Plein Air Painting

. Artists Sketching in the White Mountains by Winslow Homer, 1868, oil painting.
Artists Sketching in the White Mountains
by Winslow Homer, 1868, oil painting.
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What Is Plein Air Painting?

Plein air painting is about leaving the four walls of your studio behind and experiencing painting and drawing in the landscape. The practice goes back for centuries but was truly made into an art form by the French Impressionists. Their desire to paint light and its changing, ephemeral qualities, coupled with the creation of transportable paint tubes and the box easel—the precursor to the plein air easels of today—allowed artists the freedom to paint “en plein air,” which is the French expression for “in the open air.”

Outdoor painting gives artists the opportunity to paint the landscape in an immediate way—from direct observation—responding to changes in light, air quality, weather, and time of day. Many advocates and artists who have taken up plein air painting are committed to creating stirring landscape paintings that are derived solely from nature itself, in an alla-prima style (which means producing a painting in one session outdoors). But practitioners can also find it useful to work from a variety of sources for a plein air painting, including initial pencil sketches, photographs, and research.

Sketches allow painters to improve the overall design of a painting and quickly capture color notes in the landscape. A plein air painter can also use photographs to help design a painting, though they usually come into play after the artist has left the outdoor painting site for the comforts of the studio. An artist often utilizes photographs to capture details—like the particular texture of grass or the shape of a river bend—but most painters stay away from using photographs for color and value indicators.

Today, plein air painting is a flourishing trend in our art world. Artists come together for “paint out” excursions, workshops devoted to the practice occur all year-round and coast to coast, and landscape painters are finding that plein air painting is as rewarding and powerful an experience as it was for the first plein air painters all those years ago.

Plein Air Painting Techniques: Painting Light

Anaheim Glow by James Gurney, 2006, oil painting. .
Anaheim Glow by James Gurney, 2006, oil painting.
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When you paint from observation, whether on-site or indoors, you'll encounter several different light sources, including direct sunlight, overcast sky, window light, candlelight, and electric light. These types of light-and others as well-all have distinctive qualities that you have to understand in order to paint them convincingly.

Direct Sunlight
On a clear, sunny day, three different systems of illumination are at work: the sun, the blue sky, and reflected light from illuminated objects. Of these three sources of light, the latter two derive entirely from the sun, and thus should be subordinate to it.

Overcast Light
The layer of clouds diffuses the sunlight, eliminating the extremes contrasts of light and shadow. One of the virtues of overcast light is that it allows you to paint forms in their true colors without dramatic contrasts of light and shade.

Streetlights & Night Conditions
The modern nightscape includes incandescent, fluorescent, neon, mercury-vapor, sodium, arc, metal-halide, and LED lights-and, of course, moonlight. Each has a distinctive spectral power distribution. Here are some tips if you want to learn more about night illumination:

               -The variety of outdoor lighting colors is best seen when flying over a city at night.

               -Take photographs with a digital camera set on its night setting. New cameras are excellent at capturing low-level lighting effects.

               -Try some urban night painting, using a portable LED light to illuminate your palette.

--James Gurney, from Plein Air Painting, Spring 2011 and adapted from James Gurney's book, Color & Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter

Plein Air Essentials: Painting Water

. Calm II by John Hulsey, watercolor painting.
Calm II by John Hulsey, watercolor painting.
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Water is perhaps one of the more challenging subjects to paint convincingly in a landscape painting. Whether one is inspired by the ocean, river, pond or lake, each subject requires a studied familiarity and often distinctly different paint handling. Here are a just a few tips that we consider helpful when painting water:

1: The sky and the water generally share the same colors, although the water will be darker in value. Draw a solid horizon or shoreline and block them in at the same time to make sure they have shared colors. 

2: Ocean waves in constant motion present a challenge for the plein air painter because you want to capture the movement and the light effects that occur in breaking waves. The wave changes color and value as it gains height and thins out just before breaking. Until a wave begins to break, it shares the color of the sky. As it rises, it becomes a transparent window into the wave itself, and so turns greenish, and may even pick up the color of the sand for an instant just as it breaks. A great way to quickly get proficient at painting waves is to paint with only a palette knife.

3. Still water on lakes, ponds, and even placid rivers presents the challenge of painting reflections, often filled with sunrise or sunset colors. Maxfield Parrish used to build a model landscape on a mirror in order to get his reflections right in his realistic studio paintings. In plein air, however, we must analyze on the spot, and render those reflections in a much looser, more gestural way. Unless the reflection is your subject, try rendering it as a large tonal mass of color, rather than a lot of individual strokes.  Keep in mind that reflections are always darker than the object itself.

--John Hulsey and Ann Trusty

Painting Outdoors Quickly and Deliberately

. Classical Reference I by Maddine Insalaco, 2008, oil on canvas.
Classical Reference I by Maddine Insalaco, 2008, oil on canvas.
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Painting outside is challenging due to the fugitive light and constantly changing atmospheric environmental conditions. Although plein air paintings are prized for their spontaneity and freshness, one of the best ways to learn the art of plein air is to be organized and deliberate.

To ensure you are making the most of your time painting outdoors, begin with a plan and approach the painting methodically from the start. In the excitement to begin painting, many artists jump right in and start covering the surface with color before the composition is clearly drawn and before they really analyze the subject, the space to be depicted, and its color in abstract pictorial terms.

Your Palette: Maintaining an organized palette helps you more carefully consider what you are painting. Match the palette itself to the picture surface. When we mix paint on a palette that is closely keyed to the surface, we take a small step toward color accuracy.

Premixing Colors: Using palette knives, mix pools of paint that reflect all the important areas of the composition projected on the palette. Mixtures should be juxtaposed on the palette in relationships, as they will appear on the surface. The palette knife allows for the cleanest mixtures and is also the best tool for testing the color accuracy. Mix a uniform color, take the loaded knife, and place it with extended arm next to the element in the actual landscape that you are trying to mix.

Laying in the Composition: Starting from the distance space (at the top of the canvas) and moving gradually forward (toward the bottom), I lay in colors as I have mixed them. My general rule is to work back to front, inside to outside (for example, painting the darker inside parts of trees first, then the light on the leaves), and under to over (such as painting the earth before painting the grass growing on top of it). In this way, the paint layers reflect the actual spatial relationships in the landscape.

--Maddine Insalaco, from Plein Air Painting, Fall 2011 

Plein Air Painting Techniques: How to Paint Clouds

Clear Water, Bahama Flats by Joseph McGurl, oil painting.

Clear Water, Bahama Flats by Joseph McGurl, oil painting.

The sky is the literal and figurative apex of any landscape painting, and within the sky's expanses are the possibilities for any number of cloud shapes and styles, from peaked and swirling to heavy-bottomed and substantial. Here are the most commonly encountered cloud formations in nature and tips on how depict them when you are painting outside.

Cumulus: These are probably the most commonly seen clouds, and they are usually present on fair, clear, sunny days. They resemble huge masses of puffy wool and float through the sky at various heights, with the side of the cloud that is facing the sun usually being very bright and the side that is farther from the sun usually appearing dark with bright edges.

Cirrus: Wispy and high in the sky, these clouds are actually made up of ice crystals formed from the freezing of supercooled water droplets and are usually present on a clear day. Cirrus clouds are sometimes referred to as "feather" clouds or "mare's-tails" and point in the direction of air movement at their elevation, which is usually about five to six miles high.

Stratus: These clouds can almost be described as a sheet of layered fog that hangs low to the horizon on gray days, usually during the winter. They are often layered and sometimes have horizontal bands of shapes that indicate a possibility of rain. Artists often find these clouds the easiest to paint for their simple shape and pattern.

Nimbus: Nimbus clouds are precipitation clouds that are thick in texture and dark in color while being almost umbrella-like in shape. Their darkness reflects the amount of water they are carrying, and that precipitation may reach the earth as rain, snow, or hail. Small, ragged pieces of these clouds floating at a lower level are often referred to as "scud."

Resources

Plein Air Painting Magazines

30 Top Plein Air Painters Share Their Advice

Our Plein Air Painting special-issues fly off our shelves and now the newest edition of the beloved magazine is back with even more master artists sharing their best on-site landscape painting instruction.

Introducing the new special-issue Plein Air Painting Fall 2011.


There’s even more to know about painting en plein air—we're delivering more outdoor painting how-tos to fuel your passion and better your artwork.

 

Plus our Plein Air Resource Guide, with great info on how to take the next steps in plein air!


