Monday, March 30, 2009


Often it seems that plein-air painting experiences become stories, or our paintings become illustrations, either of a trip or of our own life. Recently, many options have opened up if you want to publish your own book.

Leon Loughridge goes about it the old-fashioned way, using nineteenth century letterpresses and woodblock prints to create his limited-edition handmade books. He was raised on a ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico, and one of his books, Memories of the Diamond A, tells the stories of that time & place. His other books focus on the Flint Hills of Kansas, the Santa Fe Trail and the Gore Range in Colorado. Also, his guide to traveling with watercolors is available exclusively through Judsons Art Outfitters. His upcoming publications will involve Las Montanas de Santa Fe (poetry by John Macker), Beef Basin, Utah, and the Cimarron Branch of the Santa Fe Trail.

"Maybe I should make a map of where your paint boxes have traveled but then it would be a wiggly zig zag line all over the SW. It is those paintings out doors that become the core inspiration and structure of the woodblocks." - Leon Loughridge

He was also invited to participate in the prestigous annual Coors Western Art Exhibit at the National Western Stock Show in Denver this past January.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

American Academy of Equine Art

Animals are a natural subject for plein-air painters. They live outdoors and interact with each other, with you and with their landscape. They don't hold a pose (unless they're asleep), and you don't always find them in a convenient spot.

For all the difficulty, though, they make a rewarding subject. Their graceful gestures and interactions can create dynamic compositions, and their keen attention and (depending on the species) physical power can draw us in. They’re all around us, but they’re not something that most of us think about very much.

Horses have been portrayed in paintings since pre-historic times, and they continue to be a meaningful subject. They can evoke wild lands or domesticity, speed or sociability, beauty or rugged endurance.

The American Academy of Equine Art is devoted to teaching, exhibiting and encouraging excellence in equine painting and sculpture. They offer classes in everything from basic drawing, painting and anatomy to marketing, history, motion, expressiveness, the human form and landscape.

Here is the homepage of their extensive website.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

David DeArmond, plein-air watercolor

David DeArmond lives in Kansas but travels around the world with his watercolors, pens, markers, acrylics and oils. He spent some time in New Orleans two years after Hurricane Katrina, sketching the partially rebuilt residences with FEMA trailers still in front of them.

Another project he took on was painting in each of the counties of Kansas. He even painted the Pueblo Indian ruins El Cuartelejo in southwestern Kansas. Who knew there were Pueblo Indian ruins in Kansas? Taos Indians settled here with a band of Plains Apache around 1664, and over the years it became a sort of cross-roads between Picuris, Spanish, French, Pawnee, Comanche and Ute. It was eventually abandoned in the early eighteenth century.

"Between April 2007 and April 2008 I completed a personal challenge to create at least two pieces of artwork, (11x15 inches or larger) in each of the 105 counties of Kansas, within one year. 32 nights in motels, 7,600 miles driving and I have them done."

Here is Dave's website.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Grand Canyon Celebrates Plein Air

Crista Worthy let us know about this event and thought we could share it with our readers:

The Grand Canyon Association is establishing a permanent fine art museum on the South Rim, and the inaugural event is scheduled for September 14-19, 2009. It will include public demonstrations by volunteers from the Arizona Plein Air Painters, an invitational exhibit of twenty modern masters and a four-day plein air paint-out, culminating with a public Quick Draw demonstration.

Proceeds from sales will go towards rehabilitating an existing historic building on the South Rim to serve as an art museum and to maintain their collection of historic and contemporary paintings.

The poster features Thomas Moran, a member of the Hudson River School who painted extensively in the West (there is a Moran Point on the South Rim).

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Jean Perry

Jean Perry started art classes at age 5 when her mother sent her to Saturday lessons at the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City, Mo. Summer classes continued until college where she majored in Fine Art at the University of Colorado. It was at this time that she began painting in an abstract, nonobjective style. Jean continued sporadic lessons through the early years of marriage and raising four children. In 1980 Jean and her husband, Gil, moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and she decided to make a full time commitment to her love of art. Signing up for a local Plein-Air workshop taught by Mel Fillerup of Wyoming she discovered the joys of painting on location. “We painted every day even in a spring snow storm and I knew I had found my direction.”

You can visit her website here.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Marc Hanson

Mark Hanson’s plein-air oil studies show an ability to see and to communicate the essentials of a scene using a carefully calibrated combination of accuracy and suggestion. He’s a (private) pilot as well as a painter, and it shows in his accurate observations and sense of dynamic balance.

“Initially, all that I wanted to paint was birds in a very naturalistic manner. I can't remember when I wasn't mesmerized by birds and flight. The birds as subject came first and the desire to paint followed. As I grew in ability and artistic knowledge there was a role reversal. The painting became more important and the birds as subject less so. My real interest and challenge as a painter became color, value, edges and shape and how to best manipulate those core principals into effective visual statements. Still a 'naturalist' at heart, the landscape has become the focus of my paintings."

He is a signature member of The Oil Painters of America and a founding member of P.A.P.W. (Plein Air Painters West).

