Monday, July 19, 2010

Our New Address

Head on over to our new address for the Plein Air Journal. Eventually, all the archives will be there, too.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Alfred Currier - Artist

Northwest painter Alfred Currier has been an artist for as long as he can remember. Plein air painting is his primary inspiration, though most of his gallery work has been done in studio. He focuses on vibrant color and a heavy impasto surface, often including architecture and figures in his compositions. Ted Lindberg's book about him, entitled Alfred Currier: Impasto, was dedicated to the Hispanic migrant workers from the tulip fields of the Skagit Valley that often appear in the paintings.

"As a painter, I'm more interested in the process of what I do more than the end product. Some painters are more interested in the end product than in the process. One might be a fine art painter and the other a commercial painter. The end products might look exactly the same from a viewer's standpoint. But, only the artist within knows whether or not it was fine art or not. It all has to do with process. It seems that art is primarily for the artist."

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Catherine Moreno - Artist

Catherine Moreno is a Northern California painter who is inspired by landscapes, seascapes and the abstract patterns they create under the influence of light, shadow, close-ups and motion. Her paintings aren't all plein-air, but she spends plenty of time outdoors observing and sketching.

"Many of the subjects I work with cannot be done on the spot (as in the middle of a stream), so I use photographs with a self-imposed ethic that the painting must exceed the photo. The outdoors anywhere is my “studio”. I prefer oil painting because one can work on effects more freely in the moment and over time until something of impact is achieved."

The painting above, a 12x16 oil entitled Oak Reverie, displays these dramatic effects of color and contrast.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Crested Butte and Beaver Creek

Here are two reasons (besides cool mountain air) to head for the hills next month. One is the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters National Paint-Out and Show in Crested Butte, Colorado. More than forty well-known artists will be plein-air painting in the area from July 8-15. (This coincides with the annual Crested Butte Wild Flower Festival, which involves 4x4 tours, horseback rides, birding, wagon rides, float trips, hikes, yoga on the mountainside, garden tours, classes in photography, art, botanical medicine and cooking.) The art exhibit will open on Friday, July 16, from 5-8 p.m. at the Oh Be Joyful Gallery (named after a nearby valley). There will be a Quick-Draw on Saturday morning, and a silent auction of those works will begin at noon.

Then on the weekend of July 31-August 1 in Beaver Creek, Colorado, there will be a benefit screening of two films: Local Color and the video short, Legacy of the Russian Masters. All box office proceeds will fund programming at the non-profit Vilar Performing Arts Center, which will exhibit a collection of large Russian works (on display for the first time outside Russia) at a backstage reception. This event coincides with the 23rd Annual Beaver Creek Art Festival.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Adirondack Plein Air Festival

The second annual Adirondack Plein Air Festival will be held in the town of Saranac Lake, New York, on August 19-22. There will be a "Paint the Town" event, a silent auction and outdoor painting at various beautiful and historic locations. An exhibit and sale will follow on Sunday, August 22, from 12 - 4 p.m. Eight prizes will be awarded by juror Anne Diggory (below, at work).

From the days of the first explorers, artists have spent time in the Adirondacks. In 1837, the painter Charles Ingham accompanied Ebenezer Emmons on the first recorded ascent of Mt. Marcy. Artists of the Hudson River School, such as Thomas Cole, often painted scenes here. Later, in the 19th century, Winslow Homer focused on the interaction between people and nature. In the 20th century, both Harold Weston and Rockwell Kent lived and painted in the Adirondacks. Twenty-first century artists are also attracted to this region – and Saranac Lake is home to many of them.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Michelle Chrisman Workshops

Contemporary colorist Michelle Chrisman has two upcoming workshops and a free demonstration that will focus on plein air painting in New Mexico, where she moved after studying art in New York City and Denver.

Saturday, June 5, 1:00-3:00pm ~ Everything You Want to Know About Oil Painting at Artisan's Taos store. Admission is free, but space is limited so register today by calling 575-751-0802.

The weekend of July 17-18 ~ Two full days of painting en plein air. Enjoy painting historic, picturesque settings in Taos. All levels welcome. Contact the E.L. Blumenschein Home and Museum in Taos.

October 10-16 ~ Plein Air Painting in Georgia O'Keeffe Country will be based at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu. This course will cover the importance of simplification of shapes, correct color-values and light/shadow patterns to create well-designed compositions. Students will do two paintings per day. All levels & mediums welcome.

"What excites me most about painting is "seeing" the abstract shapes & patterns in the visual world. The medium of oil paint is also very important to me- letting the medium speak, and not being afraid of the calligraphy of impasto painting."
~ Michelle Chrisman
Below, Kitchen Mesa, 24x20, oil on canvas

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ninth Annual Paint San Clemente

This fun event is the main fundraiser for "Art Reach," benefiting San Clemente public schools art program (supplies and scholarships).

