Beginner’s Mind

Experiment in art school. Then, choose a medium and a subject (i.e., landscape, portrait, etc.) and work hard if you want to be successful. That advice is well-intentioned and logical, but all work and no play can make anyone dull or bored. I’m far from bored with painting or with landscapes. The landscape offers somethingContinue reading “Beginner’s Mind”

At the Heart of Plein Air Painting

Unlike Realism, Modern, Contemporary, or Impressionism, plein air painting is not a style of painting. It could be considered a tradition in this sense: Traditional art is art that is part of a culture of a certain group of people, with skills and knowledge passed down through generations from masters to apprentices. Yes, there areContinue reading “At the Heart of Plein Air Painting”

Why I Paint on Canvas Panels

I do a lot of plein air painting and stretched canvases don’t fit the need. I carry everything I need to do a painting—paints, brushes, paper towels, brush cleaner, and panels to paint on—in a backpack. By necessity, plein air paintings are usually smaller than paintings done in a studio, because we also have toContinue reading “Why I Paint on Canvas Panels”

Plein Air on the Prairie

The vivid gold and rust colors of the 6-foot-tall prairie grasses warm the winter landscape here in southern Minnesota. I was surprised at how tall and beautiful the grass was as I walked down a path that’s maintained for walkers at a nature center. I could barely see over the top of the grass inContinue reading “Plein Air on the Prairie”

Water Lilies and Zen

I went out four times in July to paint pond lilies and almost gave up after the second try. Every plein air painting experience has its challenges, but the rewards make it “mostly” worthwhile so I continued to try. This post is a summary of that experience. Plein air paintings of water lilies There’s justContinue reading “Water Lilies and Zen”

Should Artists Keep Art Journals?

I have journals and notebooks scattered all around my home. I love them. And I love to write in them. I’m just not very consistent about when I write or what the purpose of my writing should be. So sometimes, often, I have two or three journals going at once and I’m writing about differentContinue reading “Should Artists Keep Art Journals?”