Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Ontario Plein Air Society

These people don't give up just because it's winter. The Ontario Plein Air Society has posted a video and some tips for painting in the cold. Don't use glass or metal palettes, dress in 6 (count 'em) layers of clothing, take a break every 20 minutes to warm up, add some gylcerine to acrylics or watercolors, bring something hot to drink. We've also heard of putting "hand warmers" under your palette to keep paint from getting stiff, using an umbrella as a windbreak and wearing ice cleats to keep your feet off the cold ground.

Here's something that hadn't occurred to us: "We begin to prepare for the winter by hardening the body to cool mornings in the fall. You know, bare hands, inadequate layering etc. until it warms up. The body makes amazing adjustments. So much so that the recent warm spell here in November required us to remove some early layers to accommodate the over heating body in its early winter adaptation."

The winter landscape does offer dramatic "chiaroscuro" effects for those brave enough to capture them.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The California Art Club - 100 Years

The California Art Club is celebrating its 100th birthday this month. They will be publishing a 264-page centennial book in early 2011 with a comprehensive, full-color history of the Club and its place within the traditional fine art movement. There are photos of plein air painters alongside a horse and behind a vintage (Model T?) car. Other highlights: they had the first Black American art exhibit in Los Angeles in 1929, Winston Churchill was a member in 1950, and for fifteen years their headquarters was in Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House in Los Angeles.

They have chapters in Los Angeles/Pasadena (the headquarters), Malibu/Ventura County, Orange County, San Diego, the San Francisco Bay Area and Santa Barbara. Paint-outs are offered quarterly statewide, and monthly in Pasadena.

They are currently having an exhibit at the Thomas Reynolds Gallery in San Francisco entitled Then & Now: Artists Explore the Bay Area. On view through January 9, the show features paintings by Brian Blood, John Burton, Larry Cannon, Christin Coy, Suzanne D'Arcy, Teresa Dong, Drew Fagan, Mark Farina, Robert Hunt, David Jenks, Laurie Kersey, Jeanette LeGrue, Karen Leoni, Richard Lindenberg, Huihan Liu, Kim Lordier, Ann McMillan, Ning Mercer, Clark Mitchell, Kristine Pallas, Camille Przewodek, Michael Reardon, Robert Semans, Thomas Soltesz, Bryan Taylor, Alfredo Tofanelli, Kay Young and Jeff Ziarno.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Robert Frank - Slideshow

This is a link to a slideshow of Northern California artist Robert Frank's plein air paintings. None are larger than 12"x16," and many are only 6"x8."

He graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a degree in architecture and subsequently worked as an architectural illustrator. In 2005, he saw an exhibit of nationally known plein air painters and was inspired to take oil painting classes the Academy of Art University in downtown San Francisco. He now teaches there himself. He has also taken painting workshops with Armand Cabrera, Timothy Horn and Randall Sexton.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ray Freeman Paints Nevada

Nevada is one of the Guerrilla Painter's very favorite places (lots of mountains and lots of cattle country), so we were happy to see this new blog by Ray Freeman, a Carson City policeman and forensic artist turned plein air painter. The courage, alertness, awareness and intuition that one would need for police work would certainly come in handy when painting from life outdoors!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Joseph Paquet - Interview, Book & Workshop

Minnesota painter Joe Paquet was interviewed earlier this year by Phil Bolsta, and the video has been posted. In it, Paquet talks about authenticity, exterior and interior motivation, Rainer Maria Rilke, and finding and expressing what is important to you.

His site also has a link to Mitchell Albala's new book, Landscape Painting: Essential Concepts and Techniques for Plein Air and Studio Practice , which features several of Paquet's paintings.

Last but not least, Paquet is offering a five-day workshop next month (January 18-22) on Santa Catalina Island, an hour by ferry southwest of Los Angeles, California. The painting above is one of several plein air "Catalina Postcards" (8"x12") from last January.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Renato Muccillo - Artist

Canadian painter Renato Muccillo does both large (2'-4') and small (4"-5") paintings, and it's hard to tell from an online image which is which. They all have a sense of atmosphere and grandeur, whether it's a small watercolor sketch (or still life in oils) or an imposing landscape or sky-scape. They show a combination of classicist realism, impressionism, abstraction and contemporary industrial subject matter.

He grew up near Vancouver, where he now lives, and has always enjoyed painting and spending time outdoors. Primarily self-taught, he's been selling his paintings since he was 10 years old (sometimes trading them for art materials) and he thinks of drawing and painting as his "first language".

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Jill Carver - Artist

You know there's something special going on when someone can take a nondescript alleyway and turn it into a beautiful painting. Plein air painter Jill Carver can do just that. Originally from England, she spent time as a curatorial research assistant at the National Portrait Gallery in London before traveling in New Zealand and then relocating to Texas Hill Country.