The quick-draw and plein air competition have all levels of artists joining in. The deadline for submitting your application is June 1st, and the event takes place June 19-26. The show will be on display through August 13th.

Click here for more information and a prospectus.

The above image is from artist Laura Wambsgans who was a participant in last year's event.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Travis Ivey - Wyoming Painter

We had a visit yesterday from Wyoming artist Travis Ivey. His website displays a combination of plein air studies and larger studio works, such as this one entitled Abandoned Dragline (Hanna, WY) (30x40 inches ).

As a fifth-generation Wyoming native, Travis sees both the beauty of the high plains pastures and the powerful contrasts that drilling rigs, freight trains, coal mines and gas fields provide. Old West, New West, boom and bust, subtlety and drama.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Rockwater Art Center in Poulsbo, Washington

Across Puget Sound, west of Seattle, a beautiful 100 year old farmhouse has become an art center. The Rockwater Art Center will be offering more than a dozen classes this summer. Three are specifically about painting outdoors, and other classes, such as structural drawing, color mixing, etc. would also be relevant for plein air painters. This page lists all the classes & workshops.

Four of the prominent artists who will be teaching there this summer are Jim Lamb (plein air oils), Ron Stocke (plein air watercolor), Radena Walsh (pastels - plein air to studio) and Aleksandr Kargopoltsev (color mixing in oils).

Friday, May 21, 2010

George Coll - Llama Pack Trip Painter

Whew! It's been awhile. Combination of a trade show, a birthday party in Mississippi, one of us on vacation in Thailand and the sudden blossoming of sales has left this journal in the lurch. Until now.

Daily Painter George Coll stopped in this afternoon to pick up a few supplies. He not only belongs to the intrepid group known as Daily Painters (here is an online gallery) but also takes painting pack trips with his two llamas. There are places in the Rocky Mountains where horses & mules are prohibited because of the damage their hooves do to the trails, but llamas, with their soft feet, are allowed.

George started painting with watercolors in 1986 at the Denver Art Students League. In 1998, he focused on oil painting. When he asked his first oil painting instructor “how to get good quickly,” she said to paint from life whenever possible.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Painting Retreats

Nothing sounds like quite as much fun as a "painter's retreat." Not a workshop, not a vacation, it's rather a combination of focus and freedom. Here are several that are available this season:

The Omega Institute is offering an Autumn Painter's Retreat focusing on Hudson Valley watercolor landscapes with Fulbright scholar, professional artist and muralist Alan Leon. This is peak fall foliage season.

New Mexico expressionist/plein air painter Louisa McElwain is offering demos, critiques, information and encouragement to artists who visit her property near Santa Fe. Subject matter ranges from spectacular mountain and badlands terrain to churches, villages and her farm with its orchard, pastures, gardens, horses, cattle and poultry. Stay in an historic log house, complete with antique wood burning range, Satellite TV and internet.

In November, Open Air Italy invites you to Tuscany for the olive harvest. Take some new oil home with you. There are only four remaining spaces for this trip.

You've heard of heli-skiing, now you can go heli-hiking with your painting gear in southeastern British Columbia. Canadian Mountain Holidays is making this trip available from August 31 - September 5.

Or you can hike in Italy's Sibillini Mountains, participating in a combination of studio time, walking, sketching, excursions and a visit to the Fabriano Paper Museum. This trip takes place October 9-16.

Karl Eric Leitzel will host "Finding Your Voice - A Painter's Retreat" at the Inn On the Sky in Spring Mills, Pennsylvania this summer.

Decisions, decisions.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Marin Arts Open Studios & Festival

Throughout Marin County in Northern California, there will be a free, self-guided Open Studios Tour during the first two weekends in May.

More than three hundred artists will have their studios open (most for both weekends), and tens of thousands of people will make the tour. There are about sixty plein air painters involved.

The Marin Arts Council will display work from each artist at its new location, 906 4th Street, San Rafael. The exhibit runs from April 25 through May 23.

In addition to paintings, the event features sculpture, fiber, furniture, jewelry, weaving, metalwork, stained glass, photography, pottery and etchings. A related gallery exhibit will also be located at 888 4th Street, San Rafael.

The painting shown in the poster, above, is Mount Tamalpais from Lucas Valley by Kathleen Lipinski.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hunter McKee - Artist

Most of New Jersey artist Hunter McKee's paintings are done plein air, combining expressive color, confident brushstrokes and dramatic perspective & cropping. They vary in size from 6"x8" up to 28"x49".