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  • Tomie dePaola, beloved by children and their parents, talks with great good humor to another celebrated illustrator, Will Hillenbrand, in a freewheeling interview that spans dePaola's own childhood, his ties to theatre, and his time at Pratt. Tomie
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  • Plein air painting enthusiasts often talk about how different the painting experience is when you are painting outdoors , under the sun. There's a thrill that comes from the challenge of capturing the scene--a spontaneity that records an artist's
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  • There is nothing that defines an artist quite like his or her palette. Some consist of premixed colors and others are developed in the moment, determined by the needs of each painting. Some artists are meticulously organized, with paints arranged by color temperature, while other artists arrange colors
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  • When I'm hiking or walking on the beach, my attention span is really short. I flit from activity to activity, sight to sight, just trying to take it all in. That's why pastel painting is a perfect fit for me when I want to create art outdoors
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  • We read an interesting article recently in The New York Times titled, " Why We Love Beautiful Things " in which the architect and author, Lance Hosey, wrote about some of the latest research findings and his opinions on the subject. Peony Bouquet
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  • Almost any artist will tell you that there's a certain appeal to working outdoors that can't be found anywhere else. With spring in full swing, many of us have left our studios for our porches, backyards, and beyond. To celebrate the season and all of the landscape art being made, here are 10
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  • It feels right to talk about color and art during this time of the year, when flowers are blooming, trees are budding, and skies are (mostly) blue. After months of dull-colored scenery, everything seems to be flourishing wherever I look, which makes me
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  • As we all start getting ready to step outside our studios and paint outdoors or create studio landscape painting based on our experiences in nature, I wanted to explain the design elements that I put together for this particular painting, Summer Wind
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  • It’s only May, and already I’m fantasizing about summer road trips and exotic jaunts. But then I remember that almost every time I go on vacation my glow wears off once the artists show up. Inevitably, I see a traveler who is painting or sketching, creating significant and personal mementos
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  • The patterns of nature inspire our artwork. One of the most fascinating recent discoveries is the intimate relationship between the patterns found in nature's tiniest creations to the patterns found in her broadest, most sweeping productions. The
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  • Sounds mysterious and threatening, right? No worries! It's just that when Liz Haywood-Sullivan began to create pastel drawings, she was dismayed with the range of dark colors available. "Rich, dark pastels were hard to find," she says. "Most
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  • The large snow storms that graced our area this winter gave us opportunities to study the unique light, colors and shadows that only snow cover provides. Painting snow presents many challenges to the plein air painter--the least of which is the cold.
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  • We are not alone as artists in our passion for gardens. We follow in the footsteps of several rather impressive artists throughout history. Our personal gardens are designed for plein air painting and inspire us in every season. But this year, we have
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  • Arches, towers, bridges, and vaulted ceilings--I love all aspects of architecture and engineering, and it was through these things that I first started to appreciate plein air painting. Before, when I was trying to understand what plein air was all about
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  • The last two centuries, in particular, witnessed the final great explorations of the surface of the planet by scientists, geographers, and surveyors. In those pre-photography days, and for a while after, artists were an integral part of any expedition
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  • Interest in acrylic painting is skyrocketing. There is less and less of a bias against this medium as a newcomer, and more and more of an interest in the healthful qualities and vibrant colors acrylics have to offer. In our free eBook, Acrylic Painting
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  • "Of the original phenomena, light is the most enthralling." - Leonardo da Vinci Crepuscular rays are those wonderful beams of light we see at the beginning or end of the day that appear to radiate from the single point of the sun and stream
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  • Recently, we received a good question from a reader about how to paint one of our favorite landscape subjects--fog and mist. To understand how to paint light effects, it can be helpful to have a basic understanding of why things work the way they do.
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  • When is blue not blue? Ask any Indigo Bunting and they will tell you, "When it is black!" This is because the feathers of the diminutive Indigo Bunting are not actually blue, they are black, and only appear blue to us when they are in direct
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  • I may have grabbed your attention at the risk of making you think I'm a big fat fibber, but I do think that when it comes to landscape painting, you sometimes have to lie--or at least exaggerate--to get what you want. This is based on personal experience
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  • Have you ever noticed when you are plein air painting how the colors of objects look so radically different in the very low light just before dawn or twilight? Take a red rose, for instance. We know that the flower's petals are bright red against
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  • With so much interest in plein air painting these days, it's easy to overlook how important drawing skills can be to the landscape painting artist. Fundamentally, drawing is both a way of seeing and a way of knowing a subject. If you can draw it,
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  • Why go to the trouble of painting from life when our cameras can take such great pictures? Digital cameras have gotten so good at taking properly exposed, beautiful photos that they can fool us into thinking that they are also accurate. To be sure, the
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  • I was in Florida a few weeks ago and felt so lucky to be in such a warm, sunny place that I don't think I spent a minute indoors. I was kayaking, mountain biking, walking on the beach, and swimming in the ocean. And again and again I would look around
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  • It's a brand new year and I want to start it off with a bang! And the one thing that I can't get enough of is color. The color wheel holds such simple beauty and complex mysteries, from saturated primary colors to more involved color mixes, that
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  • While it was a lousy summer for tomatoes, something in the air made the pumpkins and winter squash particularly prolific, and we find ourselves with a workshop full of the stuff. What we are convinced is a flood of trouble may actually be a sea of opportunity
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  • Ever wondered where Da Vinci found the time to create all his masterpieces? Alongside his fine art painting he managed to dabble as a scientist, geologist, architect, mathematician, engineer, and anatomist with a bit of aeronautical design thrown in for
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  • Around this time of year we are inundated with wintry scenes and beautiful snowy landscapes--on greeting cards, products, advertisements, calendars and more. But these winter landscapes aren't necessarily all created equal, and the same goes for the
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  • You’re in a beautiful plein air painting location, you whip out your camera and take photograph after photograph – it's essential to have lots of references for landscape painting, you know. Then you dig out your sketchbook, pencils, and
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  • Uh, I think I may have stumbled into an artist's dream! The Artist's Network Annual Holiday Sweepstakes is going on right now, offering awesome art prizes from the best painting and drawing product makers and service providers around. Rosemary
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  • Artists who step outside their studios take a leap of faith. When you determine that you are ready to create a plein air painting , you take a chance with lighting, composition, color, and time. All of these are variables that you need to contend with
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  • I'm a water person. I love boating, swimming, scuba diving, and just looking at the ever-changing surface of nearby waterways. And I'm not alone. American artists--and those abroad--have been enamored with so many beautiful bodies of water over
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  • Zooming in and out of the Canadian North like a hummingbird on a flower, my mouse was beginning to heat up. An armchair explorer’s best friend, Google Earth was helping me understand the massive scale of the Arctic ( here's my video all about
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  • We travel frequently to paint en plein air in new locations and sometimes teach workshops in those new environments as well. One of our favorite locations is northern New Mexico--the Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch area. Each day while we are there, we plan our
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  • "Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky." - Khalil Gibran Perhaps the biggest challenge for those of us who paint from life is to see and understand what is right before our eyes. This may sound simple, but it is anything but, and
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  • Perhaps the toughest skill that the artist painting outside must learn is the ability to judge values accurately, and then mix them in paint. The reason that this skill requires so much practice to get right is because our eyes and brains are constantly
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  • Those of us in the fine art industry know that artists and art galleries have had a long-standing love/hate relationship. Artists love the fact that galleries market and sell works of art, but they hate the fact that the better galleries keep 40% or 50
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  • I roll my eyes every time I hear about representational art and realism being "imperiled," because there are so many important representational artists painting right now. It's almost offensive how people think legitimacy comes with the
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  • Here it is: If you aren't going to really push it when you make a landscape painting , it is going to be completely forgettable. Having looked at thousands of landscape paintings, and made a few myself, I'll be honest and tell you that only the
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  • Of course there are more than three painting techniques that will allow you to create a compelling artwork, but learning how to paint a picture well can certainly start with these elements. Rhythm. Painting objects that actually look alive, in the case
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  • Yes, you read that right! I've heard of extreme sports and extreme makeovers, but extreme outdoor painting ? This is a first for me. But when plein air artist Cory Trepanier told me that he had made a trek to paint the far reaches of the Canadian
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  • Most artists tend to be dreamers, myself included. In 2006, with just my passion for painting the wilderness, I began to let my mind wander in and around the idea of painting places I'd only dreamed about--incredibly wild and remote landscapes. Places
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  • In plein air we attempt a form of direct translation. In the studio, we may recall our observations of nature, but are freer to be inventive with color. Night Passage by Mitchell Albala, 2006, oil painting on panel, 20 x 20. It's September and the
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  • When it comes to putting additives into your paints, it just isn't the same as eating a Twinkie or bag of Doritos. Additives are necessary in some cases, especially for landscape artists who work with varying conditions when painting outdoors . They
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  • Sketching is information gathering and painting is translating the information. That's where I've ended up after pondering one particular comment made in response to my Wimping Out of Plein Air Painting post: "even if you are doing a plein
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  • Because the eye and the brain are constantly adjusting to the changing hues and values of sunlight and shadows when painting outdoors , it can be difficult to see those changes as they happen to our subject. If one is unaware that the original light has
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  • We enjoyed the recent plein air blog of artist Marion Boddy-Evans and agree with her sentiments. We have been outdoor painting for over forty years each (before the "plein air" phrase became ubiquitous) and have always felt that the value in
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  • Jeffrey Watts: Weekend with the Masters art instructor Jeffrey R. Watts is a southern California native. Growing up in rural San Diego county with an artist father, Watts demonstrated an early aptitude for the visual arts. After an injury cut short his
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  • Ken Backhaus: Weekend with the Masters art instructor Kenn Backhaus was born in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, and spent much of his childhood on the family farm near Burnett, Wisconsin. His fondness for nature became the catalyst for his art. Backhaus' parents
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  • Whenever I end up in a conversation where other artists start talking about the kit they take with them when plein air painting --and it often starts with what plein air easel is the best--I tend to keep quiet. Very quiet. A page from my sketchbook when
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  • The winners of our Self-Portrait Cover Competition are featured in the September issue of American Artist, and they share advice about how to paint the figure and how to maintain a successful painting practice. When we asked David Tanner, the winner of
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  • An artiste is something you don't want to be, that is, if you consider yourself an artist. While it sounds akin to archaic words like poetess or authoress, which in years passed denoted a female poet or author, an artiste is a "sort of"
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  • In this extra-length special issue, American Artist takes you through the business of being an artist, including advice for securing commissions and information on how you can use the internet to reach your professional goals. We also visit master workshops from artists such as Bo Bartlett and Donald
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  • Plein air artists are the first to tell you that you can go back to the same site over and over again during different times of day and it is like being in a whole other place. Light does that! It can turn a bright and sunny scene into a murky and mysterious
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  • Being outdoors revitalizes us in a number of ways. You can relax and laze away the day in the shade, climb the tallest peak in sight, or be awe-inspired by the waterways around you. Of late, I am definitely in the latter camp. A good friend of mine has
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  • When plein air painting , one of the most enjoyable and facile medias I've found to work with has to be watercolors. Hands down. The supplies are minimal, you can paint quickly and move from place to place making sketches of what catches your interest
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  • In any painting, the biggest expenditure for the artist is the frame that goes around the finished piece. If it's a watercolor painting, there's the matting, the glazing, and the frame holding it all together; for the oil on canvas or acrylic
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  • In this issue, we reveal the finalists in our self-portrait cover competition and look at the atmospheric landscapes of David Dewey.
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  • Recently we added an informative article to the members' area of The Artist's Road called "Understanding Light in the Landscape: The Carlson Theory of Angles." It gives the student a crucial tool to make sense of the confusing array
