PleinAir Magazine February - March 2016

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

“Aim to tell the truth; but if you have to lie, lie courageously,” L. Birge Harrison (1854-1929) told his students at the Woodstock, New York, summer school operated by the Art Students League of New York. That message, and Harrison’s belief that truth can come through plein air painting, influenced a number of artists associated with the school. Among those dedicated outdoor painters working near the school in the Catskill Mountains region were Harry (Tony) Leith-Ross (1886-1973) and his friend John Folinsbee (1892-1972). In this small plein air painting, Leith-Ross is shown painting under an umbrella with a open paint box resting on his outstretched legs. Folinsbee captured his appearance with thick, swirling strokes of oil colors that mix on the panel much as they do on the palette. At the…

4 min
a study of the plein air study

In my previous life (before painting), I was an amateur photographer, traveling the world to capture fleeting moments. Today, boxes of slide carousels and prints stack up in storage, unseen for decades. They remind me of the scene in Chevy Chase’s Vacation film, where the family drives for days to see the Grand Canyon, takes a fleeting glance from the rim, and moves on. That almost defines my life as a photographer, just out to get a great shot. Toward the end of my obsession with photography, I realized I was shooting and leaving, rarely taking in the scene around me for longer than it takes to fire off a roll of film. One of the great gifts I received when I learned to paint out-of-doors was one I had never…

3 min
a time for studio painting

In many areas of the country, snow and cold are making it harder to paint landscapes outdoors — but that gives us good reason to develop studio paintings. In the privacy of our work spaces, we can look through our accumulated plein air paintings, recall the complete experience of working on location, and develop paintings that incorporate the information recorded in our sketches, plein air paintings, photographs, and memories. In doing that, we can consider new materials, compositional schemes, and color choices — and those, in turn, may stimulate new approaches to outdoor painting when we do return to the field. I have about a dozen small oil sketches in my studio that each suggest a new way of treating a subject I painted on location during warmer days. As I…

1 min
jack wilkinson smith (1873-1949)

This New Jersey-born artist demonstrated throughout his life that adaptability was key to his being able to support himself as an artist. He also valued the opportunity to work directly from nature, as he was doing when this photograph was taken. At various times, Smith worked as a commercial artist in Lexington, Kentucky; a sketch artist for the Cincinnati Enquirer in Ohio; a front-line sketch artist during the Spanish-American War; and a designer of outdoor advertising signs in California. At the same time, he studied painting in Cincinnati and Chicago, where he developed an Impressionist style of plein air and studio painting. During his career, he created plein air paintings throughout the United States and along Pacific coastline of California. From 1920-1921, Smith served as the fifth president of the California…

3 min
ken auster celebrating a long, fulfilling career

On November 30, 2015, PleinAir Publisher B. Eric Rhoads announced that he would be presenting a lifetime achievement award to California artist Ken Auster during the 2016 Plein Air Convention & Expo in Tucson, Arizona, in April. The editors and staff of the magazine agreed strongly with Rhoads that Auster is one of the most influential and inspiring artists in the country and that he deserves to be honored for his art, teaching, and generosity toward the community of collectors and artists. Dozens of his former students and colleagues supported the publisher’s decision, and the common feeling among those people was that Auster gave them the confidence and skills to pursue their passion for art. “It was Ken Auster who reaffirmed the direction in which I was heading and gave me…

2 min
what the details reveal

Reproductions of paintings can tell us a great deal about the artists’ creative process — but not everything. For one thing, they fail to give a sense of the actual scale of the pieces, even when the dimensions are provided; for another, they can’t convey the surface qualities of brushwork, levels of transparency, underlying tone, and details. That’s because magazines and books tend to reproduce paintings at roughly the same size on the printed page, with textural differences being lost during the process of photographing, scanning, and printing those images. The fact remains that nothing is quite as informative or satisfying as viewing an actual work of art. But digital photography and computerized printing processes now allow publications to come closer to showing the actual colors, textures, contrasts, and values of…