"I paint directly, on-site, using opaque colors in response to what I see, think, and feel about a subject. It’s a challenging, time consuming, and rewarding process."

He was a student of George Nick at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, who also combines ordinary subjects with fresh enthusiasm, and who paints exclusively from observation.

Friday, April 23, 2010

William Jameson - Artist & Teacher

William Jameson loves to travel and paint. His land- and seascapes feature the Bahamas, Italy, France, Mexico, Colorado and Montana as well as his beloved home state of South Carolina. Their sizes vary from 8"x10" up to 52"x72" (the one shown here, Apallachian Textures II, is 72"x48").

His workshops are open to all levels from beginner to advanced, and instruction is offered in oil, watercolor, acrylic or pen and ink sketching. His wife Anne is also a painter and participates in the workshops.

“The more I paint, the more I must paint. The need to…is never diminished by having completed a painting, but rather there’s an immediate need to begin another.”

Friday, April 9, 2010

Paint the Town in Marble Falls, Texas

The Fifth Annual Paint the Town plein-air art event will be April 16-18 in historic downtown Marble Falls, in the Texas Hill Country west of Austin. More than 50 juried artists will set up their easels, and the public is invited to watch the painters at work. There will also be live music all three days of the event.

This year’s finished paintings will be judged by plein air artist and teacher V....Vaughan (painting shown). She will also present a gallery talk on Sunday the 18th about her plein air project and book, Last Year on the Farm, a collection of 365 paintings of her family farm. Fifty of them will be on view.

"I have lived here 30 years . . . most of my life. My husband has lived here his entire life. Our three children are the fourth generation to live here. The farm has sold now and development is coming soon. We are moving to other pastures. The seasons are changing . .. forever."

Monday, April 5, 2010

Florida's Forgotten Coast Plein Air Paint Out

Time once again for the Florida's Forgotten Coast Plein Air Paint Out, a ten-day event taking place from May 7-17 on northern Florida's Gulf Coast.

More than twenty nationally-known painters have been scheduled to participate, and the Quick Draw event on May 8 at Saint George Island Lighthouse Park is open to anyone over the age of 14.

There are all kinds of events open to the public, many of them free, including 11 demonstrations, a roundtable discussion, children's art activities, artists' receptions, student art day, exhibits, entertainment, and 3 workshops. In addition, of course, everyone is invited to watch the pros as they paint in eight locations along the waterfront and the inland town of Wewahitchka.

You can also find out more about it on their facebook page.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sergei Bongart: Notes on Painting

Graphic designer and fine artist Norm Nason has compiled and posted a page of Sergei Bongart's Notes on Painting. A student of Russian realism and American impressionism, Bongart was an influential painter and instructor until his death in 1985. Here is some of the guidance that he gave his many students (and note the encouraging disclaimer at the end):

It is vital at the start of a painting to cover the white of the canvas with chosen silhouettes of color. Do this as soon as possible. A white canvas masks the truth of the color relationships.

It is entirely possible, and often advisable, to spend 90% of your time merely adjusting the big, simple shapes before ever moving to the rendering.

Of all the properties of color, value is by far the most powerful. Value and design set the painting; all else builds from them.

When dealing with complimentary colors in a composition (warms against cools), a good rule of thumb is to shift both to the same side of the color wheel. This may help harmonize and otherwise sharp composition. Take, for example, yellow and violet. Move them both to, say, the red side. The yellow then becomes a yellow-orange, while the violet becomes a reddish violet.

A light object against a dark background (in intense light) will have its edges flare and soften into the darkness, taking on the intense color of the light. The human eye naturally focuses on one distinct area at a time, leaving everything else softly out of focus. When painting, pick out a few hard edges at points where you want the viewer to concentrate and soften the edges elsewhere.

Disclaimer. All of the above are basic observations of light on form. Things tend to play in reality the way I've stated. However, you can easily find wonderful exceptions in the art world to everything I've told you. Use the information as a tool to learn color, but don't feel inhibited by it. Remember that art, at its best, is the seeing of life in new and exciting ways, not as rote formula.

Stay in the paint!

Sergei Bongart

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

David Slonim - June Oil Painting Workshop

There are still a few spots open for David Slonim's June 16-18 workshop sponsored by Indiana Heritage Arts (there is an application form at their site). All levels of oil painters are welcome.

This workshop will focus on the universal principles of visual communication used by every great painter, regardless of style or time period. It will include plein air and studio time, demos and individual attenion. It will cover not only some of the key principles, but how to continue learning on your own after the workshop ends.

