Artists and Kids Paint Bryce Canyon National Park

I was recently invited to be a guest artist at Bryce Canyon National Park during the annual Geology Festival. It is the first time an artist has been invited to present at the event, which is sponsored by the Park Service and the Bryce Canyon Natural History Association. It was my hope that my visit might kick-start a permanent artist-in-residence program there. I think we may have succeeded.

My Favorite Place to Paint: Grand Color, Grand Canal

It’s not surprising that Venice, Italy, is renowned for much more than its unique geographic location, food, and iconic gondolas. Indeed, for centuries scholars, aristocrats, royalty, and — of course — artists have all become enamored with the jewel-like colors that dance off the city’s canals and pastel-colored buildings.


Brushwork is the last of the five tools in the “Painters Toolbox of Expression,” and this tool deals with texture. Because textural technique is very personal to the individual artist, no one approach is considered to be correct. Like edges, special brushwork is not even necessary, but more an enhancement to a well-designed painting. It’s generally true that brushwork is rarely spoken of by art teachers, and therefore seldom taught, especially on the university level.

Packing with Pastels

Our hard-working sales superstar Tracey Norvell recently posed this question to prolific artist Jude Tolar: “Do you know of a great, light pochade box for pastel painters?” Tolar’s response was worth quoting in full.

Designing Your Paintings with Values (Along with some tips on scene selection)

Can anyone imagine doing a painting without using a number of values? Well, as an abstract design possibly, but it would be a weak design, depending solely on color for its strength. So strong are values in the painting process that the old adage is true that says: “In painting, values do all the work, but color takes all the credit.”

Plein Air: Work, Play, or Both?

There are many plein air artists who simply don’t have the luxury of painting full-time and, as a result, keep other employment to make ends meet. Be that as it may, I would venture to guess that there are also many who find themselves in a situation where painting and profession aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. Details here.

How to Mix Color and Get Good Harmony (Without the Frustration)

This week’s article delves further into the “Painter’s Tool Box of Expression.” Last week I highlighted drawing, and this week we will look at color.

Packing and Plein Air

For the very adventurous outdoor painter, room — and weight — are crucial things to consider. PleinAir Today recently visited with artist Gary Geraths, who offered up some sage suggestions.

Drawing and Creativity (A Way to Prepare)

When it comes to painting, the act of drawing is often a departure from the classical linear concept that is understood by most people. Drawing, in the painting arena, has more to do with large compositional ideas and design elements, such as placement of objects or masses, linear movement, relative sizes of objects, weight distribution, and shapes.

The Landscape Painter’s Learning Guide, Pt. 2

This week, I will follow up on my article from the last issue of PleinAir Today, titled “Three Important Skills Every Landscape Painter Needs.” In this segment I begin to explain some of the concepts that are recommended as a map for studying landscape painting. In my workshops, I do this as a Power Point presentation, but I’ll attempt to explain it here in a few paragraphs.

Remembering Tommy

So beloved was Tommy Macaione to his chosen hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico, that after his death in 1992 a bronze statue of him painting en plein air was erected in a downtown park. When was the last time you saw a bronze statue of a plein air painter? Maybe one exists in Giverny, the Fontainebleau Forest, or possibly the Laguna coast, but I have not heard tell of one. What made this artist so worthy of a statue?

Why This Works: Color Harmony, Cohesion Through Brushstrokes

In this series, plein air painter and instructor Jeanne Mackenzie takes a look at new paintings by contemporary artists and points out why they succeed as painted images. This week, Doug Gorrell’s “River Mist.”

My Favorite Place to Paint: Peggy Immel and the Rio Grande

Created by presidential proclamation in March 2013, the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico features 10,000-foot mountains, high deserts, and a breathtaking gorge that — in some places — reaches a depth of 800 feet. Sound like plein air perfection? For Peggy Immel, it sure is.

PACE: More than Culture

As the curtain closed Thursday night on the 6th Annual PleinAir Convention & Expo in San Diego, California, I was left with one prevailing thought that characterized well the entire week of fun, new friends, and exhaustion.

Plein Air Painting as Resistance

Jerry Fresia lives in Italy but has his pulse on the world — political, artistic, and otherwise. He believes that a plein air painter is a soul who struggles, and he sees parallels in the bigger picture. Do you agree?

Why This Works: Not Every Branch, Twig, and Leaf

In this series, plein air painter and instructor Jeanne Mackenzie takes a look at new paintings by contemporary artists and points out why they succeed as painted images. This week, Kathryn A. McMahon’s “Beaverdams Pond.”

How Watercolor Can Make You Lose Friends

Watercolor paintings can be exciting, abstract, tight, mysterious, pretty — and divisive among some folks. Just ask Daniel Marshall.

My Favorite Place to Paint: John Caggiano, and Paradise Gained

John Caggiano painted a picture of a beach in the Venice, Florida area titled “A Touch of Paradise.” But it was the artist who gave it that magic touch, not nature.

My Favorite Place to Paint: Monika Johnson’s High Desert Meadow

Palette knife painter Monika Johnson loves to paint a spot near Lake Tahoe that offers plenty of depth and a sense of coziness.

Choosing From Column A

Artists often return to a particular subject matter when they don’t think it has been sufficiently explored. For Richard Maud, one of those motifs is the columns of the Alameda, in Seville, Spain.

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