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ARTIST SPOTLIGHTS Plein Air Brandywine Valley 2018

Elaine Lisle

Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Spotlight 10-18-18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

I began painting plein air when I was 16 in my back yard! I have always painted outside from life although I often complete large works in the studio. More recently I have enjoyed participating in plein air events and competitions. It has been a great way to push my work in different directions and learn and grow from other artists.

What has helped you develop as a painter?

I studied at the University of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. I have had some wonderful teachers, but have also found that when I began teaching myself, I learned alot from my students and the process of teaching. Taking the time to travel and paint where there are no distractions has also been very helpful.

Describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors.

Participating in a quick draw where the weather went from sun to rain to cloudy to sunny to rainy all in the span of 2 hours taught me how important it is to get those first brushstrokes and focal point down very quickly.

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

I have most enjoyed painting in Provence and Ireland, but my local favorites definitely include the Brandywine Valley. I also love Maine, the Adirondacks, and painting urban scenes.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

I love to work outside from life and PABV allows me the opportunity to work at some of the most beautiful farms and estates in the country (probably in the world!). It is also a good cause and always a wonderful group of artists.

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

PABV is special because they bring you LUNCH! (courtesy of the wonderful Janssens Market) Always one of the highlights of the day. The volunteers who run the event are really wonderful as are the other artists who participate. I particularly enjoyed the nocturne last year and I hope the weather cooperates for this year’s event as well!

Maryanne Jacobsen

Venice, Florida

Spotlight 10-18-18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

I began painting plein air about 10 years ago, around the same time that I started learning to paint.

What has helped you develop as a painter?

Perseverance. Learning to paint later in life has had its challenges, and as we grow older those challenges tend to loom larger in our minds. However, the joys of turning out a good work and having it purchased, somehow alleviates the struggles in the end.

Describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors.

While painting in a prestigious botanical garden in Palm Springs, Fl. during the Lighthouse Plein Air Festival, a sudden storm came up and blew my easel and paints all over the ground. Happily, or so I thought, I had dutifully brought a tarp to stand on, and after picking up the mess and resuming the painting after the rain, I was unaware I had gobs of cad orange paint under my shoes. Every time I stepped backwards to view my work, I tracked orange paint all over the gorgeous stone pavers in that garden! When I finally saw the paint all over the tarp and the pavers, I was mortified!

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

Although I live in Florida, I find the majority of my inspiration comes from having painted in New England, California, and of course, my beloved Chester County Pennsylvania roots.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

I’ve been competing in PABV since 2013, because it allows me to return to one of the loveliest places in the entire world- the Brandywine Valley, and savor the sights, smells and impressions that have formed the majority of my life’s memories.

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

For years, living in the Chester County countryside, I was oblivious to how fortunate I was to actually live there! I was the Artistic Director of the West Chester Performing Arts Center and West Chester Ballet Theatre for many years, and those endeavors kept me quite busy. After moving to Florida in 2004 and becoming a visual artist I sadly realized the bright jewel I had left behind in the Brandywine Valley!

Through painting in the PABV competition every year, I am afforded the opportunity to go back and savor the great history and heritage of the area I’ll always call “home”. It is also well run and for a wonderful cause!

Kathryn Young Deaville

West Chester, Pennsylvania

Spotlight 10-18-18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

I have always enjoyed sketching outdoors. I started keeping sketchbooks years ago as an architectural student and I love trying to capture the image I am seeing on paper or canvas, whether it be a small detail of a building or a large-scale cityscape.

What has helped you develop as a painter?

The more I paint, the more I see.

Describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors.

The challenges of painting outdoors are many, but I hope to turn them into positive elements. I remember trying to brush a stink bug off my painting and then liking the resulting brush stroke.

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

I really appreciate painting in small town settings with narrow streets and alleys. West Chester PA and New Castle DE are two of my favorite locations.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

There is so much beauty in the Brandywine Valley and I look forward each year to spending a whole week exploring the area in paint.

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

Having worked and studied as an architect, I hope to express the sense of space in our towns and landscapes. I hope my paintings will invite the viewer in.

Elisa Domenick

Malvern, Pennsylvania

Spotlight 10-18-18

How did you first learn of and when did you start photographing at PABV?

I first learned of PABV earlier this year, from veteran participant, Randall Graham. This is my first year in the competition.

What has helped you develop as a photographer?

Being hired for music photography gigs with little experience. Working with moving subjects in low lighting helped me to “go for the shot” without over-thinking it and forced me to learn how to work with settings that I hadn’t previously been using.

Can you describe something unusual or challenging that happened when photographing outdoors; one that continues to stand out in your mind?

It can be challenging to keep models out of sight and protected in the openness of the outdoors, when shooting artistic partial nudes.

Can you tell us about some of your favorite settings and places where you have you photographed?

I love taking street photography in colorful New Orleans, and the tranquility of boats and lighthouses in the open spaces of Nantucket. As much as I love to travel, I’m thankful there is no shortage of natural beauty in our area. Some of my favorite photos have been taken right here in Chester County.

What attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

I love to push myself in order to grow as a photographer and also as a person. I’m excited to be competing for the first time, and in such a well-respected event. I’m looking forward to giving it my best and leaving with valuable experience.

Share anything about PABV or about you as a photographer that others will find interesting.

Being a photographer gives me a feeling of power. I can take a photo of anything that is happening in life, at any moment, and present it back to the world through my eyes, and hopefully tell a story that may never have been told.

Mary Ellen Goetz

Wynnewood, Pennsylvania

Spotlight 10-18-18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

I started painting outside with E. Jean Lanyon. Then it was not a “plein air” event just simply painting from nature.

What has helped you develop as a painter?

Painting consistently, taking classes and entering shows.

Can you describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors – it can be positive or negative, but continues to stand out in your mind?

While painting at a farm I saw a fox chase a bunch of geese down the stream. The fox lost.

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

In the countryside of Wilmington, Chester County, New Harbor/Rockland Maine, Lewes, and the Chesapeake.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

I love the outdoors and love to paint, it’s a perfect fit! The Brandywine Valley holds many fond memories of my childhood, where I grew up.

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

Spending many summers in Lewes gave me an appreciation for the Children’s Beach House and all they do for children. I see the kids on the beach having a great time swimming, and paddle boarding. They have amazing volunteers and supporters. I am happy to contribute to their cause.

Krystal Brown

Spring, Texas

Spotlight 10-18-18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

I started painting outdoors when I was in college in 1990. I had a pastel box and would carry that and my drawing board all over the place. I didn’t know then that I was Plein Air Painting.

What has helped you develop as a painter?

Working from life! From the model, a still life, or outdoors. This practice prepared me to transition into Plein Air after painting portraits for twenty-five years.

Describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors.

The instant cold in Santa Fe, NM that accompanies the setting sun. I was unprepared for the elements and missed a couple great painting opportunities because I didn’t bring the appropriate gear. I’ll be watching the weather for sure! It’s always fun to talk with people in populated areas and I’ve learned that I like to talk and paint at the same time.

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

I’ve painted the Hill Country of Texas, in Wyoming, Montana, Washington, Oregon, New Mexico, California, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Utah. My favorite place to paint is where I grew up. The history and memories make it a sweet experience.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

I’ve done it for a long time and didn’t realize it was painting en Plein Air until my friend invited me to participate with her at an event. I loved the community of artists and the excitement that being with so many like-minded individuals brought. I love the outdoors and Plein Air painting provides an opportunity to be outside and capture the joy you feel in nature. To respond to the light and scenery and put that response on canvas. There is nothing like it. It is pure joy!

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

I was introduced to PABV by an artist that I met at my second plein air event. She told me about the beautiful places she painted in the northeast. I took notes and applied as soon as possible.

I couldn’t wait to apply to PABV. Not only do I get to see a part of the country I’ve never been to, but I get to paint outdoors with wonderful artists and dear friends. What could be better than that?

