Portfolio | A Passion for Plein Air

Meet 12 artists who honor the landscape by capturing it in person

This story was featured in the June 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art June 2013 print issue, or get the Southwest Art June 2013 digital download now…Or better yet, just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!

Daniel Aldana

Daniel Aldana, Cove’s Last Light, oil, 12 x 16.

Daniel Aldana, Cove’s Last Light, oil, 12 x 16.

“COVE’S LAST LIGHT was painted in October at Crystal Cove State Beach. A small section of the park has beach cottages built in the 1930s and 1940s. I had painted in this same location the previous week and knew that if I could get there two hours before sunset, I would be able to capture some of the beautiful warm colors of the setting sun. Painting the ‘last light,’ or close to sunset, requires painting fast. If you can pull it off, you might be able to capture the passage of time and the sense of place.”

representation
Roger’s Gardens, Corona del Mar, CA; www.danielaldana.com.

Trey Finney

Trey Finney, Highland View, oil, 20 x 24.

Trey Finney, Highland View, oil, 20 x 24.

“Living in the Piedmont area of South Carolina affords many opportunities for day trips into the Appalachian Mountains, and for my taste, autumn is the perfect time of year. HIGHLAND VIEW is the end result of one of those trips. When the leaves are at their peak and the weather is good, I sometimes pack up my easel and head for the hills. The painting is a studio piece created from photographs and plein-air work. In most cases, any larger work I paint usually stems from a plein-air study or from one done in the studio that has that out-of-doors feel. In any case, I am looking for an impressionistic style with emphasis on color, drawing, and an underlying abstract design, what I like to call ‘natural impressions.’”

representation
Di Tommaso Galleries, Carefree, AZ; Germanton Gallery, Germanton, NC; Smithworks Fine Jewelry, Spartanburg, SC; Art Cellar, Banner Elk, NC; The Sylvan Gallery, Charleston, SC; treyfinney.com.

Jason Sacran

Jason Sacran, Great Spirit Bridge, oil, 12 x 16.

Jason Sacran, Great Spirit Bridge, oil, 12 x 16.

“Outdoor painting has become my primary subject. It allows me the opportunity to study nature directly and observe light, color, and atmosphere firsthand. When outdoor painting, I tend to respond to a scene in a more spontaneous and direct way, giving a more immediate, emotional, and personal record of that moment.

“I painted GREAT SPIRIT BRIDGE last October during the Big Cedar Lodge Plein Air Paint Out. This particular scene was painted in Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, which is one of my favorite painting spots. Besides being a great event, the Big Cedar paint out is one I greatly anticipate because it offers some of the most beautiful landscapes to paint.”

representation
Galerie Kornye West, Fort Worth, TX; Art Gallery at Laws Interiors, Knoxville, TN; Waterhouse Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA; Augusta Wood Ltd, Augusta, MO; Linda Palmer Gallery, Hot Springs, AR; Cherry’s Gallery, Carthage, MO; Stonehenge Art Gallery, Montgomery, AL; jasonsacran.com.

Lori Putnam

Lori Putnam, Wharf Speed, oil, 9 x 12.

Lori Putnam, Wharf Speed, oil, 9 x 12.

“Busy harbor scenes are enticing and provide a great challenge for any artist. As a modern impressionist, it is my job to sort out the important details that describe the subject and edit out any information that does not support my overall idea. The Monterey Wharf is filled with hundreds of boats of all styles and colors. On this day, the water was moving and the boats were constantly turning and swirling, tossing their colorful reflections about like a salad. It was important that I organize the boat shapes and connect large pieces together as much as possible. These solid boat masses allowed me to be more expressive with the water. That energetic application of paint provides excitement for viewers of the work as well.”

representation
Brazier Gallery, Richmond, VA; Deselms Fine Art, Cheyenne, WY; Galerie on Broad, Charleston, SC; Imagine Gallery, Franklin, TN; LeQuire Gallery, Nashville, TN; Nicole’s Studio & Art Gallery, Raleigh, NC; Richland Fine Art, Nashville, TN; Shuptrine’s, Chattanooga, TN; www.loriputnam.com.

