John MacDonald, “Slow Water,” oil on linen, 20 x 36 in.

This week’s PleinAir Podcast is sponsored by the Publisher’s Invitational African Painting Safari

Listen in as Eric Rhoads interviews outdoor painter John MacDonald in this enlightening podcast about creating successful paintings and more.

John MacDonald believes that using technology is not a “crutch” for artists, but rather a tool that can help one to interpret and enhance a scene in order to create a beautiful painting. He advises that one combine the tools of tech with one’s plein air experience, and tells us that “You quickly learn what the camera cannot capture, and what it can.”

Catch Mistakes Early

“Far from stifling the creative process, it actually is very freeing,” MacDonald says. “My success rate soared. I was just creating fewer failures . . . I certainly don’t want to put 30 hours into a painting only to discover that the value structure isn’t working, or that the composition is weak. Those are problems that I now absolutely insist to myself that I solve at the very beginning stages in the photograph or in the underpainting.”

Based in Williamstown, Massachusetts, MacDonald enjoys an abstract approach to shape, although while in his 20s he referred to himself as a realist painter, who was attracted to the Hudson River School style of art.

Listen to the full PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads here:

Visit John MacDonald’s website:
Learn about his instructional art video, “Creating Dynamic Landscapes

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  1. Great interview. I am currently watching his Poetic Landscape DVD and this interview supplements his instruction well Good questions and response about being a PleinAir air purist vs using photos and computer aids in the process. Just realized I need to renew my PleinAir Magazine-best art magazine ever!


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