"The goal is not to get you to paint like I do, but to paint like yourself with more beauty and power of expression in your work. It’s not about technique or style, but a mindset."
- David Slonim

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Quang Ho - Artist & Teacher

Painter and instructor Quang Ho had his first one-man show at the age of sixteen. He's been painting ever since, and, in addition to a successful career as an artist, he has been teaching for twenty years at the Art Students League of Denver.

He recently completed three instructional DVDs: Nuts and Bolts, Painting the Still-Life, and Painting the Figure in an Interior. His teaching focuses not only on the elements of a painting such as light, edges, abstract shapes and the way they fit together, etc. but also on "visual vocabulary," the artist's intention and the qualities that the painting expresses.

He will participate again this year in the Weekend With the Masters, which will be held in Dana Point, California September 23-26.

He is also completing a series of illustrations for a children's book and preparing for an exhibit in London.

He does take time out for dinner with friends sometimes, and he has done several paintings of the kitchen in his favorite restaurant, Mizuna in Denver.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Dominik Modlinski - Adventurous Artist

Canadian artist Dominik Modlinski has traveled (almost) from pole to pole in the Western Hemisphere. He is offering workshops this year on Gabriola Island, British Columbia, in Yukon Territory, Alaska and Todos Santos, Mexico. You can also hire him to lead an expedition/workshop for you and a few friends in the location of your choice.

Since most of his paintings feature wilderness, it's interesting to see his blog posts from Japan, where he is following the cherry blossoms, starting in Hiroshima and traveling north. A much tamer place than his usual domain...(although he did encounter some wild boars!)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

M.E. "Mike" Bailey - Artist

Santa Cruz artist, teacher and new president of the National Watercolor Society, M.E. "Mike" Bailey has a degree in engineering and, in spite of an early interest in art, didn't get into painting in a major way until he was 46.

He uses both watercolor and oils, and there is a list of free articles on this page of his website dealing with process, elements, intentions, creativity and other aspects of art and being an artist. There is also a beautifully illustrated page about travel journals. In addition, he posts news and demos regularly on his lively blog.

He will be offering a workshop, "Watercolor Beyond the Obvious" in North Carolina next month.

On the Watercolor Landscape page of his website, this is what he has to say about painting plein air:

"There is nothing better (or worse!) than to paint outdoors! The distractions and confronting challenges are myriad and the conditions often very uncomfortable. It is where lessons of light are learned the hard way! Frankly, few of my plein air attempts come out as ‘nice’ as a studio painting. There is, however, an urgent energy in paintings done outdoors, which is quite charming."

Sunday, March 21, 2010

National Parks Artist-in-Residence Program

Artists have been part of national parks since the 1860s and 70s, when painters, photographers and writers played a vital role in documenting the spectacular landscapes of the West and convincing Congress to preserve certain places as a public trust.

Today, 29 national parks around the country participate in an Artist-In-Residence program for painters, sculptors, writers, poets, photographers, composers, performers and craft artists to live and work on site in the park. Usually, artists are expected to donate a piece of art or offer a public presentation in exchange for a place to live and work in the park for two weeks or more.

The photo above shows John B. Fairbanks (1855-1940) painting in Zion National Park in Utah.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Michael Newberry Tutorials

Painter, gallery owner, art critic and instructor Michael Newberry has posted 49 tutorials on his website, three of which are specifically about painting outdoors.

This one (which is in two segments) demonstrates his dark-to-light plein air technique. This method is helpful in three ways: "It enables the painter to work quickly (an absolute necessity for outdoor, quick painting in under an hour). This approach keeps the highlighted areas clean and bright, which solves the problem of the oils' tendency to become muddy. This technique easily merges, or groups all the shadow's colors--giving them a translucent, natural feeling."

And this one, called "Finishing Off Plein Air Paintings," shows how it's possible to use a retro-active thumbnail sketch to recallibrate the values or other elements in your painting.

He is also offering three plein air workshops in Santa Monica, Mexico and Canada this spring and summer.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bill Cone - Pastelist at Pixar

California artist Bill Cone has worked as a commercial illustrator, a set designer for the movie Toy Story and as production designer for A Bugs Life, Toy Story 2, and Cars.

About ten years ago, he started taking pastels outdoors to study the various effects of sunlight and atmosphere. He was captivated by the qualities of natural light and color, and he continues to work in both worlds - fine art and animation. The study shown here is from a trip to the Sierras, where for the last five years he and some fellow artists have hired a cook and pack mules for a trek into the mountains.

He will be participating again this year in Sonoma Plein Air. There is a wait list for his class this July at the Sierra Nevada Field Campus (the class size is limited to 12).

