Ramon Hurtado recently painted this piece depicting an outdoor sculpture, and he took a moment to explain why the subject matter caught his eye. 

A sculpture such as “The Mystery of Life,” the complex and brilliant multi-figured sculpture that Hurtado found in Los Angeles’s Forest Lawn Memorial Park (a cemetery), packs in it the original content the sculptor imbued, the context of the sculpture, and the abstract and atmospheric contributions that plein air painting adds to any scene. The fact that sculptures like this one are monochromatic, enabling the painter to show his or her facility in rendering value and color temperature of light and shadow as it plays over a single local color, only increases its appeal as subject matter. 

Hurtado has this to say: “Figurative sculpture is an increasingly rare feature in modern urban spaces. As a painter of outdoor subjects, I’m fascinated by the way that the beautiful organic forms of sculpture contrast with the hard, geometric structures that define contemporary architecture. This tension between flat and dimensional spaces creates a rare kind of aesthetic magic, a push-pull dynamic that forces the viewer to engage with the painting. 

“At the same time, painting sculpture provides us with an opportunity to connect with the artwork that surrounds us. As I model the figure little by little, I feel a strong kinship with the sculptor who brought it into being, and a growing appreciation for the work itself.”


  1. Have stopped painting plein air in oils. Felt like an aged sherpa lugging the gear up hills and across beaches. Have tried water color and have not had any success with WC. I’m thinking the solution is a very light weight pouchade and tripod – in maybe aluminum. Any suggetions?

  2. Traveling by air with oils is a challenge. I take my small, thin Open Box M pallet-pochade box, pre-cut canvas sheets as do Brian and Laurie. I take about three larger but identical size Gator board panels to tape canvas to, and glue 1/4″ balsa strips on the outer edge of each (forming a simple box frame on one side of each) so I can stack them and the taped canvas is well clear from the next panel.

    The biggest weight issue I have is the tripod. I leave the rugged one home and opt for a lighter version sacrificing some stability.

    Traveling like this in the US, I manage with only carry-on luggage by sending paint ahead in a USPS flat rate box.

    I hope more artists reply with their personal travel tips.

  3. I use a lightweight music stand for my palette.it fits in my easel carrying bag. So my backkpack has my supplies and small mastersons palette with disposable grey palette inside. Makes it easy to hike or travel on public transport. Sometimes i bring along a plastic scrapbooking box to transport 2 wet panels back to hotel.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here