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.