PleinAir Magazine Dec/Jan 2017-18

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

Sometimes artists redefine themselves and reach a more enthusiastic group of collectors simply by painting a new range of landscape subjects. That’s what happened to Thomas Hill (1829-1908) when he stopped trying to paint like other East Coast artists associated with the Hudson River School, moved his family to California, and created dramatic representations of the West Coast landscape. Born in England and trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Hill struggled to support his large family by painting Hudson River-style landscapes as well as decorations on furniture and carriages. In 1865, he made a trip to Yosemite Valley in California and discovered what became his signature landscape subject. For the remainder of his career, Hill made yearly painting trips to Yosemite and Mount Shasta in California and back to…

4 min
painters who become storytellers and poets

Looking as far back as the 16th century, we find plein air artists who were masters of painting techniques, storytelling, and visual poetry. Their paintings continue to inform and inspire us, as do those by contemporary artists who preserve the tradition in workshops, festivals, and studios. All of us, as artists, are on a path to develop and grow. Doing it on our own, being self-taught, is for some a badge of courage. Yet I’ve discovered that no matter how much I discover on my own, there are others who have figured things out that I would never think to explore. That is why mentors are so important, and it’s why many of the great painters of the past continually sought new ideas and techniques from other artists. In fact, my biggest…

2 min
international plein air

Many of the artists featured in PleinAir, including those profiled in this issue, take their painting supplies with them when they travel around the U.S. and abroad. Those artists, and the painters who send me email accounts of their journeys, have great tales about the people they’ve met, studios they’ve visited, and onlookers who have commented on their work. All travel can be enriching, but travel recorded in plein air paintings is far more memorable than if it were documented only in digital photographs. My wife and I recently traveled to Spain and Portugal, and I took along watercolor painting materials. I resisted the idea of dealing with oil paints and solvents, and I didn’t want to spoil the trip for others by spending two to three hours totally absorbed in…

1 min
edward dufner (1872-1957)

The year 1910 marked a dramatic shift in Edward Dufner’s style of painting. It was then that he adopted an impressionist manner and began producing vibrantly painted pastoral scenes both outdoors and in his studio. In some, he included young women and children who posed for him, and critics and collectors of the time responded positively to his skillful incorporation of light effects. The critics went so far as to dub Dufner “the painter of sunshine.” Dufner, a native of Buffalo, New York, began his formal artistic training at the age of 15, when he enrolled in classes at the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy. After three years, the young artist was the recipient of the institution’s Albright scholarship, which enabled him to continue his education in New York City. In 1898,…

2 min
snow scenes

Painting snowy landscapes presents a number of challenges to plein air painters, beginning with the fact that the outdoor temperatures are low and can make it difficult for cold fingers to manipulate stiff or frozen paint. Then there is an issue of mixing a range of whites or reserving sections of watercolor paper in ways that convey the depth of the scene, the warmth or coolness of the colors, and the stark contrast in values. “We naturally tend to think of snow as being only white because the local color or value of snow is white,” says Utah artist George W. Handrahan. “However, it takes on many other colors as influenced by reflected light or shadows, with only the highlights actually being a warm or cool white. Pushing or exaggerating these…

6 min
brian sindler interpret nature. don’t copy it

ARTIST DATA NAME: Brian Sindler BIRTH YEAR: 1957 LOCATION: Northbrook, IL INFLUENCES: “James McNeill Whistler, Mark Rothko, Russell Chatham.” WEBSITE: When he participated in the 2012 Door County (WI) Plein Air Invitational, Brian Sindler made 120 rectangular and square drawings in a 6 x 6-inch sketchbook before ever picking up a paintbrush. Those simple drawings, created in two to three minutes with a pen brush, were made as the artist drove around along the beaches, through the small villages, and past farm communities on the peninsula. He eventually narrowed down the sketches to the 12 he thought had the greatest potential, and he created 12 paintings based on those sketches. “When I go back to the site where I made sketches, I start painting from the studies, and not from the scenes in front of me,”…