Maike Josupeit’s easel set up for painting

When Maike Josupeit finally found someone to teach her about landscape painting, she was so excited she couldn’t eat for several days. “I couldn’t find anyone in Germany who knew enough about plein air materials and techniques,” she explains, “so I traveled to Italy and connected with several great teachers.”

A winter scene painted by German artist Maike Josupeit

Maike Josupeit studied graphic design in Berlin, but she wanted to be able to paint like the plein air artists whose work she saw on Facebook and artists’ websites. Frustrated that she couldn’t find a good teacher in Germany, in 2010 she signed up for a workshop with Marc Dalessio and Daniela Astone that was being held in Umbria, Italy. She returned to Italy the next two years and continued studying with Dalessio and Astone, as well as American artist Ben Fenske.

“I didn’t even know what supplies to take to the first workshop, and I showed up with such poor-quality paints, brushes, and papers that Marc had to loan me some professional materials just so I could begin to learn properly,” Josupeit remembers. “There were students in the workshop from all over the world, and at first I was very intimidated because every time Marc came to see what I was doing, he had to correct me. My skies were too dark, my compositions were all wrong, there wasn’t enough variation in the foliage, etc. I took two more workshops with him in 2011 and 2012, and finally, in the last sessions, he came by my easel and didn’t identify any serious problems. I felt a real sense of accomplishment after all my struggles.

A sketch Josupeit made of Ben Fenske when he was demonstrating during a workshop

“Ben Fenske was often with us during the workshops, although he was reluctant to have us watch him paint. He did offer a few demonstrations of how to paint clouds, trees, etc., and he has some helpful photographs and a video on his website. And last year I traveled to the Netherlands to study with Roos Schuring, an artist who posts a lot of her paintings on Facebook. She confronts a lot of the same bad weather conditions I have to deal with in Germany, and her workshop was helpful in learning how to make the most of any painting opportunity.”

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