PleinAir Magazine April - May 2016

Get your PleinAir Magazine digital subscription today and join tens of thousands of artists and collectors who have joined a new plein air movement. Rooted in a deep history, each bi-monthly issue, edited by Kelly Kane, chronicles important events and spotlights today’s master artists, their techniques, the collectors who follow them, as well as the historic artists who came before them.

United States
Streamline Publishing
$7.98(Incl. tax)
$42.64(Incl. tax)
6 Issues

in this issue

1 min
plein air heritage

This portrait of an Italian plein air painter, perhaps Giovanni Carnovali, look suspiciously like a studio painting, since the landscape is little more than a misty backdrop to a static pose. It may very well be that the painter, Giuseppe Mazza, lacked experience in painting figures outdoors, but his subject, Carnovali, needed to be shown in the landscape since he was an adventurous, experimental plein air painter. Carnovali made his first painting trips on foot while he was still a teenager, and he undertook a major painting trip to Rome, Naples, and Milan while in his late 20s. Along the way, he absorbed the influences of Italian and French painters, influences that may have cost him a major commission in 1863, when an ecclesiastical commission rejected his experimental handling of light.…

3 min
the necessary stages of painters, collectors, events, and galleries

As a painter I’m often apologetic about my work, especially around someone whose accomplishments I admire. One day when visiting my home, artist Michael Ringer simply said, “Eric, you’ve got to stop apologizing for your work.” He went on to tell me that every artist goes through the insecurity and the bad paintings, and that failure is part of growth as an artist: “No one is judging you.” Though I’ve tried very hard since then to stop it, I do catch myself making excuses, saying my work is not what it could be, if only — if only there were more time to paint, if only I could get better at drawing, etc. What is important to understand for all artists and collectors reading this is that failure is an option,…

2 min
growth through experimentation

One of the themes connecting the feature articles in this issue is the value of change. Several of the profiled artists mention that their paintings became more distinctive, expressive, and satisfying after they struggled through a period of experimentation. That period may have included the use of new painting supplies, larger canvases, more abstract designs, thicker oil colors, or even a different language for describing the painting process. The cost of that risk-taking was a lot of unsuccessful paintings, days of frustration, and feelings of uncertainty, but the reward was a body of work that didn’t look like everyone else’s plein air paintings, and excitement about launching a promising new creative direction. It’s also worth noting that those changes may be the reason PleinAir magazine decided to publish profiles of these…

1 min
david levine (1926-2009)

Although he was best known for his pen-and-ink caricatures that reflected the work of Honoré Daumier and Thomas Nast, David Levine was also highly regarded for his oil and watercolor paintings, most of which were based on direct observations of figures and landscapes. His plein air watercolors of Coney Island, New York, were especially revered, and many thought those were among his most important paintings. “The paintings of David Levine ... are seldom only about the thing or the place or the people directly observed,” wrote Peter Hamill. “They are also about the unseen world that they suggest, a world of time and nostalgia, of things and people lost.” Levine did most of his watercolor paintings on hot-press paper, and he mixed white gouache, or body color, in with his transparent…

2 min
figures in context

We are all such social creatures that when we see figures on a canvas, we immediately focus on them and expect their gestures and expressions to unlock the meaning of the picture. We can’t help but wonder who they are and why they are in the space created inside the painting. That is especially true if the figures face us as we stare at the paintings. It hardly matters how big or small they might be or how impressionistic or realistic is the depiction. They are the subject of the painting whether the artist intended them to be or not. Aren’t you curious to know what Vermeer’s women are thinking as they write a letter or balance a scale? Don’t you feel part of the merrymaking when you see a drinker…

8 min
matt smith establishing a rewarding life as an artist

ARTIST DATA NAME: Matt Smith BIRTHDATE: 1960 LOCATION: Arizona INFLUENCES:“Everyone, good or bad.” WEBSITE: During the upcoming Plein Air Convention & Expo in Tucson, Arizona, Matt Smith will be sharing information about his creative process both in the studio and outdoors, emphasizing his belief that the fundamentals of painting are critical to advancing one’s artwork. Smith will offer a workshop before the convention gets underway, and also speak from the main stage of the convention hall. Smith’s workshop will stretch over a day and a half and will include a visual presentation that supports his discussion of the fundamentals of painting: drawing, value, design, and color. “I’ll discuss paintings by historical and contemporary artists who were brilliant at using these fundamentals to create powerful, personal paintings,” Smith says. “Then I will offer a demonstration so people…