PleinAir Magazine April/May 2019

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

Having spent most of his life in Paris and London, American-born James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903) drew inspiration from a host of artistic influences, including the Dutch masters, Spanish Baroque, French contemporary Realists, Japanese decorative art, and the Pre-Raphaelites, to develop his unique painting style. Rejecting the popular notion that art should contain moral or historical meaning, he focused instead on creating harmony and effecting mood through the use of color, tone, brush-stroke, texture, and composition. Painted en plein air, this intimately scaled seascape marked a distinct shift from the artist’s studio-produced nocturnes of the previous decade. Here he used the sparest of compositional elements to evoke the serene coastal atmosphere on the spot. Broad horizontal bands of blues and gray suggest sky, ocean, and sand, with dabs of thin paint giving…

3 min
how to live longer

Art history books are filled with stories of artists who were on a never-ending quest to improve their craft, learn new approaches, and experiment with fresh ideas. Materials have changed over time, and new colors have emerged, all of which have opened the doors to new ideas. There are numerous accounts of collaborations with other artists, of conversations in cafes, of artists mentoring other artists, and painters getting together in small groups to share ideas. Most did this far into their later years. The magic of painting is that it can have an impact on your longevity. An elastic and growing brain that is continually challenged is a brain that has a reason not to shut down the organs and send the body into dying mode. History holds many examples of…

2 min
better together

Looking back, I had no idea what I was getting into at my first Plein Air Convention & Expo (PACE). The fun, energy, and excitement generated by a group that size, all engaged in a shared passion, is impossible to imagine; you just have to experience it. More than the thrill, however, the camaraderie between the participants — faculty and attendees alike — provided some of the most memorable moments for me. I saw people help one another find their way around the convention space; offer rides to paint-out locations; and share materials, time, and advice as they engaged in their collective endeavors. But surprisingly, it didn’t end there. The sense of support and fellowship fostered at the convention extended well beyond the last day of activities via social media. For many…

2 min
keeping it real

Boasting awe-inspiring redwood forests, vineyards set amid rolling hills, and a dramatic Pacific coastline, Northern California has been the backdrop for a number of significant art movements. With all that spectacular natural scenery, it’s no wonder that two of the most popular movements have been rooted in the land, often offering a direct counterpoint to those in other parts of the country that favored a more abstract approach. Chief among these movements, California Impressionism sprung up as artists in the Golden State embraced their French predecessors’ interest in loose brushwork, rich color, and, most of all, a fascination with the effects of sunlight. And what better way to capture the distinctive California glow than by also painting en plein air, a defining feature of 20th-century California painting. For Irvine Museum director Jean…

2 min
insider tips from local artists

The light and weather conditions can change fast, so it’s important to capture a moment fairly quickly. You also have to be aware of the late afternoon west wind. In artists’ circles here, there are many stories of tripods and canvases blowing away. — Michael Reardon San Francisco has lots of tourists, especially from foreign countries. Be prepared for getting your picture snapped and fielding questions from interested visitors if you set up in a popular location. — Julia Munger Seelos If I’m painting along a road, I use James Gurney’s trick of bringing my own orange traffic cones to alert drivers that there’s an artist ahead. A fun observation is that orange is also the color of California poppies, our state flower! — Carolyn Lord No matter what time of year, it’s…

3 min
perfect places to paint en plein air

Sonoma and Napa County are truly an artist’s dream to paint, with rolling golden hills, oak and eucalyptus trees, working vineyards, beautiful barns, and Victorian houses. Not to mention that you have wine tastings and wonderful food around every corner. — Kim Lordier There are so many great places to paint, but I would single out Fort Mason for its Golden Gate views, cypress trees, and wonderful architecture. I also recommend Tilden Park, just east of Berkeley, for views of quintessential East Bay hills dotted with oaks and eucalyptus. — Michael Reardon If you are able to make it to the Legion of Honor, be sure to bring your paints. High on the headlands above the Golden Gate Bridge, the neoclassical building houses a tremendous permanent collection. Surrounded by cypress tree groves,…