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ARTIST SPOTLIGHT Plein Air Brandywine Valley 2018

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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