"Natural light has such an extraordinary range of complexity and subtlety, that it is truly a bottomless well of inspiration for any artist that has gone outside to work. To capture even a fraction of those qualities in an image is a worthy goal."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Acadia Workshop Center, Mount Desert Island, Maine

Mount Desert Island, Maine, the second largest island on the eastern seaboard (second only to Long Island in size) is home to Acadia National Park and the Acadia Workshop Center which is offering 19 painting workshops this season, most of them working outdoors at least part of the time. There are some big names here.

Classes that involve plein air include Don Getz, Watercolor Journaling, Susan Abbott, Color in the Maine Landscape (all media), Peter Spataro, Painting the Colors of the Wind (all media), Kristy Kutch, Coastal Colored Pencil, Sheila Parsons, Watercolor, Tom Jones, Creating Atmosphere in Watercolor Landscapes, Shelli Ardizonne, Plein Air Boot Camp, Christine La Fuente, oil, Lee Boynton, August Light: Painting the Impressionist Landscape in Oil,
Armand Cabrera, Painting the Maine Landscape (oil & acrylic), Julie Houck, Painting the Dynamic Landscape; Creating Light-Filled Color (oil & pastel), Elin Pendelton, Fall Color Boot Camp (oil & acrylic), Marsha Staiger, Inside the Outside - An in-depth look at abstract from the landscape (acrylic/mixed media), Kay Kandra, Beyond Pretty Pictures (watercolor), Bob Rohm, The Maine Landscape (oil & pastel), Michael Chesley Johnson, The Maine Landscape in Pastel or Oil, and Lois Griffel, Painting the Impressionist Landscape (oil).

They have posted a helpful Student Tips page which includes pragmatic information such as, "Have reasonable expectations. You are here to learn so please come with an open mind. Do not expect to paint "masterpieces". This is a learning experience. Very often students find that what they learn in class actually takes a while to digest."

There are art materials available at the Workshop Center, and they have easels, chairs and umbrellas for rent (reservations required).

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Lorie Merfeld-Batson - Artist

Award-winning plein air painter Lorie Merfeld-Batson apprenticed with nationally known artist Gerald Merfeld and then studied in Chicago at the American Academy of Art and the Palette & Chisel Academy of Fine Arts. She now lives in southern Colorado with her family, regularly painting plein air and traveling by horseback into the mountains to gather material.
She paints in oils and pastels and occasionally watercolors and finds that switching mediums keeps a freshness in her approach.

Next month she will be participating in the Nomadas Del Arte in Dallas and the Governer's Invitational Art Show in Loveland, Colorado.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Zionsville, Indiana Paint Out and Workshop

The Sullivan Munce Cultural Center in Zionsville, Indiana will be hosting its annual Plein Air Paint Out on June 19 and Workshop June 21-24. Always a sell-out, this event will offer an opportunity to study with three nationally known artists: Charles Warren Mundy, Todd Reifers and David Slonim, whose painting is shown here.

Artists will meet at the SullivanMunce Cultural Center on the first day for demonstrations and question & answer sessions. Days 2 and 3 will consist of outdoor painting with instruction. On Day 4, participants will display their work, engage in a critique with the instructors and have another question & answer session.

The registration fee of $600 members/$650 non-members includes three and a half days of instruction; lunch each day; admission to the Art in the Garden Patron Party; participation in the Zionsville Paint Out on Saturday, June 19, and entry in the Zionsville Paint Out Exhibition June 25 through July 24 at the Cultural Center.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Artists Abroad - European Painting Trips

Mary Jean Weber started organizing plein air painting vacations in 2009 after enjoying many such trips as a participant. She is planning two excursions this summer. The trip to Umbria from May 23- June 6 still has some spaces available. This is a two week, non-instructional visit to the Umbrian hill towns where excellent wine and olive oil are produced, near the historic city of Terni where art supplies are available.

"It is so much fun traveling with a group of like minded people who love to paint. You make lots of new friends and really experience the country on a deeper level when you are painting it. It is a travel experience that is truly enriching, exciting and fun. Come and join us."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lorenzo Chavez - Advanced Indoor Landscape Concepts

In addition to graduating with honors from the Colorado Institute of Art and studying at the Art Students League of Denver, Lorenzo Chavez has taken professional workshops with some of the best: Ned Jacob, Richard Schmid, Clyde Aspevig, Michael Lynch and Skip Whitcomb.

He has been teaching plein air pastel and oil painting for fifteen years now, and next month, April 2-4, he will be offering an advanced workshop in studio concepts. These include designing from plein air studies and photos, discussions of values, edges, simplification, color and drawing as well as professional presentations and getting your work seen. This workshop is for intermediate to advanced students with previous plein air experience. It will be held at Terry Ludwig's studio just south of Denver.

