark patterns are value areas in the painting that connect to each other and often form abstract “super-shapes” that lend unity to the work. These super-shapes can connect either physically or mentally, through a relationship caused by their directional flow. Think of these as groupings of value families that run throughout the painting’s positive and negative spaces. In the interest of variety, keep them from becoming too equal in their sizes. Don’t make them all

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Abstract design using lights, darks, and mid-tones

the same — as in one third, one third, one third. That causes them to become too predictable and therefore boring. I recently started working on a painting that I’d had sitting in a bin in my studio for several years. I would sometimes pull it out, look at it, then put it away again, not knowing how to fix it. Then the other day I pulled it out, and within 15 minutes or so, it was well on its way to becoming a credible painting. What changed? Only one thing: my level of understanding finally overtook the problem. As it turned out, there were value and pattern relationships that were wrong in the painting, something I hadn’t understood before. These relationships all had to do with the way light works, coupled with a better sense of design. These value patterns are the unifying glue that holds a design together, so don’t underestimate the power they exert over the success of your painting. In this way, light, mid-tone, and dark patterns must transcend the physical realities and create a decorative arrangement that is as much art as it is a true depiction of a scene outdoors. If the artist is careful not to destroy the feel of patterns and super-shapes after the modeling of forms is complete, the unifying effect will maintain their initial character, lending strength to the whole design.

guessed it) boring. Remember that all paintings need opposition to spice things up. Even if this opposition is minor, it will go a long way to create balance and engage the viewer’s attention. So how does one safeguard against such trespasses? By the introduction of contrast. Contrasts are vitally important to a painting’s success, which relies heavily on variety to keep parts of the painting from dominating the scene in a negative way. Beware, though: too much contrast can be just as bad as too much unity, and lead to chaos. A balance needs to be struck. Again, think about the elements and think of ways that different contrasts can be introduced, keeping in mind that not all of them have to be present in one painting. A drawing contrast could be as simple as an opposing line. Another could be a contrast in color, such as a grayed-down hue next to a more saturated color. The possibilities are endless. If the painting is about peace and unity, put more of that in, but if it is about contrast, change the order of importance. A more subtle form of contrast is gradation. This leads us to unity, which gives the overall Gradation is one of those important concepts work a satisfying appearance. All the principles that could be overlooked; it may not be that discussed so far can have a unifying effect on a painting and should be employed toward that end. noticeable to the uninitiated until it is pointed out. There may be gradations in all the five tools Keep in mind that unity can be taken a bit of painting, meaning a gradual diminishing, too far and cross the border into the land of (you


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Diagram showing movement in â&#x20AC;&#x153;String Lakeâ&#x20AC;?

String Lake Creek, oil, 11 x 11 in.

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increasing, or subtle shift of emphasis in the way would take on gradations of color, temperature, value, and intensity to match the effects the tools can be handled. of weather and light, along with a hearty dose For example, in the area of color, if one of artistic expression. These changes are often were to depict a red barn in nature, the red applied to the side of the barn would naturally gradual. Keep in mind that gradations are not only take on shifts in tone and temperature. In other found in color, but drawing, value, edges, and words, it would not look as though it were brushwork, as well. Think of all the ways an artist freshly painted with a roller, with the same can use gradual contrasts in these other areas and quality of red everywhere. Instead, the barn


Thumbnail sketches

So how does one develop a better sense of design? There are several things that can aid in this quest. Drawing thumbnails of your scene in a sketchbook outdoors is a good way to work out potential problems before committing your brush to canvas. In the studio, exploring your designs in vine charcoal before starting to paint is really helpful and allows for much rearranging as preparation for the real thing. There are also several mechanical aids I have found useful for study purposes and scene selection. One is a good viewfinder, like the little gray ones that are so popular. You can even use your fingers to form a makeshift viewfinder, to isolate important parts of the overall view. Another useful tool is a reducDesign aids to help in spoting glass, which looks a lot like a ting compelling subjects magnifying glass, but does just the opposite; it reduces the view in front of you to a smaller picture that makes spotting design problems easy. I’m not certain why this works, but I’m guessing that since we have all grown up in the age of print media, reducing the scene down to a smaller, manageable size enables us to recognize quality visual arrangements quickly, in a familiar format. Lastly, some years ago one of my students gave me a little square piece of red Plexiglas that transforms the scene in front of me into a very simplified rendition of the many complex values that make up the natural environment. And I have since found a different purpose for it, as well. This little gem is extremely useful for spotting the most salient aspects of a possible subject, as well as subjects that lack the three essential values in the design patterns: lights, mid-tones, and darks. I now use this tool to quickly spot powerful motifs to paint.

you will begin to see the possibilities for using this exciting principle. Last up on the list is movement. Movement is that quality that keeps the eye traveling along dynamic paths of discovery. These paths should have a rhythmic flow along trajectories that are characterized by various gradations in all, or some, of the elements. Directional lines or paths are set up to enhance this movement and can aid the eye along corridors of value areas and linear movements. These help the viewer travel on a path from one place to another, in a pleasing design. It’s important to remember that a good scene starts with a good design, based on abstract qualities that operate independently of the many alluring details that can mesmerize the unsuspecting artist into making faulty subject choices.

