PleinAir Magazine Dec/Jan 2015-16

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

Artists often borrow ideas, compositions, or techniques from past masters by making studies of their major works. They might be inspired by the artwork, or they may see an opportunity to explore their own response to the masterpiece. In the mid-1950s, Irish-born artist Francis Bacon (1909-1992) made at least eight studies of a painting by Vincent van Gogh that is presumed to have been destroyed during World War II, when a museum in Magdeburg, Germany, was bombed. That painting was a self-portrait of Van Gogh carrying his painting supplies into the French countryside, where he would paint in Tarascon, a village between Arles and Avignon. According to writer Dale Cotton, Van Gogh once claimed, “The real painters do not paint things as they are.... They paint them as they themselves feel…

4 min
the booming plein air movement and a lofty dream

If I were to ask you what the top-selling representational art magazine is nationally at Barnes & Noble, you would probably name some publication that’s been around for 50 years. Even I was surprised to learn that it’s PleinAir, number one on the newsstand among representational art publications and the number two art publication overall, behind a modern youth-oriented art publication called Juxtapoz. But why? The best answer I can come up with is that it’s because of the booming plein air movement. When the magazine first started in 2004, the movement could not support it, and it was eventually renamed Fine Art Connoisseur (which still exists as PleinAir’ sister publication). We relaunched PleinAir in 2011, when we felt the movement was ready to support it. The plein air movement isn’t booming because…

2 min
lessons for both of us

I always learn something useful when interviewing artists and writing articles on their work, but for this issue the information I gathered was especially helpful to me as a painter. For example, I got a totally new perspective on oil painting when Josh Clare (page 28) talked about simplifying landscape compositions, building up thick layers of oil colors, managing hard and soft edges, and using quick oil sketches to develop large studio pictures. I was surprised and amused when he told me he uses cheap brushes to handle the broad applications of paint. Clare was a bit reluctant to let me point out his use of inexpensive brushes because he was concerned about appearing unprofessional. However, I was able to convince him that no one would doubt his exceptional talents…

1 min
neil welliver (1929-2005)

“I carry a portable easel and eight tubes of oil color when I paint outdoors,” said the influential artist and teacher Neil Welliver. “Those include white, ivory black, cadmium red scarlet, manganese blue, ultramarine blue, lemon yellow, cadmium yellow, Royal Talens green light. I also take along brushes, a can of turpentine and medium, rags, water jugs, toilet tissue, binoculars, spy glass — that’s it, I think. I never try to get the color I’m looking at — never! I am much more interested in finding a color that makes it look like it is, again, surrounded by air.” Welliver had a very unusual way of painting outdoors and in the studio, in that he filled in the lines of his drawings with pre-mixed oil colors in almost a paint-by-numbers technique.…

3 min
practical recommendations from plein air painters

BOB FRANCIS I made my own lighter and more portable pochade box out of readily available hardware supplies. Bungee cords hold panels through a slot in the lid. There are no moving parts or wingnuts to bind or fail, and I used friction hinges ($20 each), threads from Home Depot for quick tripod release ($1 each), 3/4-inch frame stock from Home Depot ($7), and plywood from Home Depot ($6). It only took one afternoon to assemble the entire box, and I had time to make my own brush caddy out of 2 1/2-inch black pipe and fittings from Home Depot ($8). BETH BROWNLEE BATHE I have a couple of different setups I use, depending on where I am painting. I keep an all-in-one box (panel carrier, palette, drawers for brushes and paints) ready…

1 min
plein air only

Wisconsin artist Shelby Keefe photographed a painting in various stages of development, starting with loosely brushed warm colors in the lower half of the panel and cool tones in the upper half. Those underlying tones remain visible in the final painting, even in areas where the artist used opaque colors to define the pattern of light and shadow on the “old bones” of the barn. Colorado artist Jane Hunt dripped, scrubbed, scraped, and brushed oil colors onto a panel to capture both the appearance and the feeling of a stormy landscape. New Mexico artist Bill Gallen emphasizes the high contrast between light and dark values as he builds up lush brushstrokes of oil color that describe a Southwestern landscape.…