She is offering several workshops next year. "We will break down the process of producing a painting into core components: identifying a motif; choosing a design to best complement that motif; identifying the main masses; observing and mixing accurate colors and values; developing the focal point; and finally, effective and interesting paint application. For the first two days we will be ‘tuning in’ to the landscape through doing numerous value and color studies in the field"

Monday, December 14, 2009

Plein Air Washington - Three Interviews and a Demo

The group known as Plein Air Washington was born in the Puget Sound area in 2001 as "Washington Plein Air Painters" and has evolved into a much larger group of more than 70 participating artists. All skill levels are welcome to join in the paint-outs, workshops and exhibits.

Their website has archived three artist interviews. Richard Humphrey (painting shown here) talks about the process he goes through when choosing a subject and his interest in painting at night (we like the part about the owl). Jane Wallis talks about the three media she uses, pastel, watercolor and oils, and the sources of her inspiration. Jim Lamb describes his background in illustration and how its deadlines and time constraints have aided his subsequent career as a plein air painter, especially when participating in "quick-draw" events. His interview concludes with a demonstration and his thoughts as he brings a painting to completion.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bryan Mark Taylor - Artist

Bryan Mark Taylor is a teacher in the Graduate School at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco who paints both plein air and in the studio, both landscapes and cityscapes. Some of the paintings on his website are as small as 6"x8" while still expressing detail and depth. This year, he won the Edward H. Boseker 'Best of Show' Award at the Laguna Beach Plein Air Invitational and the Emerging Artist award at the Carmel Plein Air Festival. He offers workshops focusing on landscape painting on location, strengthening composition, seeing and simplifying shapes, identifying value planes, capturing light, understanding color harmony, creating texture and developing personal expression.

This is a link to his blog, where today he remarks that his landscapes have become more structured, while his cityscapes have taken on a more organic dimension.

"I believe the beauty of nature can inspire and uplift the human heart and mind. I personally believe in a powerful, wise, and loving Creator who made the earth beautiful for our benefit; therefore, I see the beauty of the landscape as an expression of love towards us. Although there are great challenges and difficulties in the world, I have found that stopping to contemplate the quiet beauty around us can bring moments of inner peace and joy. I believe a successful painting becomes not just a depiction of the physical, but a medium for connecting with our own spiritual natures."

Friday, December 11, 2009

Frank Gardner -- Artist

Frank Gardner became captivated by the central Mexican mountain town of San Miguel de Allende when he visited there as a student at the Rhode Island School of Design. After graduating in 1986, he re-visited Mexico and eventually moved there full-time.

He finds colorful subjects for both plein air and studio paintings in the city and countryside, the people and animals. His blog post for today describes the oil painting workshop he is offering next year in March (something for us snowbound painters to think about). He also makes regular painting trips to Maine and Cape Cod.

"A controlled chaos or loose spontaneity is my favored look, although each color and stroke is well thought out and carefully placed. The paint application is important to me. It is a very personal facet of my work. An artists brushwork and paint handling is what sets their work apart from another artist’s interpretation of the same view. It is as unique as a fingerprint and cannot be copied. I not only brush paint on, but lift it off, or smear it with a finger or paint rag. It is often the lifting off of the paint that gives the look I am after."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Anna Ancher (1859-1935) - An Impressionist in Denmark

The Skagen Museum celebrated the 150th anniversary of Anna Ancher's birth this year. She was a member the Skagen School of Impressionists that formed in this picturesque, sunny village which sits on the north end of the Jutland peninsula in Denmark. She had actually grown up there, the daughter of an innkeeper. When she was born, Hans Christian Andersen was a guest, and Anna's mother saw this as an omen of special talents in her daughter. As a teenager, Anna studied art in Copenhagen for three winters, and ten years later in Paris at the atelier of Pierre Puvis de Chavennes. As Skagen became an artist's colony, she learned from the artists who spent time at her parents' inn: the poet and artist Holger Drachmann, Carl Lacher, Karl Madsen, Christian Krohg, P.S. Kroyer, Viggo Johansen, Swedish painter Oscar Bjork, Danish court portraitist Laurits Tuxen, and painter Michael Ancher, who would marry Anna.

She became a sucessful painter, receiving medals in Paris for her entries in the Expositions Universelles of 1889 and 1900, one of only two Danish painters to receive praise by the French critics. She won medals at other international and Danish exhibitions, including the Ingenio et Arti medal from the Danish king in 1913.

Her subject matter was primarily domestic scenes and figures, but she focused to a great extent on color, light and the abstract arrangement of shapes (see "Sunshine in the Blue Room," below).

The Skagen Museum was founded by the artists themselves in 1908 and has about 1500 of their works. More paintings are on view a few blocks away at the restored, 200-year-old Ancher house, which includes both Michael's and Anna's studios. Many doors in the house have been painted with birds and tulips by Michael and Helga, their daughter.