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  • In this issue of American Artist, we look at both the plein air and figurative work of the California art scene. Articles feature the upcoming “On Location in Malibu” exhibition, the philosophies and artwork of NovoRealism, Weekend With the Masters instructor Jennifer McChristian, and the
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  • In their day, the Hudson River School landscape artists were so popular with the public that people would line up and pay a fair amount of money just to view a single painting. Our plein air blogger Jennifer King shares her insights on why the works of
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  • One of the major challenges of painting outdoors is the need to gather enough visual information about our subject in a brief moment of perfect light. In rushing to capture the light in nature, it is easy to lose those subtle details and tonal changes
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  • Losing a painting somewhere is never fun, but losing a good painting can drive one to temporary distraction. While teaching our plein air painting workshop in Rocky Mountain National Park last September, I was demonstrating the direct-painting method
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  • On Location with Michael Stasinos and Mitchell Albala It never ceases to amaze me how unique each painter's vision can be—in everything from the subjects they choose to the color choices they make or the type of painterly handwriting they use
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  • Below you'll find artist and blogger Jennifer King's discussion of when a plein air painting can be too real. I don't think she's being harsh at all, but you'll have to decide for yourself. Enjoy! ***** I think it's time for some
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  • We have always felt that as plein air painters we are observers of the landscape—recording moments and places that can rapidly transform with fleeting changes of light. In a pure landscape, figures and animals are rendered small and insignificant
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  • I don't care how many times I see Monet's paintings, they never cease to inspire me. I just had the great pleasure of seeing the new Monet show at the Cincinnati Art Museum with my art buddies, and especially for those of us plein-air artists
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  • The Water Lily Pond by Claude Monet, oil painting, 1899. Mitchell Albala is an inspiring art instructor in the field of landscape painting , and it turns out he's an awesome detective as well. Recently, he did some sleuthing on a rare video clip of
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  • The SourceTek cover art competition opened March 1. It's always an exciting prospect to have your work seen by artists whom you respect and admire. SourceTek, maker of canvas panels, plein air panels and more, certainly agrees. For fourteen years
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  • Call it the blues, call it the doldrums, call it what you will--it seems that many of us plein-air painters go through a slump about this time of year. Even if the weather is good enough for painting outdoors, nature isn't always at her finest when
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  • Intimate Gathering by Russell Irwin, 2002, acrylic and torn paper on board, 48 x 60. When I was flipping through the American Artist magazine archives for mixed media art inspiration, I was prepared to do some pretty extensive digging. I assumed that
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  • If there were any artist, past or present, into whose studio I could magically transport myself and observe him paint, it would be Claude Monet. I have always been intrigued by his painting style, especially his highly textured and complex surfaces. When
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  • I know it is only January, but I'm already thinking spring! And so is the Pantone Color Institute . The organization has just released their seasonal color report, and while this is specifically written for the fashion and design industry, we art
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  • When I asked friends and colleagues about landscape painting artists with the best use of color, the conversation got downright heated. Mostly because there's so much to consider when you look at each individual artist's color "theory"
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  • Spring in the Hills II by John Hulsey, 5 x 7, oil painting. Whenever we get to feeling that there is nothing really new to be discovered in art or the world, we have to keep in mind that the "undiscovered country" often lies in our own backyards
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  • In a recent painting of mine, you can see the sky and clouds are the lightest value, the towering waves and rocks are the darkest, as they are more vertical to the light of the sky. The flat of the ocean is the second lightest of the values, equating
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  • Astor Place by Emily Falco, watercolor painting, 14 1/2 x 14 1/2, 2009. It warms my heart when I hear artists expressing excitement about their chosen painting medium because artists are the ones in the business of knowing all the ins and outs of their
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  • I get excited and a bit chagrined whenever I discover oil painters of the past that I've never heard of. I realize that I'm no walking encyclopedia, yet I like to think I've got sound footing in oil painting . But the history of fine art oil
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  • Don't give up your plein air focus over the winter months. Try to paint from life indoors and keep sketching. ( Melting Snow by Ben Fenske, 60 x 75, oil on canvas.) For some of us, winter weather is just a bit too unpredictable and chilly to spend
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  • We spent a lot of painting time along the cliffs outside San Juan. Painting can be a pretty isolating affair, and though I love the alone time spent with my muse, I miss the collective energy that working in a group of like-minded colleagues provides
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  • Turquoise Sky 3 , acrylic on panel, 5 x 5. All works by Lisa Snow Lady. I give a lot of credit to professional and semi-professional artists who seek out ongoing training or the advice of peers, even after their initial successes. I firmly believe that
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  • This short video is excerpted from a demonstration I gave at my annual plein air painting workshop in Skagit Valley, Washington. ( Gage Academy of Art , July, 2010.) The video talks about painting strategies in general and gives specific examples of the
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  • Upper Ridge at Dusk , 2011, oil on panel, 18 x 18 . Mt. Shuksan in Sunlight , 2010, oil on panel, 12 x 12. At my April 2011 exhibition at Lisa Harris Gallery, I gave an hour-long presentation on my "In Sunlight" series. This was a special opportunity
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  • Sonata of the Sea--Finale by Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, 1908. One of my favorite movements in art is the Symbolist movement of the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries. The artists were so free in exploring what mattered to them—personal
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  • The Coming Storm by George Inness, 1879, oil on canvas, 27 1/4 x 41 3/4. Are you as bored of pretty outdoor painting scenes as I am? My eyes just seem to glaze over when I see a plein air painting scene with picture perfect sunlight over an idyllic landscape
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  • Lake Tahoe by Albert Bierstadt, 1868. In their day, the Hudson River School landscape painters were so popular with the public that people would line up and pay a fair amount of money just to view a single painting. So I think it's safe to say that
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  • I want to share an inspiring story I just heard from one of our members, Mark Beale . Enjoy! Bryce Canyon by Bruce Stam, oil painting, 8 x 10. Backwater Twilight by Mark Beale, oil painting, 9 x 12. Bruce Stam and I are two landscape painters from opposite
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  • Lee's Ranch - Sunny Day by Camille Przewodek, 9 x 12, oil on canvas. Even now it sounds like a beautiful, incredible, impossible thing to accomplish. I mean, paint light ? It seemed like magic to me at first. And I didn't understand what it all
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  • We plein-air artists seem to put a lot of emphasis on traveling to far off places to paint, don't we? The fields of Tuscany, the rugged California coast, the farmhouses of the Cotswolds all seem to beckon. And heeding that call can be fantastic. I
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  • Optimal Orientation of Subject and Artist in Plein Air Before the first daub of paint is squeezed out of the tube and brush is put to canvas, many plein air painters have already set themselves up for failure. How? By selecting a site that doesn't
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  • Demonstration: Exploring Composition Through a Limited Focus A "limited focus" isn't limiting at all, but expands our options in composition The first compositional move any painter makes is to apply a limited focus. Whether it be a still
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  • This December, Signilar —the maker of top notch art instruction videos—is hosting a painting workshop led by portrait artist Judith Carducci in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. To gush just a lil' bit, this seems like an amazing opportunity
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  • When discussing landscape painting , we often hear the phrase "capturing a sense of place." What does that mean to you? To me, it means so much more than just recording the physical attributes of the location. It goes way beyond suggesting the
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  • Anselm Kiefer is not a landscape painter by any stretch of the imagination, and yet his incredibly powerful work is based in and of the land. Observing his mixed media paintings and sculpture has taught me a lot about what a truly impactful landscape
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  • But that is exactly what makes them so powerful. I've never been more moved by seeing a work in person than I am when I see Kiefer's. They floor me. As I said in my other post on Kiefer , it certainly has to do, in part, with the fact that his
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  • Under the Awning by Joaquin Sorolla, oil painting, 1910. "There is nothing truer than truth. All the mistakes committed by great artists are due to their having separated themselves from truth, believing that their imagination is stronger...There
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  • Ernest Lawson (1873 - 1939) came to maturity at the dawn of the 20th century, so his work was modern and gritty and real. His are not the idyllic landscape paintings of Corot , nor are they the dazzling light shows in Monet's plein air paintings
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  • Study for Gapstow Bridge in Sunlight by Bennett Vadnais, oil on canvas, 12 x 16, 2007. Fall is my favorite time of year. It's my birthday season, so of course I'm partial, but I also just love the smell of autumn. It's crisp and clean, and
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  • The last two editions of Plein Air Painting were a huge success—they flew off the shelves—and now the newest edition of the beloved magazine is back with even more on-site landscape painting instruction, handpicked by the trusted editors at American Artist, introducing the new special-issue
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  • 20 Top Artists Reveal How To Adjust to Regional Sites, Pack What You Need, Scale-Up Sketches, & Travel Safely Abroad; The history of the Plein Air Movement, and much more!
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  • But I think it's time for some straight talk. I've participated in many, many plein air painting critiques over the years, and I can't begin to tell you how often I've been faced with landscape paintings that are a little off. Perhaps
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  • These four oil paintings have something in common. Yes, of course, they were all painted by George Inness (1825-1894), one of the greatest American landscape painters of all time. But there's something else, an incredibly valuable lesson. Have you
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  • I'm a sucker for a good cause, and the Yellow Barn Studio and Gallery is putting on a great one this October: The Green Paint Out, a plein air landscape painting competition with the mission of preserving and protecting America's national parks
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  • Drawings of horses in the Chauvet caves. We recently watched the Werner Herzog film, Chauvet: Cave of Forgotten Dreams . Herzog made the film about the prehistoric, 30,000- to 32,000 year-old cave art discovered in 1994 in the Ardeche region of France
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  • Recollection of Mortefontaine by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, landscape oil painting, 1864. One of my great heroes in art is Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796-1875), the world-famous French artist who is still considered one of the best landscape artists
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  • The cave paintings of Lascaux. Legend has it that Pablo Picasso remarked upon emerging from a visit to Lascaux cave that, "we have discovered nothing new in art in 17,000 years." The beautiful artwork from this ancient era is a reminder of our
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  • My version of an art "mixed tape" is a bunch of really great info and inspiration for us as we head into the home stretch of summer. Here are several of my favorite recent Artist Daily blog entries and American Artist online articles that have
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  • John had to deal with rapidly changing weather conditions as he worked on his plein air watercolor painting, Cub Lake Trailhead . We outdoor painters are always on the search for beautiful places to paint, and so we become inveterate travelers and explorers
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  • All you landscape artists who live in the dry, deserty parts of the world, or you plein air painters in the wet, watery parts of the world, bear with me, but those of us who live in the lushly vegetated parts of the world face a big challenge: green!
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  • The industry’s favorite plein air magazine is back with more of what you love! Last year, Plein Air Painting magazine flew off the shelves! Capture info from on-site studies, direct observations, and outdoor painting instruction from top plein air painters of today. Perfect your plein air painting
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  • I used to waste oodles of time blocking in my plein air paintings until I finally learned some great tips for doing them fast, such as skipping the drawing, establishing the value range first, and addressing each set of values in a logical order. Here's
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  • Fallen Tree, Mississippi by Jeffrey Smith, 11 x 14, oil painting. My studio is filled with stuff to look at: still life objects, postcards of paintings that I love, and written notes of things to think about and remember as I'm working on a painting
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  • Ocean II by John Hulsey, 30 x 40, oil painting. The painting Ocean II was created from a smaller plein air study created at sunrise on Isle of Palms, South Carolina. I liked the composition and colors, and especially the way the wet sand mirrored the
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  • A gray-scale photograph of my plein air oil painting subject. If you read my last post , you know I'm a believer in spending time planning a composition before diving into a plein-air painting . Yet, I also want to get started as soon as possible
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  • Watercolor study by John Hulsey, 7 1/2 x 7. Being strong dog proponents (especially for dogs in the studio, where they never provide negative commentary), and being the caretakers (or is it the other way around?) of two ancient (in dog years) Great Pyrenees
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  • Sunrise River II by John Hulsey, oil on canvas. "You can observe a lot by just watching." - Yogi Berra I was reminded of this quote as I was sitting on the boardwalk in Constitution Marsh on the Hudson River near where we used to live. I hadn't
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  • A view of the lands around Sagamore Hill estate, where the Teaching Studios plein air competition will take place. This is such a neat opportunity that I just had to share with you, and it is so close to me, geographically speaking, that it would be like
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  • I don't want to learn how to paint from just anyone. I don't mean that snobbishly, but I know how I work and learn. I am a visual learner and I learn by doing. Hearing someone drone on and on makes me want to get up and run around the room, so