John Hughes working in the field JOHN HUGHES is a landscape painter with over 35 years of experience. He teaches workshops and classes through the Scottsdale Artists’ School, as well as Salt Lake Community College and other venues. He has written numerous articles on painting for Fibonacci Fine Arts Digest, 15 Bytes, and Outdoor Painter. He has had feature articles in several regional, national, and international publications, including 15 Bytes Magazine, Pratique des Arts, and PleinAir. His work was recently featured in the book Painters of the Grand Tetons by Donna and James Poulton. Hughes’ gallery representation includes Mountain Trails Gallery in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Montgomery Lee Fine Art in Park City, Utah. Hughes is a member of the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters, Plein Air Painters of Utah, and the American Impressionist Society. April-May 2018 /

plein air salon

THE RESULTS ARE IN Dustin Belyeu, director of Nedra Matteucci Galleries, names his picks for the top paintings in the December-January competition.

(CLOCKWISE) First Place: Bay Bridge #10 by Carole Rafferty (also “Best Buildings”) Second Place: Song of the Red-Winged Black Bird by Jerry Markham (also “Best Animals and Birds”) Third Place: Hometown Boat by Michael Situ (also “Best Water”) / April-May 2018


plein air salon


Watercolor: Morning Reflection, Southern China by Shuang Li Oil: Shimmer and Mist by Christopher Leeper

Acrylic: Adeline by Laara Cassells

Floral: White Wild Roses by Sergey Alexeev

Artist Under 30: Breathe by Randi Ford


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Figure in a Landscape: Packing Out by Tom Hughes

Pastel: Sunspot by William Schneider

Artist Over 65: Montara Morning 2 by Scott Anthony

Nocturne: Main Street, Minneapolis by Bob Upton

Plein Air: Little Footbridge â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Fengjing by Thomas W. Schaller

Sketchbook: Cora by Anna Eggleston

Landscape: The Last Hour by Holly Glasscock

The PleinAir Salon consists of six bimonthly contests, with the First, Second, and Third Place winners of each contest, and the category winners, automatically entered into the annual competition. First prize in the annual competition is $15,000 cash and the publication of the winning image on the cover of PleinAir magazine, along with a feature story. Second Place earns an artist $3,000, and Third Place yields $1,500 in cash. Three additional finalists win $500 each. The annual prizes will be presented at the 2018 Plein Air Convention & Expo in Santa Fe. Artists also earn cash for the top prizes in the bimonthly contests. First Place winners receive $1,000, with $500 going to Second Place and $250 going to Third Place.

Still Life: A Place to Call Home by Linda Lucas Hardy

Vehicles: Amidst the Lines by Brenda Boylan Student (High School or College): Waiting Alone by Zhong Han

Western: Prairie Sundown by Jim Wodark / April-May 2018





agic happens when an artist learns to use a palette knife for parts of a painting, or the entire painting. Many artists have discovered that knife painting makes their works more painterly, which makes them stand out above the crowd. Artist Michele Byrne, a master palette knife painter, reveals her techniques with this complete, step-by-step demonstration video where you’ll learn how to paint buildings and people with the palette knife, a skill that will benefit your paintings forever more.




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The One Hour Plein Air Landscape

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How to Paint Flowers Outside

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Outdoor Painting Basics

A Nautical Scene

Capturing Architecture in Plein Air

Painting Plein Air Impressionism

Color of Light

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Lynn Gertenbach DLG3 • 1h 56m • $107

Mastering Street Scenes

Ken Auster DKA1 • 3 hours • $107

George Gallo GG-100 • 2h • $107

Brian Stewart DBS75 • 2h • $107

Randall Sexton DRS1 • 2h 8m • $107

Laurel Daniel D-LD2 • 2h 9m • $57

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West Fraser DWF1 • 2 hours • $107

Experience These Painting Masters!

Study the Masters.

Boost your painting with their secrets, revealed in these recent releases! Figure Drawing in the Renaissance Tradition