Lorenzo Chavez will be offering eight other workshops between now and November in Arizona, New York, Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas City, Washington and Hawaii (see the list here).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Marc Hanson Workshops

Marc Hanson is an award-winning Minnesota plein air painter who works outdoors year round and has been teaching for twenty years. He is offering four workshops this year, in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Florida. They are open to artists working in oil and pastel. All levels are welcome, from beginner through advanced.

The basic elements of painting will be emphasized, from concept and mood to value relationships (including black & white exercises), blocking in the masses, color studies and finishing details that effectively communicate your intention to the viewer.

"My purpose is not to replicate the specific or dwell on the spectacular, as much as it is to observe the specific and to discover the beauty in the seemingly unspectacular."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hudson River Valley Art Workshops

In the Catskill Mountain region of the Hudson River Valley, the Greenville Arms 1889 Inn is offering a diverse selection of painting workshops this season. Twelve of them involve plein air, including two "retreats" with no set program (for self-motivated people).

This page lists all the instructors. Plein air classes will be taught by Lorenzo Chavez, Alvaro Castagnet, David Dunlop, Lewis Barrett Lehrman, Betty Carr, Mel Stabin, Stanley Maltzman, Anatoly Dverin and Kenn Backhaus. Beginners are welcome, except in the Alvaro Castagnet and Kenn Backhaus workshops, which are intended for intermediate to advanced students.

Classes are limited to 20 students. The Greenville Arms has been hosting art workshops since 1982, providing comfortable lodging, delicious food, beautiful scenery, professional instructors and 24-hour studio access.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Walter Bartman - Artist and Teacher

Plein air painter Walter Bartman, an artist and teacher for close to forty years, is the founder of The Yellow Barn Studio and Gallery at Glen Echo Park, Maryland. Since 1994, it has offered classes, workshops, speakers and residencies. They also offer a free art class for high school students and bus trips to some of the best museums on the east coast.

This month, Gallery 322 in Frederick, Maryland is hosting an exhibit of Bartman's paintings. The opening reception will be tomorrow, March 6th, from 4-8 p.m.

An interview with Walter Bartman has been posted on the blog Art and Perception. In it, he talks about his methods and why they have been successful:

"Community has always been something I feel has made great movements in the arts, science or math. It was my intention from the very beginning to build a community of young artists as the future generation. I have always felt that human thought is collective. We build ideas on the thoughts of others. If you can bring a group of very creative people together in a sharing environment, they will support each other and challenge each other to go beyond the instructor’s expectations.

"The work I assigned was based on contemporary movements. I felt my students were a part of that movement and had something to add. It is funny, but looking back on the work in my classes, some of it was very profound for anyone at any age. I guess that is why my program was nationally recognized."

Monday, March 1, 2010

Workshops with SCAPE - Southern California Artists Painting for the Environment

Based out of Santa Barbara, Southern California Artists Painting for the Environment was begun in 2002 and has grown to over 200 members, including plein air artists, students, patrons and even gallery owners. Their goal is not only to paint outdoors, exhibit and teach, but also to raise money and awareness for the preservation of open spaces. Their workshop calendar this year includes four prominent artists. Space is limited, so sign up right away.

Impressionist Lynn Gertenbach, whose painting is shown here, was a student of Sergei Bongart. Her workshop will be April 22-24 and will focus on wildflowers.

May 10-12, award-winning painter and published author Anita Hampton will run a workshop from 8a.m.-4p.m. in locations around Santa Barbara.

July 14-18, David Gallup, vice-president of the California Art Club, will teach a plein air to studio process. Students will be taught at their own level, based on their own goals.

September 19-21 (just a few days before the full moon) Thomas Van Stein will offer a workshop on Catalina Island that will include seascapes and painting by moonlight.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Joan Parker - Artist

Joan Parker received her Bachelor of Fine Arts with honors from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. She used her skills for the motion picture industry and then relocated to Kansas City when she was recruited by Hallmark Cards. Six years later, she became a full-time plein air painter and instructor.

Her work often navigates the borderland between landscape and abstraction. “Because the prairie is very stark, paintings of it tend to convey an abstracted feel of color and light. They’re a middle ground between landscape and contemporary abstraction.”

Parker is represented in galleries from Saint Louis to California and is also featured in two books, Homage to the Flint Hills and How Did You Paint That?: 100 Ways to Paint Seascapes, Rivers & Lakes , both of which are available at her website.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Louisa McElwain - Large Format Plein Air

You might call it X-Large Format Plein Air...Louisa McElwain's plein air paintings can be up to 60"x90".