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  • A photo of the plein air landscape site I chose to paint. I can still recall the first morning I saw this little bend in the river ike it was yesterday. The air was still cool and breezy, the sun was glinting off the water, the bees in their hive were
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  • Wait until you are in front of your outdoor painting scene before deciding what to tone your surface. I've found that how you prepare your canvas has a huge impact on the finished result of your plein-air painting . Do you start your painting right
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  • As any artist can attest, versatility is the key to a long and illustrious career. The ability to work with a variety of media, subject matter, and techniques helps keep skills up-to-date, the mind engaged, and one's creativity consistently challenged. With that in mind, we've decided to use
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  • Plein air watercolor sketches of sites in Kansas and Charleston, South Carolina. All works by John Hulsey. It took me awhile to realize it, but I have invented a time machine. I didn’t set out to invent a time machine exactly, but like many other
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  • In a recent post on how to paint clouds at sunset , we diagrammed a pastel painting and explained a bit about the types of clouds one may encounter when painting outdoors . This time, we have dissected a watercolor, Ghost Ranch IV , that I painted in New Mexico near Georgia O’Keefe’s house
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  • Painting flowers is sometimes a study in the subtlety of color, as in Ann's flower oil painting, Philadelphus III (oil, 12 x 16). Painting large flower portraits has given me the opportunity to explore what seem to be the nearly infinite shades and
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  • Do you ever feel like you’re just painting the same old same old when you go outside to paint? Couple of trees, maybe some water—it’s actually fairly easy to fall into the rut of painting the same subjects again and again. At least, that’s how I get to feeling on occasion.
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  • Golden by Daniel Gerhartz, oil on canvas, 16 x 12. Since its inception in 2009, Weekend With the Masters Workshop & Conference has brought together some of the top instructors of representational art under one roof for a long weekend of workshops
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  • When John Hulsey and Ann Trusty told me the name of their website— The Artist’s Road —I smiled to myself because they got it so right! Art—painting, drawing, sculpting, all of it—is a path, a journey. Sometimes the path is smooth and things go right, and sometimes it is
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  • Hi all! This is my first blog at Artist Daily, and I wanted to jump right in and discuss one of the best things I think a plein air painter can do—use a sketchbook to plan your composition and clarify your vision of the finished painting you have in mind.
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  • Breton Wash Basin by Edward Minoff, oil painting. Edward Minoff: Weekend With the Masters Instructor Edward Minoff graduated with honors from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Throughout his high-school and college years he studied painting
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  • Seascape by Ray Roberts, oil painting. Ray Roberts: Weekend With the Masters Instructor Ray Roberts is best known for his seascapes, figurative work, and majestic views of California and the Southwest, and is one of California's most respected plein
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  • Connecticut Yankee Spring by George Gallo, 20 x 24, oil painting. George Gallo: Weekend With the Masters Instructor Award-winning writer, director, and painter George Gallo is capturing the hearts of both the general public and artist-audiences everywhere
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  • Sublime Order by Daniel Pinkham, oil painting. Daniel Pinkham: Weekend With the Masters Instructor Born in Los Angeles, Daniel Pinkham has been a principal force in the resurgence of plein air painting in California and throughout the country. Pinkham
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  • Morro Bay Rock, Near Cambria by C.W. Mundy, oil painting on linen, 16 x 20. C.W. Mundy: Weekend With the Masters Instructor C.W. Mundy, an American impressionist, was born in 1945 and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. He graduated with a B.F.A. from Ball
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  • Dawn, High Tide-Navesink River by Skip Whitcomb, oil painting on linen, 10 x 20. Skip Whitcomb: Weekend With the Masters Instructor Born in 1946, M.W. Skip Whitcomb has been interested in art since his childhood on a ranch near Sterling, Colorado. However
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  • A Wind to Ward Off Dreams by Jean-Pierre Roy, 58 x 68, oil painting, 2010. Jean-Pierre Roy: Weekend With the Masters Instructor Jean-Pierre Roy is an artist and teacher currently living and working in New York City. Born in Santa Monica in 1974, Roy pursued
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  • Crashing Waves at Three Arch Bay; Laguna Beach by Peter Adams , pastel painting, 12 x 16. Peter Adams: Weekend With the Masters Instructor Peter Adams was born in Los Angeles, California, on August 27, 1950 and he received his training in California at
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  • Santa Catalina Island by Kevin Macpherson, oil painting, 30 x 50. Kevin Macpherson: Weekend With the Masters Instructor Kevin Macpherson is one of the country's leading plein air painters and is highly respected among collectors and fellow artists
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  • Throughout his career, Richard Schmid has promoted art education through his books, articles, workshops, seminars, and television presentations. Richard Schmid: Weekend With the Masters Instructor Richard Schmid was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1934.
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  • Winter Sun, Full Moon by Marcia Burtt , acrylic painting. Marcia Burtt: Weekend With the Masters Instructor Marcia Burtt graduated from University of California Berkeley with a major in psychology and earned an M.A. in art from the University of Montana
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  • Sunlit Birch by Frank Serrano, oil on canvas, 12 x 12. Frank Serrano: Weekend With the Masters Instructor Contemporary landscape artist and plein air painter Frank M. Serrano was born in Los Angeles on November 29, 1967. He developed an early interest
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  • Thinking Man by Jacob Collins, oil painting, 30 x 20, 2004. Jacob Collins: Weekend With the Masters Instructor Jacob Collins is a leading figure in the contemporary revival of classical painting. He earned a B.A. in history from Columbia College and attended
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  • Light at Sunset by Joseph McGurl, oil painting, 24 x 36. Joseph McGurl: Weekend With the Masters Instructor Joseph McGurl has been referred to as one of the acknowledged leaders in the current American landscape painting arena. This has been confirmed
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  • Vineyard Melody by Camille Przewodek, 16 x 20, oil on canvas. Camille Przewodek: Weekend With the Masters Instructor Camille Przewodek is a plein air colorist based in Petaluma, California, who received her B.F.A. in illustration from the Academy of Art
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  • Morning Light Crystal Cove , by Joe Paquet, oil painting on linen. Joseph Paquet: Weekend With the Masters Instructor Joseph Paquet received his Bachelors of Fine Art at the School of Visual Arts, in New York City, and had the good fortune of being mentored
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  • John and Ann’s recent post about painting water en plein air was so inspiring and right on target. I love painting water elements, too, because they always make plein air landscape paintings more interesting. John and Ann’s tips were great, and I have two more to add:
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  • Living as we do in the center of the country where the dominant feature of the landscape is the sky, we have always enjoyed painting the rich variety of clouds here. Besides being beautiful to look at, clouds can tell us all sorts of things about the weather, both present and future, that can prove very
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  • Here's John using his heavy-weight watercolor gear while painting in Colorado. Through trial and error, over the years, we have figured out how to pack for our foot-powered plein-air painting adventures. We like to keep our heavy-duty Eagle Creek
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  • Sometimes in making a small study for a larger oil painting, an artist will sketch in certain areas very loosely. It's almost as if she says to herself, "and there's some other stuff that fills in this area of the composition, but I'll think about that later." With the set of small
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  • I've been waiting all my life to have a red-carpet moment, but who knows when the Academy will get around to remembering my searing director's debut at the age of 14, when I put on a musical version of Hamlet to the theme song of The Beatles' "Obladi Oblada." (Maybe you had to be
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  • Measure First, Draw Second; The Pathway to Great Compositions; Make Every ?Brushstroke Count; Learn How Top Artists Paint; How the Academic Technique can Work for You
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  • With a deadline looming for a May group show of flowers and gardens, this past Saturday seemed an ideal time for me to create something for the exhibit during my first plein-air painting session of the season! Daffodils are already blooming everywhere, and the weather was perfect for a day of painting
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  • Point Lobos , oil, 12 x 16. All works by Matt Smith . Have you ever had a moment where you’ve stumbled on something unexpected and you think to yourself, “What a find!” That was so me a few days ago. I read an amazing Q&A that one
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  • Water is perhaps one of the more challenging subjects to paint convincingly in a plein air landscape painting. Whether one is inspired by the ocean, a river, or a pond or lake, each subject requires a studied familiarity and often distinctly different paint handling. Here are a just a few tips that we
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  • In my first post on building healthy relationships with galleries, I explained that the top-selling couple of artists in any gallery are usually the same few who get heavily promoted as individuals by name. The rest of the gallery's stable of artists typically get promoted as a group, as part of
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  • As plein air artists, we have had to become very aware of our own visual filtering processes--our visual biases. We train ourselves to focus our eyes and our minds on the subject before us, but it is only when we can quiet the mind from labeling and judging what we see that we are ever able to truly
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  • 10 Keys To Making Accurate Judgments; Use Measurements & Simple Shapes for Better Portraits; Learn Variations of Impressionist Painting; 4 Stages Of Successful Plein Air Paintings
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  • Turn Mistakes into Masterpieces; create the element of surprise with acrylics; get creative with Sunlight and Shadow; use value studies To Save Time; go inside Workshops With the Pros
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  • I like pastel for winter work because of the ease of not having to deal with paint thinner, stiff paint, or mixing color on a palette. When winter graces us with her charms and everywhere you look is covered in a beautiful layer of snow, Ann and I get
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  • Learn more about Mary Whyte’s full-length DVD. I'm a reader and studier by nature, but the lessons and techniques that I learn from books and magazines always seem to click much quicker when I watch an artist paint, rather than try to puzzle
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  • Tracks II by John Hulsey, pastel. With the high-contrast conditions of winter sun on brilliant snow, we have been exploring the colors of snow and shadows in our plein air paintings. Shadows are essential because they create the form and interest in a
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  • The Lonely Man by Clark Hulings Last week, we received some surprising and very sad news in the American Artist office. The widely-admired landscape painter Clark Hulings had passed away at the age of 88. We learned this less than a day after finishing
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  • Fire and Ice by John Hulsey, watercolor. We both love painting landscapes outside, especially in the winter, when the air is clear and the landscape is reduced to its architectural purity. But winter weather conditions are rarely moderate in the places
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  • Trying to capture the likeness of a person in a finite period of time and meeting the high expectations often associated with portraiture are far from effortless tasks. They take commitment and savvy to do well. Our eBook Oil Painting Lessons on How to Paint a Portrait: 15 Portrait Painting Techniques
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  • Watercolorist Stephen Scott Young getting into the details of his watercolor technique with students. All photos by Manuel Rodriguez . Artists of the past are often remembered as working solo, toiling alone in their private studios and intimate garrets
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  • Artist and instructor Marcia Burtt painting a beach scene at Weekend With the Masters. I can honestly say I've never been to an event like American Artist's Weekend With the Masters workshop and conference, which is currently underway in Southern
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  • Twilight by Anthony Ryder, 1998, pencil and pastel on gold paper, 25 x 19. The event I’ve been looking forward to since I came to Artist Daily is just a few days away. Weekend With the Masters 2010 is almost here. I’ve been told that the energy
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  • American Artist’s Weekend With the Masters Workshop & Conference will be arriving on the sunny shores of Southern California this September 22-26, in our second-annual presentation of this four-day event. Workshops, demos, lectures, panel discussions, and evening events from more than 25 instructors
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  • On the Cover: Sunflowers and Coffee (detail, reversed) by Teri Starkweather, 1999, watercolor, 40 x 30. Private collection. Mixing Careful Planning With Spontaneity FEATURES Winners of the 2010 Cover Competition Hundreds of artists submitted their artwork
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  • How to Paint Landscapes; 10 Cover Contest Winners Offer You Their Best Advice; Combine Watermedia & Pastel for Inspired Results; Express Content with Fewer Brushstrokes
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  • SPECIAL REPORT Explore New Creative Ideas With Acrylics; Learn From Sorolla’s Epic Masterpiece; Increase the Drama in Pastel Paintings; How to Plan & Improve Your Watercolors
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  • Special Report: "Green" Products for Artists; Use the Right Practices to Paint Better; Paint Classical Themes in a Contemporary Context; How to Judge Values Accurately.
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  • On the Cover: Deb Painting Spring Creek (detail) by Edward Martinez, 2006, oil, 22 x 14. Collection the artist. Jim Wilcox: Western Landscapes Using Plein Air Sketches, Photographs, Research, & Imagination to Create Studio Paintings Plein Air Past
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  • I recently joined a gym in my neighborhood, with the hopes of working off some of those extra holiday pounds that seem to wear out their welcome around this time every year. My schedule is pretty busy, so I try to streamline my visits, making a beeline
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  • Ever since my trip to Venice, Italy, last year, I have been looking at paintings of the city by 19th-century artists such as Sargent and Whistler, as well as contemporary artists such as Steve Rogers and Leonard Mizerek . I've become more aware of
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  • I normally work from plein air sketches or my imagination, but this scene I photographed while on vacation in Costa Rica was just too beautiful to pass up. As most artists do when working from a photo, I made adjustments to the composition to better suit
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  • Pricing artwork is one of the most complex tasks that emerging artists face, especially when they first begin to work with galleries. It's easy to see by reading art business articles and books on art marketing that the opinions of the experts vary
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  • Our newest free eBook, “24 Tips to Learn How to Paint a Plein Air Landscape,” is now available to download, and in it you’ll find tips on how to get started working en plein air and how to improve your en plein air painting technique
