Portfolio: Inspiration en Plein Air Painting

Kathryn Stats

Plein Air Painting

Mid Summer Morning, oil, 10 x 17.

“In MID SUMMER MORNING, the fields have dried to a pale gold that nicely complements the not-too-green vertical foliage of the trees. I like the view through the ‘see-through’ barn. I have always seen the foothills along this part of the Wasatch Front as ‘shoulders’ supporting the taller peaks. They provide a shift in intensity and temperature from the foreground fields. The hint of population in the middle ground helps guide the eye back into the rest of the painting. All of these elements combined to give me plenty to work with and solve in my attempt to bring them to life on the canvas.”

Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art, San Antonio, TX; www.kathrynstats.com.

Joseph Orr

Road to Summer, acrylic, 24 x 30.

“Roaming the back roads of mid-Missouri, I often come across great scenes that become so numerous, I have a tendency to just drive past. Other times a scene will present itself, and all your senses, or something else, just yells for you to stop and paint this picture.
“Driving along in my old painting truck, as I approached the curve along this stream—a tributary of the Osage River—I saw the strong light on the tree just as the song ‘Here Comes the Sun,’ by the Beatles, came on on the radio. That told me that on that day, this tree was my subject. By the time I had my preliminary work done, I felt I was on 

American Legacy Gallery, Kansas City, MO; Kodner Gallery, St. Louis, MO; Lee Youngman Galleries, Calistoga, CA; Morris & Whiteside Galleries, Hilton Head Island, SC; Paderewski Fine Art, Beaver Creek, CO; Sportsman’s Gallery, Atlanta, GA; The Sylvan Gallery, Charleston, SC; www.josephorr.com.

Matthias Fischer

Vineyard Views, oil, 12 x 16.

“Thomas Jefferson’s philosophy of finding joy in every blade of grass, in every leaf and bud, has always inspired me as a fine artist. Painting outdoors is a form of meditation that elevates all your senses.
“VINEYARD VIEWS is a journey through the creative landscape and captures what defines the poetry of fine art. In an instant, this painting delivers me back to that place in time: Here I listen to the trees rustling in the cool afternoon breeze; here I smell the sweet aroma of the ripening grapes rising from the vines below; here I watch my spaniel field companion roaming in the distance … no day too long, no field too far. Employing vigorous brush strokes, tightly woven and layered with a multitude of colors, my canvas quickly fills with color and light, projecting a feeling of endless depth.”

Portico Gallery, Montecito, CA; www.flyfischer.com.

Barbara Churchley

Making Tracks, oil, 36 x 24.

“I live just below the Grand Mesa in western Colorado, and we have an abundance of cross-country ski trails on the mesa. I have skied there often on deep snow and windless, quiet winter days. Sometimes it feels as if I have the mountain to myself. This painting, MAKING TRACKS, is from my remembrances of just such a day. I think that landscape painters are formed by the environment they live in. I really love the rural area I live in, and I never tire of the scenes that I am able to paint. I think the artwork reveals whether or not the artist is inspired by the scene in front of them.”

Oakley Gallery, Grand Junction, CO; Around the Corner Art Gallery, Montrose, CO; The Blue Pig Gallery, Palisade, CO; Ago Gallery, Ouray, CO; Munson’s Main Street Gallery, Cedaredge, CO; www.barbarachurchley.com.

Robert Hagberg

Caressed, oil, 18 x 24.

“In May 2007, I took a trip with three other artists to the inland waterways of southeast Alaska. It was one of the most awe-inspiring trips I have ever taken. For six weeks we traveled on a 42-foot boat. We motored the waterways by day and set anchor to take the dingy to shore to paint. We saw a lot of overcast skies and felt fortunate whenever the sun came out from behind the clouds. CARESSED represents one of those moments. Anchored in Sandy Cove in Glacier Bay National Park, we watched as the late-evening sun provided spectacular golden tones to the shoreline. It is one of those moments that [people] live for. A moment in an incredibly beautiful place when 
all the elements of nature come together to take one’s breath away.”

Argosy Gallery, Bar Harbor, ME; Wild Spirit Gallery, Pagosa Springs, CO; Oh-Be-Joyful Gallery, Crested Butte, CO; Wild Horse Gallery, Steamboat Springs, CO; www.roberthagberg.com.

