PleinAir Magazine Dec/Jan 2018-19

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

Born to English parents in France, Alfred Sisley (1839-1899) remained something of an outsider his entire life. Although he’s recognized along with friends Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Claude Monet as one of the crucial figures in Impressionism, he never enjoyed their level of success or recognition. While many of his peers explored urban life and the effects of industrialization in their work, Sisley remained focused on tranquil landscapes. In the summer of 1877, he moved to Sèvres, a suburb of Paris, where he painted a series of views of the town, its quays, and the local bridge over the Seine. Characterized by a fresh, breezy atmosphere, the paintings portray a range of riverside activities. In this case, he’s added a small figure on the bank to draw the eye and add interest. Rarely…

4 min
what defines plein air painting?

I am asked this question a lot by collectors, artists, and people just learning about plein air. The easy answer, of course, is that it’s a landscape painting created on location, though it can also be a figure or still life painted in the outdoor light. Some would even argue that a plein air painting could be done indoors — a view from a window, an interior, or a floral, painted from life. On occasion, the discussion heats up. Some feel adamant that a plein air painting must be 100 percent completed outdoors, on location, in one sitting. They feel it’s wrong to take it indoors and finish it, make corrections, or even just touch it up. One painter told me plein air is a style of painting, characterized by loose brushwork…

2 min
it’s personal

Think of David Hockney, and swimming pools most likely come to mind. Indeed, much of the British artist’s work has been inspired by the light and landscape of his adopted home in Southern California. About a decade or so ago, however, he returned his attention to his native Yorkshire for a series of glorious plein air landscapes. “Landscapes seem big to me,” he says of his inspiration for the paintings, “and I wanted to make them bigger still.” To convey the grandeur of the landscape, the artist set up a number of panels at once and painted as if he were working on one extremely large canvas. But that’s not the only thing interesting about the work, as revealed in photos like the one shown here. On the whole, the landscapes…

1 min
henri de toulouse-lautrec (1864–1901)

Most remembered for his lurid portrayals of prostitutes and Parisian nightlife, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec also painted a series of poignant plein air portraits between 1889 and 1891. Set in the garden of Monsieur Père Forest, his neighbor in the Paris district of Montmartre, the pieces highlight the artist’s painterly style. Focusing heavily on line and contour, the work could perhaps best be described as colored drawings, in which his use of long, thin brushstrokes left much of the canvas visible. Influenced by the Impressionists, in particular the more figurative painters Édouard Manet and Edgar Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec developed his unique style and technique by arranging for friends and favorite models to pose against the garden’s semi-wild foliage for these plein air painting exercises, which he called “impositions.” Writing to his mother about…

4 min
doors, windows, and passageways

More than just a compositional construct, doors, windows, and passageways provide the opportunity to imbue a painting with a sense of mystery. Whether our view is looking out, looking in, or down a corridor, we can’t help but wonder what awaits on the other side. Here, 15 artists present us with 15 unique takes on these familiar yet evocative subjects. “I completed Alan’s Playroom Redux during the 2018 Mountain Maryland Plein Air competition in September,” says Mick McAndrews. “It rained hard the entire week, so I tucked into this barn on the beautiful property of my host family to stay dry for a few hours. I painted a smaller version of the interior in 2017, hence ‘Redux’ in the title. “I told myself then that it would be fun to do a…

10 min
on land and at sea

Maine oil painter Don Demers sits nearly alone at the top of contemporary maritime art, but recently his work has undergone a fundamental shift in subject matter. In short, he’s gone inland. And while he’s unlikely to ever give up painting marine scenes entirely, this change in focus has freed the artist to paint more landscapes. It started with a small jump from centering on boats — and thus some kind of narrative involving the boat’s situation — to exploring the personality of the sea. “I had colleagues say that I was a better painter than I was allowing myself to be,” Demers says. “Moving to just paint the sea allowed me to change my style a little bit and be more expressive, and also to say more about my life.…