Dictionary of Women Artists
Delia Gaze (Editor) Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997

Gourmet Magazine, July 1997, "A Painters' Paradise by the Sea" by Anne Roston

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ginger Bowen - Artist

In addition to plein air landscapes, Ginger Bowen paints architecture, portraits and colorful still-lifes. She likes to bring out the harmony of things that most people ignore.

"My goal is to put on the canvas the passion I feel about what I see out in the world, especially the diminishing landscape close to cities. These are areas that folks are familiar with and I want to catch them before they are gone. Hopefully people will feel a little of the love for the land that I feel when they see my paintings. I also love painting architecture, the way the light hits the building and the shadows fall. I want people to see in my paintings the beauty of the buildings they may walk by every day and might never even notice."

Her professional affiliations include Alla Prima International, the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club, American Woman Artists and the International Guild of Realism.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Joshua Been - Artist

Colorado artist Joshua Been writes about his painting experiences on his website. This page has a description about how he goes painting and skiing at the same time. Lots of colorful subject matter is available to the plein air-ist who goes to a ski area. You could paint out the window of the lodge, or if you're adventurous (like Joshua), put your gear on your back as you take the lift up to some spectacular scenery. He says that the "lift line" paintings always sell quickly, becoming a happy souvenir for someone's home or office.

Joshua has worked in Los Angeles as a character animator and at the Buena Vista Correctional Facility in Colorado where he taught Art and Design to medium/high-security inmates. He offers workshops, a 2010 Calendar and custom frames.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Plein Air Painters of Chicago

Plein Air Painters of Chicago is a hardy group that goes painting every Saturday morning, year round. An informal organization formed in 2003 by painter Scott Tallman Powers (shown), the Plein Air Painters of Chicago is open to all skill levels. Whoever has the gumption to show up is offered friendly critiques, camaraderie and an opportunity to exhibit with them. And, of course, this being Chicago, there is usually the possibility of good food and drink right around the corner. Bring your hand-warmers.

This is a link to Scott Powers' website. His eloquent paintings capture not only landscapes and cityscapes but also portraits and figures as well as scenes from his travels to China, Guatemala and Italy.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Jeanne-Claude (1935 - 2009)

Jeanne-Claude, 74, American artist, wife of Christo and resident of New York City, died suddenly November 18, 2009 as a result of of complications due to a ruptured brain aneurysm. Christo is dedicated to completing their current works in progress: Over The River, Project for the Arkansas River, State of Colorado, and The Mastaba, Project for the United Arab Emirates, as Jeanne-Claude would wish.

Together, Christo and Jeanne-Claude saw the environment with fresh eyes, and shared their vision with the rest of us, creating effects not usually seen, such as wind moving the fabric, reflections and shadows.

"The temporality of a work of art creates a feeling of fragility, vulnerability and an urgency to be seen, as well as a presence of the missing, because we know it will be gone tomorrow.

The quality of love and tenderness that human beings have towards what will not last - for instance the love and tenderness we have for childhood and our lives - is a quality we want to give to our work as an additional aesthetic quality."
- Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Marin Art School - Dorallen Davis and Jane Heaphy

The Marin Art School, founded in 2005 in Novato, California, offers a flexible schedule of day and evening classes for all levels of adult art students, providing a strong foundation of skills and discipline. Founders and instructors Dorallen Davis (above) and Jane Heaphy (below) emphasize Impressionist principles such as painting from life, seeing the effect of light on shapes and color, noticing the relationships of colors to each other and the arrangement of warm & cool colors in a composition. The cost of classes is reasonable ($150 for a six-week session) and the systematic curriculum is effective in teaching students to create competent works of art. Guest artists and painting retreats (both foreign and domestic) are also offered.

A native of Marin County, Dorallen Davis was hired to paint portraits at the 1964/5 New York World's Fair. Eventually, she realized that accurate rendering wasn't enough to express her vision, and she spent many years studying with colorist Camille Przewodik, portrait artists Cedric and Joenette Egeli, plein air painter Joseph Mendez and artist Jove Wang. She also studied at San Francisco State University and College of Marin. But she credits Jane Heaphy with being her mentor in painting from life. Together, they offer nearly six decades of professional expertise in painting, seeing and self-expression.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Outdoor Painters Society - Plein Air Southwest Event

The 4th annual Plein Air Southwest event was held in four locations this past summer - Big Bend National Park in Texas, the Hill Country of Texas, the Ouray area of southwest Colorado, and Canyon de Chelly National Monument in northeastern Arizona. More than forty artists participated, including signature artists, guest artists and juried artists.

