PleinAir Magazine August/September 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

Like his mentor and fellow Norwegian, Johan Christian Dahl, Thomas Fearnley (1802–1842) alternated between large, composed landscapes meant for exhibition and smaller, plein air oil sketches. They parted ways, however, when it came to subject matter. While Dahl urged him to specialize in local landscapes, Fearnley preferred to travel and sketch widely throughout Europe. With its bright, small sun at the center emphasizing the fleeting quality of the moment, and the stark lines in the clouds hinting at the oncoming darkness, Sunset, Sorrento illustrates the attention the artist paid to the role of light in his studies. Upon the artist’s death at age 39, this sketch and myriad others surfaced. Although Fearnley considered them incomplete works, Dahl argued they were “better than his finished paintings, for in them he gave of…

3 min
the plein air life well lived

Wrapping up the 9th annual Adirondack painting adventure, I realized that my life is all about community. In the Adirondacks, we’ve formed our own little community of artists who gather year after year. Some have passed; others have moved on; yet most continue to return, having looked forward to it all year. And each spring, new artists join the family. Though the event is packaged as a week of painting in beautiful surroundings, one artist put it best when he said, “I come to spend a week with the people I’ve grown to love. The painting is just a bonus.” When I started these Publisher’s Invitational events nine years ago, I could not have fully appreciated what they would become. For me, it was an excuse to take a week off…

3 min
six degrees of plein air

PleinAir Magazine publisher Eric Rhoads talks a lot about the plein air community, and the part that each of us plays, in his bi-monthly Publisher’s Letters. For me, this issue is a celebration of that reality. But there are lots of ways to define community, and, as the stories that follow illustrate, the reach of a committed and passionate group can extend far beyond its own members. A dramatic example of that influence can be found in “En Train Air,” the account of six well-known plein air painters who rode a long-distance train on a route that’s in danger of disappearing. In doing so, they called attention to the small towns along the way that will suffer most if that happens. Not only will the work they created on the trip…

4 min
dramatic lighting

Ask any plein air painter what attracts them to a particular scene, and more often than not, light is the answer. So what happens when an artist is faced with a landscape endowed with especially dramatic effects — a spectacularly colored sky reflected in the water below, a mysterious moonlit alleyway, or a tree-lined sidewalk brought to life by the play of dappled light? The 15 paintings showcased here give us a glimpse of the magic that can be achieved. “I was searching for a nocturne subject in an unfamiliar neighborhood,” says John Caggiano. “The hour was growing late, and just before I was about to give up, I drove up a dark and partly unpaved street, and this scene presented itself. The streetlamp was the only source of light. Luckily,…

10 min
the poetry of life

There’s nothing in the world like plein air painting!” says Kim Lordier. “I cherish those experiences I have when I’m standing in front of nature and reacting to what I’m seeing. Just being outside and feeling the power of Mother Nature is my greatest inspiration. Since I live in a noisy, busy suburb, I crave the sensation of having my feet firmly planted on the earth, or my toes sunk deep into the sand at a beach and hearing the force of the waves as they crash against the rocks. I’m easily enchanted by the scent of air perfumed by freshly tilled earth, and in autumn, by the smell of tarweed. Experiencing the poetry of life in the great outdoors is what compels me to set up my easel and…

1 min
demonstration: establishing a strong underpainting

Step 1 She uses a hard NuPastel to lay in the preliminary sketch, then sets a light layer of pastel into the shapes, using a general value and neutral color for each one. Step 2 Using a large hog bristle brush dipped into a small amount of Turpenoid, she goes over one shape at a time, melting the pastel but trying not to mix the colors at this point. The gestures of her strokes mimic the gestures of the objects she is painting. The Turpenoid takes approximately five minutes to dry, and then she is able to apply color on top. This picture shows a bit of this artist’s setup, the underpainting, and the scene that, she says, “grabbed my attention and asked me to paint it.”…