Realistic Self Portraits

Lemons & Leaves: The Natural Still Life

Bringing the Garden Indoors

Painting From Photographs

Limited Palette Landscapes

Painting Light & Atmosphere

Palette Knife Painting

Seascape Painting Secrets

Painting the Effects of Light

Oil Painting for Beginners

Michael Mentler MM-100 • 6 hrs 20m $167

Kathy Anderson KA-300 • 7hrs • $127

Joseph McGurl JMG-100 • 9+ hours $157

Kathryn Stats D-KS4 • 4 hours • $127

Outdoor Painting Basics Laurel Daniel

D-LD2 • 4+ hrs • $57

Gregory Mortensen GM-100 • 20+ hrs • $197

Shelby Keefe SK-100 • 3h 42m • $127

Michele Byrne MB2-200 • 4h 30m • $127

Laurel Daniel

D-LD1 • 4+ hrs • $35

Painting Impressionistic Figures Michele Byrne MB-100 • 3h 42m • $107

Stephanie Birdsall SB-100 • 8hrs • $157

John Pototschnik JP-100 • 15h 15m $157

Amery Bohling AB-100 • 4h 8m • $107

Secrets of Expressive Portraits Tony Pro TP-100 • 5h 25m • $107

The Trapper

Scott Tallman Powers D-STP2 • 4h 20m • $85

1-877-867-0324 •

Painting the Figure Sherrie McGraw D-SM2 • 4 hours • $125

Painting Portraits in Oils from Photographs

Secrets of Figure Drawing

Secrets of Figure Painting

Cesar Santos DCS2 • 17 h 9m • $187

Cesar Santos CS-300 • 18 hours • $197


Irby’s Palette & Studio Aspens

Zhaoming Wu D-ZW1 • 4h 40m • $135

Irby Brown D-IB1 • 2h 18m • $65

Johnnie Liliedahl D14 • 2 hours • $65








ONLINE PHONE FAX E-MAIL 1-877-867-0324 1-561-655-6164

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Cynthia Rosen Plein air with a twist

Among Craggy Peaks 20x16” oil

Coming Storm Over the Red Plateau 22x36” oil

see website for workshops | 802.345.8863


April-May 2018 /


OPA 415-519-3125 Chilkoot River, Alaska 36” x 30” oil / April-May 2018


J. Brad Holt

Princess ll 12 x 9 oil on panel | 435-590-4808


April-May 2018 /

Beth Bathe Evoking a Sense of Nostalgia 2018 Plein Air Workshops Rockport MA June 2-3 Richmond VA August 4-5 Solomons Island MD August 27-28 Lancaster PA Farmhouse in Amish country 703•628•5044

S U Z I E BA K E R O PA • W W W. S U Z I E BA K E R . C O M

2018 WORKSHOPS Conroe Art League Conroe, Texas May 10 - 12

Crooked Tree Art Center Traverse City, Michigan August 8 - 11 (revised)

2018 UPCOMING EVENTS Olmsted Plein Air Atlanta, Georgia April 21 - 29

Telluride Plein Air Telluride, Colorado June 29 - July 5

Plein Air Easton Easton, Maryland July 15 - 22

Paint Grand Traverse Traverse City, Michigan August 13-18

Celebration of Art Yellowstone Plein Air Grand Canyon, Arizona Yellowstone Park, Wyoming September 8-16 September 25 - 30 Alpenglow, 12 x 9”, oil on linen panel, Artists Choice, Telluride Plein Air, 2017. / April-May 2018


Larry Cannon



Fine Art Watercolors

April-May 2018 /

Far Away Dreams 16"x 20"


Concrete in the Desert 11”x15” Oil on Panel Artists’ Choice award for 2017 Red Rock Arts Festival, Moab, Utah • • 801-633-9740

Spring Greens oil

8” x 10”

24” x 18”

October Bales oil

Chasing the Light

J i l l S t e f a n i Wa g n e r

Mountain Color 16” x 20” oil on canvas panel

psa-mp Iaps/mC • 618-438-4881 / April-May 2018



Outbuildings | oil

Robin Roberts

Golden Meadow 16x16 oil

Capturing the beauty of God’s creation. 419-606-1620

Nancy Dodds Carmel, California

The Mission Gallery St George, Utah

Edward Montgomery Carmel, California

WORKSHOPS (209)606-8068


Plein Air Watercolors of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska & points beyond - Italy, Morocco, Turkey, Jordan, Chile, New Zealand, Israel, India, Spain & more locations. See the book on BUFFALO by HARMON GRAVES - “PASSIONATE LANDSCAPE” the painting journeys of Buffalo Kaplinski Classes & Paintings Available • • 303.646.4062


April-May 2018 /

PAINTING NEW MEXICO & THE AMERICAN WEST Register at for exclusive offers and first views of new work. Visit our NEW LOCATION in TAOS!

P L E I N A I R & S T U D I O PA I N T I N G S

135 North Plaza, Taos, NM 87571 575.770.4462

Taos Junipers, oil on canvas, 9 x 12



Craggy Shore, 30 x 40, oil PLEIN AIR WORKSHOP: May 3-5, Anderson Fine Art Gallery, GA 512.632.4166 / April-May 2018


“Buddy & Zack” 9x12 Oil

Diane Frossard

Upcoming events: Plein Air Southwest • May 21 - 26, 2018 OPA 27th Annual National Exhibition • June 1 - September 3, 2018

Paula Ensign


Ink & watercolor


10” x 14” 425-894-8791 • Oncoming Storm, 6x6, oil on board


April-May 2018 /

wayne art center 2018

PleinAir Festival

Art by 32 National Artists

May 13 - June 30 Juror John Cosby


Kathie Odom, Retirement? Never!, Raymar Award 2016

Wayne Art Center 413 Maplewood Avenue Wayne, PA 19087 610-688-3553 / April-May 2018



MAY 11 & 12 | FRIDAY & SATURDAY Don’t miss this exciting seventh annual art event on Historic Canyon Road that connects art lovers with world-class artists and galleries in the famed art destination. All events are free and open to the public FRIDAY EVENING GALLERIES WILL CELEBRATE THEIR TALENTED ARTISTS BY SHOWCASING EVERY IMAGINABLE GENRE OF ART! LATE NIGHT DINING AND ENTERTAINMENT.




