Plein-Air Painters

As a leading voice in the western art world, Southwest Art magazine has been following the plein-air movement and plein-air painters for many years. Each June, we publish our plein-air issue, which features famous plein-air painters and emerging plein-air artists who take their paints outdoors. The links below provide you with some of the editors’ favorite articles on plein-air painters that have been featured in Southwest Art over the past few years.

Jerry Markham, Dusk Crossing the Columbia, oil, 30 x 34.Jerry Markham | Original Vision

Jerry Markham explores the natural world with inimitable style
By Rosemary Carstens (Featured in June 2013)

The driving force behind Jerry Markham’s work is his desire to create an original vision, a personal interpretation of subject matter that he hopes will give viewers a fresh perspective.


Kathleen Dunphy, Dappled Light, oil, 12 x 12.Kathleen Dunphy | The World in Real Time

Kathleen Dunphy paints the ever-changing landscape
By Bonnie Gangelhoff (Featured in June 2013)

Although Kathleen Dunphy is an award-winning plein-air artist today, she actually began her studies at San Francisco’s Academy of Art University with the intent of becoming a figurative painter.


Debra Huse | California Spring RegattaDebra Huse | On Land and Sea

Debra Huse captures the California coast on its own terms
By Bonnie Gangelhoff (Featured in February 2013)

Debra Huse has created several of her coastal landscape paintings from the deck of a boat drifting unanchored in the Pacific Ocean—the vessel rocking back and forth and her canvas gently swaying with the currents.


Cody DeLong | Plein-air painterArtists’ Studios | Cody DeLong

A visit with Cody DeLong at his studio in Jerome, AZ
By Bonnie Gangelhoff  (Featured in June 2012)

“Anyone who has visited Jerome knows it’s a special place,” DeLong says. “It has an authenticity and charm from the old days that few places can still claim.”


Marc Hanson | Plein-air painting: Right or LeftMarc Hanson | Passport to Nature

For landscape painter Marc Hanson, art is everywhere his travels take him
By Rosemary Carstens (Featured in November 2012)

“When it comes to plein-air painting, Marc Hanson is a diehard,” says Elizabeth Pollie of Elizabeth Pollie Fine Art in Harbor Springs, MI, which represents Hanson’s work.


Michael Obermeyer | Plein-air painterArtists’ Studios | Michael Obermeyer

A visit with Michael Obermeyer at his studio in Laguna Beach, CA.
By Bonnie Gangelhoff  (Featured in May 2012)

“I’m a member of the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association, and we continue the tradition of the early California Impressionists, painting the gorgeous light and unique views of the area,” says Obermeyer.


John Taft, Autumn Radiance | Oil Plein-Air PainterJohn Taft | Called to Painting

John Taft is compelled to portray the beauty of the Colorado landscape.
By Bonnie Gangelhoff  (Featured in July 2012)

The inspiration for Taft’s landscape paintings stems from being on location in all seasons. Taft says he never tires of painting Colorado terrain because there is so much variety just a few hours from his front door.


Tim Horn, Out of the Blue, oil plein-air paintingTim Horn | Beyond Main Street

Tim Horn captures the light of everyday moments in his nostalgic art.
By Bonnie Gangelhoff  (Featured in June 2012)

Red-roofed cottages perched by the sea, pastel-colored laundry pinned to a backyard clothesline, rusty Ford trucks sitting in fields on the fringes of small-town America—there is a certain nostalgic art thread running through Horn’s paintings.


Dave Santillanes, The Florida River Valley, oil plein-air paintingDave Santillanes | Poetry of Place

Dave Santillanes holds an intimate conversation with nature.
By Rosemary Carstens (Featured in December 2011)

Working steadily over the past decade, plein-air painter Dave Santillanes is increasingly recognized for his ability to translate his knowledge of wild places into beautifully crafted works of art.


Greg Scheibel, Above Mirror Lake, oil plein-air paintingGreg Scheibel | Right Under the Sky

Greg Scheibel earns his plein-air stripes in the great outdoors.
By Linda Williams (Featured in November 2011)

Even though Greg Scheibel has stacks of sketchbooks in his studio, he honed and polished his skills in the unbounded classroom of the Rocky Mountain wilderness. For this artist, the emotional connection to nature is foundational to all of his work.


