How many times has an artist heard he or she should never use black? Or, here’s a good one, “Your light source should always be upper left.” The list of those “You shalt not do’s” I’ve heard goes on and on and on. How about, “You need to stop doing those vignettes” or “All the brush work in your painting should be the same” or the opposite with “All your brush work needs to be different.”
It all boils down to some expert telling someone else if they don’t do it the experts way they’re doing it wrong and, I guess, just because someone believes he/she is an expert, he/she can say about anything and everyone needs to just fall in line. Note the following statement made by Jean Stern, Executive Director, the Irvine Museum, Irvine, CA. in the Summer Issue of Plein Air Magazine, 2011. (The title of the article is “Plein Air Painting: A Vehicle, Not a Destination”. page 28) This is not the entire article but you can find it on line here if you don’t subscribe to the magazine. I quote:
“Today, the term plein air is nearly universal among contemporary artists and the collectors of their works. Quite often, as seen in countless art magazine advertisements, the legitimacy of plein air painting has been subverted to accommodate those who seek to appropriate the popularity and commercial success now attendant to that designation. Today, there are many who describe themselves as “plein air painters” who,in fact, are not.”
I smell plein air police.
Smore: “At the same time, the practice of plein air has suffered the abuse of being reduced to a sort of status symbol. Indeed in many circles it has become a yard stick: If you are not a plein air painter you are not a good painter.”
Smore: “Plein air is a philosophy, and it is not the artists’ Nirvana. It is not the end product. It is, in fact, the beginning. It is how one starts the process of creating a landscape painting.”
Well, I’ll buy it’s one way if you’re into that sort of thing.
Smore: “The plein air sketch confirms it’s reason for being when it leads to a refined, studio painted final work.”
Smore: “It is tempting to keep the small, carefully observed, brilliant little jewels that tend to sell so well, and, unfortunately, many artists do just that. Now is the time to restore our dedication to landscape painting, not only as artists, but as collectors, dealers and historians. The sweet siren’s song of the small plein air sketch as the painters’ panacea has to be left behind. (I would consider it but this fellow isn’t my boss, my daddy OR my Mrs.) To paint the landscape is one of the most ancient of human endeavors. Landscape is surely the most supreme of art subjects, and needs to be shown in a large format.” <—-opinion?
Geez, gimme a break! Is this fellow having a hard time selling large paintings or something? And the final statement in the article reads as follows:
“Honor nature by properly portraying her majesty and grandeur. A small plein air sketch just won’t do.”
Now wait. I have to ask. Who died and left this man in charge of deciding what plein air is all about and how it should have evolved over the last couple of hundred years? I’m not saying he doesn’t have a right to his opinion because he certainly does. I just don’t buy it!! And he’s not telling just me I’m wrong if I don’t see it his way and snap to!!. He’s also dissing collectors, dealers and historians as he sets himself up as the guy who “knows”..
The vast majority of my plein air work is executed without the slightest thought given to what is “supposed” to follow. I do a lot more work out doors than I do in my “at home studio” and I like it that way. Most of my plein air work never sees a larger canvas. The little “jewels” that sometimes drip off the end of my brush don’t need to be “confirmed”. They are what they are. They are small paintings living a life of their own, done in my atelier en plein air. ( Atelier en plein air, loosely translated means “out door studio”.)
Above are two paintings done Atelier en Plein Air. Having been executed in my out door studio I am certainly hopeful that Mr. Stern is OK with what I’ve done because these puppies are for sale.
Mr. Stern, I’ll cut you a deal!!
Till next time…….
Want to make a comment somewhere? —— > firstname.lastname@example.org <—–That’s a close as I can get you right now. Eric Rhodes is the kyo muk .