PleinAir Magazine February/March 2020

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

While staying with Claude Monet at his home in the village of Argenteuil on the outskirts of Paris, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919) captured his friend in pursuit of their shared passion — painting outdoors. The day was overcast and the dahlias were in full bloom as the artists set up in a neighbor’s yard, just a few steps from Monet’s own house — the cream-colored one with blue shutters on the left. While Monet focused intently on the flowers, Renoir found inspiration in his fellow painter. Here we see the carefully posed artist standing before his canvas, a brush in his right hand and in his left, his palette and other brushes. A box of paints and an umbrella lay beneath the easel. An X-ray would later reveal that this piece…

4 min
teaching one million people to paint

For the past couple of years, I’ve declared it my goal to teach a million people to paint. I want to do for others what a number of generous teachers did for me — they literally changed my life. In the beginning, I had no idea what I was doing, and though I was frustrated that I couldn’t make perfect paintings out of the box, I loved the process. Eventually that love turned into an addiction. I couldn’t buy enough art supplies, books, or videos to satisfy my obsession with learning. That was over two decades ago, and the passion I have for growing as a painter continues to this day. In the process, not only have my painting skills improved, but my whole physiology has changed. When I’m painting, I’m less…

3 min
the restorative power of nature

To give the family a break after a hectic holiday season, my husband booked a weekend away at Carter Caves State Resort Park. Although it sounded like a wonderful retreat when I first learned of the surprise getaway, as the weekend grew closer, my excitement steadily diminished. There were decorations to put away, preparations to be made for our oldest to go back to college, not to mention a looming printer deadline for this issue. Frankly, I felt a quiet weekend at home would be a better way to spend my time and get things done. Still, we went. We barely had time to drop our bags at the lodge and don our hiking boots before it was time to meet the guide who would be showing us around one of…

3 min
paint the town

As a painting subject, the cityscape enjoys a relatively short history. Beginning with a Roman fresco dating to the first century A.D., cities showed up in art primarily as backdrops for portraits and biblical themes, or in service of mapping overviews. It wasn’t until the mid-17th century that the city came into its own as a worthy theme. In View of Delft (1660–1661), Jan Vermeer painted an accurate portrait of the Dutch city, touching off a trend of cityscape painting that existed through the 19th century. In their work, the Impressionists took the theme further and shone a spotlight on the atmosphere and dynamics of everyday urban life. As was the case for most realistic painting genres, however, cityscapes took a back seat to abstract and conceptual art through much of…

8 min
love at first snow

Winter in Montana behaves like an unsteady drunk. It crashes into fall, stumbles through the solstice, then lurches headlong toward spring. At my northern latitude, winter is greedy and unpredictable. It’s best just to get out of the way as it weaves its erratic path through the colder months. Eventually it will come crashing down and curl up for a long snooze. It’s then that wary artists will emerge from their studios, dust off their plein air equipment, squint into the bright sunlight, and head out into the tender green of spring. But is the hiatus really necessary? I’ve heard people talk about a “plein air season” as if it has a start and end date, a span that excludes the winter months. Winter is for eggnog and studio painting, right? I…

2 min
but it’s cold!

I know, it’s cold. I get it. Painting outside in winter seems a bit mental. When I post an image of a winter session on social media, I get words like “extreme” and “committed” in the comments. I’m not after an extreme experience, I’m after an authentic experience. Truth be told, I have terrible circulation. Put me on a Himalayan expedition, and I’d be the first to lose my toes. And yet, I get out in the dead of winter, and come home with fingers and toes intact and a smile on my face. Here are a few tried-and-true tips to help you get out there and give it a go. • Layer up. A warm core equals warm extremities. Don’t wait until you’re cold to add a layer; by then it’s…