PleinAir Magazine Aug/Sep 2015

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

It is informative to compare this painting by John F. Sloan (1871-1951) with the award-winning Jim McVicker painting reproduced on the cover of the issue. The paintings show a similarity in the plein air equipment, clothing, and painting methods used by artists who value the act of painting directly from nature. Jim McVicker and Helen Taylor both stand at portable easels, shade their eyes with hats, hold extra brushes in their non-painting hand, and keep fully loaded palettes close at hand. However, in accordance with the standards of the day, Taylor wears a clean ruffled blouse and a long white skirt, while McVicker is casually attired in a paint-stained shirt and a pair of shorts. What is more interesting is the brushwork used by the two artists. McVicker employed what might…

3 min
the magic of concentration

Back in mid-June, 125 painters gathered in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York for an event I call the Publisher’s Invitational. Unlike all the other paint-outs in the world, this one is all play and no work. There is no art show, no competition among artists, no sale of paintings, no collector or community events to attend. I designed the Invitational because I know that many painters who work the circuit of shows would like to spend time with friends, paint without pressure, and just spend a summer week painting a beautiful place. And I know others who are not on the circuit but who just want to paint. Many have busy lives and careers and won’t set aside the time for a concentrated week of painting, and this week…

2 min
surprising statements

I could hardly believe what Jim McVicker said about repainting his award-winning self-portrait twice before he was satisfied. His statement made me wonder what hope there is for the rest of us, if an exceptional painter like McVicker struggles to find ways of resolving a painting. Are we all destined to “teeter on the edge of a cliff,” until we regain our footing and complete the journey? The answer from McVicker, and all the other artists I interviewed for this issue, is a definite “Yes!” It’s easy to see that McVicker regains his composure every time he is in the midst of painting outdoors, even when he hauls a large canvas out over successive days. One look at the reproductions of his plein air paintings in this issue and you can…

1 min
frank vincent dumond (1865-1951)

“The study of landscape is always the great feature of interest in summer work,” wrote Frank V. DuMond when describing his classes in Old Lyme, Connecticut, where this photograph was taken. “There are three criticisms weekly, two out of doors and one in the studio, covering all the work done during the week.” DuMond is often cited by plein air painters as having influenced them strongly in their use of the “prismatic palette,” a way of analyzing and recording the progression of color into the space of a landscape. These artists premix their paints and use them to represent the foreground, middle ground, and background, following the progression of colors in the sequence of red, orange, yellow, blue, indigo, and violet. That is, foreground shrubs and rock might be painted with…

8 min
practical recommendations from plein air painters

Question: What drawing or painting tools do you use to make preliminary thumbnail sketches, and what specific brushes do you use at various stages of the painting process? Traditional Sketching Tools: JENNIFER YOUNG: I make notan thumbnail sketches in a small 4 x 6-inch notebook filled with heavyweight paper using a fat, chisel-tipped Sharpie pen. I transfer the lines and define the shapes on a canvas using thin lines painted with a small round brush, and then I fill in the rest with flat and filbert bristle brushes. I pack around 10, but only use three or four. WENDY BERMINGHAM: I sketch with three Prismacolor gray markers (Nos. 8, 6, and 4) that have a fine tip on one end and a chisel tip on the other. They allow me to define three to five…

1 min
how would you answer these questions?

Here are questions we may discuss in the next issue. Send your responses to 1. Are social events scheduled during plein air festivals a good thing because they bring collectors and artists together, or are they a bad thing because they keep artists from painting during the golden hours at the end of the day? 2. Do you use special tube colors that are hard to mix from a standard palette? If so, what are those convenience colors? 3. In your opinion, do collectors respond more favorably to paintings with tight details or those with loose brushwork? 4. The rules about using photography during a plein air festival have become more strict in recent years, with many organizations threatening to ban artists who use photographs in any way. What do you think about…