The Cultural Center of Wyoming
Plein Air Painting is the French term for painting outside. I began my painting career by plein air painting over twenty years ago. I haven’t always pursued painting outside, but I enjoy it in every way. I love to find out of the way places where my company is usually crickets, birds and maybe some deer or antelope. Being outside is always good in my book, but sometimes plein air painting presents many challenges. The setting for plein air painting is always a challenge in itself. The light changes constantly (hence the title of the show, Chasing The Light) whether it’s from changing clouds or just the sun moving across the sky on a clear day. There is generally about a two hour window for each painting, before the light changes so much you either need to start a new painting or stop for the day.
The wind can be an element to contend with, especially here in Wyoming. Insects, vehicles, people, terrain and just remembering to bring all the necessary equipment make it interesting. This summer I kept a stack of canvas panels, my easel, paint bag, and dry box (for carrying wet paintings) in the back of my car. I planned my painting locations ahead of time in order to save as much time as I could, in finding a place to paint. I also decided I would not be too picky about finding the perfect scene, but would try my best to make a good painting no matter the place or the conditions.
These paintings represent some of the best from those endeavors. I use this smaller size canvas because I like to paint alla prima, or all at once. My plein air paintings are what I call a bit raw. They aren’t polished. I’ve just tried to convey the feel of the place without getting too picky about unnecessary details that a studio painting might have. I rarely make any changes to them once back in the studio. I do always hope I’ve captured the essence of the scene, while out there chasing the light.
The larger paintings were done in the studio. My aim in studio paintings is to make them as lively as the plein air paintings. I often use plein air paintings as reference for studio paintings. I’ve been an artist, working in oils, for more than 20 years. Over those years I’ve won various awards, including Juror’s Choice Award at The Wyoming Governor’s Capitol Art Exhibition, on two separate occasions. I’m honored to have my paintings residing in homes and offices around the world, and even right here, at the Nic.