Painting on Grass Five Stories Up

Plein Air Magazine

Life is unpredictable for a plein air painter. Sometimes you paint in a windy mountain meadow, and sometimes you paint on top of a David Libeskind building in downtown Denver.

Clyde Steadman can attest to this firsthand, as the photo below shows. The artist and teacher was invited by the building’s management to paint from the grassy rooftop of Museum Residences during the recent Colorado Plein Air Festival. The structure, which Libeskind designed to mesh with the addition he designed for the Denver Art Museum across the street, houses condominiums.

Steadman was joined at the Museum Residences Paint Out by other area artists, including the acclaimed (mostly still life) painter Daniel Sprick. “Dan came to paint with us, though he is just enjoying the camaraderie, I think,” says Steadman. “He is remarkably generous and modest. Sprick moved to Denver a couple of years ago, I think, and paints with some of us in local figure painting groups, and joins us more rarely when we paint outdoors.”

It was a short painting session, from 4 to 7 p.m., and Steadman reports that Sprick paints the same way en plein air as you would expect him to paint in the studio, and that Sprick’s effort looked essentially “like a small vignette of a Dan Sprick painting.” Plein air isn’t Steadman’s usual approach, either, although he enjoys it. “I’m a longtime painter,” he says, “more of a figure and still life painter than a plein air guy, though I do like to get out regularly, especially in the winter, when snow pulls the shapes and values together and lets me suffer for my art. So much of my art involves looking at beautiful naked people, and I owe some sort of karmic debt for that — standing in the cold snow for three or four hours restores my sense of artistic balance!”

(Due to the age of this post, some images may be missing from this article)


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