Art & Architecture
PleinAir Magazine

PleinAir Magazine Jul 2014

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
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6 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
plein air heritage

One of the most socially and politically active of the artists who settled in Taos, New Mexico, in the first quarter of the 20th century, Walter Ufer (1876-1936) did a great many paintings of Native Americans posed near their dwellings, on horseback, or in family groupings. In this self-portrait, he is next to a Pueblo Indian standing in front of a dwelling and the New Mexico landscape, all of which evidence Ufer’s passion for the land and people. Ufer first traveled to Taos through the generosity of two Chicago industrialists, Mayor Carter Harrison and Oscar Mayer. He was immediately successful in selling his paintings and prospered until the Great Depression began to devastate the U.S. economy in 1929. Destitute and already prone to alcoholism and gambling, he died in 1936. The artist’s…

2 min.
the journey

Three decades ago, I studied 4”x5” field photography and the Zone V system with world-renowned photographer Fred Picker (1927-2002). He taught me three important lessons, which later translated to painting: 1. The importance of values. 2. The importance of mastering the craft and technique before trying to turn it into art. Once, when attending a workshop, I said I wanted to get out and take creative pictures. The response: “You’ve got your whole life for that, but first you must make technique second nature so you can create exactly what you envision.” 3. The best photographs come to those willing to hike the farthest, get up the earliest, and wait for genuine inspiration. I returned to painting when I turned 40 and my wife bought me a lesson for my birthday. At first I…

2 min.
studying to learn or to pass tests

I graduated first in my college class, not because I was the smartest student, but because I knew how to prepare for and take tests. That’s why I often find similarities between painting for competitions and studying for final exams. The challenge in both situations is to do extra work and forecast what the professor or judge will be looking for. It’s not necessarily about learning for the sake of enrichment or painting for the joy of being creative. Students and painters can often get higher grades or win more awards by paying attention to the preferences of those making the big decisions than to their own deep feeling about the subjects. I know those statements run contrary to what many artists believe, but you’ll probably agree that the results of…

1 min.
jean-baptiste-camille corot (1796-1875)

Corot has long been considered one of the greatest landscape painters of all time, and his influence has been so pervasive that a Newsweek magazine article in 1940 quipped that “of the 2,500 paintings Corot did in his lifetime, 8,500 are to be found in America.” By the time this photograph was taken in 1873, the plein air paintings Corot created during several trips to Rome had already had an impact on the course of outdoor painting. The French Barbizon and Impressionist artists considered him a “true artist,” in the words of Delacroix, and today many painters mistakenly believe that plein air painting began with Corot. Though he eventually gained that exalted status, Corot was dismissed by critics and collectors until he was almost 50 years old. It took a change in…

3 min.
$21,000 presented to salon winners during plein air convention

All 700-plus people at the Plein Air Convention, held in April, cheered as Stewart White’s name was announced as the winner of the $15,000 top prize in the PleinAir Salon competition. The Baltimore artist won the Grand Prize for his watercolor painting titled St. John’s Church, Richmond. In addition to the cash prize, White’s painting is reproduced on the cover of this magazine. “I just feel lucky,” says White. “When they announced it, I was stunned, because there are a lot of great painters here, and I usually don’t expect a watercolorist to get the awards.” White goes on to explain that the painting came about quite naturally. He was in Richmond, Virginia, for the Plein Air Richmond event and thought he would drop by St. John’s Episcopal Church, a local…

5 min.
painting water

Water is one of the basic elements of nature that has fascinated artists for centuries. Painters have used water in all its various forms to heighten the sense of atmosphere and drama in a spring landscape, to add sparkling reflections to a cityscape, to pull viewers’ attention deep into a wilderness scene, or to symbolize the life force that flows through time and space. Virginia artist André Lucero often paints bodies of water because they stir his emotions and help him convey the broad experience of being in a landscape. “I think of myself as more of a poet than a journalist in that I express an overall impression of nature rather than incidental details,” he says. “Water is the perfect subject with which to convey my excitement and wonderment about…