Elaine Mathews

Elaine Mathews, Springtime in the Desert, oil, 16 x 20.

Elaine Mathews, Springtime in the Desert, oil, 16 x 20.

“On a trip south of Palm Springs heading toward the Agua Caliente Indian Canyons, I discovered this scene on Palm Canyon highway. It was so beautiful and so indicative of the desert area in springtime. I felt it had everything an artist could wish for. I knew the cumulus clouds would soon dissipate, so I got out my cell phone and took a shot of them. Then I could relax and set up. Everything else was pretty much stationary, except for the bees, butterflies, and lizards. I actually had to eliminate a few flowering brittlebush to enhance the path and also make the painting believable. This is why my friends and I paint en plein air: To experience as deeply as possible the visual gifts we humans are given.”

representation
Allan Pitchko Gallery, Rancho Mirage, CA; Quiet Creek Inn Gallery, Idyllwild, CA; David Terrence Fine Arts, Laguna Beach, CA; Desert Painter Studio Gallery, Palm Springs, CA; Desert Art Center, Palm Springs, CA; www.elaineartist.com.

Debra Joy Groesser

Debra Joy Groesser, Summer Morning Along County Road V, oil, 12 x 16.

Debra Joy Groesser, Summer Morning Along County Road V, oil, 12 x 16.

“Being from Nebraska, country roads, farms, and big skies really appeal to me. There are such great abstract patterns and rhythm to the arrangement of the buildings on most farmsteads. I also love subjects with strong patterns of light and shadow. This scene had all of those things, plus the wonderful shape of the tree mass on the right; the variety of texture and color in the cornfield, the pasture, the grasses and the wildflowers along the roadside; and the big sky with wispy clouds, so typical of a serene summer day in farm country. It was a bonus to find a great place to paint where I could pull off [the road] and not end up in a ditch!”

representation
Abend Gallery, Denver, CO; Art in Miniature, Tubac, AZ; Mountainsong Galleries, Carmel, CA; SouthWind Art Gallery, Topeka, KS; debragroesser.com.

Paul Kratter

Paul Kratter, Working the Field, oil, 9 x 12.

Paul Kratter, Working the Field, oil, 9 x 12.

“This rural scene near Sonoma, CA, is a favorite location of mine. I was attracted to the hard-edge graphic shapes of the buildings juxtaposed against the organic shapes of the eucalyptus and Monterey pine. In order to separate the lighter values of the silhouetted shapes of the buildings, I emphasized the dark value of the trees. By pushing the horizon line below the middle of the composition, I hoped to keep the painting from feeling static, and the dirt road was added to lead the viewer’s eye into the painting. While I chose to push the warm tones up slightly, my overall intention was to be true to the feeling of the scene.”

representation
Nancy Dodds Gallery, Carmel, CA; Holton Studio Frame-Makers, Emeryville, CA; Christopher Queen Galleries, Duncans Mills, CA; Sekula’s Fine Art & Antiques, Sacramento, CA; Lee Youngman Galleries, Calistoga, CA; paulkratter.com.

Linda Tippetts

Linda Tippetts, Rocky Mountain, oil, 11 x 14.

Linda Tippetts, Rocky Mountain, oil, 11 x 14.

“When painting on location, the landscape must be honored. Various elements are considered when a particular subject is chosen: light, color, mood, design. What made me stop in my tracks? Rather than focus too much on the actual subject, my attempt is to paint adjectives that describe the subject. I hit closer to the mark when painting the cold instead of the snow, the majesty instead of the mountain, or nature’s raw freshness instead of the scene. ROCKY MOUNTAIN revealed several compelling elements; however, the strength of the underlying abstract design kept my attention while considering light, color, mood, and the opportunity for minimal brush strokes to record what the mountain peak was saying to me.”

representation
Kneeland Gallery, Ketchum, ID; Samarah Gallery, Whitefish, MT; lindatippetts.com.