Anne Buck

Lewes, Delaware

Spotlight 10-17-18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

I began painting seriously in 2006 when I retired from teaching. I began by taking a workshop offered by Charles Reid. At that workshop I met another artist named Marie Natale. Marie has been a great mentor to me. She is a plein air watercolorist who introduced me to the process.

What has helped you develop as a painter?

As a painter I rely on workshop instruction from others. I try to take at least two significant workshops a year focusing on at least one plein air. This September I will study with Mary Whyte from Charleston (studio portraits and figures in Cape Cod) and in early October with Alvaro Castagnet from Uruguay (plein air in Cape May).

Describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors.

We were painting at the Point Lookout Farm. I was taking photos and looking for the spot to set up when a golf cart drove by. The driver jumps out…in his knickers and with his hair flowing in the breeze and I think…that looks like Jamie Wyeth. As I said that out loud someone said “Well, we are on his farm!” I missed the perfect shot of Jamie driving the cart with dog Wiley by his side. I did, however, follow Wiley a bit and ended up painting his portrait which hangs in my studio today.

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

I’ve painted in cities, out in the country, on farms and in back yard gardens. I’ve painted in Italy, Greece, Netherlands and Belgium.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

Plein air is a challenge but it gives you the ultimate total immersion into the subject. You can feel it through sight, sound, and the smell. It is real. I love the PABV event because the area is so beautiful. Most of the sites would be inaccessible to the public. The second most important reason is the introduction to the other artists. I’ve found new friends and have gotten great inspiration from them.

The Children’s Beach House has been part of my life for many years. The facility is here in Lewes. Many friends and neighbors are on the board or serve the beach house in some way. I feel honored to be able to give back through my art.

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

Unlike many artists that have Fine Arts degrees I have a Bachelors in Ornamental Horticulture Landscape Design and a Masters in Biology.

Cheryl Hart

Pottstown, Pennsylvania

Spotlight 10-17-18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

I’ve known of the term for a while but just became aware that it was a growing artist movement just over a year ago.

What has helped you develop as a painter?

What has helped me recently is taking on a 30 day challenge in the month of September. I feel like I’ve progressed more in that month than I have in the last 5 years.

Can you describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors – it can be positive or negative, but continues to stand out in your mind?

I was painting with a group in Valley Forge Park by the river and a bald eagle swooped down and caught a fish with its talons.

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

The area where I live in Chester County Pennsylvania is beautiful countryside, so I don’t need to go far to find inspiration.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

The first time I painted plein air with a group of artists in 7/18. Immediately I was hooked and signed up for Brandywine Valley the following week. It’s being with other artists and out experiencing Gods creation that I love most. There is always some kind of unexpected little blessing that happens being out there that otherwise I would have missed. Last year was my first year participating in Plein Air Brandywine Valley and it was more than I expected. It has become a goal ever since to strive to bring my art to a higher level in preparation for PABV.

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

The staff for Plein Air Brandywine Valley were outstanding. They were so helpful and supportive, the locations they have us paint are remarkable, and they brought a delicious bagged lunch (compliments to Janssens Market) to us every day. Last year I stood at the same location Andrew Wyeth stood when he painted overlooking Kuerner farmhouse…I was in awe.

Linda Hubbard Cooke

Lansdale, Pennsylvania

Spotlight 10-17-18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

I started painting plein air 3 years ago when I took a workshop with a local pastel artist.

What has helped you develop as a painter?

Painting plein air has improved my artistic skills tremendously, in terms of seeing color and composition. I have also learned to work in a looser style and more quickly than before.

Can you describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors – it can be positive or negative, but continues to stand out in your mind?

When in Maine by the ocean, my painting blew off of my easel and nearly landed in the water. I had to scramble over rocks to retrieve it. Glad I did as it turned out to be one of my best pieces.

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

I paint mainly landscapes and have painted in Maine, the Poconos, Jersey shore and the Fingerlakes as well as around the Philadelphia region.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

I have learned a great deal through the challenge of painting plein air. The Brandywine Valley is a beautiful area and I’m looking forward to painting there and meeting other artists.

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

I work for a software company and am in front of a computer every day. Painting is my anti-technology.

Joanne McIlvaine

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Spotlight 10-17-18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

In 2009 I took a summer class at the local Art College on plein air painting. That was my first introduction; I knew nothing about it until I took the course. When the class ended, several of us decided to meet weekly to continue plein air painting. We’ve been meeting weekly over the warm months ever since and have invited others to join our group. Prior to that I had painted landscapes from photos, and still lifes and portraits from models in the studio.

What has helped you develop as a painter?

Honestly, just doing it often has helped the most. I’ve taken several workshops and I keep experimenting with my materials to find a way to get the materials to do what I want them to do. I’ve also been experimenting with a limited palette, copying the palette of an artist I admire.

Describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors.

I once dropped a just-finished painting face down into gravel as I was transporting it to my car. After the painting was dry, I picked the gravel out piece by piece with tweezers. Another time, a friend & I were painting on top of a large hill overlook, trying to finish our paintings before dark. The lovely pink cloud I was painting quickly developed into a storm cloud, the wind picked up, and we saw lightning nearby. We knew we had to hurry to tear down our easels and get to our cars at the bottom of the hill. The storm clouds massed overhead as we hurried down the hill with gear in tow, joking about how metal easels could attract lightning, etc. We had just gotten into our cars when torrents of rain came down.

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have painted?

I’ve painted mostly close to home, here in Pa., and several times in Delaware & Maryland. I’ve painted the Susquehanna, as well as many other gardens, street scenes, historic landmarks, parks and farms.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

I like the deep connection I can make with the landscape I’m painting. It’s a Zen experience, it feels like deep meditation. It’s lovely to be actually immersed in the view you are painting out in nature; it calms the soul. Also, it helps you to notice details around you that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Plein Air Brandywine Valley attracted me because of the time of year the event takes place. There is still plenty of fall color in eastern Pa. in November, I’m excited to paint fall color. Also, there are many scenic places available in Brandywine Valley.

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

I’m married, have 3 daughters and 2 large dogs. I grew up on a farm but now live in town.

John Capowski

Camp Hill, Pennsylvania

Spotlight 10-17-18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

I started painting en plein air as a child and long before I had ever heard the term plein air. It just seemed natural.

What has helped you develop as a painter?

I had some wonderful teachers along the way. These included my high school art teacher, Joe McDowell, who had mowed Edward Hopper’s lawn in my hometown of Nyack, New York, and Professor James Penney at Hamilton College. At the Maryland Institute College of Art, Louis Hennessey and Phil Koch were especially influential, and in more recent years I’ve studied with J. D. Wissler.

Describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors.

This September I painted in Yellowstone National Park during an especially windy period. My easel blew over three times, with my painting landing “peanut butter side down” each time, and my painting umbrella took off across the sagebrush.

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

For reasons other than painting, I have been fortunate to have traveled widely and painted in Argentina, China, Costa Rica, and New Zealand.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

I love the outdoors and believe that the spontaneity required in plein air painting best reflects the feeling of the moment. I was attracted to PABV because of the very positive experience a painting friend has had in the competition.

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

While I have painted since childhood, my vocation has been as a public interest lawyer and law professor.

Stefanie Lalor

Cranford, New Jersey

Spotlight 10/11/18

I have owned a gallery/frameshop in Cranford for 19 years. The shop has introduced me to many wonderful and talented artists. I became most familiar with Plein Air when a local arts organization hosted a plein air event in Cranford several years ago. I met many artists that I admire and have connected with following that event.

I began attending a workshop in Cape May with artist Gerry Heydt to learn to paint outdoors. This workshop has become a retreat for me and the 9 or so other women that attend annually. We have become good friends and we keep in touch throughout the year to paint and to encourage one another in our goals and artistic endeavors. This support system has helped me to develop as a painter. I also enjoy attending "quick draw" paint outs. I feel that the experience and exposure to other painters helps to develop my work. I paint daily and draw from the figure weekly to work towards improving my technique.