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  • On the Cover: Breakfast Club (detail) by Gordon France, 2004, watercolor, 20 x 28. Private collection. Artist to Artist: Dean Mitchell Modern Masters: Jan Kunz DEPARTMENTS Editor's Note Contributors Noteworthy FEATURES Weekend With the Masters Review
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  • ‘Tis the time of the year when galleries across the country host their annual holiday exhibitions, giving artists, dealers, and collectors the opportunity to gather around great art and share some Christmas cheer. Whether these shows are organized
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  • Several of the masters gathered together for a photo during the Saturday evening “Encouraging the Mastersof Tomorrow” silent auction and reception. From left to right: American Artist editor-in-chief M. Stephen Doherty, Joseph McGurl, Kevin
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  • Although revered for his portrait work and known for being an artistic rival of his contemporary John Singer Sargent, Philip de László also painted landscapes, and one of the first known film documentations of an artist painting en plein air depicts him. That film clip of the artist painting
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  • The basic set of supplies John Hulsey uses when painting on location. The recent spat of wet weather in New York has made it difficult to get outside to paint, but that doesn’t mean we in the American Artist offices haven’t been thinking about
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  • The American Artist editors have reviewed the submissions for the Showcase Your State: North Carolina contest, and below are the four chosen finalists. Whether it was expansive views of the Blue Ridge Mountains as seen from the Highlands; still, serene
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  • Check out what's featured in the December 2009 issue of American Artist .
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  • By subtly layering pastel, Marlene Wiedenbaum creates a luscious and convincing sense of the world.
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  • I admit that I am not one who adores painting on location. If the truth be known, when I visit a national park, I'd rather be exploring and walking around—taking photos of everything that strikes my interest. Oh yes, I've paid my dues by
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  • Curt Walters painting at the Grand Canyon. None of us want to be stuck in the rut of painting the same subjects over and over again, so we try different landscape locations, select new groups of still life objects, or join a sketch group that hires models
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  • When artists shop for a gallery to represent them, it's helpful if when they first visit they avoid acting or looking like an artist and instead take on the behavior of a collector. This can help you to learn how attentive a gallery’s staff is, and it allows you to assess how much they know
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  • Known primarily for his figurative work and for leading a resurgence in classical art education through his Water Street Atelier and the Grand Central Academy of Art, in New York City, Jacob Collins is now the founder of the Hudson River Fellowship ,
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  • Weekend With the Masters recently concluded in Colorado Springs, and I thought I’d share some of the photographs from the plein air portion of the event with you here. Enjoy!
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  • I recently attended the opening of an exhibition of artwork by a group of artists, and the display raised questions in my mind about the impact of presentation on sales and career development. The exhibition was a temporary display in a community center
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  • Check out what's featured in the November 2009 issue of American Artist.
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  • Although most of the recent news about Thomas Kinkade concerned his passing away and legacy, while he was alive he was consistently in the news over disagreements between his company, former employees, franchised gallery owners, and the FBI (detailed
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  • by Lori Woodward Simons As I've mentioned in past blogs, artists are motivated visually—at least I am. It seems our minds follow and are motivated by what we see. So in order to get busy on a painting, I need to remove myself from distractions
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  • Check out what's featured in the Fall 2009 issue of Watercolor .
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  • My office is also a conference room on the third floor of a building on 46th Street in Midtown New York City. The desk and file cabinets are pushed against the east wall of what was once a library, and a large conference table and eight chairs are arranged
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  • Michigan artist Jim Johnson offers valuable hints for successful watercolor painting outdoors.
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  • Check out what's featured in the October 2009 issue of American Artist.
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  • In the new atelier she opened in Rome, Andrea J. Smith teaches students to use a limited palette of colors when painting exactly what they see from a measured distance away from the subject and the easel.
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  • The artwork of nationally recognized plein air painters Greg LaRock, Jeff Sewell, Carolyn Hesse-Low, Jeff Yeomans, and JoAnn Royal will be the subject of a celebratory exhibition at Rainey Fine Art, in Newport Beach, California. The gallery is commemorating its first anniversary by featuring the works
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  • Nancy Bea Miller, a painter and mother of three, has organized a plein air paint-out to benefit the Camphill Special School’s Transition Program for teens and youths with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The paint out will be followed by an exhibition of the artists’ work at The
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  • It's crazy to say that horses have a visual advantage over humans, but with eyes on opposite sides of their heads, they surely don't see in three-dimensional terms like we do. There are times especially for beginners when seeing less--seeing a
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  • I recently returned from a trip to Colorado, and while on that trip I got into quite the (heated) debate with two figure painters who claimed that plein air painters who sell their on-site sketches are bringing down the overall value of art. What’s your opinion? Is plein air painting a means to
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  • Very few rules are absolute in art. But one rule keeps popping up in our magazines, quoted by art instructors and artists of all types...
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  • Photographers have coined the term “The Golden Hour” to explain the ideal lighting situation that takes place during the first and last hours of light each day. Plein air painters have an equal admiration for this time of day and find the quality and character of light to be well worth the
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  • The Table of Contents for the September 2009 issue of American Artist .
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  • In honor of the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage, the art community prepares to celebrate the extraordinary history of painting along the Hudson River.
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  • Kevin Macpherson, Kenn Backhaus, Joe Anna Arnett, and James Asher—four professional artists who are featured in the PBS series Passport & Palette—will convene in Central Park this Saturday, July 18, for a plein air paint-out. This event is free and open to the public, so be sure to join
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  • I recently had the honor of judging the entries for the “Banks of the Hudson” exhibition for the Woodstock School of Art and noticed two common problems among the drawings and paintings I rejected. I should first say there were many outstanding
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  • If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about dedicated plein air painters, it’s their love of light and the great lengths they’ll go to behold and/or paint the perfect light condition. I’d like to hear your stories of a particular instance where you risked life or limb to get
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  • California landscape painter Camille Przewodek's approach to plein air painting is all about capturing the color of light. She credits her teacher Henry Hensche with opening her eyes to this new way of seeing when she was a student, and now she helps other plein air painters see the light through
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  • California landscape painter Frank Serrano is a popular instructor of plein air painting, generously sharing his knowledge and experience with students and helping them develop a foundation in the fundamentals of painting outdoors. Here we present two step-by-step demonstrations, taken from his book
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  • As the Hudson River Valley gears up to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage, landscape painters are remembering the famed 19th-century Hudson River School painters who put the Hudson on the map and are celebrating with plein air events and exhibitions of their own.
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  • The Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University is once again presenting an exhibition of California Art Club members’ interpretations of the idyllic region of Malibu, California.
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  • Using subtle washes and minimal detail, Keiko Tanabe creates a powerful sense of time and place.
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  • Our Plein Air: Showcase Your State competition allows artists from all over the country to share paintings and personal sentiments about the landscapes they love with the American Artist online community. We are now accepting entries for the state of North Carolina, and finalists will be announced in
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  • Emerging artist Daniel James Keys couldn’t enroll at an art school, but he used every other available means to educate himself as an artist, to connect with other painters, and to promote his artwork. His experience proves that with determination, support, and computer savvy, artists can make significant
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  • Our national Plein Air: Showcase Your State competition allows artists from around the country to share their interpretations of the landscapes that define their home states. This month we feature the Showcase Your State: Massachusetts finalists.
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  • This Texas oil painter shatters multiple myths—including the notion that artists are myopic and single-minded. Qiang Huang helps workshop participants learn how to draw, paint, and sell their artwork using modern technology and traditional painting methods.
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  • The Table of Contents for the Summer 2009 issue of Workshop magazine.
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  • During a recent workshop in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, William Jameson provided instruction in plein air oil painting, but he knew it was just as important to offer encouragement and direction to students while they enjoyed the experience.
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  • Plein air painters deal with many challenges outdoors, but the first hurdle they usually come across is choosing something to zero in on amid miles of potential subject matter. Here’s what two great landscape instructors of the past have to say about composition and design.
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  • All artists have at least one magical place where, no matter what is going on in their day or their life, they can go and just concentrate on the beauty of nature and be rejuvenated by their surroundings. What’s yours?
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  • Los Angeles screenwriter, director, producer, and plein air painter George Gallo's movie Local Color will be released this summer and is already touching artists and audiences everywhere through prescreening promotion. Here is a preview of that movie and the story that inspired it.
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  • Steve Doherty asks readers if they have experienced bickering or tension between competitive artists at art association meetings, and compares those rivalries to the ones that occured among artists in 16th century in Venice, Italy.
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  • New York artist Edward Minoff wrote an article that will appear in the July/August issue of American Artist on his approach to creating a large-scale landscape in the style of the Hudson River School painters. The resulting painting Waves is presented here, along with some of the artist’s commentary
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  • Artists from across the country submitted their work for consideration in the 2009 American Artist Cover Competition. After an extensive selection process Suzanne Eisler’s Still Life With Butterfly was chosen as the winning image. It is presented here, along with artwork from the nine other finalists
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  • The sky can be the crowning glory of a landscape painting, with a well-done version enhancing the harmony of the overall piece and a less accurately rendered version detracting from the focus of the elements beneath. Within that sky, there is the possibility
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  • Idaho artist Scott Christensen is one of the most well-respected landscape painters in the country, and his understanding of light, ability to achieve pure color, and reverence for nature also make him a highly sought-after instructor. In this Q+A section, we list Christensen’s responses to 10
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  • This exhibition fcocuses on the Hudson River School, a group of key figures in the American landscape painting tradition,and includes work from such artists as Jasper Francis Cropsey, Asher B. Durand, William McDougal Hart, and David Johnson, among others.
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  • With adequate preparation and the right materials, it's possible to create large acrylic landscapes en plein air. by Andrew Paquette A few years ago, I left the high-stress feature-animation industry in Hollywood, California, and moved to Arizona
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  • More than 18 top painters will be teaching at American Artist’s Weekend With the Masters Workshop & Conference this September, including the following five plein air painters who will be leading master workshops and demonstrations in Colorado’s beautiful Garden of the Gods and Monument
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  • Steve Doherty talks about a young California artist he discovered while browsing the American Artist member's gallery.
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  • The Table of Contents from the May 2009 issue of American Artist .
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  • Steve Doherty talks about landscape painting, and shows a video of a recent painting excursion in New Orleans.
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  • American Artist is now accepting Showcase Your State submissions for artists residing in the state of Massachusetts. The submission deadline is April 31, and finalists will be announced in May.
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  • Recent visits to still life painting workshop and exhibitions has reminded Steve how still lifes provide an opportunity to share some aspect of our lives with those who look at our drawings and paintings. Here, he expands on that thought, and asks about the ways you compose, execute, and personalize
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  • In the upcoming May issue of American Artist, we feature Kevin Macpherson’s Reflections on a Pond project and describe how he approached this exploratory series on light and atmosphere. That article is posted here, and it can be seen in its full layout when the May issue hits newsstands on March
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  • Artist and teacher Mel Stabin recommends painting loosely and boldly, an approach that has defined his career.
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  • Steve talks about the versatility and the creative options working with acrylics provides artists.
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  • Joseph McGurl grew up under his talented father’s artistic tutelage while cultivating a passion for boating and a love of the sea. This early influence, coupled with years of hard work and practice, have made him one of today’s foremost landscape painters, and in this interview he shares