April-May 2018 /

LEWIS ART WILLIAMS Gemstones Along the Path – Mementos of My Journey

Kate Withers

Virgin Rocks in November pastel 9” x 12”

Painting the High Desert

Paint The Town Invitational, Marble Falls, TX April 29 - May 5, 2018 Wild Rivers Paint Out, Questa, NM July 16 - 21, 2018 / April-May 2018


Jennifer Riefenberg Castle Rock, Colorado


Plein Air Painter in All Seasons


View this painting and more new work.

Outside the Ordinary, Oil, 10 x 10 | 902.247.1910

Mary Williams Fine Arts | Boulder CO | (303) 938-1588

New Snow Patterns 12x16â&#x20AC;? Oil | (303)250-2015 |

April-May 2018 /

Framed Image | Denver, CO | (303) 692-0727

September 21–30, 2018 Celebrating Fifteen Years of Art Inspired by Place Plein Air Painting Competition SEPT 21–26

Artist Demonstrations & Workshops SEPT 17–OCT 1

Arts & Crafts Fair Live Music

Speaker Series SEPT 28–29

SEPT 28–29

Wild & Scenic Film Fest

Art Collector’s Sales


SEPT 28–30

Escalante, Utah is located in the heart of Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument between Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks.

Lewis Williams, Just Leave It Alone, 2017 Artistic Excellence Award winner

Michelle Murphy-Ferguson

“SUMMER’S END” Oil  8” x 16”     


Check out my demo video at: | 707-768-3421 / April-May 2018


Italian Doorway, Watercolor 22 x 30

KRYSTAL W. BROWN Capturing Moments

Decommissioned “Best of Show” Kerrville Outdoor Painters Event 12”x 16” oil on linen


Commissions • International Workshops •

For Upcoming Events and Exhibitions visit:

DAVID TANNER Recent Oil Paintings:

Opening May 18

Crossroads Art Center, 2016 Staples Mill Road, Richmond Virginia, 23230


April-May 2018 /

Experience the Traditions of New Mexico’s Past 2 018 S P R I N G  S U M M E R  FA L L SEASON Self-Guided Tours June through September Wednesday–Sunday, 10 am–4 pm Guided Tours (By Reservation Only) April through October Monday–Friday, 8 am–4 pm Special Weekend Events June 2–3 | Spring and Fiber Festival: Women of the West June 16–17 | Herb and Lavender Festival June 30–July 1 | Santa Fe Wine Festival July 21–22 | ¡Viva México! August 4–5 | Panza Llena, Corazón Contento: New Mexico Food Fest September 1–2 | Fiesta de los Niños: Camino Kids September 15–16 | Santa Fe Renaissance Fair October 6–7 | Harvest Festival October 27 | Spirits of New Mexico’s Past

334 Los Pinos Road Santa Fe , NM 505-471-2261 ext. 101  partially funded by the city of santa fe arts commission and the 1% lodgers’ tax, county of santa fe lodgers’ tax, and new mexico arts / April-May 2018






pleinair-quarter-page.pdf 1 22/02/2018 16:25:54









Photograph by Kate Amond Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Donnell


April-May 2018 /

N A N C Y TA N K E R S L E Y WORKSHOPS: Easton, MD April 7 & 8 France August 5-19 Charlotte, NC December 7-9 PLEIN AIR EVENTS: Parrsboro, Nova Scotia June 14-17 Easton, MD July 15-22

Marsh House, 24x30, oil

PACE 2018 Faculty



Tide up, Tide Out, N.S. - 12x18 watercolor

JUROR, CRITIC, WORKSHOP INSTRUCTOR | (215) 368-9882 / April-May 2018


Port Angeles Washington Gateway to Olympic National Park

Call for Collectors Save the Date August 19-27, 2018

Treasure your memory with a plein air painting

Robin Weiss - Rose Theatre

- 150 Plein Air paintings for sale - Evening awards ceremony August 26 - Free demos by plein air artists - $12,000 in prize money Proceeds Benefit the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center


Mendocino Open Paint Out Call for Artists | September 17-23, 2018

Open Plein Air Festival on the picturesque northern California coast 800.653.3328 Sponsors: John Hewitt


April-May 2018 /

J. Brad Holt - From Hurricane Ridge

Bruce Gomez - Madison Falls


to view more paintings go to

9 x 12 oil

“September at Gros Ventre”

Kirk Larsen

“GO!” Winner 2nd Place QUICKDRAW

EnPleinAir Texas 2017

KIRKLARSENFINEART.COM Castle Gallery Fine Art•Ft Wayne, IN

Opening Reception 5/19•Design Domaine Gallery•Spring Lake, NJ

Patricia Hutton Gallery•Doylestown, PA


516-297-3254 / April-May 2018



April-May 2018 /

Trey Finney

“Tranquil Compliment.”