He offers several workshops in his home state of Minnesota and in other locations as well. See his website here and his plein-air blog here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

George Bellows - An Artist in Action

One of the most popular and successful painters of his day, George Bellows (1882-1925), himself a talented college athlete and semi-pro baseball player, is best known for his action-charged paintings of “fight club” boxing matches.

Together with Rockwell Kent and Edward Hopper, he was a star student of Robert Henri (known fondly to his students as “the Boss”). George Bellows is associated with the Ashcan School, which depicted the gritty reality of turn of the century urban America.

The boxing paintings have overshadowed his other work – landscapes, cityscapes, portraits and lithographs. As a student of Henri, all of his work is based on extensive sketches, studies and direct plein air work. The illustrations in this book show an interesting metamorphosis from a bravura mastery reminiscent of Sargent in his earlier work to a searching experimentalism in his later plein air paintings, more akin to Bonnard. The later are almost tentative, soft-edged, with close value ranges and bucolic subject matter - some with Fauvist tendencies (Mountain Orchard, 1922, oil on panel, 20 x 24, above), while the earlier are decisive, high-contrast images with “knock your socks off” large masses of deep, deep darks, hard edges, unconventional subject matter and challenging compositions (Forty-Two Kids, 1907, oil on canvas, 42 x 60, right), and Snow Dumpers, 1911, oil on canvas, 35 x 48, below).

His tragic death from a ruptured appendix at the age of 42 cut short the dynamic and evolving career path of a unique American painter.

Much of his work shares a close kinship with that of Edward Hopper and Rockwell Kent but with a more expressive, modernist edge, especially in his later work. At any rate, any plein air painter will find much unconventional inspiration in the pages of this handsome volume.

– Carl Judson

Haverstock, Mary Sayre, George Bellows: An Artist in Action London, 2007, 160 pages, 11 ½ x 10, hardcover.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Marin Agricultural Land Trust

Landscape painters all over the country have been teaming up with land trust organizations to help protect wilderness, ranches and farmland...the inspiration for many of us to paint at all.
In Marin county, California, the 12th annual Ranches & Rolling Hills Landscape Art show and sale will take place at the Druids' Hall located on the village square in Nicasio, on Saturday, May 16, 2–5 P.M., and Sunday, May 17, 10 A.M.–4 P.M. There is no admission charge at these times.
Last year they also published many of the participant's paintings in book form, Ranches and Rolling Hills

Here is a link to their website.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Book Review - N by E

Rockwell Kent was an adventurer as well as a painter, and this book is an account of one of his most perilous trips. Sailing north from New York harbor with two other men, he was shipwrecked on the coast of Greenland in 1929. After they were rescued and he salvaged his painting gear, he enjoyed spending time with the native people and plein-air painting.

"See me then liberated by the blessedness of disaster from the confinement of a boat, shorn of property, stripped of clothes, wandering, an unknown alien beach-comber, in a generous land."

This book is illustrated with more than a hundred woodblock prints in his social-realist style.

N by E

Suzanne Siminger

Suzanne Siminger combines a realist sensibility with an appreciation of the abstract effects of contrast, texture and dramatic composition.

"I remember as a child going to my grandparent’s home every weekend in the San Fernando Valley and sitting in the back seat of my parent’s car glimpsing bits of vistas as they flashed past the car window. There was something very exciting and beautiful about the light and shadow on the side of a hill, or the yummy yellow color of yucca flowers, or tiny lights dancing off cars in the rain. I wanted to freeze those images in time so they would last forever and I could drink in their beauty for as long as I liked.
I wanted to paint it all so I could capture and enjoy those magical bits of scenery forever. As an adult, I don’t think anything has changed!"

Her work reflects her philosophy and her desire to soothe the jangled nerves of modern society by reminding us of the beauty of the Earth and our profound connection to nature.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Paint-out in Colorado Springs

The Glen Eyrie Paint Out will be happening on Saturday, May 30, 2009 - Sunday, May 31, 2009 just outside Colorado Springs, Colorado on the private grounds of the historic Glen Eyrie Conference Center.

The weekend event begins with limited attendance workshops on Saturday, followed by the juried paint out on Sunday. Artists may choose to attend either day.

In addition, during the main event professional artists will be available to coach and critique, in watercolor, oil, pastel, and acrylics.

There will be awards in value of over $2,500 (including cash awards).

Thursday, March 12, 2009

William Wray (Painter of Blight)

William Wray paints urban-scapes in southern California that show old architecture in a new light.

After studying at the Art Students League in New York City, he worked in illustration, animation and comic books before focusing on plein-air oil painting. It's the time-worn neighborhoods that attract his attention.

"Every time you find an old factory, a rundown dock or an old shack, a developer is sure to be there trying to convince the city it’s time to renovate. Good for the economy, they say, but bad for the painter looking for interesting subjects to paint." - Bill Wray

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Richard Willson, Los Angeles plein-air

Richard Willson is a plein air painter, poet, enviromentalist and teacher in Los Angeles, California. A co-founder of the Mount Washington Plein Air Painters, his work seeks to create empathetic observation of the interaction of the natural and built environments. The geographic focus of his work is the communities of Northeast Los Angeles.

