Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Plein Air, Painting the American Landscape

In 2007, PBS aired a six-episode series entitled Plein Air, Painting the American Landscape. The series features artists Matt Smith, Kenn Backhaus, Jean LeGassick, Charles Sovek, Ron Rencher, and Frank LaLumia traveling throughout the country. Viewers will discover the roots of this uniquely American art form and why painting “en plein air” is once again at the forefront of American representational art.

DVDs are available at as well as a preview of the series.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Terry Miura - Plein Air in the City and Country

Terry Miura’s artwork reflects the environment around him. While living in New York City, he captured the essence of this home in his popular cityscapes. After moving to the West Coast he continued to paint cityscapes, but found that his art had changed along with his environment. He now lives in Fair Oaks, California where he is working on a series of landscapes which explore the relationship between memory, emotions, and identity.

"Although they're still very much representational," says Miura, "they're not about specific locations. Well, actually they are, but the locations are found in the viewer's memories. Not out there in the physical world. "

You can see Terry’s paintings at

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mark Gottsegen’s Plein Air Encaustic Rig

Some people carry their plein air enthusiasm to extremes. Mark Gottsegen is a plein air encaustic painter. He even made his own portable encaustic palette which he powers by attaching it to his big yellow Metro’s auxiliary power system.

Mark Gottsegen studied painting materials with Reed Kay, and painting with Philip Guston and James Weeks. He began teaching in 1974 and has taught drawing and painting at UNC Greensboro since 1976. Professor Gottsegen has been a member of ASTM International's subcommittee on artist's materials since 1978. In 2006 he became the Co-Director of the Art Materials Information and Education Network (AMIEN), a non-profit organization that is part of the Intermuseum Conservation Association in Cleveland, OH. He is a Contributing Editor for The Artist's Magazine and the author of A Manual of Painting Materials and Techniques (Harper & Row, 1986), and The Painter's Handbook (Watson-Guptill, 1993) a complete art materials reference guide.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

For the Do-It-Yourself Artist...

Looking for a project? Why not build your own pochade box…or refit an old sketch box…or put a tripod mount on a drawing board? If you have been painting plein air for a while, you may have an idea for equipment that would fit your specific needs, but is otherwise not available. Look through our Do-It-Yourself section for parts and ideas for constructing your own pochade box. More than 20 unique hardware items.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cold Weather Paintin' alla the Northwoods River

Larry Seiler wrote a great article about his winter plein air painting adventure that he and his 9x12 Guerrilla Painter® Pochade Box took to the Northwoods River.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Spence Guerin

"Spence Guerin is a contemporary artist who brings the American nineteenth-century tradition of naturalist painting convincingly into the 21st century..."
— American Academy of Arts and Letters, Academy Award in Art

NYC, May 19, 2004

Friday, December 19, 2008

Linda Blondheim - Experienced Plein Air Painter

Linda’s blog is chock full of useful insights.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Scotty Mitchell's Southwest Pastel Landscapes

Scotty Mitchell is an artist living in Boulder, Utah who wonderfully captures the southwest landscape with pastels.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The History of the Watercolorboard™

The Watercolorboard™ evolved from the frustration of buckling watercolor paper and the loss of control when pigment runs down hill as your paper starts to buckle.

I took an architectural rendering class that opened my eyes to the possibilities of watercolor: rendering in logical steps, background to foreground in controlled washes, dark to light and warm to cool. The one problem was the buckling. We were taught to stretch by soaking the paper for at least an hour, taping and stapling it to ¾ inch plywood. The paper sure seemed attached to the board, but was it stretched? Almost always, it buckled whenever the paper reached a certain saturation point, so this method seemed unreliable at best. My search for a dependable stretching method began.

Almost all methods of “stretching” really only attach the paper to the backing board. The paper is not so much “stretched” but “shrunk.” When the paper is re-soaked during a wet wash, the small amount of tension that is there is released and buckles form. I started looking for a simple way to put more tension on the paper. I finally came up with a way to put tension on the paper as it is being tightened down, so that no matter how wet the paper got again, there would always be more tension to keep it flat.