First Presbyterian Church / 5th Ave oil 12x9

FINALLY. Fun & Straight Forward. Learn to Paint. NO FUTZING. NO FEAR. Confident & Clean Color. GET YOUR


Summer New Hope / Lambertville Bridge  oil  11x14

Autumn, 14 x 18, oil on canvas

Seeking New Gallery Representation For exclusive offers and first views of new work email me at View more of JZ’s work at: JZ Xu / April-May 2018



Marian Fortunati One Lucky Artist

October 7th-13th, 2018 Dubuque, Iowa Painting the Bluffs and Historic Buildings along the Mighty Mississippi

‘Oh Beautiful...’ 9x12 in. O/L available

Elm Savannah, Spring, oil on panel

In Person & Online Workshops

2017 AWARDS Columbia, SC 29205 803-386-1702

Artist Member California Art Club Artwork for your Collection

Lori Beringer Purchase Prize

Mat Barber Kennedy Deborah Baughman Paul Bergquist Thomas Buchs Carlene Dingman-Atwater Daniel Fishback Tom Gilbert Nyle Gordon Barbara Heitzman Robert Hodges-Bonawitz Alda Kaufman Gin Lammert Spencer Meagher Kathleen Newman Michael Olive D.K. Palacek Rita Persian Tim Peterson John Preston Lisa Stauffer Sherri Thomas View the award winning paintings at: Bluffstrokes


April-May 2018 /

Award Winning Artist Workshops Top award-winning artist studio and plein air workshops in Charlotte, NC. 2018 Workshops Larry Moore Jan. 23-26 Katie Dobson Cundiff Mar 8-10 Julee Hutchison June 22-24 John P. Lasater IV Sept 20-23 David Boyd Jr. Oct 11-13 Nancy Tankersley Dec 7-9 2019 Workshops

Find us at PACE! Table 908

Kim English Jan 30-Feb 2 Jason Sacran Mar 13-16 John Cosby May 18-21 Bill Farnsworth Aug 29-31 Greg LaRock Sept 25-28 Ned Mueller Dates TBD Roger Dale Brown Dates TBD



Quiet Evening, Bembridge, Oil on Canvas 14”x11”

On a Hill Top 12 x 6” oil ~ plein air


Tied Up” 21”x14” 814.777.8532

We’ll miss you, Steve.

Meet the Newest Member Of Our Family

Thanks for your years of leadership in the plein air movement!

... and see what all the buzz is about. Visit / April-May 2018



April-May 2018 /





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The Bells of San Bartolomeo, Bartolomeo Wyatt Waters 2017, watercolor, 15”x11”. From Sept. 2017 PleinAir cover

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April-May 2018 /




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Like the Plein Air Convention for Figure and Portrait Painters

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Featuring the world’s leading artists on stage and hosted by Fine Art Connoisseur’s Peter Trippi and Eric Rhoads Don’t miss the second annual conference dedicated to today’s figurative painting movement. You’ll enjoy the fresh, fun, and non-stuffy environment dedicated to the crea tion of museum-quality figurative and portrait painting and sculpting. Four days of demos, presentations, and an opportunity to be hands-on. Plus, art marketing for figurative painters.

November 7-10, 2018 • Miami Registration is limited, so book now at Super Early Bird ends July 4, 2018. Save $500 off the full price. *Additional fee required. 150

April-May 2018 /

classifieds WORKSHOPS: PAINTING WORKSHOPS WITH LORETTA DOMASZEWSKI MULTIPLE LOCATIONS Loretta works with paint to create light. Paint dramatic compositions expressing movement, fluidity, rhythm, and harmony. Workshops packed with info in a relaxed environment. Loretta inspires students, with 37 years of art and teaching experience. Demos, individual instruction, personal guidance, critiques. Be Active. Explore Nature. Create Art. PLEIN AIR RETREAT Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, NM Dates: April 9-13 Experience the spirit of place once explored and painted by Georgia O’Keeffe. Relax. Reflect. Renew. Terakedis Fine Art Billings, MT Dates: June 1-3 PLEIN AIR PREP Loretta Fine Art Studio Bozeman, MT Date: June 13 PLEIN AIR Bozeman, MT Dates: June 14-17 HIKE. BIKE. ART. CAMP. Bozeman, MT Dates: June, July, August SWEET PEA FESTIVAL Bozeman, MT Date: August 4 PAINT LAND. SKY. WATER. Nantucket Island, MA Dates: September 26-30 Contact: Loretta Domaszewski Phone: 406.539.9528 E-mail: Website: SCOTTSDALE ARTISTS’ SCHOOL WORKSHOPS SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA & MORE Scottsdale Artists’ School is considered a leader in visual art training for all levels — from absolute beginner to professional artist. For 35 years, Scottsdale Artists’ School has taught the applied fundamentals of fine art and currently offers more than 270 workshops, including plein air, led by local and visiting artists each year. Matt Smith — Landscape Painting Fundamentals Scottsdale, AZ Dates: May 7-10, 2018 Cost: $750 Stephanie Deshpande — Chiaroscuro Still Life Painting Scottsdale, AZ Dates: May 7-10, 2018 Cost: $450 Ricky Mujica – Oil Painting Strategies for Working from Life Scottsdale, AZ Dates: May 7-11, 2018 Cost: $675