The exhibit of 150 finished paintings from the event, juried by Gay Faulkenberry, will be held at Southwest Gallery in Dallas. The show opening, awards announcements and artists reception will be on Friday December 4th, 5-9 pm and Saturday December 5th 1-5 pm. The show will remain on view throughout December.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Emily Carr, Canadian Icon

(Our appreciation goes out to Robert Genn whose helpful website called painterskeys provided the lively quotations by Emily Carr in this article.)

Emily Carr, Canadian painter, writer and potter, was born on the island of Victoria, British Columbia, in 1871. In her late teens, she spent three years studying art in San Francisco and then visited England to study watercolor. Eventually, she spent two years in France learning about Post-Impressionism and the colorful Fauves.

"I think that one's art is a growth inside one. I do not think one can explain growth. It is silent and subtle. One does not keep digging up a plant to see how it grows."

She had always loved the native cultures, the Haida, Gitksan and Tsimshian, and when she returned to Vancouver she spent time traveling up the Skeena River and along the coast to the Queen Charlotte Islands and Moresby Island documenting their houses, masks and totem poles.

"Indian Art broadened my seeing, loosened the formal tightness I had learned in England's schools. Its bigness and stark reality baffled my white man's understanding... I had been schooled to see outsides only, not struggle to pierce."

Later, she focused on the landscape, purchasing a caravan trailer ("The Elephant") for plein air sketching trips into the forests of British Columbia. She often used oils on paper, which contributed to her fluid, spontaneous brushstrokes.

"I sat staring, staring, staring – half lost, learning a new language or rather the same language in a different dialect. So still were the big woods where I sat, sound might not yet have been born."

At the age of 57, she was invited to participate in an exhibit at the National Gallery of Canada and traveled to Ottawa where she met the Group of Seven. She found the work of Lawren Harris especially inspiring, and he became a friend, saying that she was "one of them." She returned from this eastern trip to begin the most productive period of her career, creating the inspired, powerful canvases for which she is best known. Her work was exhibited in London, Paris, Washington and Amsterdam, as well as major Canadian cities.

"I have been sent more ridiculous press notices. People are frequently comparing my work with Van Gogh... I do hope I do not get bloated and self-satisfied. When proud feelings come I step up over them to the realm of work, to the thing I want, the liveness of the thing itself

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Theodore Waddell - Rancher & Artist

For thirty years or more, Theodore Waddell has been both a rancher (in eastern Montana) and a painter. These two vocations combine in a vision at once vast and familiar, distant and true. His work is in museums and galleries throughout the West.

"I feel as if I live in the midst of a large painting and choose parts of it to examine. There is a stability to the landscape and people here, allowing me to examine the same situation over a long period of time, even though the seasons change and people change…This stability slows me to study a place at length and appreciate it very much." - Theodore Waddell from Into the Horizon: Paintings and Sculpture, 1960-2000

He is participating in a group exhibit at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center which will be on view until December 6th.

And be sure to check out his children's book, Tucker Gets Tuckered (written by Ted Beckstead) about his beloved Bernese Mountain Dogs. It's available on Amazon.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Richard Lindenberg - Plein Air Poetry

Northern California painter Richard Lindenberg has a blog-post about his introduction to "plein air poetry" at the San Luis Obispo Plein Air Festival. Who knew? You don't necessarily need your paint with you to create a plein air sketch. Just pay attention the way you usually do, and instead of using colors and shapes, create an image with words. You can still incorporate elements of rhythm, contrast, subtlety, movement, detail, realism, abstraction, etc., only in a different medium.

"The name originated at the SLO Poetry Festival. One night, Kevin Patrick Sullivan (an exuberant man and producer of the SLO Poetry Festival) hosted a group of local poets that read some of their creations at the Art Center to a crowd of painters and poets. In fact... two of the poets tagged along with two of the painters at the event and wrote about their experience."

You can read the poem Richard wrote about the painting above, Pelican Point, in his post.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Artist's Square in Savannah

It might be cold and snowing where some of us are, but the southern part of the country, plein air season is just beginning.

Artist's Square is an organization for promoting plein air painting in Savannah, Georgia. Savannah has many historic "squares," or open areas, and one of the very oldest is Telfair Square, named after an early governer of the state.

This weekend will be the fifteenth annual Telfair Art Fair, and artists are invited to set up their easels and participate both days: Saturday, November 14th, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, November 15th, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Gretchen Krause-Holesovsky, Watercolorist

Guerrilla Painter sponsored an award this fall at the Northeast Watercolor Society's 33rd Annual International Show, held in Kent, Connecticut. The winner was Gretchen Krause-Holesovsky, with the painting shown here, entitled Linked Together.

Gretchen also won First Place at the New England Watercolor Society's 2009 Regional Show in Duxbury, Massachusetts, with a painting entitled Well Worn, on view at the Art Complex Museum through January 17th. They are open Wednesday through Sunday, 1-4 PM. There will be a painting demonstration on December 13th.