As a business owner and mother of two grade school children, my painting is done mostly locally. I love to paint the downtown of Cranford, NJ and of Westfield, NJ (my home town). I am also able to jump on the train and head into Manhattan to meet a few friends and paint nocturnes in NYC regularly. This is always an adventure!!

I love the adventure and unexpected aspect of plein air. I paint plein air to record a time and place for myself-a sort of journal. As I paint I am describing what I see so that I can have a memory of an adventure in my life. I usually finish each painting with the month and the year signed at the bottom as if it is a page out of a diary. I am attracted to paint in Plein Air Brandywine Valley as it is a place that has often been described by my framing customers as beautiful and picturesque. I am excited for the opportunity to explore the landscape in this part of the country during such a pretty time of year.

Thank you for all your hard work in organizing and holding this event. I will appreciate my experience in Plein Air Brandywine Valley 2018!

Charley Parker

Wallingford, Pennsylvania

Spotlight 10/11/18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

I experimented with painting on location when I was in art school, and dabbled in it since; but I started painting plein air in a more consistent way about six years ago.

What has helped you develop as a painter?

In addition to regular practice, I've benefitted from studying books on technique and art history, taking workshops, comparing notes with other painters, and making small studies of works by painters from history to try to understand their technique.

Describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors.

It's not so much of a single event, but a tendency I sometimes have to traipse back into the woods in search of a view — away from paths and trails — without thinking about how awkward and difficult I've made it for myself until I pack up to return.

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

I spent my childhood around creeks and woods, and that's carried over into adulthood and my painting practice. I like to paint in woodland areas and parks, particularly those with creeks, in Delaware and Chester Counties in PA, and New Castle County in Delaware. I also like to paint in urban environments in Wilmington and Philadelphia.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

Painting on location allows for an understanding of the subject, and a grasp of color and value that are not possible when re-interpreted through photographs; and I think being on location gives the work a feeling of the place and time. Painting outdoors in various locations is also an experience that I enjoy.

Plein Air Brandywine Valley not only provides the shared experience of painting on location with other painters, but also offers the opportunity to paint at wonderful locations that would otherwise not be accessible.

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

For the past 12 years, I've been writing a popular blog on art related topics called Lines and Colors (www.linesandcolors.com).

Barbara Berry

Spotlight 10/11/18

I first learned about plein air painting when I hosted a country supper for the Wayne Plein Air Festival in my barn! I met the talented and friendly artists that night, felt the excitement preparing for the week of painting, and have a been an enthusiastic supporter ever since.

My mother is an artist, so I thought everyone was! When I was very young I enjoyed painting from life. I sold my first piece to my fifth-grade principal. Though I often thought I’d like to study art, I majored in music performance in college and didn’t start taking art classes and workshops until my children took art classes at the Wayne Art Center.

This last July I was standing and painting in Boulder Creek right outside of Boulder, Colorado on an extremely hot summer day. The water kept me cool and comfortable. Since then I have sought out places where I can stand myself and my easel in a stream!

I like to paint in bucolic Pennsylvania farmland and forests, but my favorite place to paint is near the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming.

Painting from life is in some ways so much more challenging than painting in a studio. Light is moving, plants are swaying, shadows are drifting, and I am forced to develop a strategy for each plein air painting. I am learning to like this challenge. I believe my work is evolving in a good way.

Recently I was very honored to have been chosen to receive the People's Choice Award and the Architecture in a Landscape Award at On Location Artists at the Brandywine 2018, the Jack Richeson & Co. Award by juror John Cosby, at Wayne Plein Air Festival 2018, my work was published in North Light Shop's Strokes of Genius 9 -a collection of 140 contemporary drawings, I am a finalist in the September 2017 Art Muse Contest- Marc Hanson, juror, I was awarded the First Award for Excellence in Works on Paper -117th Annual International Exhibition of Works on Paper by the Philadelphia Watercolor Society, and I was awarded Best in Show at the 2017 Wayne Art Center Student Works Exhibition.

It's my privilege to solve the riddle of rendering forms in the landscape or the reflected light on a loved one's face -to preserve and celebrate a moment I've treasured- and I am always surprised and honored to be invited to share what was created.

Visit www.pleinairbrandywinevalley.org for more information regarding the event and how it supports the Children's Beach House.

Yvonne Mucci

Verga, New Jersey

Spotlight 10-09-18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

I read an article in Watercolor magazine and started painting in the summer of 2011.

What has helped you develop as a painter?

Seeing demonstrations given by artists I admire. Lots of painting, painting….and more painting.

Describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting.

I was painting in a nice shady spot and unknowingly stepped backwards and stood on an ant hill. Before I knew it, I was covered with biting ants. Must have looked crazy as I danced around pulling off shoes, socks, and clothes! During a winter plein Air, it was so bitter cold that everything froze, my palette, the painting, me. My car heater melted my slushy painting resulting in some great effects that you could never replicate in the studio.

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

All over the east coast and the Midwest.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

After 30 years in advertising, I wanted to be outside, and painting on location is so much better than the studio. The color you see when outdoors is incredible! PABV has fabulous locations that are not available without participating in this event. Besides, they are a well-oiled organization that supports a great group, Children’s Beach House.

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

Who else besides PABV finds you on location, makes sure everything is good and feeds you? Love Janssen’s Market! Talk about being pampered, that usually doesn’t go with Plein Air!

Jim Rehak

Seaford, Delaware

Spotlight 10-09-18

I was introduced to plein air painting as a student at Maryland Institute College of Art and it became my primary path as an artist. Allowing mother nature to teach me the way has been highly educational. Pleinair painting presents subject matter and weather situations that can stretch your parameters.

I've had many unique and challenging outdoor painting experiences but the one that stands out occurred past the outfield fence of a softball field as I was painting a marsh scene...my back to the field. A home run was hit that impacted a few inches below my painting...smashing the face of my french easel. It only missed me because I ducked behind the easel, prompted by the outfielder shouting at me.

Plein Air Brandywine offers unique opportunities to paint beautiful private properties. This kind of subject matter just makes my search for inspiration (and composition) so much easier.

Radhika Srinivas

Devon, Pennsylvania

Spotlight 10-09-18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

I learned from fellow artists.

What has helped you develop as a painter?

I have been a studio painter till about three years ago when I started painting outdoors. I realized that I enjoy it immensely since I feel that I can see a lot better than what a camera sees. I always travel with a sketch book to make some quick value studies on location. These have helped me become a better painter.

Describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors.

I traveled to Santa Fe for the plein air convention this April. Although I was well prepared for the cold weather, I was not prepared for the 45mph wind gusts. I completed a painting under such windy conditions and then lo and behold my easel fell, painting and all. Luckily, since my medium was watercolor, it had already dried. This was an experience I will never forget.

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

I try to paint wherever I travel. I love to sketch/paint in NYC since I like urban subjects. Lately I have been also painting in Chester County, PA which is close to home. I am of course very thankful to Children’s Beach House for giving me the opportunity to paint live at the Wilmington Jazz Festival which was an unforgettable experience.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

I have lately become addicted to painting en plein air despite its’ many challenges. The direct emotional response to the changing light, mood and atmosphere is what attracts me to painting on location.

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

This is going to be my first-time painting for PABV organized by the Children’s Beach House. I have painted at the Wyeth Properties as part of the PWCS On Location Plein air event and have immensely enjoyed it. I am looking forward to participating in this event.

Marita Hines

Marietta, Pennsylvania

Spotlight 10-09-18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

My first experience with Plein Air painting was more than 20 years ago. At that time, standing in a snowy farmer's field, my only thought was "why would anyone risk frostbite when they can paint in a cozy, warm studio?" These days I paint outside every chance I get as I've realized there's so much more to see in real life. The poor substitute of a photo reference will rarely capture the rich color of a shadow or the "feeling" of a sunny day.

What has helped you develop as a painter?

I believe the only way to improve is to paint daily, even if all I have time for is a value study. I also keep a digital record of my paintings. It is fun to see how far I've come, and so much more constructive than comparing myself to others. That said, I love to follow the work of other Plein Air painters and use Instagram for this purpose.

Describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors.

A couple weeks ago, I was painting a street scene in a neighboring town. A large truck pulled up in front of me, blocking my view. The man got out of his vehicle and walking towards me, he said, "Hey, whatcha painting?" I replied, "the buildings you just blocked." Then we both chuckled and I took him up on his offer to move a couple spots up the street. This is a common occurrence; in fact, you can pretty much count on something eventually blocking your view.

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

I live in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and there is plenty here to paint--the Susquehanna River, small town street scenes, and farmland. I belong to two Plein Air groups, including one that I organize. In the last couple years, I've also painted in Monhegan and Rockland, Maine, the Andalusia Region of Spain, and in New Mexico--White Rock Overlook and Abiqui Lake. This fall I'll be painting the parks and city scenes of New York City.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

I love the camaraderie of painting with other Plein Air artists. I've only been to a few places in Brandywine Valley. What I see is breathtaking, so I'm really looking forward to the event.

I think the challenge of a competition brings out my spontaneity and that's something that works well with watercolor, my medium of choice.

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

I've always been interested in art and have always said that I would pursue it full time when I retired from my desk job. That opportunity came over three years ago, and I've been painting ever since. I like the challenge of taking on new and different subject matter. One of my favorite things to do is combine a plein air workshop with a vacation.

Caroline Chen

Wilmington, Delaware

Spotlight 10/01/18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

I started about 10 years ago.

What has helped you develop as a painter?

Artists friends, peers, teachers and artists that came before me…and lots of time at the easel.

Describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors.

I remember painting in a horse pen and a horse walked up and knocked over my entire easel setup. Must have been a bad painting.

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

I have painted all around the Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania, NJ, Maine, Florida and Barcelona. On farms with animals, hot beaches, and in the city.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

I think the immediacy and the elements of being outside are conducive to faster and more definitive decisions. I think painting on location invites a lot of the unknown into a painting. More than studio painting, you step back, look and say that was much better or worse than I thought. And of course, you deeply experience being in wonderful locales by spending hours immersed in them.

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

I’ve participated in PABV I think every year but one. It is always a pleasure to work with the staff who I think are super caring. Thank you. The other thing of note is that it is a privilege to have access to private residences. They are places in our community that we would never get to see. Thanks for that too.

Ann Jagielski Crostic

Baltimore, Maryland

Spotlight 10/01/18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

I’ve always painted landscapes on location; starting when I was in college at Maryland Institute College of Art. However I was not aware of the “Plein Air” definition until the early 2000’s, when the term became more widely recognized. I began painting “alla prima” (wet into wet) at that time, which was very different than my studio training.

What has helped you develop as a painter?

Perhaps mainly a desire to learn and improve; just like most things, you only get better by studying and working harder. I’ve been very fortune to have met many talented and helpful artists in my journey.

Describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors.

Painting out of doors can be unpredictable-all plein air artists have stories! Mine include painting while it was hailing (twice now); and slipping and sinking in muck as I retrieved a painting that flew into a soggy marsh.

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

Traveling to the Adirondacks this summer I painted mountains, rivers and gorges for the first time.

Closer to home, I’m fortunate to have the quiet solitude of Chesapeake Bay waters and marshes.

I also enjoy studying urban settings; the places and cities people call home. Baltimore has many unique and interesting neighborhoods.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

Each every subject is unique. Every day is different. The challenge to attempt to capture this “personality” in a painting is addicting.

I’ve been participating in Plein Air Brandywine Valley since 2013. PABV offers artists a wonderful opportunity to study on private properties in the area that are not otherwise accessible.

Kristi Gilfillan

Malvern, Pennsylvania

Spotlight 10/01/18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

I started painting under Elise Phillips 9 years ago. She was the one that got me started painting plein air. She was always pushing me to loosen up and to not overwork my paintings, and painting plein air is a great way to refine this skill.

What has helped you develop as a painter?

I’ve developed as a painter through…..Practice, practice, practice! Studio time, workshops and reading books from notable plein air artists have been very helpful. I have gathered different tips and techniques from them that have helped me develop my own work and style.

Describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors.

In one of my first competitions, I set my easel with my wet painting down to open the car and it fell over and my wet painting flipped right on top of the field grass. After picking off all the bits of straw, I continued to mess it up a bit in attempt to clean it up, and found I liked the piece better once I had scuffed it up! I often think back to that and mess up hard edges at the completion stage of a painting.

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

I typically stay local since I still have kids at home. Chester County countryside is one of my favorite areas to paint. I also paint in Martha’s Vineyard each summer.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

Plein air painting gives me a charge. Being out in the fresh open air with a set amount of time to complete a piece is always an exciting challenge. I just love being part of Plein Air Brandywine Valley. The opportunity to paint such lovely, bucolic settings alongside so many talented artists is both inspirational and an honor. Seeing everyone’s work hanging together at Winterthur at the end of the week is amazing. I love seeing all the different artistic interpretations of the locations. I think the patrons that come to the show are continually impressed by the quality and quantity of art displayed, and all for sale for a good cause!!

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

I think artists often get very isolated working alone in their studios. Events like PABV give us the ability to come together and support each other in a way that helps us all grow. I am fortunate enough to paint with my mother, Joan Spillman, at least once a week. Sharing our passion for painting and having someone to critique my work has helped me immensely over the years.

Elena Shackleton

New Tripoli, Pennsylvania

Spotlight 10/01/18

I first learned to paint plein air at a very early ages. My teacher would take us on nature walks and encourage us to paint in the gardens surrounding the studio. In later years we would travel to the surrounding marshes, towns and East Point Light. Winter, spring, summer and fall, we were out painting.

My painting is greatly helped by my ability to draw. Rendering became secondary, and I could concentrate on the effect of light.

The most challenging experience I had was many years ago, painting in “the sand box” at the Cape School of Art. We were only allowed painted blocks as the subject, on gessoed panels with palette knife. We had rudimentary easels. When a gust of wind would come and knock the panel off into the sand, you just picked it up, brushed it off, and kept going. I still cringe when I think of the feeling like scraping nails on a chalk board.

I have painted from life all my life. Memorable places for me are Valley Forge, Sea Isle City, Milan, Italy, and the Outer Banks of NC. Most recently I have been all over the Lehigh Valley area, where I live. The scenic area where we have located, near the Blue Ridge abounds in farms and fields, streams and mountains. I have a long to do list!

After raising a family, teaching privately and working for many years, I now have the freedom to take my art where it leads. I have returned to my first love. Always yearning to be in the plein air “scene” makes joining in a natural choice.

I have painted in privacy and isolation for most of my career. The last 5 years I have jumped into our local art community with both feet. I have had to hold myself back from following this path for so long, I feel like a race horse that has been held at the gate! It is time to run.

Susan Stefanski

Havertown, Pennsylvania

Spotlight 10/01/18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

I first started painting plein air when I left my full-time job 13 years ago.

What has helped you develop as a painter?

I’ve developed as a painter by….. Painting, painting, painting!

Describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors.

Once while painting, a beautiful yellow lab jumped on my palate knocked down my painting with turp spilling all over. I had to paint quickly and redo the whole thing, it turned out great!

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

I’ve painted parks, preserves, shore, Maine, anywhere the light is beautiful.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

I compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley because we get to paint places that are not usually accessible to us, it is a good cause and the staff is wonderful.

Mick McAndrews

Downingtown, Pennsylvania

Spotlight 09/21/18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

I started around 2012. My first plein air event was Wayne Plein Air and it was both amazing and intimidating. It’s been a steep but wonder-filled learning curve ever since!

What has helped you develop as a painter?

Practice, meeting and learning from fellow painters, practice, participating in plein air events, practice, trying to find time every day to draw and paint, and practice!

Describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors.

I’m always surprised at how interested people are in someone painting. Be they supportive or critical, you set up an easel and start painting and you will have a gallery!