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  • American Artist would like to thank all of the plein air painters who submitted artwork for our Showcase Your State: New Jersey contest. From images of babbling brooks and sunlit fields in the suburbs to depictions of sailing ships and lighthouses at the Jersey Shore, New Jersey is clearly a subject
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  • Q: How does the purity of water I use in my watercolors affect the color of the paints? A: The luminosity and clarity of your watercolors are ultimately affected by the type of water you use. If these factors are important to you, then I do recommend
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  • Q: What mediums did the Impressionists use to paint such soft, colorful strokes? A: The long strokes have more to do with technique than a particular medium. It is often said that artists are products of their age. This adage is particularly true of the
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  • Q: How can I make the “soup” that Edgar Payne talks about in his book Composition of Outdoor Painting? How much should I make if I intend to use it in one week? A: The recipe for this neutral gray is Indian red (which is a color similar to
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  • The Table of Contents for the April 2009 issue of American Artist magazine.
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  • Ed Terpening may represent the future of art education and marketing. His skills as a plein air painter and a software engineer allowed him to use social-media marketing to build a flourishing art career. Reading about his experiences could help you navigate through the new world of digital communication
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  • Over the last several years workshops have increased in popularity and attendance as artists find that they can often gain just as strong a skill set and insight by spending one week with an accomplished instructor that they can in months or even years of taking accredited art classes. Who are some of
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  • Jeffrey Morseburg—the owner of Morseburg Galleries, in Los Angeles—has become an expert on the great landscape painter Robert Wood, having learned of the artist through his father’s personal and professional relationship with Wood, as well as having organized two retrospectives and
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  • Steve Doherty talks about the various comments he's received while painting en plein air, and asks other artists what they've heard while working on or exhibiting their art.
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  • In this blog entry, Allison Malafronte lists some of her favorite quotes related to landscape painting and nature, and encourages you to share the phrases, sayings, or sentiments that have inspired you.
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  • Clyde Aspevig's technically astute and aesthetically impressive landscape paintings have been inspiring collectors and painters alike for years, and he is often refered to as a living master among those in the landscape genre. Here, the artist offers valuable insight into how he continues to increase
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  • Steve Doherty discusses the social aspects of watermedia painting and the proliferation of watermedia organizations.
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  • Plein air artists both past and present continue to serve as inspiration for today’s landscape painters. Here associate editor Allison Malafronte offers a look at some of her favorite historical and contemporary landscape painters and asks you to list those who have influenced your painting process
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  • Asher B. Durand was one of the great leaders of the Hudson River School of landscape painters, and his monthly “Letters on Landscape Painting” column he wrote for The Crayon offered readers of the time invaluable insight into his approach to painting nature. Durand’s advice is just
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  • At some point during the past 30 years I must have offended a Florida artist by refusing to commission an article on his artwork, making negative comments during a critique, or rejecting his submissions to a juried show. I don’t remember him or
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  • We are extending the deadline for the Showcase Your State plein air contest until January 31, 2009. We are accepting submissions for New Jersey, Massachusetts, and North Dakota. The first Showcase Your State finalists will appear on this blog in February
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  • At some point most plein air painters try their hand at painting at twilight or at night, otherwise known as a nocturne. This can be a fun and challenging way to expand your skills as a landscape painter and force yourself to judge colors and values under
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  • As many of you know, there was quite a controversy about the fact that the gold-medal award winner in an international art competition seems to have made unauthorized copies of two photographs when she composed her watermedia painting. The image included
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  • by Allison Malafronte It’s time for my favorite En Plein Air post of the month: “A Conversation With”! This month I had the pleasure of interviewing Lynn Gertenbach, the accomplished landscape painter and instructor from California.
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  • This exhibition focuses on the practice of painting sur le motif , or in nature, as it developed in Europe in the late-18th and early-19th centuries. A golden age of plein air painting emerged in Italy around the turn of the 19th century, and artists
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  • A Lumpy Sea by James Gale Tyler, 1909, oil. by Allison Malafronte The Salmagundi Club, in New York City, has a long history of being one of the most important art organizations in the country and has held exhibitions over the years that have featured
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  • Stately Palms by Paul Grimm, oil, 20 x 24. Private collection. by Allison Malafronte There’s a wonderful exhibition of landscape work currently on view at The Irvine Museum, in Irvine, California, that I would like to share with all of you. It’s
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  • by Allison Malafronte Nothing proves a plein air painter’s prowess like surviving a hard-core painting session battling the elements of nature. The young, talented California artists Jeremy Lipking and Tony Pro learned this the hard and—as
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  • American Artist is announcing a new contest for the Plein Air section of our website that will allow plein air painters from across the country to showcase their state and tell us a little bit about the landscape they call home. Beginning in December
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  • by Allison Malafronte Every month I allow you to come into my cube for a few minutes and “listen in” on a conversation I had with a top plein air painter. I try to ask the artist the questions I think you as aspiring professional plein air
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  • We have provided a list of links to online art resources that we think are helpful. You can also access these links in the Art Educators section of our website. Art Associations Plein Air Plein Air Painters of America The Plein Air Scene Indiana Plein
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  • by Allison Malafronte Kenn Backhaus painting on the shores of Resurrection Bay, in Seward, Alaska. Part of my job as an editor at American Artist and the “En Plein Air” blogger is to inform you of any events, exhibitions, or products that
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  • The Muscarelle Museum of Art, in Williamsburg, Virginia, will be the initial site for the national tour of the major exhibition of Old Master paintings. The Dutch Italianates: Seventeenth-Century Masterpieces From Dulwich Picture Gallery Through March
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  • Yesterday morning I had a wonderful conversation with Carolyn Anderson, the talented figure artist and workshop instructor from Montana who teaches at some of the top art schools around the country. I was fascinated by the amount of knowledge and insight
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  • Francis Di Fronzo stopped working with paint brushes to create his own technique of “tapping the landscape into existence.” All Paths to War Lead Back to You (Part I) 2002, oil on panel, 48 x 48. Private collection. by Lynne Moss Perricelli
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  • Welcome to “En Plein Air,” the new Plein Air blog on American Artist’s new online community! The former Plein Air section of www.myAmericanArtist.com lived off our main homepage for nearly a year, and during that time I enjoyed sharing
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  • While packing to move into our new offices, I came across a self-portrait I painted several years ago that was lost in a stack of papers. I immediately recognized that the face was drawn inaccurately—an error I didn’t see at the time I created
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  • Arranging the objects in a still life painting can be as challenging—and enjoyable—as painting the subject matter. Here we offer advice from several still life painters on how to create a visually stimulating setup. Blackware, Papaya, and
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  • A softer style of landscape painting that emerged during the turn of the century, made popular by James Abbott McNeill Whistler and George Inness. by Allison Malafronte Moonlight Landscap e by Edward Steichen, 1903, oil, 24 x 25. Collection Museum of
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  • In the November 2008 issue of American Artist, we presented a collection of dramatic post-Katrina scenes of New Orleans, painted by Rolland Golden. Here, we present a video featuring Phil Sandusky, another artist whose paintings focus on hurricane ravaged
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  • Today, there are many online means of promoting your art business and selling artwork, and many collectors go online before they head to their nearest gallery. by Daniel Grant A decade ago people questioned whether anyone would buy art that they had only
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  • When J.C. Airoldi left a successful career as a designer, she applied the same level of determination, practicality, hard work, and marketing skills that she used in her previous profession to creating and selling paintings. Gloucester Solitude 2008,
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  • Numerous artists have found success selling art to the Christian market, a large segment of the population consisting partly of art collectors but mainly of people who are looking to purchase prints and posters that reflect their beliefs and values. by
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  • Warm-up exercises are as important for artists as they are for musicians and athletes. by Daniel Grant Warm-ups for artists often involve being spontaneous, loosening up your muscles, and letting go. But jogging might work too! Athletes stretch before
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  • Californian Dennis Doheny creates stunning oil landscapes by emphasizing atmospheric conditions, dramatizing the pattern of light and shadow, and “playing” with color as he sharpens detail. Doheny put a Fome-Cor mat around his plein air study
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  • This excerpt taken from Kevin Macpherson's popular instructional book Landscape Painting Inside & Out explains how to best use on-site studies to create finished studio pieces. Excerpted from Chapter 6 of Landscape Painting Inside & Out by
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  • Master landscape colorist Kevin Macpherson is a plein air impressionist who is passionate about sharing his skills with other artists through informative workshops, books, and DVDs. Here, he answers questions regarding his training, his technique, and
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  • Hundreds of artists from around the country sent in submissions for American Artist’s 2008 Cover Competition, and the editors narrowed the selection down to the 10 they thought best captured the skill level and style of our publication. When those
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  • Utah artist Colleen Howe is an accomplished pastelist and workshop instructor who is widely known for her sensitive and colorful landscapes of the West. Here she shares four helpful steps to achieving successful works of art. by Colleen Howe, as told
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  • During a recent plein air workshop in Southern France, Judith Carducci helped students who worked with pen-and-ink, pastel, watercolor, and oil colors. The unifying themes of the 10-day class were that drawing basics are a foundation of all media and
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  • During nearly 30 years of interviewing landscape artists for American Artist , M. Stephen Doherty has watched hundreds of painters use a variety of materials and techniques. Here, he takes the best of that gleaned knowledge and distills it into seven
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  • During a recent plein air workshop in Southern France, Judith Carducci helped students who worked with pen-and-ink, pastel, watercolor, and oil colors. The unifying themes of the 10-day class were that drawing is a foundation of all media and working
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  • This New Mexico artist slowly builds up transparent glazes of oil colors to create still lifes and landscapes with luminous, vibrant, and subtle textures. Evening Solitude, 2008, oil on board, 15 x 15. All artwork this article private collection. by Naomi
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  • View an online exclusive gallery of more work by July/August American Artist 2008 featured artist Colleen Howe. The Cowboy 2007, pastel, 14 x 18. All artwork this gallery collection the artist. Cassis Boat Reflections 2007, pastel, 18 x 24. Horses at
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  • Barbara Edwards experiments with media and techniques in her paintings that make use of both representation and abstraction. by Lynne Moss Perricelli Mountain Pasture 2007, acrylic, 27 x 22. All artwork this article collection the artist unless otherwise
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  • Artists looking to work with pastel can learn valuable techniques and tips by studying artists who first explored the medium and discovered the possibilities the medium offers. by Naomi Ekperigin Although the work of oil painters and draftsmen is well
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  • During the spring of 2008, 13 women painters from California, Nevada, and Utah gathered together in the Yosemite Valley to paint the national park for a week. Yosemite on Canvas: 13 Western Artists Paint the Park Through November 29 Knowlton Gallery Lodi
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  • Congratulations to the 10 finalists chosen in the 2008 Watercolor Cover Competition. These accomplished artists each take a different approach, revealing the versatility and adaptability of watermedia. Here, they describe their sources of inspiration
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  • Alan Flattmann presents a quick a step by step demonstration of his painting The Abita River. Step 1 Flattmann toned the canvas with a thin wash of burnt-umber acrylic paint. The artist drew the landscape with vine charcoal, sprayed the drawing with Krylon
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  • Denise LaRue Mahlke believes that being an artist is a calling that involves preserving, celebrating, and sharing in God’s creation. That’s one of the reasons she challenges herself to strive for excellence as a pastel painter and a teacher
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  • With the wide range of watercolors available, it is important to know the different formulations to create a palette that best suits your needs. Each side of the table above lists 4 common transparent and opaque pigments. by Naomi Ekperigin Watercolor
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  • This Maryland artist always paints from life, creating work that gives personality and history to inanimate objects. Apartment Fridge 2001, acrylic on panel, 5 x 7. All artwork this article private collection. by Naomi Ekperigin Nick Clulow paints household
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  • The James A. Michener Art Museum, in New Hope, Pennsylvania, will host this exhibition celebrating the influence of Bucks County Pennsylvania's waterways (the Delaware River and Delaware Canal) on regional landscape artists. Art and the River Through
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  • Two of the world's foremost international landscape painting groups—Landscape Artists International (LAI) and International Plein Air Painters (IPAP)—have come together to organize the international art exhibition "Far and Near Horizons
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  • Ross Merrill, the chief curator of conservation at the National Gallery of Art, in Washington, DC, wrote an article for our premiere issue of Workshop magazine on the equipment necessary for successful plein air painting. Here is an excerpt of that article