Bryan Mark Taylor — Painting Napa Valley En Plein Air: California Napa & Sonoma, CA Dates: May 9-12, 2018 Cost: $495 Joseph Todorovitch — An Approach to Figure Painting Scottsdale, AZ Dates: May 21-24, 2018 Cost: $600 Ned Mueller — Plein Air: Painting the Beartooth Range, Montana Montana Dates: June 25-29, 2018 Cost: $650 E-mail: Phone: 800.333.5707 Website: FEDERATION OF CANADIAN ARTISTS PLEIN AIR RETREAT BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA Enjoy four full days of plein air painting in the Canadian Cascade Mountains in British Columbia. You will have the opportunity to learn from worldrenowned instructors, share experiences in incredible and diverse locations in E.C. Manning Provincial Park, and connect with like-minded individuals over their passion for art, the outdoors, and creating memories. Instructors: Perry Haddock, John Pryce, Deborah Tilby, Jack Turpin. Dates: July 29-August 3, 2018. Dates: July 29-August 3, 2018 Cost: $975-$1700 CAD, depending on accommodations selected E-mail: Website: IRELAND 2018 ARTIST PAINTING VACATIONS IRELAND Paint, Sketch, Explore! Travel Ancient Mystical Ireland! For the artist who wants paint on vacation! Perfect for the plein air artist. Not a workshop; you can get right to painting the beautiful scenery! Limited space: only four artists and your guide, artist Kim Caldwell. 15- and 21-day tours available. Your Ireland Dream Painting Vacation! Northwest Ireland 15-Day Artist Painting Vacation Dates: August 21-September 5, 2018 Cost: $2800 Ireland 21-Day Artist Painting Vacation Dates: September 5-26, 2018 Cost: $4300 Contact: Kim Caldwell E-mail: Phone: 206.369.4206 Website:

CALL TO ARTISTS: IVORY AND LEAD ONLINE Ivory and Lead is an online art competition awarding cash prizes to artists working in traditional 2D media. Contests run bi-monthly with a grand prize of $1000 and many other cash prizes totaling nearly $3000. Sold or NFS work is eligible. Our esteemed first juror of awards is Marc Hanson. For prospectus go to / April-May 2018 151


Dates: Bi-monthly Submission Deadline: April 30, 2018 Registration Fee: $25 Submission Fee: $15 E-mail: Website: PLEIN AIR PLUS 2018 @ THE LONG BEACH ISLAND FOUNDATION OF THE ARTS & SCIENCES, NJ LONG BEACH ISLAND, NEW JERSEY Plein Air Plus is for artists & educators to push the boundaries! Juror Valerie Craig will select 35 artists to participate. Questions? E-mail Apply online: info.php?ID=4799


August 8 –11, 2018 Mineral Point, Wisconsin

Entry Deadline: May 11, 2018 Paint-Out: From July 1 through August 31 Quick Draws: July 13 & August 10 “Island Life” Exhibition: September 7-October 26 Dates: July 1-August 31, 2018 Registration Deadline: May 11, 2018 Registration Fee: $35 E-mail: Website: 19TH ANNUAL AMERICAN IMPRESSIONIST SOCIETY NATIONAL JURIED EXHIBITION DOOR COUNTY, WISCONSIN


Dawn Whitelaw, AISM, Judge of Awards. $12,000 Best of Show award. For prospectus and entry requirements, please visit the AIS website at www. Entry deadline June 1, 2018. Membership in AIS ($60) is required to be eligible to enter. $48 for one entry, $58 for two. Only one piece may be accepted per artist. Dates: September 27-October 28, 2018 Submission Deadline: June 1, 2018 Submission Fee: $48 for one entry, $58 for two entries Website: EAGLE PLEIN AIR FESTIVAL EAGLE, IDAHO The Eagle Plein Air Festival offers five days of competition painting in beautiful southwest Idaho. Workshops, lecture by Frank LaLumia, quick draws, nocturne, and a special evening of jazz, wine, quick draw, and wet paint auction. Cash awards. Gift bags for the first 50 artists who register by April 30. Dates: June 5-9, 2018 Registration Deadline: June 4, 2018 Registration Fee: $35 E-mail: Website: DRIGGS DIGS PLEIN AIR DRIGGS, IDAHO

Dates: July 29-August 4, 2018 Registration Deadline: June 30, 2018 Registration Fee: $65 E-mail: Website: 2018 NORTHSTAR NATIONAL WATERMEDIA JURIED EXHIBITION MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA Minimum $4,000 in cash and prizes (2017 totaled $8,500+). Watermedia only. Prospectus at or Online entries only at Submission dates: April 1-July 1, 2018. Submission fee: Up to three entries per artist, members $40; nonmembers $50. Exhibition dates: September 10-October 18. Dates: September 10-October 18, 2018 Submission Deadline: July 1, 2018 Submission Fee: $40 members, $50 non-members Website: NEW ORLEANS ART ASSOCIATION NATIONAL OPEN JURIED EXHIBITION NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA New Orleans Art Association National Open Juried Exhibition in New Orleans, Louisiana, October 1-29, 2018. Juror and Judge Qiang Huang. Over $5,000 in cash awards with $2,500 1st Place. Qiang Huang will conduct a three-day workshop October 3-5. See www. for more information. Prospectus and registration/entry at Submission deadline August 6, 2018. Dates: October 1-29, 2018 Submission Deadline: August 10, 2018 Website: 2018 FRANK BETTE PLEIN AIR PAINTOUT ALAMEDA, CALIFORNIA July 30-August 4, 2018, 40 juried artists will paint tree-lined streets, stately Victorian homes and shops, marinas, historic naval ships, and naval air station in Alameda, California. All the paintings are exhibited and for sale on Saturday, August 4. August 10-September 29, the unsold paintings are exhibited and sold in the Frank Bette Center for the Arts Gallery. Juror: Mark Farina, OPA, AIS, OPS, WW. Apply Frank Bette Plein Air Paintout at Dates: July 30-August 4, 2018 Submission Deadline: April 22, 2018 Submission Fee: $55 Website:

EVENTS: PLEIN AIR 2018: GLACIER HOCKADAY MUSEUM OF ART, KALISPELL, MONTANA Thirty artists from across the country come together to paint the stunning views of iconic Glacier National Park in the Northern Rockies. Paint Out: June 16-22; Party & Sale: June 23; Exhibition: June 26-July 28, 2018. Visit for more info.

JOIN US for a week of plein air art experiences in Driggs, Idaho, on the west side of the Tetons. FREE gatherings include receptions, gallery sales, paint-outs, Dates: June 16-23, 2018 quick draw competitions and sales, demos, award Website: ceremony, Symphony on Sunday, and Music on Main. Hundreds of paintings are for sale throughout the week. Early bird registration through April 30 $55. Pre-event workshop with Ned Mueller July 28-29 $300.


April-May 2018 /

Directory of Advertising 717 Gallery.......................................... AG7 American Impressionist Society.............152 Ampersand Art Supply..........................139 Art & Frame Co....................................146 Art In the Open, Ireland........................130 Arts Mineral Point/Paint the Point........151 Artwork Essentials.................................147 Authentique Gallery................................11 Award Winning Artist Workshops.........136 Balser, Poppy..........................................126 Bathe, Beth Brownlee............................117 Bay Area Classical Artist Atelier.............138 Best Brella..............................................151 Bingham, Bruce...............................22, 126 Black, Elizabeth.....................................123 Bohlman, Tina.........................................22 Boren, Evelyne................................... AG14 Boyer, Lyn..............................................118 Boylan, Brenda........................................43 Brauer, Lon..............................................21 Brian Sindler Studio..............................138 Briggs, Cindy.........................................128 Brown, Anne Blair.................................134 Brown, Brienne........................................43 Brown, Krystal.......................................128 Budden, Mike........................................135 Buffalo Bill Art Show.................................5 Buffalo Thunder Hotel and Casino.... AG12 Caldwell, Kim........................................151 California Art Club..................................31 Camille Przewodek Studio.....................116 Canyon Road Merchants Association.....124, AG15 Cardona - Hine Gallery..................... AG12 Carmel Art Festival..................................14 Casa de los Artistas, Inc.........................134 Cassil, David..........................................119 Cerno Group...........................................26 Chaplain, Biki........................................119 Chesapeake Fine Art Studio.......................2 Christopher, Tom.....................................42 Clement, Tobi.................................... AG14 ColArt Americas, Inc.............................155 Daniel, Laurel........................................121 de Braganca, Michele.............................121 Debra Huse Gallery...............................135 Debrosky, Christine.................................42 Deeb, Lamya..........................................137 Dick Blick Art Materials........................145 Domaszewski, Loretta............................151 Driggs Digs Plein Air.................... 138, 152 Eagle Plein Air Festival...........................152 Edge Gear LLC......................................139 EnPlein Air Texas.......................................6 Ensign, Paula.........................................122 Escalante Canyons Art Festival..............127 Federation of Canadian Artists..............151 Fehlman, Mark........................................45 Finney, Trey...........................................135 Forgotten Coast Cultural Coalition.........27 Forrest, Carla...........................................23

Fortunati, Marian..................................136 Frank Bette Center for the Arts.............152 Freeman, Kass Morin.............................131 Frisk, Gary...............................................20 Frossard, Diane......................................122 General Pencil Company.......................146 Gephart, Susan Nicholas..........................45 Gilkerson, Mary.....................................136 Golden Art Materials.........................9, 142 Gonske, Walt...........................................13 Grand Canyon Association......................19 Griego, Danny.......................................130 Groesser, Debra Joy..................................40 Guerrilla Painter....................................141 Heilman Designs...................................146 Hilscher, Tony........................................133 Hitt, Karen Ann....................................138 Hockaday Museum of Art/Plein Air......152 Holt, Brad..............................................116 Holter, Michael D.............................20, 38 Horn, Tim...............................................39 Hudson, Kathleen B................................40 Immel, Peggy...........................................44 Jack Richeson & Company, Inc...............15 Johansen, Carol......................................122 Judson’s Art Outfitter.............................147 Kaplinski, Buffalo..................................120 Keefe, Shelby L......................................116 La Romita School of Art........................136 Larimore, Ron.......................................121 Larry Cannon Watercolors.....................118 Larsen, Kirk...........................................133 Leeper, Christopher...............................127 Li, Shuang...............................................40 Lindenberg, Richard................................46 Long Beach Island Foundation of Arts & Sciences 152 Los Golondrinas....................................129 Lynn Gertenbach Studio..........................46 Lynn, Susan.............................................22 MacDonald, John....................................44 MacLeod, Lee..........................................17 Madeline Island School of the Arts.... AG12 Mangi, Johanne.......................................45 Manitou Galleries.................... AG2, AG16 McCullough, Susan.................................46 McGowan, Annette.................................24 McNee, Lori............................................41 Meagher, Spencer.....................................23 Meikle, Barbara.................................. AG15 Mendocino Art Center..........................132 Mertz, Nancie King.................................44 Michael Harding Art Materials LLP......143 Mississippi River Arts Workshops..........136 Monsarrat, Mark....................................124 Montrose Center for the Arts.................138 Morris, Suzanne.....................................131 Murphy-Ferguson, Michelle..................127 National Museum of Wildlife Art..............7 New Orleans Art Association.................152 Northstar Watermedia Society...............152