She uses the back of her pickup/camper as an easel and uses masonry trowels along with palette knives to mix and apply the paint. Here is a video of her working on location in sunny New Mexico:

She has studied drawing in Italy, attended the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and attended a master class with Wolf Kahn.

"Out of my education and experience I have blended two distinct ideas, the respect for materials and gesture held by the action painters of American abstract expressionism and the expressive breadth and reverence for Nature of the romantic composer Johannes Brahms.

I reject the presumption that the validity of contemporary art is commensurate with its ability to “challenge” the viewer, to provoke, repulse or offend, and question the motivation of artists who adhere to that school of thought. Rather, I strive to balance the beauty of the paint with the beauty of the motif, to create paintings that gratify, nourish and empower. I celebrate the embrace of the divine mysteries."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Missouri Wine Country Plein Air Event

Augusta, Missouri, will be hosting its 8th Annual Plein Air Art Event, with $7000 in awards and purses, Wednesday April 21st - Saturday May 1st. Participating artists will have opportunities to sell artwork throughout the event. Artists may paint any or all days during the event, at a location of their choosing or at any of the scheduled events. For entry forms postmarked on or before March 15th, the entry fee will be reduced from $30 to $25.

About 35 miles west of Saint Louis, Augusta is the site of the first federally recognized American Viticultural Area, or wine-growing region, known as Missouri Rhineland in honor of the German settlers who first established vinyards here around the 1840s. It is on the Katy Trail, the country's longest Rails-to-Trails project, which runs almost 265 miles across Missouri (most of it following Lewis and Clark's path up the Missouri River), and it is less than 10 miles from the large stone house where Daniel Boone lived out his later years.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Plein Air Painters of the Southeast

The Plein Air Painters of the Southeast is an organization of twenty professional artists that was started in 2001 by Dee Beard Dean and a few fellow painters. A jurying process has gradually added more artists over the years, and there are now twenty members.

This page of their website has a collection of sixteen archived articles written by the member artists, "chock-full of painterly advice and weathered wisdom from many years spent painting on location."

From April (azalea and dogwood season) through October, they are offering a series of workshops in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and Italy.

"The southeastern United States has a wealth of natural beauty from coastal salt marshes and barrier islands, to bucolic farmlands and deep deciduous forests. Our towns and cities are steeped in history and architectural elegance: the antebellum homes, colonial churches, courthouses and lighthouses. Throughout every state, one can see colorful reminders of a grand heritage in Southern landscapes and cityscapes."

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Master Artist Workshops

Saks Galleries in Denver is offering a series of Master Artist Workshops this spring and summer for the intermediate to advanced student. Participating artists include Quang Ho (April 22-24), Clive Tyler (May 18-22), Ron Hicks (June 10-12), Karen Vance (July 20-22), whose painting is shown here, and Jay Moore (August 12-14), who will also welcome beginning students in his workshop.

These will be intense, concentrated learning experiences with outstanding artists. The only workshops that specifically focus on landscape are Clive Tyler, Karen Vance and Jay Moore, but all of them teach relevant skills and techniques. Students in the Jay Moore and Clive Tyler classes will visit the Denver Art Museum and Botanical Gardens (tickets included in the workshop fee).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Plein Air Artists of Riverside - Paint Out

The southern California group Plein Air Artists of Riverside is affiliated with the Riverside Art Museum and has more than 75 members.

Every year, they sponsor a 9-day Paint Out followed by a juried exhibit at the Riverside Art Museum. This year, their 5th annual event begins this Saturday, February 20th and continues until Sunday the 28th. The painting shown here, by PAAR member Brian Wolf, was an award-winner last year.

On Saturday morning, Feb. 27th, there will be a “Quick Draw” from 9-11:30 with an award ceremony at noon, followed by a wet painting sale at the Riverside Plaza in front of the Riverside Arts Project Gallery until 4 pm.

The exhibit will be juried by William Wray and will be on view at the Riverside Art Museum through May 5.

"Monet had Giverny, we have Mission Inn Avenue."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Peninsula School of Art, Wisconsin

Among the many different art classes offered at the Peninsula School of Art in Door County, Wisconsin, there will be eleven plein air workshops this year from May through October. Registration for the general public begins on February 15th.

Door County, Wisconsin is a 75-mile peninsula between Green Bay on the west and Lake Michigan on the east.

Located in the town of Fish Creek on the shore of Green Bay, the school's roots go back to the years after World War I when faculty from The Art Institute of Chicago began spending summers in Door County to paint and teach. By 1995, the success of the growing school signaled a need for more classroom space and year-round availability of arts instruction. Through hard work, generous donors and dedicated volunteers, the year-round school and the 2-story Guenzel Gallery (shown here) became a reality.