Coraly Hanson

Coraly Hanson, Misty Cypress, oil, 9 x 12.

Coraly Hanson, Misty Cypress, oil, 9 x 12.

“MISTY CYPRESS was painted one February morning along the coast near Pacific Grove. Even though it was a sunny day, there was a lot of moisture in the air. I was drawn to the layers of subdued colors that added atmosphere to the scene. Life can be very discouraging for people at times. I strive to create paintings that will bring hope, inspiration, and encouragement. My fondest childhood memories are of summers spent camping deep in the national parks along pristine rivers, beside sparkling alpine lakes, and beneath majestic snow-capped ranges from California to Canada. As primarily a plein-air painter, I love trying to capture the beauty I discover on my many thrilling art adventures, and sharing it with others.”

representation
West Cliff Inn, Santa Cruz, CA; Hanson Studio Gallery, Santa Cruz, CA; coralyfineart.com.

Lynn Dunbar

Lynn Dunbar, Looking Out My Back Door, oil, 7 x 5.

Lynn Dunbar, Looking Out My Back Door, oil, 7 x 5.

“Plein-air painting is a joy because I am able to be out amidst nature, breathing the fresh air, hearing the birds sing, and feeling the sun, breeze, and sometimes rain against my skin. I am thankful to be able to paint on location and to have such a divine connection with nature. This painting shows the simple beauty of my neighbor’s backyard. The Ohio River and the landscapes of Kentucky and Indiana are also some of my favorite subjects. The Russian painters Nikolai Timkov and the Tkachev brothers and California artist William Wendt are favorites of mine. In memory of my son, I donate a portion of my proceeds to childhood cancer charities.”

representation
Point Gallery & Framing, Prospect, KY; Malton Gallery, Cincinnati, OH; Brown County Art Guild, Nashville, IN; www.dunbar-art.com.

Debra Joyce Dawson

Debra Joyce Dawson, Chez Moo, oil, 6 x 8.

Debra Joyce Dawson, Chez Moo, oil, 6 x 8.

“I was fortunate enough to be invited to a ‘goat roast weekend’ at the farm of a friend in New Philadelphia, OH. It was late October. The Indian summer mornings were misty, but the afternoons were sunny and warm. While everyone partied and planned for that evening’s campfire dinner, I went out scouting for painting spots. Around 1 p.m. I came across this white barn basking in the glorious autumn sun. It was a painting waiting to happen. After making a small sketch, I set up my easel on the opposite side of the road. I could see this image clearly in my mind before I started, and the painting came together quickly. The wet work went to the party in a pizza box and was shown around.”

representation
Sharon Weiss Gallery, Columbus, OH; Eisele Gallery of Fine Art, Cincinnati, OH; debrajoycedawson.com.

Victor Leger

Victor Leger, Beecher’s Cove Snow, oil, 9 x 12.

Victor Leger, Beecher’s Cove Snow, oil, 9 x 12.

“Beecher’s Cove is one of my favorite places to paint. I have painted this site more than any other place, at all times of the day and [in all] seasons. My passion must come across, because every painting I have made here has sold. On this particular morning, I had to cross over 100 yards of fresh, 10-inch-deep snow, so I did the entire painting wearing snowshoes. Many of my large paintings are also created entirely on site, rather than in a studio from a field study. With this technique I feel I can get a higher definition. I believe I have a mission to paint all these places before they are gone, with the hope that maybe I can do my part to celebrate the natural world.”

representation
The White Gallery, Lakeville, CT; www.victorleger.com.

Featured in the June 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art June 2013 digital download
Southwest Art June 2013 print issue
Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!


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