John Stobart painting on Salem Common in Massachusetts

“All kids should be given plein air paintings to hang in their bedrooms,” says the distinguished and sometimes controversial artist John Stobart. The British-born landscape and marine painter will be honored during the Plein Air Convention & Expo in Monterey, California (, and he will speak his mind there, and in the pages of the March 2013 issue of PleinAir magazine. His statements are certain to provoke comment!

“Little Bay, Catalina Islands,” by John Stobart, 2002, oil, 10 x 14 in. Private collection.

“Culture is no longer being revered as a national asset,” John Stobart says emphatically. “Artists should also be aware of where their power lies and regularly practice painting on site at every opportunity. It is from the uniqueness of individual observation of the subject that artists are able to extract their most valuable asset. Photography is anathema to art, and it is the main reason why so much contemporary painting is boring. When paintings are done from photographs, no one can tell who created them. The plein air artists demonstrate their personalities and achieve something recognizably theirs by adding their own magic ‘extra,’ thereby making it ‘extraordinary.’”

“River Lea at Ware,” by John Stobart, 1952, oil on panel, 11 x 14 in. Collection the artist.

You’ll want to read all of Stobart’s comments in his guest editorial in the March 2013 issue of PleinAir, and you’ll want to be in the audience when he is honored during the Plein Air Convention & Expo in Monterey. Not everyone will agree with what he says, but everyone should be glad someone as influential as Stobart is standing up for the merits of drawing and painting directly from nature. Learn more about Stobart in the next issue of PleinAir and through his website,


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