PleinAir Magazine December/January 2019-20

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

Inspired by French plein air painter Jules Bastien-Lepages (1848–1884) to paint outdoors and use ordinary people as models, Stanhope Forbes (British, 1857–1947) abandoned plans to make a living as a portrait painter. Believing an artist must “stick to one branch of painting and make it [their] own,” he said, “I must do plein air or nothing. It’s the only way to achieve success.” Attracted by the quality of light and the mild climate, Forbes moved to Newlyn, a small fishing village in Cornwall, England, where he could paint outside most of the year. The shimmering reflections and rich textures of the harbor, along with the traditionally attired fishermen and women, provided endless opportunities for the bold brushwork and tonal painting that were the hallmark of his work. “Anything more beautiful than…

3 min
the end of plein air painting

As a reader of PleinAir Magazine, you likely fall into one of these categories: an artist; a collector, art buyer, or plein air event enthusiast; or an event organizer. (Although, in fairness, lots of gallery owners also subscribe.) What would happen if today’s plein air movement suddenly came to an end? Depending on when you discovered plein air, you may not know that this is the largest movement in the history of art. You also may not know that 15 years ago, this movement did not exist. I know, because I started this magazine 15 years ago, and back then there were probably fewer than five plein air events, almost no plein air workshops, and not all that many plein air painters. Certainly there were no plein air retreats like my Publisher’s…

2 min
a pioneering spirit

Measured against the great span of art across the centuries, plein air painting occupies a relatively new space on the timeline. For much of art history, allegorical and narrative themes dominated landscape painting. It wasn’t until the early 19th century that artists began to reject the contrived scenes of their predecessors and turn in earnest to nature itself for inspiration. The Romantics had helped pave the way just a few decades earlier. Railing against the rise of industrialization and the sober academic tradition that had dominated the arts, they took their sketching materials with them into the landscape in search of authenticity. But it was with the French Barbizon School of the mid-1800s that plein air painting found a defining place in the artist’s process. And of course, it welcomed its…

1 min
winners’ circle

The PleinAir Salon consists of six bimonthly contests, with the First, Second, and Third Place winners of each contest, and the category winners, automatically entered into the annual competition. First prize in the annual competition is $15,000 cash and the publication of the winning image on the cover of PleinAir Magazine, along with a feature story. Second Place earns an artist $3,000 and an article in the digital edition of PleinAir Magazine. Third Place yields $1,500 in cash. Three additional finalists win $500 each. The annual prizes will be presented at the 2020 Plein Air Convention & Expo in Denver, Colorado. Artists also earn $1,000 cash for First Place in the bimonthly contests. Second Place, Third Place, and category winners in each bimonthly contest will be published in PleinAir Magazine. ‘BEST…

2 min
figures in the landscape

Figurative painting met plein air in the dazzling sketches of masters Anders Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920), John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925), and Joaquín Sorolla (Spanish, 1863–1923). By combining the landscape’s rich colors, bold textures, and natural lighting with the energy and gesture of the figure, they brought out the best of both creative pursuits. Today’s plein air painters continue the tradition to dramatic effect. In the pages that follow, 15 talented artists explore the role of the figure in the landscape, from star attraction to supporting role.…

9 min
adventures with a palette knife

Painting with a palette knife offers the promise of lavish surfaces quickly achieved; automatically simplified drawing; bold, energetic strokes; and an overall sense of fearlessness and resolve. For the plein air painter, these qualities are clearly attractive. But while the results can be spectacular, taking up the knife is not for the faint of heart. Delivering paint with a knife involves a certain degree of uncertainty about the way it arrives on the surface. All of these promises and challenges have been enthusiastically embraced by Pennsylvania-based painter Michele Byrne, who has adopted the palette knife as her primary tool. Painting cityscapes that generally include multiple figures along with a comprehensive sense of location, Byrne employs a knife technique that confers a feeling of movement and air. Surfaces are built richly with…