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

Telluride, CO, Western Maryland, Chesapeake Bay, Door County, WI, Downtown Philadelphia, the Pacific Northwest and, of course, the beauty-filled Brandywine Valley!

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

PABV is a very well-organized event and provides opportunity to paint on some of the most amazing properties anywhere. Painting outside is the ultimate artists challenge, as it requires me to make decisions and paint quickly. Painting outside has definitely improved my studio work as a result!

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

I look forward to the challenges and rewards of PABV. It’s the perfect way for me to wrap up the plein air season!

Plein Air Brandywine Valley benefits Children's Beach House, "Expanding Possibilities for Children Since 1937."

Jacalyn Beam

Greenville, Delaware

Spotlight 09/21/18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

I was walking the beach in Rehoboth and saw a painter. It was Denise Dumont- a plein air artist who at that time lived in Milford DE. Denise was a great ambassador for plein air and shared information about the equipment and nature of plein air.

What has helped you develop as a painter?

Painting plein air as much as possible!

Describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors.

One February afternoon I was painting on the grounds of the Chadds Ford Historical Society. Within seconds everything turned dark and a snow squall barreled across the field and dumped about two inches of snow on my palette within seconds. The squall left as quickly as it arrived leaving me with thoughts about what to do next. First, I took a photo of the snow on the canvas and palette (what did we do before cell phone cameras?) Interestingly, the snow on the canvas made the painting look like a ‘snow scene’.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

I love being outside in the elements. PABV was attractive at the onset because it’s close to home. Now, PABV is attractive because of the people who organize and maintain involvement in the event. The volunteers are dedicated, hard-working, and nice people!

Don Shoffner

Narberth, PA

Spotlight 09/21/18

I have been working on site since I began painting. Doing sketches, drawings for paintings, then painting, but as part of the studio painting process. Over the years have sporadically tried plein air but began in earnest the first year of the event.

So many things have contributed to my development as a painter: travel, challenges working with new mediums and materials, study, and more painting.

My first attempt to take an easel and paints into the field started well, I was working on my grandmothers farm near Marlborough Village and I wandered away from my work to allow it to set up and got distracted by the day and sitting on the side of a stream. When I returned to my work it had been "modified" by 5 Holstein cows and my paints had been eaten. I learned - don't wander, stay focused.

I have painted all throughout the Brandywine Valley during the last 7 years as a participant in the PABV events. The past several summers, I have spent a good deal of time sitting on my beach on the Southshore in Plymouth, Mass. An endless source of inspiration, color changes and sea creatures.

I began plein air painting in the BVPA as a challenge offered up by the then Director at CCAA. Who knew - I found I liked the challenge and it stretched me as a painter, gave me a new sense of composition, and sometimes a looser style. I never have looked at it as a competition with other artists, rather as a competition between me and the elements.

I am most appreciative of the efforts the PABV and CBH staff put in to finding new, sometimes off limits venues for us to explore and paint. I look at that as the largest incentive to paint.

Daniel Jay Freed

West Chester, Pennsylvania

Spotlight 09/21/18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

I learned about plein air in high school and more so in art school. I started about 10 years ago as a way to branch out from studio work and connect with nature.

What has helped you develop as a painter?

I never stop learning, and looking at the work of others for inspiration, including living artists like Richard Schmid, and of course people like Monet. I just got back from NYC – I went to 5 art museums and got an education as well as sore feet!

Describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors.

Lately I’ve been doing pen and ink drawings of people in downtown West Chester who are just going about their day, but of course they don’t hold still, and I wonder if they even know what I’m doing, or think I’m some crazy stalker😊.

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

I started painting while living in Eugene Oregon, there is an amazing variety of nature in that state, though you have to deal with the rain and dreary weather half the year. Lately I’ve been focused on the people and places in downtown West Chester - that is where my studio is and I love the atmosphere there when things are hopping.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

Connecting with real life outside the studio is important, fun, and inspiring. I’ve never entered a plein air competition, I think it will be challenging, and it will be very interesting to see others at work while meeting some new people.

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

I’m just now, at age 51, making a serious go at selling my work. After art school, in Columbus, I fell into doing quick caricatures at parties and events, which led me into the entertainment field. I became an entertainment booking agent, owned a retail/rental costume shop, all the while performing magic and ventriloquism for kids and family events. I still perform full time (as The Amazing Spaghetti), do party caricatures and I’m in a local improv comedy group. But even though I love performing, I feel like I absolutely have to pursue my fine arts career in a more serious and disciplined way.

Lois W. Sellers

Springfield, Pennsylvania

Spotlight 09/21/18

I have known of Plein Air Brandywine Valley for a few years, but had insufficient equipment to shoot and print, mat and frame in the allotted time. I have more experience and more equipment now….

I confess to being one of the most stubborn learners in the US. I have a BFA in Photography, but repeatedly set the settings wrong, miss the shot, print too dark….always something. But once I solve it, I know it well.

I go to Truro, Massachusetts on outer Cape Cod nearly every summer. It is surely one of my favorite places to photograph. I try to be out at dawn to catch the beautiful light. My most surprising day photographing was a shot of an old life guard house, beach grass and sky. I entered it in the Cape Cod Art Center show. They called to tell me it had won first prize. Yikes!

I am attracted to Plein Air Brandywine Valley for every obvious reason—it is so breathtaking, autumn has the light and colors of warmth that photograph so beautifully, and I love being outside.

Note: I was a single Mom with three daughters, who decided to return to college to complete my degree. I had finished two years at University of Pennsylvania night school. But did I return there? No, I applied to art school. Who does that? But for me, it worked. I finished my working career as a graphic designer and freelance photographer, quite happy about the choices I made.

Find us on Instagram @pleinairbrandywinevalley ! Artists, tag your posts with #PABV during the event!

Cynthia Rosen

Vermont

Spotlight 09/20/18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

I was wintering in a small condo in Arizona when I decided to return to making art full-time professionally. I missed the outdoors of Vermont where I had raised my family and decided I would paint outdoors. When talking with someone I heard that there were others who painted outdoors “plein air” so I contacted them and joined the group. I have been in love with the process ever since.

What has helped you develop as a painter?

Living in the 21st century with the freedom to explore and learn through a lot of trial and error. The internet and access to a lot of information about painting was also helpful and that is how I continue to develop as a painter.

Cynthia Rosen accepting the Artist's Choice Award, Plein Air Brandywine Valley 2017

Describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors.

For me painting in high winds was challenging but also a bit funny since the board wants to fly. Not overly unusual though. Safety is always a consideration when painting in an isolated area alone. I have had to leave sites for safety concerns.

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

I have made a point of trying to paint in a wide variety of locations in order to challenge myself and further my skills. I love painting amongst trees by water where I can hear the babble of a brook and the birds. Visually I adore the scattered light coming through the trees. I also really love painting by the ocean but living in landlocked Vermont means I am only afforded that opportunity when taking trips.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

I love painting outside in nature and fresh air. It is utterly inspiring. Painting in the Brandywine Valley not only provides exquisite sights and bucolic scenes but offers us (the painters) a really supportive and kind event. The people who run it and the volunteers are super nice and considerate.

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

As a rule, I am not a lover of painting nocturnes but PABV offers super lovely natural scenes for daytime painting and fun town scenes for nocturnes. We get the best of both worlds in the Brandywine Valley.

Annie Strack

Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

Spotlight 09/20/18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

I started painting en plein air when I lived in California, back in the 90’s. Back then, we didn’t call it “plein air” – we called it “hey, let’s go out painting this weekend.” I belonged to two groups, one group met about once a month and we would paint the vineyards and flower farms in the Santa Clara valley. My other group went out every Saturday, and we would paint everything from the coastal seascapes of Monterey to the missions of San Juan Bautista and Carmel.

What has helped you develop as a painter?

Although I teach painting classes and workshops around the world, I still study with other teachers every chance I get. I look forward to going to new locations and the challenges of painting different things, and learning from other artists. I also work with a lot of artist supply companies to help develop materials and to provide product training in stores, and I gain an incredible amount of knowledge from those experiences.

Describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors.

Just last week, I was painting with my students on a random street in Rousillon, France, when a stranger stopped to stare at me. He called out my name, questionably. I couldn’t imagine knowing anyone in France, so I tentatively answered “yeah?” He took off his sunglasses, and I recognized a long-time friend, Yves-marie, the Director of Sennelier Artist Materials, who I only recognize from his photos on Social Media. We have been friends for donkey’s years and worked on projects together, but we’ve never met in person! He lives on the other side of the country and was only in Rousillon for a few hours to see an exhibit. I wasn’t even going to be in Rousillon that afternoon, but it was such a charming little town that my group and I changed our plans to stay and paint for a few hours. Serendipity!

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

I just got back from teaching a plein air painting workshop in Provence, France. Walking in the footsteps of the great French Impressionist painters and being able to stand in the same spots and to paint the same views that inspired them – that was a totally awesome experience. I can hardly wait to go back and do it again!

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

I love PABV because it’s like a reunion of artists. Many of my friends travel to be in this event, and we look forward to getting together to paint and enjoy each other’s company. Painting in the studio can be a solitary existence, but painting en plein air is tribal. We bond in the rain, and making lasting friendships while picking ticks off each other.

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

I can identify wild animals by their droppings. This provides an endless source of entertainment when painting en plein air.

J. Stacy Rogers

Lewes, Delaware

Spotlight 09/20/18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

From 2000 to 2005 I was strictly a studio painter. I became restless being sequestered in my studio and started to take open studio, life-figure painting sessions from a nearby art academy. At the same time I began to expand my subject matter interest in figure painting and portraiture to include the landscape. Getting out of my studio and wanting a first hand painting experience with nature conspired to get me painting outdoors. Most artists including myself are happy to paint outdoors without having to name the activity. Yet the term “en plein air” has become increasingly popular to describe what we do and so my painting outdoors has become my painting en plein air.

What has helped you develop as a painter?

Paint and learn. There is a quality of freshness that painting alla prima brings to the canvas and each canvas is an opportunity to stumble upon unplanned or unintended painting successes (and failures) that randomly occur. Some of these surprises are reproducible and can be added to my continuing painting education which will make each new painting more informed than the last.

Describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors.

Exhausted, embarrassed and panicked, I’ve been rescued more than once as it happened that I brought the wrong size frame for a finished competition painting. Might sound like a rather small problem, but not to me. With no time to buy a replacement frame, my only choice would be to hang an incomplete display of my competition paintings. Instead of that disappointment, several artists came forward and offered to match up a frame of theirs in order to find a solution to my nightmare.

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

I don’t paint solely for myself. I have to believe that what attracts me or motivates me to paint a setting will touch and inspire the viewer in a similar fashion. I have painted in dozens of competition locations along the east coast from Richmond, Virginia to the Adirondacks in New York and in each location I’ve tried to find native places to paint that the viewer can recognize or find a degree of personal identification.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

Seeing is believing. Painting from photographic reference offers no real artistic challenge and, more often than not, incomplete information. If one wants nature to reveal itself then paint in it’s presence - from direct observation.

For the plein air painter, the Brandywine Valley offers a large array of scenic painting opportunities and is known for it's legacy of land conservation and for the preservation of it’s historic gardens, vintage farmlands, rural hamlets and waterways.

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting

I am a new resident in Delaware, painting the Delmarva Peninsula from Lewes. Here the Atlantic coastline offers scenic beauty very different from the Brandywine Valley. Having painted this year for the Chadds Ford Historical Society's Plein Air event, I look forward to returning to paint “the most scenic properties of the Brandywine Valley”.

Jim Salvas

West Chester, Pennsylvania

Spotlight 09/20/18

How did you first learn of and when did you start photographing at PABV?

I learned of PABV in 2014, from Patrick McCoy, who asked me to compete and also to help with the special Marshall Square Park competition that year. I competed that year and won two prizes.

What has helped you develop as a photographer?

Practice, practice, practice. There is no substitute for shooting a lot. The next most helpful thing is to look at the work of photographers and artists I admire.

Can you describe something unusual or challenging that happened when photographing outdoors; one that continues to stand out in your mind?

Well, aside from taking photos of helicopters during assault missions in Vietnam, many sunrises stand out in my mind as almost religious experiences. One of the most memorable was visiting the Grand Canyon for a sunrise on a Sunday morning and finding a church group at Mather Point, singing a hymn as the sun rose over the rim. I’m not religious, but that was a beautiful merger of sound and sight.

Can you tell us about some of your favorite settings and places where you have you photographed?

I enjoy visiting, photographing and hiking in the National Parks. I’ve now visited most of them in the continental U.S. and always find something I want to preserve in a photo. Monument Valley, though it is not a National Park, was another high point for me. I also enjoy doing “street” photography when visiting both domestic and foreign cities.

What attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

Each year, I look forward to the challenge of shooting in specified places and times, along with a very good level of competition. PABV often gives us access to some very special locations. I’ve also come to know and befriend many of the artists, both photographers and painters.

Share anything about PABV or about you as a photographer that others will find interesting.

I’ve been serious about photography since the age of 11, when my father gave me my first camera for Christmas and then helped me set up a darkroom. I have been a professional at times, doing everything from weddings and product photography to portraits. I most enjoy creating and selling prints of my landscape photography. I’ve been entering competitions since I was in the Army, but PABV has to be my favorite of all time. I still remember the very first photo I took during PABV 2014, at the Milner property near the Stroud Preserve. I didn’t enter that dawn image in the competition, but the print of it on my wall reminds me of the joy of standing there, seeking the right moment, while my feet got cold and wet in the frosty grasses.

I can’t wait to see what PABV 2018 brings.

Julie Riker

Camp Hill, Pennsylvania

Spotlight 09/19/18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

I started painting plein air about 10 years ago, when my interior painting business went through a brief down time, I took a class at the local art center. I was an experienced painter but had never taken my easel outside before. I loved it!

What has helped you develop as a painter?

Participating in plein air events has greatly helped my development. There is pressure to produce, even in bad weather - and I truly believe the key to improving is to paint a lot. Also, the friendships I’ve made with other artists in these events inspire me to be better. We learn from each other. Visiting museums and studying other artists’ work is another great influence in my growth as a painter.

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

My subjects are so varied, and I love that about my work. There is no one particular place or scene that I gravitate toward and I am always looking for something new that will push me. I do tend to prefer compositions with value and color contrasts, as on a sunny day with strong shadows, or in the crevices of rocks or openings in old buildings - but will paint many other scenes as well.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

I love to scope out a location, like hunting, for the best composition. The painting locations in this event are wonderful and offer many compositional opportunities. I also love painting along with other artists. It’s a great event.

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

I also work as a decorative painter, creating murals, faux finishes, and antique restorations.

Julie Riker, recently published in Southwest Art as an "Artist to Watch", the Editor's Choice for Up-and-Coming Talent.

Henry Coe

Parkton, Maryland

Spotlight 09/19/18

I received a BA in English from Roanoke College and an MFA in painting from Maryland Institute College of Art. I began painting seriously on the Eastern Shore while working as curator in Easton at The Academy of Arts and teaching at Chesapeake College. I was drawn to the flat land and the big sky: a Dutch landscape quality of light reflected off of the water back into the clouds.

I spent seven months painting in China through a Maryland “sister state” relation with Anhui Province and accompanied A Maryland State Arts Council exhibit which included my work to Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan. I have done three artist’s residencies in France and made many other painting visits there.

My work has been featured in American Artist Magazine and in the book 100 Plein Air Painters of the Mid-Atlantic. In the past year I have participated in several plein air events, including Plein Air Easton, 2016.