Congratulations, Gretchen!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Roger Dale Brown - Artist

Roger Dale Brown is originally from Tennessee, but he has traveled widely to study painting and continues to travel to offer workshops in different parts of the country. Having spent time along the Gulf Coast, he loves to paint the ocean. In Maine, he was attracted not just to the seascapes but also to the history of artists such as Gruppe, Strisik, Hawthorne and the Wyeths who have painted there.

In addition to landscapes, he also paints still lifes and figures, which help sharpen skills in drawing, composition and seeing color & value relationships.

He has written the first in a series of four books, entitled Images of the South. Each book will celebrate one of the four regions of the United States.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Painted Sanctuary: Plein Air Landscapes of the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy.

Tomorrow evening from 5-9 p.m., twenty-seven members of the Plein Air Artists of West Michigan will show nearly 80 paintings at the Park Trades Center in downtown Kalamazoo. The show, Painted Sanctuary, contains paintings completed during a seven-month period within nine preserves, sanctuaries or conservation easements protected by the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy. Half of the money from the sale of paintings in the show will benefit the conservancy. Shown here is the 2010 calendar created by participating artists as a fund-raiser for the Land Conservancy.

Most paintings are traditional oil or pastel compositions. Some, however, break down the landscapes into their stark elements. One piece pairs an artist's journal entry with her minimalist watercolor interpretation of a beech tree at the Chipman Preserve in Comstock Township.

Richard Jordan, the founder of the plein air group, said painting in nature, not in a studio with a photograph, presents challenges but results in an inspired piece. He said many artists battled changing light conditions, or, in the case of his piece, Winter at Hidden Marsh, the cold.

"I don't think there's any competition to being there," he said. "There's a world of difference."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Nanci Erskine - Artist

Nanci Erskine's subtle paintings aren't done plein air, but the sketches they are based on are done from life, sometimes outdoors. She's been focusing these past few years on flowers and vines.

If you click on "Previous Entries (Select a Month)" you can read posts from earlier this year. Here is what she wrote about John Grisham:

"Watching an interview with Charlie Rose the other night, I realized that my previous connection between writing fiction and making a painting was somewhat flawed. Sure, there are some strong similarities with the writing life and process….I have been a somewhat slow painter, because of all the reworking and rethinking that might go on, and I always likened this to letting your characters tell you who they were, etc.

Grisham writes about a book a year, seems intent on the storytelling, more so than great characterization, and has a pretty efficient system. . .but when asked about how he spends his time, getting ready to write, Grisham pointedly said he spent a lot of time outlining. The times he has short-changed it, he writes himself “into a corner.”

A light went on in my head. Since a new theme emerged a couple years back, I hadn’t really gotten back into the habit of committing to the preparatory sketch/composition. I used to do monotypes for this purpose.

In the crunch of time- deadlines etc., I went with a beginning that seemed pretty interesting, only to paint myself into lots of corners.

Now this is not the same as declaring that I want to know exactly what a piece will look like even before I begin- far from it. Only that the arrangement, color, and idea the painting serves, when thought out in the beginning, gives me more to stand on."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

David Hockney Exhibit & Video

Pace Wildenstein Galleries in New York City are presenting an exhibit of David Hockney's recent large landscapes, on view through December 24, 2009.

This is a video interview of Hockney talking about his return to Bridlington, Yorkshire (in "twenty-oh-four") where he had lived as a child, after spending most of his life in Los Angeles. He was inspired to see the changing seasons in the expansive landscape, and wanted to paint it from life.

This website has clips from the film, David Hockney: A Bigger Picture by Bruno Wallheim (click on "The Making Of" for some amusing outtakes).

Monday, November 2, 2009

Plein Air at Beaver Farm - Benefit Sale

More than thirty professional artists working in diverse media are participating in the first annual Plein Air at Beaver Farm benefit sale for Camp Hill Special School for children and youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania.

The show opens with a reception tomorrow evening, November 3rd, 5:30-8:00 p.m. at the Rosenfeld Gallery at 113 Arch Street (just two blocks from the Betsy Ross house in Old City) Philadelphia.

The 55 acre organic Beaver Farm property houses the Transition Program for 18-21 year-olds. The artists participated in a paint-out on the farm in August to create the works that will be on display tomorrow. Click here to see them - oils, watercolor, gouache, encaustic, woodblock prints and photography.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Randall Sexton - Artist

Bay Area artist Randall Sexton studied landscape and portrait painting with Ken Auster, Bob Gerbracht, Michael Lynch and Milt Kobayashi.

A former instructor at the San Francisco Academy of Art, he now teaches plein air at Pixar. He also teaches workshops in other parts of the country.