Odom, Kathie..........................................39 Open Studio Online..............................134 Ordman, Aline.......................................114 Orwick Arts.............................................41 Outdoor Painters Society.........................20 Paint St. Louis..........................................25 Paint the Peninsula................................132 Panel Pak...............................................147 Pastel Society of Colorado.......................28 Peninsula School of Art..............................4 Perkins, Davis........................................115 Plein Air Artists Colorado......................133 Plein Air Easton.....................................125 Plein Air France.....................................132 Plein Air Painters of America...................16 Plein Air Painters of New Mexico.....AG3-5 Pocket Sketching....................................141 Princeton Art & Brush Company............29 Putnam, Lori.........................................115 Raslan, Laila...........................................151 Raymar Art............................................156 Riefenberg, Jennifer...............................126 Roberts, Robin.......................................120 Rogers, William.......................................21 Rosemary & Co.....................................143 Rosen-Malter, Cynthia...........................114 Royal Talens North America, Inc...........145 Sakura of America..................................143 Savoir Faire............................................141 Scottsdale Artists’ School.................18, 151 Sharma, Sandhya...................................137 Simpson, Mike........................................38 Sneary, Richard........................................23 St.John, Doreen.......................................42 Stats, Kathryn..........................................39 Steamboat Art Museum...........................32 Summers, R. Gregory..............................23 Susiehyer Studio....................................130 Suzie Greer Baker Fine Artist.................117 Tankersley, Nancy..................................131 Tanner, David........................................128 Tapp, Barbara..........................................38 Thynell, Lena.........................................137 Trigg, Peggy......................................... AG6 Upton, Bob............................................114 Vasari Classic Artists’ Oil Colors............147 Wagner, Jill Stefani.................................119 Ward, Irma..............................................21 Wayne Art Center..................................123 Wezwick, Thomas.............................. AG13 Wilbur, Cindy.......................................120 Wilcox Gallery / Soltek Easel...................30 Williams, Lewis A..................................125 Wilson, Rick D........................................43 Wimberley Artist Workshops.................151 Wimberly, Dick................................. AG13 Withers, Kate.........................................125 Xu, JZ....................................................135 Zion National........................................129 / April-May 2018


postcards from the road

East Texas Beauties 2017, watercolor, 13 x 18 in. Collection the artist Plein air

(Too) Close Encounters


Daniel Marshall lives in Denver, Colorado, with his wife, Madoka, and French bulldog, Mogu. He works in his own studio gallery and private tattoo space, Atelier 71. 154

travel a lot. Workshops, demos, plein air events, and tattoo jobs keep me on the road two weeks out of every month. I owe thanks for this particular adventure to tattoo clients who flew me to Tyler, Texas, where I also snuck in some plein air painting. As this was my first trip to the area, I was grateful for the warnings about the “locals” — fire ants. Usually, snakes present my greatest worry when I’m painting outdoors, but by the time I hit the ground in Texas, the prospect of meeting these tiny powerhouses of pain terrified me. My first day out to paint, I came across a farm with a pair of 100-year-old barns, and found myself drawn to the unique shapes and fantastic shadows. Although the farm was located on a heavily traveled road, I found a safe spot, with good composition options across the street. After a check for the infamous fire ants, I got to work. I had such a great experience and there was still so much to explore at the site that I went back the next morning. This time, I ventured across the street from my previous day’s vantage point, now

without even a fleeting thought to the menaces I’d been warned about, and wound up standing directly on top of a giant ant hill. Of course, it wasn’t until I was midway through my first wash and felt a strange sensation on my thigh that I realized what I’d done. I looked down to see my feet and legs covered in ants. My worst nightmare had come true! I started jumping around, swatting frantically at my shoes and pants, before realizing it was too late; they were already inside my jeans. In a panic, I stripped to my unmentionables on the side of the busy road. About this time, I began to wonder why the fire ants weren’t stinging me. On closer inspection, I discovered that they were, in fact — you guessed it— just regular ants. In my defense, everything is bigger in Texas. I’ve been chased by cows, had paintings graced by bird droppings, and enjoyed countless other misadventures. I feel like Benny Hill music follows me everywhere I go; it certainly could have accompanied my “ants in my pants dance” in Tyler, Texas. — Daniel Marshall

April-May 2018 /

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2/20/18 5:33 PM

Profile for Liliedahl

PleinAir April/May 2018  

PleinAir April/May 2018