Charles White, “Point Cabrillo Colors,” 11 x 14 in.

Plein Air magazine’s 7th Annual Plein Air Convention and Expo is just around the corner, and to celebrate, we’ll be highlighting some of our featured instructors and their art over the next several weeks. Recently I asked him to tell us more about a couple of his paintings.

Of Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, he says “conditions were windy as you can see by the flag, and the three of us there had to work fast since it was late in the day and the park was closing soon. So we did quick oil sketches and finished up in the studio. The only thing I added was more colorful wildflowers in the foreground.”

Charles White, “Asilomar Dunes”

On Painting “Asilomar Dunes” (above)

“I’m always inspired by the patterns that are created in the shifting sand dunes of the Asilomar area,” White says, “especially late in the day when the light and shadows create patterns of their own. This was the fifth in a series of seven paintings of the area and the best composition of them all because of the depth created with the distant peninsula, which was absent in the others. The dark line of trees also helped to provide contrast to the red ice plant. I always paint a warm light Venetian red underpainting to get started, then draw out the compositional lines. Then I block out the large shapes with thinned-out oil concentrating on proper shapes and values. It’s usually windy on the coast so the thin layers dry fast and I can go over them with the heavier final coats. I create dark shapes first and then lighter ones, finishing with the sky.”

Learn more about Charles White at, and click here to register for PACE 2018.

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