"The discipline of direct painting, both in the plein air experience and in the studio, has helped me to develop a loose handling of paint that speaks as much about the paint itself as it does any given subject matter. I try to combine traditional methods of painting with a "sense of myself living in the present". My paintings are a direct response from the world around me as I strive to be "in the moment" while I work. Nature has proven to be the most demanding and inspiring I work from life, as often as possible and try to remain open to new ideas and new approaches."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Richard McKinley - Pastel Pointers

Richard McKinley paints in both oils and pastels and teaches workshops nationwide in both mediums. He grew up in the Rogue Valley in Oregon, where he was first inspired to pay attention to nature and the way light defines the location.

His weekly blog for Pastel Journal magazine, entitled Pastel Pointers, is available online and is useful for any painter, whether using pastels or another medium.

Titles of recently posted articles include "Reflecting on Reflections," "Digital Thumbnail Sketch," "A Lesson From Sargent" and "A Painterly Approach to Drawing."

Monday, October 26, 2009

Art on the Farm

Art on the Farm is a plein air event in Northern California that brings together artists and organic farmers. For about ten years, Alan Mart of the Internatural Harvesters organic farm has spearheaded this effort to bring artists and organic farms together. Now that he is unable to continue that effort for a while, the artists involved are pushing the torch forward for a few more miles.

This operation selects a day, often Sunday, and sends the group of artists to a particular farm. There the artist picks out images that are of interest and paints, draws, photographs, etches or whatever seems right at the moment, whatever image seems right.

An exhibit of this years' paintings will open at the Bolinas Gallery on November 4th.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

John Harrell - A Daily Painting Journal

Denver painter John Harrell has a Daily Painting Journal with small (6"x6" or 5"x7") plein air urbanscape and landscape studies. The painting shown here is a study for a larger 36"x 36" painting entitled Summer at Lakeside. It will be one of a series of Denver landscapes which will be in an upcoming show (opening on November 6) at Brushstrokes Gallery.

“My subjects choose me - their patterns and shapes, their sense of rhythm and movement, inspire my creative energy. Pastel and acrylic allow me to capture the immediacy of the experience.”

He recently donated a painting to Project Education Sudan, which creates educational infrastructure in rural southern Sudan. They support the building of primary and secondary schools as well as adult education and teacher training.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Diane McClary - Artist

Diane McClary has been dividing her time between the Seattle area and Palm Springs, California. This is a photo of her at La Quinta Cove, where she will be participating in the "Art Under the Umbrellas" plein air event on designated Saturdays in Old Town La Quinta through next April.

She studied with the late Russian master Sergei Bongart and offers workshops in the Palm Springs area.

"Each painting, a landscape, floral, or portrait is always a new experience in comparing the relationship of warm and cool colors. When I paint outdoors, I'm continuously striving to convey the emotions of the scene on canvas. The sound of nature, the smell of fresh air, the feeling of the wind all contribute to the total result."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Van Gogh's Illustrated Letters

Bibliodyssey has a long post of some of Van Gogh's illustrated letters. From the year 1878 through 1890, you can see his draftsmanship improving and his unique style emerging.

Regardless of what you think about his paintings or his life, his letters will touch you with their poignancy and reverance for life and work.

A link to another website that has many more of his letters is included.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sedona Plein Air Festival, October 24-November 1

This weekend is the beginning of the fifth annual Sedona Plein Air Festival. There will be 30 participating artists from around the country. Events include workshops, demonstrations, lectures, quick draw, "a day in historic Jerome," and a public exhibition & sale.

The opening reception will be next Wednesday, October 28 from 6-8 p.m. at the Sedona Arts Center, 15 Art Barn Road. The “Quick Draw Event” will be held at the same location between 10 a.m-12 p.m. on Friday October 30th (call 928-282-3809 for more information).

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Charles Bezzina - Artist in Residence in Greenland

'The Future belongs to those who beleive in
the power of their dreams'
-Native American proverb.

Here is a photo taken in Greenland of Charles Bezzina painting plein air with the children of Ittoqqortoormiit. In July/August 2008 he was Artist in Residency at Upernavik Museum - North West Greenland. This is classified as the most Northerly Museum in the World. He is a photographer as well as a painter and uses watercolor, acrylics and oils.

"During my stay I visited the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ilulissat Icefjords on several occasions to capture the Ice landscape in my journals and sketch book. The area of Upernavik has 3000 Inuits spread over 11 settlements in an area the size of Britain. Both places in North Greenland inspired me immensely and I am certain new art work will be created during the next few months. The theme of the project is 'In Search of Ice Made In Heaven' " - Charles Bezzina

Monday, October 19, 2009

Jon Hall - Videos

Jon Hall (aka Suncage) has some interesting plein air videos on youtube including this one, entitled Yellow, which involves throwing paint at the canvas, and another about a project he called The Limner's Contract for which he did a painting outdoors every day for a year.