Other people got interested when they saw how my paper stayed flat as I worked with very wet washes. After being encouraged to market my idea, I decided that I wanted to make a product that I would want to buy, something that would not break or be useless if some part broke or was lost. At the time I was working as an illustrator for a large industrial design firm, so I drew from the expertise that was around me. The result is The Watercolorboard™.

By Joe Leahy (inventor)

**A unique feature of the Watercolorboard™ is the beautiful embossed edge it leaves. The frame tightens on the paper to create a clean, finished edge.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Robert Henri - Plein Air Pochade Box Painting

Robert Henri (1865 - 1929) was an accomplished American painter as well as an influential teacher. He adopted the academic technique of making rapid oil sketches, or pochades, either as preparatory studies for larger works or as informal outdoor studies. Below is a quote from his book, The Art Spirit (p. 13, Lippincott 1923), about these pochades.

“The sketch hunter has delightful days of drifting about among people, in and out of the city, going anywhere, everywhere, stopping as long as he likes – no need to reach any point, moving in any direction following the call of interests. He moves through life as he finds it, not passing negligently the things he loves, but stopping to know them, and to note them down in the shorthand of his sketchbook, a box of oils with a few small panels, the fit of his pocket, or his drawing pad. Like any hunter he hits or misses. He is looking for what he loves, he tries to capture it. It’s found anywhere, everywhere. Those who are not hunters do not see these things. The hunter is learning to see and to understand – to enjoy.

There are memories of days of this sort, of wonderful drifting in and out of the crowd, of seeing and thinking. Where are the sketches that were made? Some of them are in dusty piles, some turned out to be so good they got frames, some became motives for big pictures, which were either better or worse than the sketches, but they, or rather the states of being and understandings we had at the time of doing them all, are sifting through and leaving their impress on our whole work and life.”

– Robert Henri

Monday, December 15, 2008

One Plus One charity

One Plus One is a very small public charity - 501(c)(3) - dedicated to person-to-person support of development in Latin America. One Plus One is run by Carl and Arthur Judson. Over the last 12 years Carl and Arthur have been doing volunteer work in Bolivia, Peru and Nicaragua. Their involement has included indigenous arts and crafts, cultural exchange, drinking water, irrigation, and food preservation. Judsons Art Outfitters offers products purchased in Latin America from craftspeople and purchase of these items helps in two ways - income for the makers and donations for One Plus One.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

How the Wet Painting Carriers and Adapters Work Together

The Adjustable Wet Painting Carrier and Panel Adapters are designed to provide an integrated, flexible system for transporting a variety of sizes and types of wet paintings.

The Adjustable Wet Painting Carrier can hold 12 wet panels (1/8" or 1/4")or up to 4 stretched canvases, or you can carry a mixture of both. the removable dividers allow you to change from panels to stretched canvases. The adapters allow you to carry smaller panels in your Adjustable Wet Painting Carrier. The Adapters are available in many sizes and with the use of the adapters you can carry multiple sizes of panels at the same time. The Adapters are also designed to work in the lid of your Guerrilla Box™.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The History of the Plein Air Movement

Here is a nice link that outlines the history of plein air painting and how it reached America from Europe.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Jana Bouc's First Plein Air Experience

Below is a link to Jana Bouc's blog where she tells the story of her first plein air painting (and gives rave reviews of the 9x12 Guerrilla Box™ as well!)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sallie K. Smith

Salle K. Smith paints and lives in the hills above Boulder, CO. Her work can be viewed at

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Monica Esposito

Our very own Monica is a very talented artist and has a wonderful website which showcases her plein air and figurative paintings. Monica graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2001 with a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts, Studio Art, with a concentration in painting. Her love for the outdoors brought her to Colorado, where she lives with her husband, Derek, and their two dogs. Monica is a very active plein air painter and frequently paints on location in and around northern Colorado.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Robert Henri (pronounced "Hen rye")

One of the most famous and influential American painters of the early 20th Century (his students included Edward Hopper and Rockwell Kent), Robert Henri was a frequent plein air pochade box painter. He had a very colorful, if traumatic, “old west” boyhood, featuring his father, a gambler and real estate developer, who shot and killed a local rancher, resulting in the family’s flight to Denver and the assumption of new names.