There will also be a Door County Plein Air Festival from July 19-24 which is the largest event of this type in the Midwest. The festival ends on July 24th with a "Dockside Quick-Paint" and a live auction. The works will be on display and for sale through August 7th.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Glenna Hartmann Invitational Fine Art Exhibition

California pastelist Glenna Hartmann was an adventurous and gifted member of the plein air community and a signature member of Plein Air Painters of America. There will be an exhibit in her honor at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History on Saturday & Sunday, February 20 & 21 from 10:00a.m.–5:00p.m.

Nearly 60 of California's top landscape artists have been invited to participate, with 100 of their new paintings being sold to help support two of Glenna's beloved nonprofit organizations: The Nature Conservancy and Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

For the opening reception with the artists on Friday, February 19, tickets are $50. On the weekend, the exhibit is included with museum admission ($6-10 for adults, children are free).

Monday, February 8, 2010

Chuck Ceraso

Chuck Ceraso was a student of the American Impressionist Henry Hensche, who had studied at Charles Webster Hawthorne's Cape Cod School of Art. Like them, he focuses on the effects of light on color and how these effects can describe shapes and perspective.

Ceraso has been teaching drawing and painting for twenty years in various places, including the Denver Art Museum and at his studio in Lafayette, Colorado. He is also using his studio as a music venue, hosting a concert by Art Lande and Paul McCandless on Friday, March 12th.

He will be offering two workshops at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, September 12-18 and 19-25, which can be taken singly or in succession. He has recently completed the booklet, The Art of Color Seeing, which is available either as a hard copy or as an e-book.

"I’ve learned that to really see I have to let go of all of my ideas about what I’m looking at. A full presence of awareness is required for this seeing without thought, without ideas. This presence then seems to facilitate a more spontaneous process of painting, one unencumbered by a plan for a specific outcome. The painting has a life of its own and goes where the process itself takes it. In this, painting has become more an experience of revelation than as something I make happen."

Here is a time-lapse video of a painting he did on the iPod Touch with the app, Brushes. Didn't David Hockney do something like this as well?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Stuart Shils - 27 Years Outside

Another painter who uses the landscape as a starting point and arrives at an abstract destination is Stuart Shils. He has been a plein air painter since 1982, and when he gave a talk at Johns Hopkins University last fall, it was entitled "27 Years Outside."

During thirteen of those years, Shils spent the summer months in County Mayo, on the northwest coast of Ireland, where the sea and sky (and the mist & rain) add a turbulent dimension to the hilly landscape. When there is sunlight, it is often low on the horizon, casting dramatic shadows. He painted in oils on 12" - 15" prepared paper mounted on board.

In 2004, PBS aired Ballycastle, a documentary about Shils work in Ireland.
There are two clips from the film on his website.

Shils will have selected paintings from Italy, Ireland and Philadelphia on exhibit through February 27th at Coleman Bancroft LLC in New York City.

Stuart Shils teaches master classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. He is offering a 3-day intensive outdoor painting class April 16-18 (Friday-Sunday) with an emphasis on color and discriminating perception. There will be a free slide lecture Thursday, April 15, from 6–7:30 p.m. which is open to the public.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Keith Jacobshagen - Abstract Realism

Keith Jacobshagen graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute, received his MFA from the University of Kansas and became a professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has retired from there, but not from painting. Immense skies, low horizon lines and distant perspectives have dominated his paintings, which are usually done in oils (on canvas, paper and birch panel) and occasionally in watercolor. Working both plein air and in the studio, he paints sizes from 8"x8" up to 24"x24". The one shown here is oil on paper, 9"x10." The one shown below is 9"x28" (also oil on paper).

He studied with Robert Sudlow and Edwin Walker Dickinson, both of whom combine realist and abstract tendencies.

Of his time with Sudlow, Jacobshagen writes, "My first oil painting with Bob was made on a mild overcast day. I don't remember where we set up but around an hour into painting it began to snow. It was late in the afternoon and the light was beginning to fade so I started to pack up my gear. As I was putting everything in the car I heard "Sud", who was about ten yards away, yelling, "what are you doing, you're going to miss the best part." I got my kit out and started back to work. It was snowing harder and Bob was just a vague figure enveloped in a white cold confetti of snow but I could tell he was in a kind of rapture of painting and seeing."

There's a newspaper article here about an exhibit last fall at Kansas City’s Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art which included Jacobshagen. "His art isn’t trendy or wildly conceptual. But Jacobshagen is among the top painters working today, a master of the landscape who adds new dimensions and perspectives to the traditional subject matter."