Taildragger is a painting I created for my dad for a Christmas gift. It depicts a scene from July 29,1954, the day my dad took his first flight lesson at Boen field, Milan, Tennessee, in a J-3 Piper Cub taildragger. His instructor was Harold Keas, a Milan boy who was also a captain with SE Airlines, an intra-state carrier that flew DC-3s from Tri-cities to Memphis and points in between.
This week I had the pleasure to meet Kevin, Wanda, and MooShu MacPherson at his presentation at the Brentwood Library sponsored by the Chestnut Group. I've been a huge fan of his work ever since I learned about plein air painting seven years ago.
And though I think of Kevin as one of the best plein air painters in the world today, his portraits blew me away.
From an article by Cindy Salaski on The Artists Network
Kevin Macpherson majored in illustration at Northern Arizona University and feels he was very fortunate to have Chris Magadini as his instructor. “Magadini was inspiring and encouraged the best from his students. He became my first mentor, and we’ve remained friends and painting peers to this day.”
After completing his formal art education, Kevin spent eight years as a freelance illustrator in the advertising field. To improve his illustration skills, he continued his studies by taking fine art workshops at the Scottsdale Artists’ School.
The path to improve his illustration skills changed Kevin’s life in a big way. He says, “It was during those workshops that my eyes were opened to the world of painting on location.”
￼Countless hours outside directly observing nature taught Kevin how to truly see as an artist. This immediately influenced his illustration work but, more importantly, it also set fire to his passion for painting from life, en plein air.
During his presentation he taught us to be authentic. We think of all the great Masters we'd love to emulate, but why be a second-rate someone else? Be an original YOU.
Kevin encouraged us to invest in ourselves and our painting skills to create our own paths and speak our unique voice.
The only way to improve is to paint. Paint. Paint. Paint. Paint.
He told us the story of painting for his book "Reflections on a Pond." And said it was good he did not have commercial or gallery commitments so that he had the time to explore and go to the next level.
Kevin has painted all over the world.
He told us painting is simple, but not easy. The trick is to separate light from shadow.
Other words of wisdom included, "Paint small. 6 x 8. Then push to paint BIG."
He encouraged us to sketch thumbnail compositions before painting. And encouraged us to experiment, as he did when he moved to China for six months, not knowing anyone there or how to speak Chinese, and spent his time painting portraits.
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This past weekend I spent a relaxing and creative weekend on Millstone Mountain in northern Georgia with my new artist friends I met at the Olmsted Plein Air Invitational last month.
Between rain showers, we took full advantage of the sunshine and painted en plein air at Sally's Pond.
And during the rain and evenings, we painted still life inside. And in between, we sneaked down to tour Rome, GA, and Berry College. Berry College is amazing! A picturesque institution of higher learning with a blend of historic and contemporary architecture wrapped in some of the most beautiful landscapes you'll find in the south. And don't forget the furbabies...
We even discovered a very special place...
Rome, Georgia, is a beautiful town. It reminded me of my hometown of Franklin, Tennessee, only larger and "undiscovered." As much as I love Franklin, it's so crowded and congested, I pine for the days when they rolled up the sidewalks at 5pm.
Rome is still a working small town with more history, more historic architecture, and lovely quaintness. It's situated between two rivers with spectacular landscapes and views. And I love the wide space between the buildings and a divided Main Street with a grassy and tree-lined median. While downtown we visited the studio of an artist whose work has absolutely enchanted me, Kathleen Smithson. Yummy, yummy colors, soft edges and beautiful compositions. Excellent work, Kathleen!!
My class at Rippavilla didn't make this evening. Yes, I'm disappointed. I love to teach. But I also love to paint and I'm enjoying an entire day in the studio. No make-up, and only leaving to hang wet clothes on the line. Feeling a little like Auntie Em...hanging wet clothes on the line with severe thunderstorms, hail, and tornadoes in the forcast. Ah, spring in middle Tennessee. It's actually a great time to dry clothes. Until the front blows through it's 80*.
In the studio, I'm preparing for several art shows, exhibits, and commissions.