Morgan Samuel Price,
Morgan Samuel Price, "Last Hoo Rah," 2023, oil, 12 x 16 in., Private collection, plein air

Preview the newest issue of PleinAir Magazine with the Editor’s Letter:

It’s Personal

Plein air practitioners and aficionados are lucky to have a robust — and growing — number of events and festivals to celebrate their appreciation for outdoor painting in this country. Year round, top artists from across the United States are invited to join regional and local artists in drawing inspiration from a particular area. The communities where such events take place not only enjoy the opportunity to see the artistic process up close, they get to experience familiar sights anew through the eyes of the visiting artists who put their own unique spins on the landscape.

PleinAir Magazine Dec23/Jan24
The cover of our December’23/January’24 issue of PleinAir Magazine; art by Vladislav Yeliseyev (Click here to buy the digital version now) 

Subjects, styles, and even the mediums the artists use vary. Exhibited together at the end of the event, the work tells a rich story of place. So what makes one painting stand out from the rest? For the competition jurors, it’s a great many factors, both objective and subjective. For the collector, it’s often more personal. Sometimes it’s fond memories of a local landmark that draws the eye and tugs at the heartstrings. Sometimes it’s the artist’s unique brushwork or aesthetic that speaks to the collector. And sometimes, it’s just a feeling. For no definable reason, the piece grabs hold of the viewer and won’t let go.

Such was the experience of David Masello at the Plein Air Easton art festival several years ago. A seasoned arts writer and collector, he knows skilled work when he sees it. Still, it was the “element of poetry,” as he describes it, that convinced him to claim a particular piece as his own at the event. A seemingly prosaic view of small-town Maryland, the piece resonated with this New Yorker for its universal truth about the nature of solitude. In his essay in this issue, Masello shares the story of how he came to fall in love with the work — from the moment he first saw it hanging on display in the town museum to meeting the artist (and her daughter) at the event, caring for the piece as it dried, and finding just the right spot for it in his home.

To help you find a beloved addition to your own art collection, we’ve compiled the 2024 Ultimate Guide to Painting Events & Organizations. Mark your calendars now with new and favorite events near you, or plan a trip to participate in an event you’ve always wanted to attend. There is so much skilled and inspiring work created every year at such events, you’re sure to find a painting (or two) that resonates with you.

In the meantime, this issue offers a taste of the exciting plein air work being produced today — from the dynamic figure-filled landscapes of Morgan Samuel Price, a veteran of the plein air event circuit, to the work of relative newcomer Loren Eakins, an artist and biologist who responds to the landscapes he studies in both oil and watercolor. From the traditional plein air studies of Michelle Jung that inspire large-scale, contemporary floral studio pieces, to the rich depictions of landscape in varying degrees of abstraction by pastel artist Margaret Larlham. And finally, the work of Aimee Erickson and Jed Dorsey, who share the joys of painting and collecting small works in this issue’s special feature, “The Gift of Art.”


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