PleinAir Magazine June - July 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

A group of Indiana plein air painters who came to be known as the Richmond Group Artists gained prominence at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries as their town in east central Indiana became a center for the arts. What began as a sketching group in 1870 blossomed into a plein air organization, and subsequently the Richmond Art Association. A new book about those painters, The Richmond Group Artists (Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN), was recently published after years of research by its author, Richmond Art Museum Director Shaun Thomas Dingswerth ( As revealed in the photograph and painting shown here, members of the Richmond Group often camped in scenic wooded areas where they could paint under the shelter of tents, canopies, and umbrellas.…

4 min
a transformational moment in art history

I had a sinking feeling the moment I walked into my studio upon returning from the Plein Air Convention, held this past April. I flipped on the light and glanced around the room at the paintings hanging on the walls, and I could see things in those paintings I could not have seen before I left. My colors were off, my compositions were wrong, my paintings were muddy, my light did not read like light, and my shadows were too dark and lacked life. That is what I would refer to as a transformational moment. The moment you make a giant leap forward. The moment of clarity about what you’ve been doing wrong and about what you should be doing instead. The moment you suddenly see things in your paintings (or…

3 min
confidence & growth

There is an underlying theme to the articles in most issues of PleinAir, and the one that emerges from this month’s offerings is this: The attitude artists have about themselves will strongly influence their success. To be more precise, artists need to have confidence in themselves, be challenged to get better, and remain open to new experiences and ideas. Perhaps the best example of why these qualities are important to an artist is the career of John Brandon Sills. About seven years ago, the Maryland artist faced a major crisis in his personal life, questioned the merits of all the paintings he had created, and meditated so he could find the strength and direction needed to move forward. After taking a huge risk and confronting his fears, Sills developed a new…

1 min
john albert seaford (1858-1936)

Although he was raised in Indiana, returned to the state quite often, and was an early member of the Richmond (Indiana) Art Association, John Albert Seaford worked mostly in Boston, Massachusetts, as an illustrator, newspaper staff artist, and art editor for the Boston Herald. He was most comfortable painting with gouache, a medium preferred by illustrators, and his plein air paintings have become important records of historic buildings in east central Indiana. Photo courtesy Richmond Museum of Art, Richmond, IN…

8 min
carl bretzke wins pleinair salon $15,000 grand prize

Minneapolis painter Carl Bretzke won the $15,000 Grand Prize in the 2015-2016 PleinAir Salon competition at the Plein Air Convention & Expo (PACE), held in Tucson, Arizona in April. He earned that prize with his 12 x 16-inch oil painting December Sunset Near Farmers Market. The painting won First Place in the June-July 2015 contest in the PleinAir Salon, making it eligible for the Grand Prize. Second Place, worth $3,000, was won by Valerie Craig for her 11 x 14-inch oil painting Whitewashed, and James Wodark won Third Place with his oil Zion Clouds. Wodark said he’s entered the Salon competition in the past and hadn’t won any awards, and this time he felt honored to receive Third Place because there were many, many impressive entries. Honorable Mentions went to Brent…

3 min
the many moods of clouds

The band of blue paint across the top of a sheet of paper or prepared board can be an incidental background to the central drama of a landscape, or it can be developed to such an extent that it becomes the subject of the artwork. The treatment of that sky area can indicate a menacing storm, sunlit day, parched desert, romantic lighting, or rapid motion. Painters can say everything about the weather, humidity, space, and change in the way they portray clouds in their pictures. One painter who frequently makes clouds the key element of his acrylic paintings is Arizona artist John D. Cogan. He is an expert in the subject, both through his experiences as a painter and his education as a Ph.D in experimental physics. We asked Cogan to…