Since he uses acrylics, he had to keep them from freezing in the winter. Sometimes he would build a fire (which would not only keep the paint from freezing but also help dry the paintings and warm his hands as well) and sometimes, if it rained, he would use a blowtorch (being careful not to damage the painting surface).

He describes the experience in a matter-of-fact way. "You can put up with anything, you know. Whatever the weather throws at you, you just deal with it. There were times when it was so windy I'd have to lower the easel right to the bottom and actually paint lying down. How do you paint when your hands are frozen? You paint from the shoulder."

Good to keep in mind as we head into the autumn season.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Plein Air for the Young at Art

What a great idea. Plein air painters in Hawaii have created a two-part program to introduce young people (ages 8-18) to the experience of painting outdoors. Entitled Plein Air for the Young at Art, the program includes a classroom session with instruction and demonstrations and, later, a paint-out with supplies provided and with roaming "artist experts" giving guidance and advice. Ten schools are involved in the program, and students who want to participate in the paint-out must submit an application with a teacher's recommendation.

October 25 is the date of the paint-out. There will be a reception at the Cannery Mall where the students' paintings will be displayed and the general public is invited to attend

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Annie Shaver-Crandell

Annie Shaver-Crandell works in oil, watercolor, pastel and oil pastel. In addition to plein air landscapes, she paints interiors (one is entitled "My Space.Calm"), still-lifes, figures and abstracts and also creates in fabric and collage.

She sits on the Board of Directors of the Salmagundi Club of New York.

"Since the surest way to predict my own future is to try to create it myself, I look for inspiration in light and color. As a painter of landscape and still life, I choose to create images inspired by nature's energies.

Giving visible shape to my internal vision fosters healing in myself and others, moving artist and viewer alike from where we are toward some better place."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Laguna Plein Air

This week, October 11-18, is the 11th Annual Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational, a week-long celebration of plein air painting. Due to the rain today, many artists will be painting inside the Laguna Art Museum's Steele Gallery.

On Saturday morning (the forecast is for a clear, sunny day), the 50 artists will participate in a Quick Draw held in Heisler Park, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and immediately adjacent to the Museum, from 9-11 a.m. with a silent auction immediately following.

Saturday evening the museum will host a "Collectors' Soiree and Sale" at 6 p.m. ($125 for members, $150 for non-members).

Sunday, October 18 (11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.) is the public exhibit and sale, with admission free to the public.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Theresa Pergal - Artist

Theresa Pergal uses her plein air practice in the service of realism. In addition to landscapes, she focuses on beautiful still-lifes and portraits. She studied at the Otis-Parsons Art Institute in Los Angeles and spent five years at the Ives Gammell Atelier in Boston. Her paintings are available as posters and prints as well as in galleries.

She belongs to the historic North Shore Arts Association of Gloucester, Massachusetts, and the equally historic Rockport Art Association.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

New Product - Hinged-Front Box

Over the years, we've had customers ask us if we could put a hinge on the front of the Guerrilla Painter Box to allow easier access to the palette and the inside of the box. We listened to their request and created a limited-edition 9x12 box with a hinged front. It has all the features of the classic Guerrilla Painter 9x12 box, which is really a self-contained portable painting studio (over 80% of the storage capacity of a French easel) that weighs only 5 pounds. The entire box is made from strong basswood laminate, the lid holds up to four wet panels (or one stretched canvas), and underneath the sliding palette is space for brushes, brush washer, paint tubes, rags, mediums, etc. The lid adjusts 180 degrees and you can set the box on your lap, on a table or on a tripod (comes with a sturdy tripod mount installed).

Click here to see its page on our website.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Steve Atkinson at Canyon de Chelly

Steve Atkinson sent us a letter to thank us for quick service as he was heading out to paint Canyon de Chelly, Arizona, September 20-27 with Plein Air Southwest.

He said, "In September I placed a frantic call to you. I had just traveled to Arizona to participate in the SouthWest Plein Air's Canyon de Chelly paintout on the week of Sept 20-27th, 2009. When I got to Prescott,Az where I would be staying and painting for the week prior to the paintout, I realized I had forgotten to include my rock sling on my tripod. Doesn't sound like an emergency I know, but that sling is one of the most important pieces of my plein air set up. Not only does it keep my tripod stabilized, during windy conditions (which is just about everyday at Canyon de Chelly), but it also is what I attach my paper towel discard bag to. I placed my order online and called to talk to one of your staff to see if they could get it to me as quickly as possible. I don't remember the young woman's name who answered the phone and helped me, but she couldn't have been more helpful or understanding. I got the bag in a couple of days, and she made the paint out something I will never forget."