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  • This Massachusetts painter uses a closely controlled palette and open painting approach to create highly evocative visions of interiors and figures. by John A. Parks Family at Sundown 2005, oil on linen, 48 x 72. All artwork this article collection the
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  • Utah artist David Koch likes to bring elements of his state’s pioneer past into his computer-aided compositions. by Linda S. Price Crossing The Sweetwater 2002, oil on linen, 55 x 44. Collection Walt and Katie Gasser. Until David Koch won a competition
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  • In the March 2008 of American Artist, pastelist Roger Ambrosier created atmospheric landscapes that stressed the essence and mood of a scene. We present more of his landscapes in this online exclusive gallery. First Light 2006, pastel, 8 x 10. All artwork
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  • Three painting friends exchanged photographs and then produced paintings of the same 15 subjects in an experiment designed to teach them about different approaches, challenge them to push beyond their comfort zone, and allow them to work on a common painting
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  • his Wyoming artist has a simple message—“put the right color in the right place, and use interesting shapes”—that unfolds into much fuller, useful instruction in his workshops. by Bob Bahr Jim Wilcox advised a student during a
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  • The vast array of materials and tools available to artists can make it difficult to determine which is best for rendering a certain subject. Even a traditional oil painter has a wealth of options and can choose from alkyds, water-soluble oils, and traditional
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  • In this online exclusive gallery, view more examples of plein air landscapes by Kevin Sanders, one of the artist featured in the September 2008 issue of American Artist. Ponte Vecchio 2006, oil, 18 x 24. All artwork this gallery private collection, unless
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  • Read the transcript from yesterday's live online chat and drawing tutorial with colored pencil artist Arlene Steinberg. Be sure to attend our next live chat with pastel artist Janet Monafo on Monday, June 9 at 2pm EST. 2008-05-12 11:00:03.0 Administrator
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  • American Artist July/August featured artist Michael McNamara offers some tips on painting in a very congested city such as New York. Painting in the Urban Jungle by Karen Frankel SingleTitle Small http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1256302615
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  • Watch a landscape painting audio slideshow demonstration of Morgan Samuel Price's Last of the Roses (2:08). Price was one of the artists featured in the spring 2008 issue of Workshop magazine. Oil painting garden scene Posted to Artist Daily by Karyn
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  • The winner and semifinalists of our annual cover competition reveal how they created paintings that captured the attention of our judges. Frank J. Strazzulla Jr. Studio Interior 2003, oil, 18 x 14. Private collection “One of the compelling themes
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  • The 10 Finalists in the Watercolor Cover Competition offer their insights on the creative process—from finding inspired subjects to selecting materials to applying the final details. Cymbidium Equinox by Kory Fluckiger, 2004, watercolor, 27 x 19
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  • Painting the expressiveness of a person’s mouth helps establish his or her likeness, personality, and vitality in a portrait, yet many artists have difficulty representing that facial feature. Here’s how I teach students to paint a mouth in
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  • Midwestern artist Christopher Copeland paints the landscape that surrounds him, imbuing it with emotion and recording the transient moments that are often difficult to capture. by Naomi Ekperigin Midsummer Evening 2007, oil, 30 x 32. Private collection
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  • An elegant combination of traditional tonalism and contemporary design allows Utah artist Shanna Kunz to speak to her viewers in a gently alluring voice. by Jennifer King Christmas Meadows 2003, watercolor, 20 x 24. Private collection. “All of your
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  • Watch a plein air watercolor demonstration by spring 2008 Watercolor featured artist Lori Woodward Simons Lori Woodward demo on plein air Posted to Artist Daily by Karyn on October 12, 2009 Click to Play | View Details
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  • Urban landscape painter Scott Prior proves that a contemporary, “punk-rock” alternative to classical California subject matter can still produce moving and thought-provoking imagery. by James A. Metcalfe Island Life 2007, oil, 24 x 18. Courtesy
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  • The joy and excitement of plein air painting is worth the extra effort required to paint comfortably outside. Here, we address common problems and experiences artists face when first working outdoors. by Naomi Ekperigin Since the 19 th century, artists
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  • Six top artists combined observation, investigation, and invention to respond to the encompassing reality of the landscape. They will be exhibiting their sketches and studio paintings together for the first time this summer. by M. Stephen Doherty The
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  • Watch January 2007 American Artist feature artist Richard McKinley develop a watercolor underpainting into a completed pastel painting (6:42). Richard McKinley Click to Play | View Details
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  • We present online exclusive student critiques by Jim Wilcox, one of the featured artists in the spring 2008 issue of Workshop magazine. To read more critiques of student work, subscribe to Workshop today! by Bob Bahr Wilcox liked this artist's color
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  • For almost 20 years, Jimmy Sanders has set specific goals for his art education, the types of paintings he creates, and the projects he undertakes. “Goals are dreams with deadlines,” he says. “They are important to realist painters who
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  • In the January 2007 issue of American Artist, we discuss how Richard McKinley guides a picture through a "dance," during which his medium exerts as much influence over the performance as he does. We present more of his oil and pastel landscapes
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  • For me, the goal of landscape painting is to paint stirring images that engage and inspire viewers, and this is more likely to happen when I use information from a variety of sources. by Steve Armes Sketch for Sierra Blanca 2005, oil, 8 x 10. All artwork
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  • From the thousands of art-instruction books available, we offer a list of those that have proven beneficial to new artists. by Naomi Ekperigin There are many options available for artists wishing to improve their skills. However, the price and time commitment
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  • Many artists regularly visit the websites of museums, galleries, art magazines, and art-material manufacturers to get information and instruction on their craft, but not everyone is aware of the increasingly popular blogs in the art world. by Daniel Grant
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  • We present biographies and artwork from our 20 esteemed watercolor teachers. by Beth Patterson Mary Alice Braukman The Power of Letting Go by Mary Alice Braukman, 2005, mixed media and collage, 22 x 30. Collection the artist. Mary Alice Braukman is an
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  • Beginning with work created in the 1500s, this exhibition explores the evolution of landscape painting by Italian artists and their counterparts from France, Germany, and the Netherlands. Painting the Italian Landscape: View From the Uffizi Through March
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  • We present the semifinalists in the pastel category. by Karen Stanger Johnston Changing Channels by Mike Barret Kolasinski, 2007, pastel on archival foam board, 12 x 24. First Place: Mike Barret Kolasinski Chicago artist Mike Barret Kolasinski is passionate
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  • Deciding where to place the elements in a painting can be difficult, but the decisions are crucial to creating a successful piece. by Naomi Ekperigin Deciding where to place the elements in a painting can be difficult, but the decisions are crucial to
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  • In the April 2008 issue of American Artist, we discussed how Christine Lafuente's still lifes and plein air landscapes are oriented toward achieving a color harmony that captures the play of light across the forms. In this online exclusive gallery
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  • Read more information about the arts in Colorado in conjunction with the spring 2008 Workshop magazine feature on Ron Hicks' Denver workshop. by Allison Malafronte Jeanne Mackenzie conducted a plein air landscape workshop through Cottonwood Artists’
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  • Michael Albrechtsen achieves a stronger impression of both the emotional and physical aspects of a landscape by standing back from his easel and thinking carefully about what he sees. by M. Stephen Doherty Cool and Wet 2007, oil, 40 x 30. Collection the
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  • This past summer, 30 outstanding young artists were invited to spend three weeks studying the landscape in upstate New York, where they applied their figure-drawing skills to rendering nature. The intention of the four instructors was to revive the approach
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  • With limited time to paint, pastelist Dave Stout has learned to pare down his supplies and develop an efficient and effective working method. Like what you read? Become an American Artist subscriber today! by Linda S. Price Back to the Clouds 2006, pastel
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  • Selecting a palette of colors often means limiting the choices, making studies, and experimenting along the way. by Christopher Willard One of the keys to successful watercolor painting is to choose a workable set of colors. Today, with the wide range
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  • In the February 2008 issue of American Artist, the Plein Air Painters of Chicago revealed both the pitfalls and pleasures that landscape painters often encounter when painting in an urban setting. In this online exclusive gallery, we showcase several
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  • Albert Handell, one of the most important artists working in pastel today, was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at The Butler Institute of American Art. Here, he describes some of the seminal paintings in the show and his continuing exploration
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  • Many great landscape drawings were created as preparatory studies, educational exercises, or informational journals and not as finished works of art. We can now study those freely made graphic images for evidence of the drawing essentials , ideas, and
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  • In the February 2008 issue of American Artist, Steve Armes discussed how his goal for landscape painting was to paint stirring images that engage and inspire viewers. In this online exclusive gallery, we present more of his oil landscapes. Above Lake
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  • Oregon artist Scott Gellatly knows that a broad knowledge of materials and techniques can help painters realize their visions. That’s why he now travels around the country on behalf of Gamblin Artist’s Colors teaching painters how to give
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  • by Linda S. Price Anderson Homestead 2002, watercolor, 18½ x 22½. Private collection. Kolb looked for diagonals to create drama in this composition. Vermont artist Kathleen Kolb is not a fussy painter. She doesn’t need sunny skies
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  • In the winter 2007 issue of Watercolor , we explored Yachiyo Beck's exquisite and unique still lifes. Here, we offer more of her watercolors including a variety of landscape paintings. Teal Blue Vase With a Peach 2006, watercolor, 14½ x 8½
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  • Santa Barbara artist Ann Sanders finds natural beauty in her surroundings and puts it down in pastel using proven methods—and she stresses that you can too. by Bob Bahr Devereux Afternoon 2006, pastel, 11 x 15. Collection Shirley Dettmann. The scenes
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  • There are few American painters who were as celebrated, successful, or influential as Frederic Edwin Church. by M. Stephen Doherty Twilight, a Sketch by Frederic Edwin Church, 1858, oil, 8¼ x 12¼. Collection Olana State Historic Site, Hudson
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  • Most artists are familiar with the axiom that states there is art created for commerce’s sake and art created for art’s sake, but few are able to find a happy medium between the two. by Daniel Grant Most artists are familiar with the axiom
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  • We present the semifinalists in the watercolor category. by Karen Stanger Johnston After the Harvest by Gail M. Wheaton, 2003, watercolor, 30 x 22. Collection Evan and Patricia Harter. First Place: Gail M. Wheaton Arizona artist Gail M. Wheaton completed
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  • Painting light accurately can be a challenge in landscape painting. by Shawn Gould Reflecting at Sunset 2006, acrylic, 24 x 24. This is a beautiful painting with nice light, however the sun's highlight is a little too bright. Since the light falls
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  • Pay attention to lights and darks when painting landscapes. by Shawn Gould California Seascape acrylic, 22 x 28. The artist has done a nice job with the composition—the viewer’s eye follows the land out to sea and is brought back into the
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  • The California Art Club recently held its 96th Annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibition at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, in Pasadena, California. California Art Club Announces Award Winners The California Art Club recently held its 96th Annual Gold
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  • Knowing how watercolor paints are classified, and how the colors appear on paper and differ among manufacturers, is the critical first step for any watercolor artist. Here’s what you need to know. by Christopher Willard When it comes to watercolor
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  • We present the semifinalists in the colored pencil category. by Karen Stanger Johnston Ya Reckin by Rosemarie Rush, 2006, colored pencil, 16 x 20. First Place: Rosemarie Rush Like most of the images of Western life by California artist Rosemarie Rush
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  • Santa Fe artist Doug Higgins has many strategies for directing the viewer’s eye toward the center of interest and leading it around the painting. by Linda S. Price Painting at Smith Cove 2004, oil, 20 x 24. All artwork this article collection the
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  • We present the semifinalists in the oil category. by Karen Stanger Johnston Hyacinth (and the McCoy Pot) by Ellen Buselli, 2006, oil on linen, 12 x 16. Private collection. First Place: Ellen Buselli Ellen Buselli’s favorite subject is the still
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  • During the second half of the 19th century a single writer held enormous sway over the hearts and minds of American artists, critics, and their public. by John A. Parks Devonport and Dockyard, Devonshire by Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1825–1829
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  • Former woodcarver Suzanne LaPrade is very much interested in the underlying structures that make up her pastel and oil subjects. by Karen Frankel The Heiress 2006, oil, 48 x 30. Collection Mr. and Mrs. P.T. Farrel. The woods behind Suzanne LaPrade’s
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  • In the spring 2007 issue of Workshop , we discussed how oil and pastel artist Robert Hoffman encouraged students to relax, explore, and experiment in his five-day introduction to plein air painting. Here, we offer an excerpt from the article about how
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  • Robert Gamblin developed his art career and paint manufacturing business by learning how quality paints are made and how they can be used safely and effectively in the studio. by M. Stephen Doherty Evening Makena 2007, oil, 24 x 18. Collection the artist
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  • View a demonstration of how Shanna Kunz uses an elegant combination of traditional tonalism and contemporary design in Meditation (2:53). Watermedia landscape demo Click to Play | View Details
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  • A current exhibition in Stockton, California, shows how members of the Plein-Air Painters of America (PAPA) interpret their on-site studies to make larger studio paintings. We asked eight of the exhibiting painters to share their approaches with American
