En Plein Air: Favorite Landscape Painters?

by Allison Malafronte

Just when I think I’m aware of every great artist past and present whose work might resonate with me, someone will mention a name I’ve never heard of, I’ll Google that artist, and lo and behold I will have someone else to add to my ever-increasing list of painters I want to learn from.
I thought it would be interesting to open up the question to you and ask you to list the top landscape artists, both past and present, whose work has profoundly influenced or inspired you on your artistic journey. This way, perhaps we can help one another discover artists we may not have been aware of but whose talent and accomplishments merit our attention.

Just to get the ball rolling, I’ll start. Some of my favorite past landscape painters include Frederic Edwin Church, George Inness, Constable, Turner, Whistler, Ralph Love, Robert Wood, and Fannie Duvall. A few of my favorite contemporary landscape painters are Ovanes Berberian, Anatoly Dverin, Joseph McGurl, Christopher Blossom, and Brent Cotton. Your turn!


Venice, From the Porch of Madonna Della Salute
by J.M.W. Turner, 835, oil, 36 x 38. Collection The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York.
Confirmation Class, San Juan Capistrano
by Fannie Duvall, 1897, oil, 20 x 30. Collection Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, California.

Rippled Water
by Joseph McGurl, 2002, oil, 30 x 40. Private collection.

Morning Prayer
by Brent Cotton, 2008, oil, 30 x 40. Collection the artist.

Related Posts:


Plein Air Painting Blog
Allison Malafronte

About Allison Malafronte

Allison Malafronte is the senior editor of American Artist magazines, and the project editor of  Plein Air Painting and Workshop With the Masters magazines. She is also the creative manager of the Weekend With the Masters Workshop & Conference (www.aamastersweekend.com) which was launched in 2009 and is now in its third year. She is author of the Art for Thought column in American Artist magazine (also on the Artist Daily site under The Artist's Life blog) and the 2008-2010 Plein Air blogs on Artist Daily. 

27 thoughts on “En Plein Air: Favorite Landscape Painters?

  1. I have a long and ever growing list too! I also count Inness and Church as favorites along with American Impressionists, Willard Metcalf, William Merritt Chase, John Twachtman and Sargent. William Langston Lathrop and Charles Eaton have become favorites, as well as Russian Master, Isaac Levitan. Contemporaries T. Allen Lawson, Skip Whitcomb, Clyde Aspevig and especially Andrew Wyeth have also influenced and inspired me. “Unknown Terrain – The Landscapes of Andrew Wyeth” is an excellent book depicting a number of lesser known landscapes that I go to time after time to take in Mr. Wyeth’s great designs. Thanks for asking, Allison!

  2. Those are all good ones. Metcalf is one I hear a lot, in fact Skip Whitcomb just recently mentioned that as an influence in an upcoming article. I agree with Clyde Aspevig, Joe McGurl, Scott Christensen, and Matt Smith, Lori. They are all solid, extremely skilled painters.

  3. These are all great names in art history. If you want a professional that is not so well known but created hundreds of dynamic landscapes of the Ohio hills and old water mills in oil and pastel, during the depression and way into his 90’s, then look at some Walter E. Ashbaugh landscapes. His pallet knife work in oil is just fantastic. Unfortunately, I meet him just a few years before he died and was unable to study with him. He was just on of the successful artists without the notoriety. So, I am glad to be able to mention his name.

  4. Some Great Painters from Gloucester, Ma
    One’s who have passed; Emile Gruppe’, Paul Strisik, Ken Gore
    Living; David P. Curtis, Paul Frontiero, Donald Mosher, Wayne Morrell
    Check them out. I think You’ll enjoy what you see

  5. Always looking for inspiration, I have a long list of bookmarked artists too. Some of my current favorite contemporaries are Kevin Macpherson, Marcia Burtt, Randall Sexton and Ray Roberts.

  6. In addition to many of the previously mentioned Landscape Artists, I have to mention Camille Corot and a wonderful present-day Artist, Cindy House. A quick visit to her website will surely be a delight for any Artist interested in Pastel, Landscape and Birds. It is almost beyond belief what she has done now for several years. I feel that any reader will be fascinated and delighted with a visit to her Website. They are very inspirational, to say the least.

