We honor the life of Steve Doherty, artist and former Editor of PleinAir Magazine and American Artist Magazine. Steve passed away recently from a heart attack, and we offer our sincere condolences to all who knew him.

Self portrait by Steve Doherty
Self-portrait by Steve Doherty

“We are devastated to hear of Steve’s passing,” said Eric Rhoads, CEO of Streamline Publishing, and a friend of Steve. “Steve had a huge positive impact and influence in the art world as editor of American Artist for 42 years and PleinAir for seven. He has known and interviewed every major living artist in the last 50 years, including Andrew Wyeth. He has thousands of friends in the art world and will be deeply missed. Our condolences to Sara and his family.”

“As a young editor, I’d admired Steve’s voice and vision for American Artist magazine for many years,” says PleinAir Magazine editor-in-chief Kelly Kane. “It was a daunting prospect to step into his shoes at PleinAir, but he could not have been warmer, more welcoming, or more generous as we made the transition: Me to carry on the legacy he’d created at the magazine, and him to painting full time and devoting more time to his choir.”

M. Stephen Doherty majored in art at Knox College in Galesburg, IL, and graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. He then earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in printmaking from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY; taught art in public schools, a community college, and at Knox; worked in the marketing department of a company that manufactured screen printing art supplies; and then moved to a suburb of New York City. He was the editor of American Artist magazine and launched three other art magazines: Watercolor, Drawing, and Workshop. He later became Editor-in-Chief of PleinAir magazine and moved to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Steve Doherty, artist

PleinAir Magazine Honors Steve Doherty at the 7th Annual Plein Air Convention & Expo (2018):

Read Steve’s letter on retiring from PleinAir: Stephen Doherty on New Journeys

Stephen Doherty on New Journeys

Look for a more in-depth tribute written by Bob Bahr in an upcoming issue of PleinAir Magazine.



  1. I was very sad to hear of the death of Stephen Doherty. His work with American artist magazine was very influential in my interest and development as an artist for all those years he was editor. It was good he had time to paint and become an even better artist himself, and his inclusion in Plein Air magazine was a forgone conclusion. Please extend my sympathy to his family. He will be so missed by the entire art community.


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