I work in oils on a large and small scale and prefer to work en plein air as much as possible. Small works take a few hours and large ones can take a few weeks. I return to paint at the same time everyday. I like to paint the lengthening shadows and lowering light that occur toward the end of day or the softer light of early morning. Ideally, I want my work to have a sense of light traveling through air in space. Having a palpable sense of air in a painting is very important to me. The light and shadow define the mundane objects of a landscape I see as disappearing: small family farms or the rural industrial look that at one time was representative of many small towns.

Ellen Gavin

Millville, New Jersey

Spotlight 09/19/18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

I’ve been painting & drawing out of doors my whole life, but back in High School or even Collage in the 70’s, we didn’t call it ‘plein air’. I guess my official start date is 1984. I got serious & bought a French easel. I still use it today.

What has helped you develop as a painter?

I’m still developing as a painter. It’s always just out of reach, that thing called ‘art’, But along the way you learn from others and by living life itself.

Describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors.

As this is Brandywine I tell this one. When we painted at Granogue, Irénée Du Pont took me for a ride in his 1930s car and invited me in to see the Maxfield Parish paintings. That was cool. When painting plein air, bugs, weather, drunks that stuff is all pretty normal!

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

I’ve painted with the serious set-up just on the east coast, but I have brought a small kit whenever I travel. Polar Bears in the artic and breaching whales in the Galapagos are in my sketchbook.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

Painting allows complete immersion in the moment. I love that. Either being in nature. (Or the city). Can’t be distracted and come away with good painting! A competition like Brandywine gives you this big excuse for a week. Forget everything, just paint! Plus, Brandywine has the best locations and a great and helpful crew!

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

As a painter, I’m happy to have an opportunity to share my work and talk to people. It’s the best way to connect!

Carol L. Douglas

Rockport, Maine

Spotlight 09/19/18

1. How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air? I’ve been painting en plein air since I was a small child. My father was a painter and landscape from life was his preferred métier. Although I’ve had the usual training in studio painting, plein air is to me the most difficult and the most communicative of all realist painting.

2. What has helped you develop as a painter? To be a painter, you have to actually paint. To me the discipline of painting full time for twenty years has been the most important thing. I’d also credit Cornelia Foss (Art Students League, New York) with showing me my proper place in the continuum of contemporary art.

Describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors.

In autumn of 2016, I painted across Canada, starting in the Brooks Range in Alaska and moving east to St. John’s, Newfoundland. Until the weather shifted, I spent most nights sleeping in my small SUV.

In Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park, I painted on a boardwalk I’d walked at midnight the prior autumn. I’d been offered a lift by a park ranger, and I met him again this following trip. He told me that in 1997, a bear had attacked a woman and her two small children in the park. The mother and a man who tried to save her were both mauled to death.

“I was really worried about you,” he told me. No more nighttime rambles through the western forests for me, and since there was unusual bear activity this latter day as well, I rushed through the painting and left.

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

Painting above the Arctic Circle in Alaska was both beautiful and very cold. It was September and it snowed, of course. I’ve painted in beauty spots around the British Commonwealth, but the Great White North is what makes my heart sing.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

Painting Plein Air is the most complex of disciplines. One cannot put into words our relationship with the physical world, or our relationship with its creator. I know the Brandywine Valley and have painted there occasionally. It’s pastorally beautiful, which is very different from the ruggedness of my usual haunts. Still, I was raised on a farm, and it’s a call back to my roots.

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

I teach a watercolor workshop aboard a schooner in June. This is all about impressions in paint, because every minute, the scene changes. And, of course, much of the draw is the historic schooner, not me.

Randall Graham

West Chester, Pennsylvania

Spotlight 09/18/18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

Around 2011

What has helped you develop as a painter?

Classical training is the most helpful thing any painter can do in my opinion. A lot of trial and error certainly helped as well.

Describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors.

I painted inside my mini-van during a rainstorm. I used the raindrops on my windshield to abstract the view of the scene I was painting. This led to a fantastic discovery that I could mix realism and abstract painting styles on one canvas. I have been attempting this ever since.

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

I love the Brandywine Valley locations. Winterthur, Jamie Wyeth’s farm and Granogue are magically beautiful. It is a fantastic place to live.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

I love the challenge of painting plein air. Plus, it is always enjoyable spending time in nature.

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

PABV is a fantastic event. It is truly a spectacular time of year to paint. All the staff of Children’s Beach House are so generous and helpful. I highly recommend this event to artists and patrons alike.

Plein Air Brandywine Valley:

Featuring the NOCTURNE on November 1, 2018

Bruce McMillan

Shapleigh, Maine

Spotlight 09/18/18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

I learned of painting by going to a museum as a youngster, beholding the French impressionists, I saw the results of what portable paints could do, take you anywhere. I was in my sixties, beginning my watercolor journey, when I discovered how watercolors could easily go anywhere.

What has helped you develop as a painter?

My then nine-year-old grandson's advice guides me. When observing a painting he was working on, a gallery scene, a figure standing to the left of a hanging painting, the hanging painting, and then the descriptive label on the wall, not to the right beside the painting but above the painting, I asked him why he'd put the label above the painting. He crossed his arms, looked at me with a frown and explained, "Grampa Bruce, it's a painting; you can do anything." I think of his words every time I paint.

Describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors.

It was the end of a day painting plein air in Stonington, Maine. The sun was dropping, and I'd packed it in. Driving along the shore, the light got dramatic, the clear low-in-the-sky sun behind me, late afternoon fall sun streaming into the harbor full of lobster boats, more than any other harbor in Maine. I pulled onto Green Head, beheld the view, so many boats, the light bright, and islands in the distance. I wasn't done for the day, almost an hour of daylight left. The sun was setting so I pulled out a 7" x 5" watercolor block for a quick sketch. But the sight was too breathtaking. I pulled out a huge, full sheet, 30" x 22", and propped my watercolor palette on the rocks. Quickly, I set up my watercolor palette on my tripod, and settled into my folding tripod chair. For the next fifty-five minutes I drew and painted totally focused. I was in the zone, racing against the setting sun. This brief window of time pushed my drawing to be loosely certain, my painting, sure and bold, my brushes flying. It was a fast fifty-five minutes when darkness descended. That painting was selected for the gallery's window at the 2017 ArtinME exhibition in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.

I had a similar experience when painting at the 2018 Castine (Maine) Plein Air Festival. With the sun setting I painted two studies of the harbor looking towards Blue Hill. Again, there wasn't much time. I respond well to time constraints. It pushes me. These two paintings were quite satisfying, and both sold at the event.

In 2016 I painted at Brown's Head Light on the north side of Vinalhaven Island. I was into the zone, painting variations of the lighthouse overlooking the Fox Islands Thoroughfare. I posted all but one of the variations on my blog. Later, when submitting to the Port Clyde Art Gallery's Third Annual Invitational 10 x 10 Show, I included the one I'd deemed not good enough to post on my art blog. It was Best in Show, which led me to ponder, are we the best judges of our art?

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

I'm drawn to coastal locations, islands and remote places. There aren't many of us painting plein air in Iceland. I painted a plein air view of the landmark hill Stori Dimon. Fortunately, I had a frame with me. That painting still hangs today, a thank you to my dear friends and hosts, in their summerhouse, having traveled only three-hundred feet from the hill where it was painted to the wall of their summerhouse.

Among the locations I've painted at in Maine are Acadia, Bass Harbor, Boothbay Harbor, Castine, Cliff Island, Cobscook Bay, Criehaven Island, Jonesport, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Monhegan Island, Ogunquit, Owls Head, Rockland, Schoodic, Shapleigh, Stonington, Vinalhaven, York; many locations in northern Vermont; coastal and inland Florida; at Grand Manan Island, Ottawa, and Whitehall Island, Canada; many places all around Iceland, including islands off the coast; Lugano, Switzerland; and Venice.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

I applied to Brandywine because fellow artist Alison Menke recommended it when we were painting at the Castine (Maine) Plein Air Festival 2018 in July. When asked of all the plein air events she's participated in, and she's painted in many, which one was the best, without hesitating she said, "Brandywine, Bruce you must do it."