  7. In addition to Aspevig, Macpherson, Matt Smith, and Scott Christensen, here are two fantastic women plein air painters I haven’t yet seen mentioned:Camille Przewodek and Jean LeGassick.

  8. One artist I admire, who is more of a painterly realist, is Neil Welliver. He often did small on location paintings that he would reference again in his studio forr larger finished work.
    Another contemporary artist I admire is Charles Sovek for his painterliness and vibrant color usage As you can see from the responses already in there are a lot of great artist out there!

  9. Russell Chatham beautifully captured huge Montana expanses in tiny oil paintings, back in the ’80’s, but those are hard to find at this late date. Now he seems to be doing mostly lithographs, and they are quite evocative of the light and space of that wide-open state. Thank you, Mrgee, for reminding me of Charles Burchfield… always loved his work and your post sent me on an hour-long internet review of it!

  10. This is a great forum, I have had a great time revisiting artists and learning about new ones lik Cindy House she is amazing.
    Brent Cotton is fantastic and a very friendly and sharing person to boot. Scott Christensen blows my mind, I took a 9 day workshop with him and I still sit in awe.
    Studying illustration in college I fell in love with father Wyeth, N.C. Wyeth . It was Wyeth that led me to learn more about impressionism especially early California impressionism. This has become one of my biggest loves. It is now artists like Guy Rose William Wendt, Grandville Redmond and Edgar Payne who I like. I love the freshness of the paintings, I like that they are not after a photographic representation, but rather a painting that conveys what is was like to be there at the that time. They all have a comfort and control that one can feel in how the paint was applied. I want that. I want the paint to become like an extension of me, of my thoughts and feelings toward a place. It is a funny thing that to get to the point where things feel natural and thoughtless we must first study so much that it can all become second nature.

  11. If you like the obvious ones ie. Christensen, Smith, Aspevig, you’re going to love:
    Jill Carver http://www.jillcarver.com

    Bryan Mark Taylor http://www.bryanmarktaylor.com

    Trevor Chamberlain(no website but paste this in URL)http://www.amazon.com/Trevor-Chamberlain-England-Celebration-Painting/dp/1841145475/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1232733738&sr=1-4

    William Scott Jennings http://www.wsjennings.com

    Kim English (no website) http://www.artaspens.com/gallery/gallery20.html

    Greg Larock http://www.greglarock.com/

    Scott Lloyd Anderson http://www.scottlloydanderson.com/

    Kathryn Stats http://www.kathrynstats.com/

    Enjoy, good discussion!!

  12. These are all such great responses, and I appreciate being introduced to some names I was not aware of, especially CIndy House. Just looked at her website, and I can see what several people listed her as an inspiration.

    And you’re right, Jennifer. There aren’t nearly enough women on the list! I also admire Camille Przewodek’s and Jean LeGassick’s work, and Marcia Burtt and Lynn Gertenbach are two other great landscape painters.

  13. I have found Lanford Monroe’s artwork to be very inspiring to me. While she is known primarily for wildlife, her animals were always placed within subtly beautiful landscapes.

    Corot’s work is mesmerizing.

    Living artists that haven’t been mentioned yet are Jim Wilcox and Richard Schmid.

  14. Apart from the great French impressionists I think the American en plein air painters are great. I don’t know many of them beigng s South African but I like the current group of American artists like Glenn Dean and also Camille Prezewodek. Of the old school a American painters I have place for William Morris-Hunt although he did a lot of portraits.

  15. Everyone that answered has selected some excellent artists. I would like to add to the list , Albert Handell, Richard Mc Daniel , Elizabeth Mowry. Bob Rohm , Ann Templeton, Doug Dawson and Richard Mckinley.

  16. I’m a huge fan of Rick Howell, OPA, out of Colorado. Every painting takes my breath away with the subtleness of his palette. His book andDVD on plein air painting comes out this May or June. A friend has raved about Howell’s mentoring program – available by word of mouth or referral. Also a fan of Frank Serrano, Skip Whitcomb, and . . . so many.