Friday, December 5, 2008

How to Make Your Own Conservation Quality Canvas Panels

Making a conservation-quality canvas panel requires a reversible adhesive. In this example, we'll be usng Lascaux 498 HV, a water-soluble, solvent-reversible acrylic adhesive.

1. Lascaux 498 HV has a thick consistency similar to acrylic gel medium. It should be applied generously. Beyond this step, you need to know whether to use the 498 HV inits aqueous or solvent'reactivated form. Raw or acrylic-primed cnvas (cotton or linen) can be glued directly with 498 HV in the aqueous form, just as it comes from the jar. Oil-primed canvas (cotton or linen) is usually sized with rabbit skin glue, which will soften if it gets wet and cause the oil priming to separate from the canvas. Therefore, the 498 HV will need to be used in its solvent-reactivated form (see steps Alt 2a and Alt 2b at the bottom).

2. To use 498 HV directly in its aqueous form, you need to work fast because it dries quickly. Before it dries it is opaque white. If it starts to turn clear before you get the canvas on, you have applie the 498 HV too sparingly and/or have not worked quickly enough.

3. A soft brayer is useful. Using moderate pressure, work quickly from the center outward. Don't press so hard that you squeese the 498 HV out.

4. - 5. Allow the adhesive to sure under weight for at least 24 hours. A piece of commercial carpet placed between the panel and the weight will protect the surgace when mounting a finished painting. Several panels can be prepared in series and stacked one on top of another.

6. It's faster and easier to work with pieces of oversized canvas, which can be trimmed after teh panel has cured.
Substitute these steps for Step 2 above if you are gluing oil-primed canvas or linen:

Alt 2a. To use 498 HV in its reactivated form, it should be allowed to dry overnight. Then flood the surface liberally and quickly with Xylene. Make sure you have lots of ventilation.

Alt 2b. Quickly place the oil-primed canvas on the reactivated surface.

Final Note: If the painting ever needs to be removed by a restorer, the 498 HV can be reversed with Xylene.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Dorallen Davis

Here’s a link to a Californian Plein Air and Portrait artist named Dorallen Davis. She also hosts workshops in Novato, CA.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dominik Modlinski's Adventures with his Guerrilla Box™ in the Arctic

"Dear team of Judson Art Outfitters,

First of all I would like to congratulate you on well design product. I purchased the 12” x 16” guerrilla box which I use right now for more then three years. I am a professional landscape painter and my travels take me to many isolated and challenging mountain environments. As an artist I experimented endlessly with many plain-air painting setups, which none really satisfied me 100%. Three years ago I traveled on Russian icebreaker “ Kapitan Khelbnikov” to the Canadian far Arctic as a resident artist and a expedition crew member. Since on many occasions time was an issue due to the changing weather, etc. I had to pack my gear in a hurry to be ready for a helicopter or a zodiac pickup coming from the ship. Through careful research I decide the guerrilla box offer me the fastest take down time and most secure both in transport and creating the painting.

Your box proved to be worth every penny on my month long journey to to the Arctic. Several months later I took it down to Antarctica to paint on location in most inhospitable locations on earth. From there I took it up to Patagonia where I had to paint in most windy environment I ever experienced. Again the box served me well and rewarded me with countless paintings. I use it nearly every day, especially during the summer months where I paint in the Yukon and Alaskan wilderness.

I am providing you with some of the images from the Arctic , Antarctica and Patagonia of the box on location.
Once again thank you again for a great product, I always highly recommend your company to other artists.

Sincerely yours,
Dominik Modlinski"

Monday, December 1, 2008

Guerrilla Box™ with Umbrella

"As a long time lover of plein air painting I just had to write you and tell you how much I am enjoying your well thought out product. Your Guerrilla Box with all the accessories is fabulous. I especially like the umbrella that covers the canvas making it so easy to pick painting locations. Trying to keep the canvas away from the sun has always been a problem for me. This just works! All your accessories are great too - the brush washer, covered palette cups and paper towel holder are functional and compact. Over the years I have had every kind of french easel and plein air gadget. This is the best. Congratulations."

-Stella, Virginia