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Plein Air Painting 

Painting in the  great outdoors

These little sketches are done outdoors on location.  The French term, plein means "open air. "  These studies, done within a two or three hour framework are like a notebook that the painter uses as reference material for larger works.  The little painting  may be enlarged on a a bigger canvas in the studio or some of the visual information may be helpful to the artist in depicting a similar subject in a future work.  Some of these little paintings shown here have stood on their own as complete works in and of themselves - either with major adjustments or minor touch-ups in the studio. 

Through the Storm

12 x 16, oil on panel 

Private Collection


The Best Time of the Year

12 x 16, oil on canvas

Private Collection


The Clearing

8 x 10, oil on panel

Private Collection

My first outdoor work after a foot injury in 2014. Desperate to get outside and paint, I took along a small camp-stool and made up my mind that I was going to limp from the car for at least a few yards, sit down and paint something.  The result was one of my more popular pieces! An artist friend later laughed and said that I had set an example for all artists: quit hiking endlessly while searching  for the perfect subject and interpret the simple stuff right in front of you - even if you  have to hurt your foot to do it!


Fingers of Light

9 x 12, oil on panel

Private Collection

This little painting sold quickly with no touch-up work at all.  I was not as concerned about depicting individual trees, twigs, and leaves as I was with capturing that fleeting light flared out on the grass.   

Morning Moisture

9 x 12, oil on board

Private Collection

This little study didn't  stay with me long - I think it was the light here that found it's owner. 

Late September

12 x 16, oil on panel

Private Collection 


The Sun Shines in the Winter

16 x 12, oil on panel

Available from the artist

[email protected]

434-851-2765


The Last Days of Winter

12 x 9, oil on panel

Private collection

I love painting in overcast light.  While painting this scene from across a wooded pond in the Blue Ridge Mountains, it began to drizzle. By the time I finished I actually had to pour water off my palette.  The painting was unharmed - oil and water do not mix. 

Study for Otter Pond

12 x 16, oil on panel

Available from the artist

[email protected]

434-851-2765

This field study, done on location at Otter Pond on the Blue Ridge Parkway, was the progenitor for the much larger painting found on the Landscapes page.

If It's March It Must Be Virginia

8 x 10,  oil on panel

Available from the artist

[email protected]

434-851-2765

The weather in Virginia during the month of March is erratic.  I was cold as I stood in the snow all suited up painting this little gem.   A week before this I was painting a lake scene and had to strip down to my undershirt because the sun had gotten so hot!


Study of Roots

16 x 12, oil on canvas

Available from the artist

[email protected]

434-851-2765


Complements of Winter

12 x 16, oil on canvas

Available from the artist

[email protected]

Color can be found in the wintertime.  The reds of the dirt path contrasted nicely with the greens of the pines.

Just Before the Budding

6 x 8, oil on canvas board

Available from the artist

[email protected]

434-851-2765


November Pines

8 x 8, oil on canvas

Available from the artist

[email protected]

434-851-2765