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  • Nearly 60 views of Malibu created by members of the California Art Club are featured in this exhibition, which explores not only the city’s picturesque scenery but also the enduring California plein air landscape tradition. by Michael Zakian Driving
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  • This California artist pursues an aggressive, take-no-prisoners approach to plein air painting. by John A. Parks Dos Roses 2006, oil, 12 x 9. Courtesy Red Piano Art Gallery, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Ken Auster uses loads of thick paint and
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  • View an online exclusive demonstration of Dale Russell Smith's gum arabic technique in Kebler Pass (2:33). View a gallery of Smith's work. Watercolor landscape demo Click to Play | View Details
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  • Veteran California oil painter Meredith Brooks Abbott explains how she has maintained a devotion to the routine of painting every day, with continually improving results. by Molly Siple Bird Refuge 2006, oil on linen, 11 x 11. All artwork this article
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  • Traditionally trained artist Sarah Lamb uses her passion for the kitchen to bring a new vitality to the art of the still life. Mousse au Chocolat 2005, oil on linen, 20 x 32. All artwork this article private collection unless otherwise indicated. by John
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  • In the September 2007 issue of American Artist, we explored how after years of enjoying the immediacy and energy of painting landscapes outdoors, Californian Pat Kelly brought the same materials and techniques into the studio to paint still lifes. Here
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  • In the March 2007 issue of American Artist , we explored how Kim Lordier has succeeded by pushing herself to create better and more original paintings with pastel and by stopping herself from rendering photographic details. Here, we offer more of her
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  • Although Paul Lowe, our Artist of the Month, finds inspiration in nature, he almost always paints his landscapes from inside the studio. by Edith Zimmerman Palm Oasis 24 x 18. Courtesy Galerie Gabrie, Pasadena, California. Although Paul Lowe, our Artist
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  • Read the transcript from our online chat with artist-instructor Dan Thompson. If you have more thoughts to share, chat with your peers on Artists' Forum , and check back for more online chats with featured artists. 2007-06-13 12:00:02.0 Administrator
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  • View a demonstration of Nancy Colella's landscape techniques in Jacob's Farm (1:26). Colella landscape painting Click to Play | View Details
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  • The artistic journey of Bonnie Ramsbottom is one of both tragedy and triumph: she came to art late in life literally by accident when she began painting as a means to recover from the removal of a brain tumor, the surgery of which she was not expected
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  • Teaching students about color is essentially teaching them how to see—and then explaining how to paint beyond the literal. According to students, Montana painter Ned Mueller succeeds in doing this in his plein air workshops. by Bob Bahr Ned Mueller
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  • The Painting Center, in New York City, recently played host to two watercolor exhibitions. The above paintings were all presented during the "Fluid Fields" exhibition. The Painting Center , in New York City, recently hosted "Fluid Fields
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  • Although it’s no substitute for painting from life, painting from photographs has its advantages, especially when you use the photos upside-down. by Jennifer King Indiana artist C.W. Mundy began a recent workshop in his study by discussing his methods
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  • After Colorado artist Stephen Quiller finishes presenting exercises, demonstrations, lectures, and critiques during a workshop, students often comment that no other instructor has covered that vital information with such depth and clarity. Even experienced
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  • After Colorado artist Stephen Quiller finishes presenting exercises, demonstrations, lectures, and critiques during a workshop, students often comment that no other instructor has covered that vital information with such depth and clarity. Even experienced
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  • In the July/August 2007 issue of American Artist, we discussed how Massachusetts oil painter Nancy Colella maintains a sense of spontaneity in her landscape paintings. Here, we present more of her landscapes as well as her still-life paintings. Chat about
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  • We present an online exclusive gallery of Ann Sanders' pastel landscapes to supplement the print feature in the April 2007 issue of American Artist . Cherry Creek 2006, pastel, 8 x10. Collection Cody Hartley. Donner Creek 2 2005, pastel, 10 x 8. All
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  • Californian Kim Lordier has succeeded by pushing herself to create better and more original paintings with pastel and by stopping herself from rendering photographic details. “I had to gain enough confidence to make marks that expressed what I wanted
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  • This month's featured artist is Alexandre Reider, a landscape painter who lives and works in Brazil. by Edith Zimmerman Washers by the River 2006, oil, 7 7/8 x 11 13/16. Collection the artist. Our Artist of the Month, Alexandre Reider , hailing from
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  • Nine years ago, Mark Norseth moved his family to Hawaii and discovered the perfect place to record the power, movement, and coloration of the sea in pastel paintings. by Tamara Moan It’s easy to spot Mark Norseth around the town of Kailua, perhaps
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  • Jean Ranstrom’s artist-friends are often surprised that she can create stunning pastel paintings in locations they would ignore. “If a painting has a strong focal point, as well as varied edges, values, and color temperatures, it can be successful
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  • A combination of variable brushstrokes, a warm and dark underpainting, and careful observation of environmental conditions help New Hampshire painter Colin J. Callahan capture light with a sense of energy. by Bob Bahr Banana 2001, oil on paper, 31 x 21
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  • Time in Giverny with Monet transformed Theodore Robinson's work, and much of what he learned he later passed on to another promising young painter. by Stephen May A recent exhibition on Theodore Robinson (1852–1896) highlighted the importance
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  • In the March 2007 issue of American Artist , Utah artist Brad Teare used a number of techniques to give his woodcut prints a fluid, organic quality that brings them closer in appearance to his plein air oil paintings . Here, we offer more the prints he
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  • Forbes and American Artis t again invited a group of artists to spend a week together interpreting a vast Colorado ranch in their choice of medium, subject, and style. by M. Stephen Doherty View of Cat Mountain by Ephraim Rubenstein, 2006, oil, 9 x 17½
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  • View more of Marla J. Brenner's plein air paintings in this online exclusive gallery, which expands upon the print feature in the April 2007 issue of American Artist . Headwaters of the South Fork 2006,oil on linen, 12 x 9. All artwork this gallery
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  • Ned Mueller discussed how to properly mix the right colors with which to convey a scene. by Bob Bahr “Many students want to learn as much as they can in an expedient manner, but it does take some years to achieve a fairly competent level,”
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  • Layering and underpainting are two of California artist Shawn Gould’s secrets to getting the most out of acrylic. by Linda S. Price Wooded Path 2005, acrylic, 12 x 16. All artwork this article collection the artist unless otherwise indicated. In
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  • It’s important to consider color theory when painting a landscape. by John Budicin West Coast Fall acrylic on canvas. It’s important to consider color theory when painting a landscape because often, as in this painting, the colors are too
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  • Our critic discusses the importance of shadows and foregrounds when considering a painting’s composition. by John Budicin Sunset Edith The artist needs to consider how the shadows are placed in this painting. The interior shadows seem a bit dark
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  • In the winter 2006 issue of Workshop magazine, we offered an inside look into Montana painter Ned Mueller's plein air workshops. Here, we showcase his figurative and landscape paintings as well as a few drawings. Norwegian Summer 2006, oil, 11 x 14
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  • In the winter 2006 issue of Workshop , John A. Parks tackled what is arguably the most difficult subject matter: how to organize color to paint the nature of light. We present an excerpt from the article with Park's advice about the basic principles
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  • While on location at the Forbes Trinchera Ranch, in Colorado, Ruth L. Beeve used watercolor and water-soluble oil to capture a variety of subjects. Back in her California studio, she uses those studies as the basis for more ambitious graphite drawings
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  • This Santa Barbara acrylic painter backs up her passionate views on land stewardship with an equally intense approach to painting the landscapes she loves. by Bob Bahr She is a calm, thoughtful person away from the canvas, but when she is painting, she
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  • We went in search of Anders Zorn in his homeland and discovered a personality large enough to encompass numerous contradictions—and a natural ability to paint in both oils and watercolor. by Bob Bahr When Anders Zorn's name is mentioned in the
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  • It's understood that a career in the visual arts can be personally fulfilling and professionally risky. That's why most people work secure 9-to-5 jobs and enjoy drawing and painting during evenings and weekends. But those limited hours just aren't
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  • In this excerpt from the fall 2006 issue of Drawing , David Mayernik discusses how copying the work of Old Masters trains his taste so he can draw and paint original work with the classical beauty he reveres. by Bob Bahr For David Mayernik , who has gone
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  • With adequate preparation and the right materials, it's possible to create large acrylic landscapes en plein air. by Andrew Paquette In early 2003, I left the high-stress feature-animation industry in Hollywood, California, and moved to Arizona, where
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  • Pastel artist Diana De Santis has devised an approach that allows her to focus on subjects rather than materials and techniques. by Lynne Moss Perricelli Diana De Santis believes in keeping things simple. Rather than pursuing complicated methods of working
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  • Along a moonlit Santa Barbara beach this past June, seven artists learned how California nocturne painter Thomas Van Stein employs strong value contrasts, soft edges, and a simplified design to recreate the light of night. by Allison Malafronte Thomas
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  • Oil painter Josh Elliott strives to paint tones and designs, not just picturesque scenes. by Bob Bahr Evening Shadows, Swan Valley 2006, oil, 12 x 16. All artwork this article private collection unless otherwise indicated. Josh Elliott is 33 years old
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  • In the February 2007 issue of American Artist , James Woodside discussed how his paintings reflected his experiences in some of the planet's remotest locations. Here, we present more of his plein air paintings in this online exclusive gallery. Breaker
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  • Ohio artist Linda Wesner depicts American scenes that are quickly disappearing because she feels it is important that the viewer recognize the universal theme of change. by Bob Bahr Light Along the Hudson 2006, colored pencil, 25 x 12¾. All artwork
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  • Michigan artist Sharon Will uses the elements of color—value, hue, temperature, and intensity—to give her paintings drama and excitement. by Collin Fry Rocking Chair 2002, pastel, 12 x 9. Private collection. All artwork this article collection
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  • Maintaining a distinctive value structure is at the core of Joann Ballinger's pastel instruction--and her own paintings. by Lynne Moss Perricelli In both her teaching and her own pastel paintings, Joann Ballinger emphasizes the importance of a distinctive
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  • New York painter Travis Schlaht looks for—and finds—compelling beauty in many corners of life. Then, using a restrained but powerful palette, he mirrors it on canvas. by James A. Metcalfe Bar II 2005, oil on linen, 26 x 36. All artwork this
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  • In the fall 2006 issue of Workshop magazine, Timothy R. Thies taught students how to capture the temperatures of light and shadow in their landscape paintings. Here, we offer an excerpt from the article regarding color charts. by Edith Zimmerman A few
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  • In the fall 2006 issue of Workshop magazine, Lynn Gertenbach taught her students that plein air painting is a partnership between the artist and nature. We offer an exerpt from the article with Gertenbach's tips for painting water. by Molly Siple
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  • In the November 2006 issue of American Artist , we explored how Texas artist Chris McHenry balanced constrasting values, color temperatures, and edges to establish depth, atmosphere, focus, and emotion in his oil landscapes. We present an excerpt from
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  • This exhibition of large-scale landscape paintings by Paul Caranicas will be on display at Bernarducci Meisel Gallery, in New York City, through October 28. Paul Caranicas: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow Through October 28 Bernarducci Meisel Gallery
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  • In the November 2006 issue of American Artist , we showcased James Gurney's impressive landscape paintings. We present an excerpt from the article that discusses the books that have influenced Gurney as an artist. by John A. Parks In developing his
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  • Lee Boynton, a master of Impressionistic watercolor painting, explains how to learn more about color and value by simplifying your subject and painting it repeatedly under different light conditions. by Linda Gottlieb and M. Stephen Doherty Cozy Harbor
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  • Tonal drawing--the juxtaposition of relative values, the notion of seeing masses rather than outlines--more closely replicates the way humans see than do lines. This emotional way of depicting the world has been explored since Leonardo; modern artists
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  • This New York state plein air artist creates impressive landscape paintings informed by his work as an illustrator and inspired by the work of the Hudson River School. by John A. Parks Creek Above Kaaterskill Falls 2004, oil, 20 x 16. All artwork this
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  • "My goal," says Andy Evansen, "is to finish a painting in only three washes." Through simplification, bold brushstrokes, a bit of planning, and confidence, the Minnesota watercolorist capitalizes on the medium's ability to render
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  • In the October 2006 issue of American Artist , California artist Ken Auster explained how he pursues an aggressive, take-no-prisoners approach to plein air painting. Here, we offer further insight into his technique. by John A. Parks Canvas. Cotton duck
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  • In the October 2006 issue of American Artist, Joseph Gyurcsak explained how he paints interior light. In contrast, we present 12 more images, mostly of landscapes, in this online exclusive gallery. Rachel's Room Oil on canvas, 11 x 14. The Dining
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  • Room interiors provide an excellent opportunity to paint a variety of light intensities, colors, and effects; but they also present challenges in trying to capture the subtleties of forms within those dimly lit spaces. by Joseph Gyurcsak Interior scenes
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