Plein air landscape painting of a snowy field
Christine Labich, "Goldfields," 2020, pastel, 10 x 13 in., available from artist, plein air; featured in the Plein Air Magazine article “Wintry Mix” (February/March 2022).

Preview the newest issue of Plein Air Magazine with Kelly Kane’s Editor’s Letter: If you just need inspiration to spark a new path in your work or pull yourself out of a rut, she has collected a few ideas from this issue’s phenomenal featured artists to get you started.

We Deserve It

As I sit down to write this note, I’m less than 24 hours away from the printer deadline for this issue, with a to-do list at least 20 items long waiting for me. Still, when my mother dropped by unexpectedly this afternoon, I was happy to stop for a cup of tea. If the past couple of years have taught me anything, it’s to not take the people or activities I love for granted.

Plein Air Magazine FebMar2022 sm cover
The cover of our February/March 2022 issue of Plein Air Magazine; art by Marc Anderson (Click here to buy the digital version now)

Although I’m not much for making New Year’s resolutions, our recent collective experience certainly has me thinking. How much have I missed out on by being “too busy”? Would I really not hit a deadline if I took just five minutes out of my day for a surprise visit? Couldn’t someone else in the family drive my youngest to and from soccer practice one day a week, so I can finally sit in on that drawing class I’ve been wanting to try?

The deprivations of the past two years have got me thinking harder about investing in the things I like to do. Maybe you feel the same.

If you’ve been considering a workshop with a favorite artist, there’s no better time to take the next step. In this issue, you’ll find our 2022 Artists’ Guide to Workshops, Schools, and Ateliers with loads of opportunities around the country and abroad. And, of course, we’ve got our own Plein Air Convention & Expo coming up in May.

For those who would prefer the convenience of taking a workshop in your own home, there are the PleinAir Live, Watercolor Live, and Pastel Live virtual events, or any number of fantastic artists’ videos to choose from.

And if you just need inspiration to spark a new path in your work or pull yourself out of a rut, I’ve collected a few ideas from this issue’s phenomenal featured artists to get you started.

On working light to dark in oil: “The reason I did it this way was purely to inject vibrancy into the painting. As soon as you have to start painting over wet dark colors with wet light colors, it becomes hard to keep your painting from getting muddy.”
— Nicholas O’Leary

On painting with others: “As painters, we are our own boss and employee. En plein air, we often paint by ourselves, but the camaraderie can be quite important. It’s fun to paint with friends and colleagues … and may be necessary.”
— Richard Sneary

On painting neutrals: “Neutrals that are very close together can be used to define light and distance in the winter landscape, and this can teach you a lot about color in general. This season, try using the smallest shift possible within a given value to say what you want to say.”
— Christine Labich

On braving the elements: “When it’s too cold for watercolor, I switch to oil for plein air work, and use the results as inspiration for studio watercolors or larger oils. No matter which medium you choose, get a setup that works for you and have at it. Winter is too good to waste.” — Frank LaLumia

On taking risks: “No matter what subject I’m focused on, I’ve learned that my process must be one of discovery and adventure, or I’ll end up with a lifeless painting. The minute something starts to feel formulaic or safe, I know I’m not risking enough.”
— Lisa Grossman

As you look ahead to the new year, know that we’ll be here, bringing you the ideas, inspiration, and instruction you need to stay connected to your art. Whatever 2022 throws at us, let’s pledge to be a little extra good to ourselves. We deserve it.

Plein Air Magazine, February/March 2022 Table of Contents:

Plein Air Magazine FebMar2022 contents

Get your copy of the newest issue of Plein Air Magazine — available on newsstands — or subscribe here so you never miss an issue.

Subscribe to Plein Air Today, a free newsletter for artists.

Visit to find out all the amazing opportunities for artists through Streamline Publishing, including:
– Online art conferences such as Plein Air Live
– New video workshops for artists
– Incredible art retreats
– Educational and fun art conventions, and much more.

Learn More