Jim Wodark

Joy Ride, oil, 12 x 16.

“It was a sunny day, and this little boat was just floating on the tide line as I came by with my paints. The shadows of the pier led me to the water and the bright red of the boat against the blue of the ocean made me happy! So many elements together inspired me to paint this little gem. An emotional connection, a great atmosphere, an interesting design—these are the key elements that I look for in a scene. Of the three, I would say that the emotional connection—the inspiration—is the most important element. Once inspired, I can move elements around or invent them to make the design work. I hope the viewer feels an emotional connection to the scene. Then I know I have been successful in bringing what I think is beautiful into the world.”

Chemers Gallery, Tustin, CA; 
Debra Huse Gallery, Balboa Island, CA; Legacy Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ; www.jimwodark.com.

Michael Charron

Divine Glow, oil, 32 x 40.

“DIVINE GLOW, like all of my paintings, allows me to participate in existential contemplation. I actually refer to my paintings, and my painting process, as an ‘Optical Communion,’ a visual prayer. The paintings are literally infused with undetectable writings.
“The idea that the blue-gray mountain supports the yellow foreground is a metaphor for my belief that in back of everything is the all, the divine nature. However, there are unconventional potentialities. Could the yellow aspen foreground be supporting the blue-gray background? Did I explore divinity in the process of painting DIVINE GLOW, 
or did divinity explore me? Is the manifested painting of any real significance? Or is it the investigation, through the process of painting it, that is crucial?”

Artistica Art Gallery, Denver, CO; Fanning Partnership, Denver, CO; www.michaelcharron.com.

Leslie Allen

Lily Lake Reflections III, oil, 24 x 30.

“My Lily Lake Reflections series was done en plein air at Lily Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. I was uninspired by the overall scene in front of me but drawn to the more intimate things in the landscape. I started studying the reflections at the water’s edge. The orange reflections, contrasted with the complementary blue, struck me as a painting waiting to happen. I kept getting thumbs up from the hikers behind me, so I knew I was on to something. LILY LAKE REFLECTIONS III is an exploration into the colors and ripples in the water. I am still working on the mystery of painting water.”

Fine Art Gallery at the Cultural Arts Council of 
Estes Park, Estes Park, CO; Foothills Art Center, Golden, CO; Rich Timmons Studio & Gallery, Doylestown, PA; Showcase Art Center, Greeley, CO; www.allenfineart.com.

Mark Kelvin Horton

North Devon Coast, England, oil, 7 x 10.

“I was in North Devon, England, last June to paint and 
scout locations for a workshop I want to teach this summer. I stumbled upon this amazing spot called Hartland Quay and painted several sketches while sitting by a centuries-old inn overlooking the sea. For me there is no substitute for painting on location. It requires intense observation, study, and simplification. The dangerous beauty of this coastline had all the elements of what intrigues me in a landscape—light, atmosphere, and timelessness. I was so inspired by 
the unspoiled beauty of this area that I’ll be returning in 
June to teach and paint for two weeks.”

Horton Hayes Fine Art Gallery, Charleston, SC; Mary Williams Fine Arts, Boulder, CO; Shain Gallery, Charlotte, NC; City Art Gallery, Greenville, NC; West Wind Atelier, Harbor Springs, MI; Stonehenge Gallery, Montgomery, AL.

Jeanne Echternach

Creekside, oil, 12 x 9.

“When painting on a city street, you expect noise and people stopping by to watch or talk. That’s part of the fun when painting en plein air. But on the day I painted CREEKSIDE, I was way out at the end of an old mining road, with noise of the stream drowning out the sounds of the forest. I became totally absorbed in my painting until I heard a crunch in the gravel behind me. I turned and was startled to see a group of about eight hikers, who had quietly snuck up behind me, watching but not wanting to disturb me. We talked for a bit until they moved on.
“Everything worked out for the best. CREEKSIDE won the Artists’ Choice award at the Breckenridge Art and Wildflower Exhibition. And I learned a valuable lesson: Be glad it wasn’t a bear, and stick with your painting buddy. There’s safety in numbers!”

Cornflower Gallery, Frisco, CO; 
Framed Image, Denver, CO; www.jeanneechternachfineart.com.

Featured in the June 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase a copy:
Southwest Art magazine June 2012 digital download
Southwest Art magazine June 2012 print edition





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