Portfolio | Nocturnes

Thomas Van Stein ·

“My approach lets me paint nocturnal scenes that shimmer with life while retaining a spontaneous, painterly quality,” Thomas Van Stein wrote in an article on how to paint nocturnes [Artist’s Magazine, November 1997]. Unlike many plein-air painters who do an occasional nocturne under the full moon, nearly half of the paintings Van Stein produces are night scenes. He awakes between 2 and 4 a.m. and sets out with his easel, often working until sunrise. Born in Pasadena, CA, Van Stein is pursuing an MA at California State University, Northridge. He is represented by Montecito Gallery, Montecito, CA, and Morseburg Galleries, Los Angeles, CA.

· West Fraser ·

To South Carolina artist West Fraser, painting nocturnes is a great challenge. “You can’t see what you’re mixing,” he says. “So there’s always an element of surprise when you finally see your piece in ordinary light.” Fraser has traditionally been a painter of light, but when he began honing his skills as a colorist he discovered the appeal of painting nocturnes. The difficulty of course, is the lack of light. For Fraser, that’s also the attraction. “There’s something satisfying about knowing just what to do with the palette, even when you can’t see the color. It’s fun to push the paint around with almost reckless abandon.” Fraser lives in Charleston and is represented by Robert M. Hicklan Jr., Charleston and Spartanburg, SC.

· Michael J. Lynch ·

Denver artist Michael J. Lynch has been painting night scenes for several years. Since he paints mostly on location, the inherent problems of lighting are obvious. He often wears plumber’s glasses, which have lights on each corner, to help illuminate the darkness. Another substantial challenge, he says, is that color and value concerns are quite different from those encountered in the daylight. “You can use only a few colors,” Lynch explains. “It’s hard to get the values just right—you want to convey a sense of being out in the night air without the painting turning out too black.” Lynch’s works are available through Michael J. Lynch Studio, Littleton, CO.

· John Moyers ·

Night Song was among the new works presented by John Moyers at the Cowboy Artists of America sale last October, where he won the best of show award. “Painting a night scene was a challenge,” says Moyers. “I generally do a lot of work from life, but for this scene I had to figure out the values and color in my head.” For Night Song, Moyers posed a model and lit him from below to simulate a glowing campfire; he also used sunlight to approximate the effects of moonlight. Moyers is represented by Pierce Fine Art, Scottsdale, AZ; Claggett/Rey Gallery, Vail, CO; Altermann & Morris Galleries, Houston and Dallas, TX, and Santa Fe, NM.

· Daniel Pinkham ·

Daniel Pinkham paints nocturnes once a month under the full moon. “I like the way the landscape and color relationships are simplified at night,” he says. Pinkham, who paints only from life, travels for seven months every year with his wife Vicki (who is also a painter) in a converted U-Haul truck that serves as a mobile studio/home. Pinkham studied at the Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles, CA, and with Russian painter Sergei Bongart [1919-1985] for eight years. He is represented by Joan Irvine Smith Fine Arts, Laguna Beach, CA, and DeMott Galleries, Vail, CO.

· K. Hollebeke ·

K. Hollebeke was born in Germany and became interested in the history of the West after moving to the United States in her teens. She learned the nuts and bolts of ranching by working on a West Texas ranch that her husband’s family has owned since the late 1800s. “When I started painting, I was fascinated by researching and recreating the Old West,” she says. Of Home, Home on the Range Hollebeke says, “Storytelling has always been an integral part of the cowboy tradition. Something about the cowboy life brought out the poet in them.” Hollebeke now lives in Utah and is represented by Troy’s Western Heritage Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ; Legacy Galleries, Jackson, WY; and Huntsman Gallery of Fine Art, Aspen, CO.

Featured in “Portfolio: Nocturnals” April 1998