One of our recent award winners, Kendall Portis, had an unusual journey to his current occupation as a professional artist. Trained as an illustrator, he spent 20 years in law enforcement before becoming an Embedded Police Mentor for an international training program in Afghanistan under the command of U.S. and Hungarian Army Units.
His website includes categories for Still Life, Figurative, Landscape, Works on Paper, Figure Studies/Nudes, Portrait and Animals.
“The central topic for me is very simple: Light. It illuminates the world around us so that we can see the awesome beauty of God’s creation. Regardless of the subject matter, I want to invite the viewer to experience the dance of light as it hits the surface of the object being displayed.”
In addition to his website, his work is available at The LONA Gallery in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
This year, the sixth annual Plein Air Moab, event taking place today through Saturday, will focus less on competition and more on education, camaraderie, and inspiration.
There will still be professional workshops, exhibits and a quick-draw competition, but there will also be free events, including “Art Experientials” – free workshops for all ages with everything provided, including canvas, paint and brushes. There will also be an exhibit of some 200 plein air paintings by 3rd & 4th grade students who have been studying the landforms & geology of the Moab area – Canyonlands and Arches National Parks.
“It is a friendly, enjoyable way to put down on canvas an outdoor experience – without judgment,” says instructor Margie Lopez-Read. “By painting plein air, individuals can learn to see what is before them in a deeper, more meaningful way. This appreciation of the environment, learned by artistic interpretation, has double value for children. Their age usually reduces their inhibition to participate in the experience, and their young minds are so much more open to creative expression.”
Here’s a good way to make your paintings more gestural and uncontrived…paint from a canoe. Artist, illustrator and muralist Jason Sawtelle took up the challenge of painting the unique perspective of being on the water earlier this year. You can see how he strapped his French Resistance pochade box to the seat of the canoe.
“Over the winter I saw a video shot from inside a canoe that captured this feeling – which made me eager to get back on the water myself, but even more so, I couldn’t wait to paint this viewpoint. Rather than take pictures and paint from the photos though, I decided it would be best to capture the real feeling by actually painting in the canoe!
Between the motion of the boat, wrestling with weather and the impossibility of being able to comfortably sit on the floor – I discovered that I need to paint much looser than I usually do. I have found that the result is a look that gets at the feeling of the view and the day but also the process.”
He did a series of nine oil paintings, 12″x16″, and he’s looking forward to doing it again this fall when the leaves turn.
We recently enjoyed a visit from California artist Chuck Kovacic, who stopped by while visiting in Colorado. He wanted to see about ordering a custom Flex Easel, which we were happy to make for him.
An Artist Member of the California Art Club, he won the Best of Show Award in this year’s Frank Bette Plein Air Paintout (see below). He teaches classes and leads plein air excursions in addition to participating in numerous exhibits and paint-outs, including the upcoming Sonoma Plein Air Festival.
He is also a television, film, voice and stage actor!