Willson's art is influenced by the urgency of global environmental challenges. He sees plein air painting as a way of understanding and appreciating nature. Plein air painting places the artist in a context of changing light, weather, seasonal variations, and plant cycles. It also provides opportunity to observe the effects of human activity on nature. In Willson's case, a bridge, road, or building is often seen in its relation to nature.

Willson's paintings are a parallel effort to his research and teaching activities on environmental sustainability as a professor at Cal Poly Pomona. Willson holds a Ph.D. in Urban Planning and has studied art at Otis Parsons Institute in Los Angeles.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ferdinand Kaufmann (1864-1942)

When I was growing up in Denver, I was always drawn to these two little boat paintings by Ferdinand Kaufmann when I would see them in my grandparents’ apartment. The foggy colors and subtle values expressed the hazy California climate, so different from high, dry Colorado (the paintings always made me think of California because my grandparents had lived there, but, looking at Kaufmann's bio, I realize they could have been painted on the east coast). I had never seen mossy pilings or deep, still water like that, but these 12”x16” plein-air oils gave an accurate impression, and I realized,’s a big world out there.

It certainly was a big world for Ferdinand Kaufmann. He was born in Oberhausen, Germany, immigrated to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as a teenager, then went to Paris where he studied with Laurens, Bouguereau and Constant at the Julien Academy, and with Manet. He returned to Pittsburgh after six years in Europe, and painted plein-air in New England, New Mexico, Arizona and California. He became well known for landscapes, coastal vistas, figure studies and ship paintings. In 1921, he bought a home in Pasadena and later a studio-home in Laguna Beach. He remained active until his death in 1942.

– Sarah Judson


Friday, March 6, 2009

Mel Adamson - Cycle of Water

“The rate at which we are consuming natural resources in the country, the consequences of this phenomenon, and our society’s tendency to simultaneously revere and destroy nature all influence the thoughts and feelings I bring to my visual search.

More specifically, the cycle of water, from land to cloud to rain and back to land, and our alteration of this cycle, is a theme that I’ve been exploring for a few years. From the ground, clouds appear to exist closer to the heavens, their edges fugitive, ever changing. Viewed from above, clouds appear like soft coverings, mimicking the patterns of earth, still defying human touch. I search for ways in paint to suggest the extraordinary pressure necessary for their creation, to celebrate the miracle of water – present at once as vapor, ice and liquid. With a two-degree shift in global temperatures, ice crystals that help form various types of clouds will not be able to exist. I think of clouds as indicators. We have the technology to travel through the clouds, above the clouds, yet this very technology is part of what is heating up our atmosphere and slowly strangling life itself.
With the images of dams, clouds, sewage treatment plants, contrails and such, I search for a shift in perspective away from the familiar. It is my aim in these paintings to say something about the beauty of the physical world and our marvelously complex relationship to it.” – Mel Adamson

(pictured above, Cover I)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pam Glover

Pam Glover is recognized as one of the major plein-air landscape painters in California. She is also a founding member of the Outsiders, a group of fellow artists whose striking, fauvist style traces its roots back to impressionist groups formed on the West Coast. (pictured above, Pjaro Dunes, 16"x20")

Pam's work is notable for bold brushwork and the Impressionist use of rich layers of oil in brilliant tones. An enthusiastic advocate of painting in the out-of-doors, Pam paints entirely on location.

Pam Glover was born in Shanghai, China, and was exposed early to Far Eastern influences in the arts. Her education includes a period in China, where she studied for three years with Olga Popoff; the Polytechnic of Art in Sydney, Australia; the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, CA and four years with Lundy Seigrist, member of the Society of Six. In her 80's, Pam is still going strong and paints every day.

"Pam Glover is the godmother of plein-air painting in Northern California. Countless painters have come to her to learn how to capture the peculiar mix of light and sky and color that makes our part of the world so beautiful. She captures the rustic charm of the land with loose, bold strokes that fill her well-composed landscapes with gorgeous color. Because she knew some of the founders of plein air painting on the West Coast, there is a wonderful sense of continuity to be found when comparing her work to people like Lundy Seagrist."- Teresa Onoda

Monday, March 2, 2009

John Budicin

Born in Rovigno, D'lstria, Italy, John moved to California at the age of 11 where he went to college and continues to live today. After several years as a commercial artist and freelance illustrator, he became a plein air artist when his employer moved out of state. John paints outdoors almost every day and many of his paintings are close to his home in San Bernardino, California. (Pictured on the left, Worth the Wait, Oil, 14" x 18")

John is not only a plein air painter but also spends several weeks each year teaching workshops all around the US and Italy.

"I have always found painting outdoors to be exhilarating. Mother Nature is the best teacher and if you make a commitment to be out there day after day, she will "speak" to you. During the painting process, many changes take place before you. Perhaps a beam of light will illuminate a particular area, or a cloud pattern will form. The foreground may go into shadow, making the composition more dramatic. If you pay attention to these changes and incorporate them into your work, it will be more interesting, exciting and believable." - John Budicin