We hope you enjoy reading about what inspires this year's group of talented artists to create their work in plein air.
My paintings in the past few years have been inspired by the long views offered in New Paltz and surrounding areas. There is a soothing harmony in the colors and textures which is endlessly compelling to me.
I paint vivid watercolor landscapes to capture the beauty of my Hudson Valley home. I strive for my paintings to evoke the joyful sense of being outdoors. I am interested in color, the energy of living things, and what happens when you slow down long enough to truly see and appreciate nature. I have exhibited my paintings widely over the last 30 years in local and regional solo and juried shows. I have taught watercolor, acrylic painting and mixed media classes for adults and children out of my studio, outdoors and in the community for the last 15 years and have experienced great joy inspiring many people to discover themselves as artists.
With a theatre background, I like to paint the great outdoors as if it were a production. Mother Nature is the producer and she lets me direct the players with my paintbrush and her lighting. This excitement only happens en plein air. I am traveling for two years staying in Airbnbs and enjoying the diversity of each location on canvas. The New Paltz area is my home for the next five months and I am thrilled to be here.
My paintings are interpretations of nature that stress spontaneity as method.
These are different times and we have relegated our shared 'social' times to distance physically but plein air painting has qualities that endure.
I use acrylic on canvas to paint for the joy of creation, to celebrate the spirit, to satisfy the eye, to engage in childlike imagination, to feel free, to use juicy color, to connect and inspire people, for the love of art! I paint from the simple subjects around me, or create commissioned works, to experience and share my passion of love through art.
Mary Anne Erickson
As a lifelong artist, I've loved painting outdoors since I was a child. To capture the essence of a landscape is a special opportunity that I cherish.
As long as I can remember, I have needed to make art. Paintings allow a moment in time to endure and offer glimpses into places that frame our memories, or exist only in our imagination. Painting connects me with everything I love, and I strive to capture a sense of the wonder and mysteries I see all around me. Paintings should leave space for the viewers to engage in a dialogue with the art and to find their own stories. By exploring the places and people they meet within my paintings, I hope viewers will see the irreplaceable vibrance in every living being, and find resonance with their own visions of nature, mystery, time and myth.
I am a passionate realist, working with a palette of soft pastels, sanded paper and a kneaded eraser. My early years of working in the abstract helped me refine my handling of the medium and sharpen my understanding of shape and form as it manifests in the natural world. I feel obligated as an artist to reflect the world I live in, to look keenly at my environment and present it to the viewer in an engaging way.
The deeply profound moments in nature excite me most, where there is a connection with a higher energy and one feels alive. I seek to transcend the landscape as mere subject matter, yet use it as a tool to evoke nature's spiritual or emotional essence. As a New Paltz native, this landscape has been a lifelong inspiration and source of connection.
Eva Kusmerick Stamper (Eva regrets that she cannot participate this year)
Painting and making art is a way of life for me. This constant need to create is enslaving and, in a way, it becomes an addiction. Endless quest and striving to do better but at the same time understanding that complete satisfaction will end the process, makes us work harder and harder by never ending desire to create. Relentless struggle to achieve that relevant perfection is a part of the joy.
During the height of the pandemic painting en plein air was the only way I could safely be with other people, which was imperative since I live alone. Although known as a figurative artist, painting the Hudson Valley landscape has become a way to reconnect with my community and to help combat isolation. I often go to sites in the Poughkeepsie area such as Morgan Lake, Peach Hill Park, and Vanderbilt, ironically places I had rarely gone to before 2020 and now I go there regularly. These works are all about reconnection, with the land, with people, and with myself.
Mohonk Preserve continues to inspire me particularly in the spring and fall. It is my intent to try and capture its enchantment in my work.
In doing plein air landscape paintings, I wish to capture the tones and forms of nature in my paintings, giving the viewer some of the same experience that I have felt in confronting the exquisite beauty and reality of the earth. I focus on the interplay of light and shadow while using lively brush strokes and atmospheric techniques.
My work celebrates the living world of humans and nature. I have been painting for six decades, from the time I was 10 years old. I love the beauty of the ridge and the nature that is guarded by Mohonk Preserve.
After a long (and continuing!) career in education, I decided to return to my early passion of creating art via painting and drawing. About 10 years ago, I began to study with Hudson Valley painter Richard Lisle. Over the past several years I have immersed myself in both studio and plein air painting and am intensely motivated by the stunning local landscapes of forests, streams and mountains in our region. I strive to develop strong values in a painting as well as using different techniques to capture the changing light and shadows that each season has to offer. My work tends to be more impressionistic but I find my style of painting continuing to evolve.
Carl L. Grauer
Working primarily in oil, I paint subjects with mindful strokes applied with determination and energy. Approaching each subject as a documentarian, I render not only a likeness but a sense of being in a specific place and time. Rather than achieving photorealism, my goal is to depict each painting in a way that expresses the essence. On a technical level, I am fascinated by the interplay of light and shadow, as well as by color; manipulating slightly to render form, depth, and likeness. Through this method of depiction, I seek to find a truth that might not be captured by simply copying. The act of painting is a ritual and a passion that extends beyond just creating a nice image.
I think being outdoors makes me smarter. My thoughts are clearer and I understand the world better. Painting outdoors makes me humble. Light is constantly changing, clouds are morphing, insects are crawling and my patience is waning. Yet, the process of putting on the canvas all that I can see, smell and hear is one of the most exhilarating and challenging experiences that I have ever found. I work in all mediums including oil, acrylic and watercolor and maintain a home studio in New Paltz.
I write and draw. My movement disorders do not stop me. My work is shaped by compassion.
I am drawn to landscapes, capturing and preserving the views that have been seen over the years by so many. On location I work in pastels capturing the landscape, the atmosphere and the space surrounding me. I focus on capturing the specific time of day; the time of day changes the light, the color, the atmosphere: it changes everything.
Plein Air painting is an opportunity to get outside, re-connect with the community I've missed for the last year, and explore some mediums outside of my barnwood sculpture. I illustrate landscapes and structures with ink, pen, and color sticks.
I love to paint and to paint what I love, nature. There is nothing better than capturing a moment or feeling or both through color, light and shadow. The biggest compliment to me is when someone tells me how a painting makes them feel.
I love painting landscapes of our beautiful Hudson Valley in oils, watercolor and pastels. It is exciting to be able to use the special qualities of each medium to capture the amazing vistas and unique character of our area. From mountain streams to farms and village streets, I find artistic inspiration around every corner in this historic playground.
My goal is to inspire the viewer to look more carefully at the world they live in, sharing with them the peace, beauty and reverence that I experience. I strive to make this emotional connection with the viewer through my art. I am most driven to capture that fleeting moment in time and the way the light moves across the changing landscape.
Painting landscapes makes me happy. I am drawn to the shadows in the rocks and the nooks and crannies found in twisted trees.
When it comes to painting, I feel that it I have found my practice to be adventurous, freeing and therapeutic. My inspiration comes from the natural world; botanicals, birds, the great outdoors and I always find myself painting trees! My visual experiences outside in nature with my family are what breathe life into my work and inspire me to paint daily. I love the process of painting intuitively and achieving abstraction, however I also find comfort and confidence in painting watercolors as well.
I am an artist based in the Hudson Valley and have been creating and studying art throughout my life, most notably training in traditional methods of drawing and painting in Florence, Italy for four years. I work from a base of figurative realism to create drawings and paintings blending figure, flora and landscape. I was awarded the Alpine Fellowship and the Hudson River Fellowship. I divide my time between my home and studio in the Hudson Valley and Manhattan where I work in art conservation.