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

My background, an honored fortunate career in children's books, forty-three of forty-five photo-illustrated, fine-tuned my way of looking at things through a camera's lens while traveling up and down the world, from up in Iceland and Alaska, and down to Antarctica. Thus, my journey with watercolors has a visual basis, but is a complete departure from the pictorial to the freedom of painting, and painting loosely, keeping it fresh.

Beth Bathe

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Spotlight 09/18/18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

When I moved to Lancaster from the Northern VA area, I joined the Susquehanna Plein Air Painters to meet some new friends, now I am painting “plein air” full time

What has helped you develop as a painter?

I’ve developed as a painter by painting and drawing as often as possible, daily if I can.

Can you describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors.

One day I was painting a covered bridge in Lancaster County when I felt the presence of someone watching me from behind. When I turned around there was an entire Amish family standing at their fence watching me in their Sunday finest. They invited me into their home for some lemonade. It was truly a wonderful experience.

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

I have painted in up to thirteen national plein air competitions a year, and have painted in some wonderful spots. In the US, I have painted from sea to shining sea…Washington State to Maine. I have also painted abroad in China and Cuba…a wonderful way to experience the culture and flavor or a place.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

I paint plein air because it is just not a painting experience but a life experience…capturing the light and feeling of a place at a particular place and time of day. It is being out in the elements, ever changing. I look so forward to painting in Plein Air Brandywine Valley, following in the footsteps of my favorite painter Andrew Wyeth. It is a beautiful area, rich in history and Americana.

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

Beth Bathe is an artist residing in Lancaster, PA. After a long career as a graphic designer, Beth now pursues painting full time. Primarily painting in oil en plein air since 2013 she participates in high profile competitions from Maine to Washington State, including Plein Air Easton, Door County WI, Cape Ann MA, Richmond VA and others, for a total of eleven competitions in 2018 alone. Her paintings have won numerous awards and honors and she is a featured artist in the 2018 February/March issue of PleinAir Magazine.

Beth’s painting style is unique, looking somewhat like a watercolor, or is it an oil painting? She uses Cobra Water Mixable Oil Colors in thin washes with a limited tonalist palette, using unconventional tools such as squeegees and qtips along with her brushes. Her representational paintings have been described by critics as evoking nostalgia, like that of an old sepia toned photograph, often with just touches of color. She is highly influenced by painter Andrew Wyeth, and her subject matter is often what she refers to as the "vanishing landscape", including finding beauty in buildings, barns and old towns of a time gone by and often beyond their prime.

Debra Howard

Crisfield, Maryland

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

I’ve always painted outdoors, but it was mostly preparation for a large painting. When the Plein Air movement took on a life of its own, I did struggle with the idea that what I painted on location was the final painting!

What has helped you develop as a painter?

I’ve developed as a painter by taking on Artist in Residence opportunities at National Parks. This has allowed me to explore freely and to try new things.

Can you describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors – it can be positive or negative, but continues to stand out in your mind?

This winter I was the artist in Residence at Big Cypress National Preserve in the Everglades and had a 10-foot alligator charge me while I was painting on the side of the road.

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

I lived on a sailboat for 28 years and often painted from the boat while at anchor, giving me a different view point and a changing environment to paint.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

I’ve never visited this area of the country and love a new challenge. I have artists friends who have participated in Plein Air Brandywine Valley, and their work reflects the beauty of the area… and I like that it benefits the Children’s Beach House.

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

After 28 years of living on a sailboat and 3 years living on a tiny island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, (Tangier Island) I now travel for most of the summer in my little RV painting what I experience.

Judy McCabe Jarvis

Flourtown, Pennsylvania

Spotlight 09-17-18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

I have been painting plein air since my painting class at Tyler School of Art took a painting trip to the Delaware Water Gap in in 1979. WE stayed in log cabins and painted in mid fall.

What has helped you develop as a painter?

I’ve developed further as a painter by through continuing education. Taking workshops from artists who inspire me and make me look harder at my subject and push me harder.

Can you describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors – it can be positive or negative, but continues to stand out in your mind?

One challenging situation I found myself in was when painting the victory gardens in La Mott , Cheltenham , Pa in 40 mile wind gusts and strapping my canvas to my easel, almost falling off rocks in Maine into the surf when painting on Mount Desert Island and picking bugs and rocks off my painting with tweezers.

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

I have painted some of my most meaningful paintings which have long been sold in a cute little neighborhood I lived in outside of Philly.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

Painting out doors is very athletic, physical and challenging. I am a very fast painter and I love to paint directly and spontaneously. When outdoors, the light changes rapidly and I need to work quickly.

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

In the 1980’s I was popular for making ironic and witty portraits inspired by New Yorker covers and I once made a very large pastel of a powerful empowered woman named Christy standing in front of her barn. The piece was titled, “Christy’s World”. Obviously a play on Chrsitina’s World. It was exhibited in window of Gross McCleaf Gallery on 16th street in 1986. It loomed. I also, lived in Chadds Ford and had an article about Andrew Wyeth published in the Philadelphia Inquirer for his 100th birthday.

Al Richards

Chester Springs, Pennsylvania

Spotlight 09-14-18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

I was introduced to and started painting plein air from a friend and artist Mick McAndrews

What has helped you develop as a painter?

I’ve retired and I’m trying to paint every day. Painting with a group called “Farm To Table” (Land Art Events) for the past two years and we paint on farms under conservancy and have approximately 50 painting dates through the season at different locations.

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

Throughout Chester County including the Laurels Preserve and Coatesville’s Riverwalk. Painted this summer in Assateague and West Ocean City (MD) with the Ocean City Plein Air Event.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

Plein Air painting tests your abilities to find and break down a scene and create your own composition. As you are painting you find things that you didn’t see at first glance and would probably never see with a photo. Competing in plein air forces you to get out and do it. I like the motivation and the Brandywine Valley has a lot to offer.

Can you describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors – it can be positive or negative, but continues to stand out in your mind?

I was painting at a farm this summer when the farm hands removed all my subject matter. I was lined up in a field with hay wagons when they came along, moved the wagons and cut down the field. I called it “Before the Harvest”.

Lissa Abrams

Baltimore, Maryland

Spotlight 09-13-18

How did you first learn of and when did you start painting plein air?

I retired in 2011 and began painting outdoors that year. The first summer I studied with Paul Moscatt, Professor Emeritus at MICA and painted every day in Baltimore City.

What has helped you develop as a painter?

I am committed to continuing to improve as a painter. I have studied with various people who have helped me refine and develop my painting. The more I paint, the landscape outdoors or the human figure, the more growth I see in my work. It has been important to my work to paint en plein air in different environments and various weather conditions. I enjoy painting with other artists who help me to improve my skills.

Can you describe something unusual or challenging that happened when painting outdoors – it can be positive or negative, but continues to stand out in your mind?

Once, when painting during Plein Air Brandywine Valley, the owner invited me to paint in the field with her horses. At some point the horses noticed me and galloped over and took my backpack with all my brushes. Disappointed there was no food, they dropped the backpack and the contents in the field. I quickly gathered my stuff, took down my easel and left the field. The painting was fresh and not overworked.

Can you tell us about some of the settings and places where you have you painted?

I have painted on the east coast from Canada to South Carolina, and New Mexico and Arizona. This includes: painting the ocean, the beach, craggy shoreline, and the bay, the mountains, small towns, big cities such as Baltimore, Washington, DC, and Wilmington, farms, abandoned homes, and the countryside.

Why do you paint plein air and what attracts you to compete in Plein Air Brandywine Valley?

I am passionate about painting from life. Each excursion outdoors brings new opportunities for growth due to changes in the light, atmosphere, and weather. No two paintings are alike due to these variables. I love being outdoors and capturing the beauty of nature and the history of our lives on my canvas.

Share anything about PABV or about you as a painter that others will find interesting.

Plein Air Brandywine Valley provides opportunities to paint this beautiful historic area. The farms are spectacular including wonderful vistas but many painting locations provide an opportunity to a capture a bygone era.

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