He wrote about the experience in his blog, including some local history, wildlife and strategies for painting such a large-scale landscape.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pierre Henri de Valenciennes (1750-1819)

À la villa Farnèse: Two Poplars
oil on paper, 10"x15"

Artists have been painting oil sketches in the open air since the 17th century, and by the late 18th century the practice was fairly common, especially in Italy, which attracted painters from all over Europe.

One of these was Pierre Henri de Valenciennes. He was best known for historical landscapes and his treatise on perspective (Elemens de Perspective Pratique a l'Usage des Artistes), which he studied with a mathematician in Rome, but he was also probably the foremost advocate of the importance of plein air painting.

He emphasized to his students (two of whom became teachers of Camille Corot) that capturing the particular details of a specific location (a "landscape portrait") was an essential practice for a painter, and he was committed to raising the status of landscape painting.

Stair Sainty Gallery
The National Gallery, London

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fresia Studios - Video

Fresia Studios, on Lake Como in Italy, offers 6-day plein-air painting workshops from May to October (time to start thinking about next year).

This is a video of Jerry Fresia doing a large outdoor painting. For him, it's all about enjoying the colors, the paint and the outdoor scene in front of you and conveying that enjoyment to the viewer. He doesn't neglect composition, drawing and values, and these fundamentals are part of what he teaches, but he believes that joy, rhythm and personal vision are also essential to painting.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Clive Pates - Essay

Clive Pates curated an exhibit of landscape painters for the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum in Biloxi, Mississippi, two years ago ("The Will to Endure - Six Contemporary Landscape Painters"). He wrote an introduction for the exhibit in which he points out the role of plein air painting in breaking down the conventions of 19th Century academic painting and eventually leading to abstract and non-objective art.

"The uniqueness of the Plein-Air painting is its reliance on direct perception. ... Experimentation and the need to break down older structures of meaning extended boundary lines in terms of the way we understand painting. There were created rich new techniques and possibilities for using paint that could only have evolved with an understanding of purely abstract forms of painting developed through this conscious act of looking."

He goes on to say that we seem to be at a similar crossroads today, with imposed meaning again becoming the gatekeeper in the art world, and the plein air painter in a position to stand for the value of direct perception.

"Contemporary painting is often prescriptive and relies on a very developed art community structure for success or failure, so once again we can see a new academia reigning over the way we perceive art. There is a need for re-appraisal within contemporary art; a re-evaluation of traditional realism is also long overdue. Purely perceptual painting is now placed outside of the newly formed arts academy structures, the low art counterpoint to the glorious and triumphant modernist experiment. The landscape painter has the potential to re-integrate the last century of experimentation into the landscape. The landscape can now be seen in its purist form of the abstract mark, perceived and invested with meaning."

Friday, October 2, 2009

Denise Champion - Open Studio & Demo

This weekend and next, October 3-4 and 10-11, Denise Champion will be participating in the 15th annual Whatcom Artists' Open Studios Tour in Bellingham Washington. She will be demonstrating both weekends.

This is the website for the Studio Tour, which includes 51 artists and craftspeople in the area - glass, pottery, jewelry, fiber arts, sculpture, wood, metal, photography and mixed media.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Savannah College of Art & Design - Art Materials Trade Show

The third annual Art Materials Trade Show is happening even as we speak at the Savannah College of Art & Design.

Held in historic downtown Savannah and open to the public, it will feature exhibitors (around 60, from anatomical figures to yarn and everything in between), demonstrations, seminars (experts on paints, paper, product safety & stability, color theory, etc.) and a student roundtable ("How to Get Into the Game and Visual Effect Industry and Beyond").

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chessney Sevier - ThumBox Paintings

Chessney Sevier is a young Wyoming artist who does etchings & woodblock prints and also paints in oils & pastels. She sent us some pictures last winter of her ThumBox and how she uses it to do plein air in spite of Wyoming's famous (infamous?) cold winds.

Here is part of her artist's statement:

"Sometimes I see something and the compulsion to capture it on paper is overwhelming. I might relate the subject to a memory of when I was a child or where I grew up, to what I believe is real or more simply stated; to what is beautiful. It’s almost like beauty is painful and the only way to find resolve is to recreate it. I guess that way I can own it, experience it again on a deep emotional level and move on.
What is within a piece of art can be as important as the image as a whole. A single brush stroke can be spontaneous and bold or take the eye to depths beyond the surface of the painting. The most important element within a work of art is the piece of the artist which is given to the creation. That piece of the artist’s soul resides there and can never be repeated or taken back. To me, it’s an essential element because without it, it’s just an image. My mom has told me, “If it’s a little painful to part with a piece you’ve created, you know it’s a good piece of art.”

We're having a 20% Off special on the ThumBox and the 9x12 Guerrilla Box until next Tuesday, October 5th (even though the homepage says "September Special")...just in time to get ready for cozy "plein car" painting.