En Plein Air: Mike Samson
En plein air is the act of painting outdoors and it is a French phrase meaning “in the open air”. Painting outdoors has had a long tradition with artists but it became particularly important in the mid 19th Century due to the Barbizon School and Impressionism. The challenge for those artists was capturing the natural light with its specific elements: the colours of the leaves in different seasons, the movement of the skies, the contrast between shadow and light.
There are many artists today that are continuing the legacy of painting outdoors. Such landscapes look real and authentic and this is appealing to both artists and collectors.
“When choosing a subject to paint, I try not to go for the ‘obvious view’, but to look for interesting compositions, or light effects, usually by doing a quick pencil sketch first to see if it works before committing paint to canvas. I find this a useful method of checking the tonal values in the chosen view. It also means I have a sketch to work off should I decide to work up the smaller painting into a larger studio piece later. I very rarely work from photographs”, says Art2Arts artist Mike Samson when talking about his method.
Landscape with Textures: Martina Furlong
In the contemporary art scene, many artists are preoccupied with finding new ways of painting traditional subjects either by incorporating various materials in mixed media pieces or creating tactile textures in semi-abstract compositions.
Art2Arts artist Martina Furlong creates mysterious textured scenes in which she transforms reality by mixing it with memories, imagination and the subconscious.
Her artworks speak to the viewers through both title and image. Although the colours are exaggerated, the compositions are balanced through line, contrast and rhythm.
“My landscapes are influenced by my childhood in Ireland, the history, folklore and my regular visits there”.
“I like to exaggerate colour, apply layer upon layer of paint, then work back into the surface with cloths, rollers, scrapers, stones and twigs as well as brushes and pallet knives to create heavily textured mysterious scenes which capture the beauty, ruggedness and magical quality I see in the Irish landscape”, says the artist.
Abstract Landscape: Melanie Graham
The beauty of abstract art is the freedom of expression for the artists and freedom of interpretation for the viewers.
The challenge of depicting an abstract landscape is to capture the colour, the line, the shapes and the movement in a coherent image that, although abstract, it can be seen as a landscape.
Art2Arts artist Melanie Graham paints abstract images inspired by her walks on the hills and by the coast as well as her travels around the world. Her work is free-forming, depicting dramatic seascapes and landscapes, whilst focusing on the raw and sheer beauty of space and nature.
“There is nothing more I love than a day in the hills. This shows the colours I see in the hills, with a cliff landscape and birds soaring overhead. Blissful, fresh…. “, says the artist and this phrase can summarize the process all landscape artists go through when painting their chosen subject.