January 6, 2010 Bee Tree Park, St. Louis MO

Painted alla prima from one of my favorite locations in St. Louis.

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M. Shawn Cornell

About M. Shawn Cornell

I'm a plein air painter by the strictest terms. Simply defined–all of my paintings are completed 100% on location. There’s positively no indoor touch-up. This is done for the vast challenges of painting from firsthand outdoor observation and to fully honor the historical tradition of painting directly from life. Why complete the painting entirely on location? Just as I would not call a color enhanced sapphire “natural,” I would not call any of my indoor enhanced paintings “plein air.”

Oil is my medium and I work with a limited palette of titanium white, ultramarine blue, cadmium red, cadmium yellow and transparent red iron oxide.

My paintings are neither cutting edge nor deep in metaphorical meaning. Simply, they are scenes and stories about brief moments I experience and witness during my excursions. I hope these scenes connect with the viewer, sparking a fond memory, a sense of familiarity or a bit of humor. For me, painting "en plein air" is more than just creating two-dimensional representations. It’s my wife’s companionship as she illuminates the canvas with a flashlight, so I can paint the full moon. It’s my dad and me sharing a thermos of hot-cheesy tomato soup while we paint a frozen, snow covered stream. It’s spending time to see the extraordinary in things many would label as ordinary. It’s a brief moment of life captured on canvas.