Plein air nocturnes - OutdoorPainter.com
Fran Ellisor, “Rainy Night Impression,” oil, 11 x 14 in. Available from artist, Plein air

After years of painting outdoors, James Abbott McNeill Whistler launched a series of night paintings based on careful observation and memory. Originally, he called these pieces “moonlights,” but an imaginative patron suggested the musical term “nocturnes” instead. The artist agreed, saying that the name “does so poetically say all that I want it to say and no more than I wish.”

Here, six artists embrace the challenge of painting in the dark to reveal the poetry in mysterious moonlight; bewitching neon signs that light up the night; and the warm glow of a fiery sunset against a deep blue sky.

Plein air nocturnes - OutdoorPainter.com
Jim Wodark, “Night Shift,” 2017, oil, 20 x 24 in. Private collection, Studio from plein air sketches
Plein air nocturnes - OutdoorPainter.com
Heidi Marshall, “Evening in Santa Fe,” 2019, pastel, 9 x 12 in. Available from artist, Plein air and studio
Plein air nocturnes - OutdoorPainter.com
Tim Horn, “Comanche Moon,” 2016, oil, 6 x 8 in. Private collection, Plein air
Plein air nocturnes - OutdoorPainter.com
Mark Fehlman, “Night Crossing,” 2019, oil, 12 x 12 in. Available from Huse Skelly Studio Gallery, Plein air
Plein air nocturnes - OutdoorPainter.com
Jill Banks, “Starry Night,” 2019, oil, 16 x 12 in. Available from artist, Plein air

“I painted ‘Starry Night’ during the Artists on Location event in Knoxville, Tennessee,” says Jill Banks. “I knew from my first walk around town that this alleyway would be the subject of one of my paintings that week. It wasn’t until Friday night, however, that the opportunity presented itself. It was well worth the wait — the city was full of activity and sparkling lights. I loved the juxtaposition of the graffiti-lined walls and the strings of lights that lead the way. Lots of artistic eyes and hands had made this a magical place.”


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