Walt Gonske, Jemez Gold | Oil Plein-Air PainterWalt Gonske | Brush Strokes of Life

Walt Gonske’s powerful, energetic style records the process of creating art.
By Gussie Fauntleroy (Featured in June 2011)

After four decades as a fine artist, Gonske’s powerfully evocative landscapes—with their signature bold brush strokes and strong sense of emotional authenticity—can hardly be created fast enough to meet collectors’ demand.


Stephen Datz, Autumn Sunshine | Oil Plein-Air PainterStephen C. Datz | The Significance of Silence

Stephen C. Datz shares nature’s quiet and wondrous moments.
By Rosemary Carstens (Featured in June 2011)

Art can be a means of making sense of the world, and Datz’s paintings bring us closer to that understanding. To him the landscape is alive and vibrant, with a melody all its own and “an intrinsic beauty and value that cannot be ignored.”


John Poon, Valley Farm | Oil Plein-Air PainterJohn Poon | Becoming an Artist

John Poon views his career as a continuing process of learning and evolving.
By Norman Kolpas (Featured in June 2011)

Utah painter John Poon can be judged by any standard to have established himself as a fine artist of substantial accomplishment. His landscape canvases sell in respected galleries across the country.


Kim Lordier, A Fresh Coat | Pastel Plein-Air PainterKim Lordier | Windows to Grandeur

Kim Lordier’s career took off once she got her feet on the ground.
By Bonnie Gangelhoff (Featured in June 2011)

When Lordier sets out to paint on location, many of her favorite spots are ones where legendary artists stood before their easels decades ago. Experts in early California Impressionism agree that Lordier’s strong suit centers on portraying light.


Lorenzo Chavez, Blue Sky Over Colorado | Pastel Plein-Air PainterLorenzo Chávez | Below the Surface

Lorenzo Chávez’s pastel landscapes are imbued with a spirit of history and a deep connection to nature.
By Reed Glenn (Featured in April 2011)

Very early in his career, Chávez liked to paint western scenes. But he soon discovered that he preferred what was behind the cowboys—the landscape.


Clive Tyler, Catch a Cloud | Pastel Plein-Air PainterClive R. Tyler | One With Nature

Clive R. Tyler paints luminous pastel landscapes.
By Mark Mussari (Featured in March 2011)

Tyler’s shimmering landscapes are deftly rendered in brilliant pastels, each canvas a painterly paean to the mountains and trees he knows and loves. In fact, Tyler says that his first artistic memory involves “drawing a lot of trees.”


Frank Serrano, Aspen Grove | Oil Plein-Air PainterFrank Serrano | In the Mood

Frank Serrano captures L.A. & the surrounding Southern California scenery.
By Norman Kolpas (Featured in December 2010)

Thinking of Serrano’s works as a series of time-lapse images somehow explains why they appeal to the many people who have been drawn to them over his almost 18 years as a professional fine-art painter.


Michael Godfrey, Luray Valley | Oil Plein-Air PainterMichael Godfrey | The Glory of Light

Landscape painter Michael Godfrey strives to portray the beauty of creation.
By Rosemary Carstens (Featured in December 2010)

Whether capturing the vast, open vistas of Colorado, Wyoming, and the Sierra Nevadas, or the lusher, denser wildness of the East, Godfrey never fails to feel God’s hand at work.


Jill Carver | Plein-Air PainterJill Carver | In Pursuit of Painting

Plein-air artist Jill Carver searches for images that inspire her.
By Norman Kolpas (Featured in June 2010)

“I spend as much time walking and observing and sketching as I do painting,” Carver says. “It tunes me into the landscape. My first step is exploring and absorbing and just looking. I do hours of that, and I find a lot of paintings as a result.”


Douglas Morgan, Stoplight | Plein-Air Painter Douglas Morgan | Finding His Destiny

Douglas Morgan took 40 years to discover his calling as an artist.
By Norman Kolpas (Featured in May 2010)

Listen to Douglas Morgan as he enthusiastically surveys the first four decades of his life, and you might well think that absolutely nothing foreshadowed the highly successful artist he is today.


Carol Swinney, Desert Beauty | Plein-Air PainterCarol Swinney | A Feel for the Land

Palette-knife painter Carol Swinney renders the western landscapes that she calls home
By Gussie Fauntleroy (Featured in January 2010)

When a blind man’s fingers can travel over a landscape painting and reveal nature’s beauty to sightless eyes, you know there’s something special about the art.