M. Stephen Doherty

M. Stephen Doherty
The editor of Plein Air magazine at work

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Balancing Skill & Passion

The movie Black Swan is ostensibly about the physical and mental strains imposed on a young ballerina (brilliantly acted by Natalie Portman who just won a Golden Globe award) chosen for the lead in a production of Swan Lake. The story is also about the struggle of an artist trying to raise her skillfully executed performance to the level of great art. Throughout the movie, the ballet company’s artistic director (played by Vincent Cassel) pushes the ballerina to reach beyond her disciplined, rigid, shallow performance and take the emotional risks necessary for expressing the complete character of the black swan. 
As I watched the amazingly powerful movie, I kept thinking that every artist -- painter, musician, writer, singer, dancer -- spends years trying to first learn the craft of his or her art form and then, ultimately, to go beyond skill into the realm of artistic expression. 
To some extent, anyone who works hard and long as an artist will eventually reach the point at which he or she devotes less attention to skill and more to expression, if only because practice make them better at exercising their skills. But the question Black Swan asks is whether the pursuit of greatness ultimately requires complete vulnerability and passion. 
Some artists can reach that exalted level early in their careers and, seemingly, without much effort; but the message that comes through in Black Swan is that an artist may have to risk everything to achieve perfection. 


Thursday, January 6, 2011

PleinAir ™ Events Coming Soon

The new PleinAir ™ magazine (www.pleinairmagazine.com) reports on festivals, paint-outs, exhibitions, and events around the US and abroad. Here's a list of some taking place in the first six months of the new year. If you know of others, please send information and photos to steve@pleinairmagazine.com.

Make sure you know about opportunities for artists, collectors, dealers, and suppliers who love artwork based on direct observations of nature by subscribing TODAY! Visit our website and sign up for the print and/or digital edition. 

Steve Doherty

P.S. Want to mail in your subscriptions? You can by sending a check to:
Tom Elmo
Streamline Publishing Inc.
2090 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd, 3rd Floor
West Palm Beach, FL   33409

2011 Scheduled Outings & Events
Date: February, 2011
Location: Butts County Council for the Fine Arts, Jackson, Georgia
Event: Exhibition of work by the Fall Line Painters of Central Georgia. 
Contact: www.gaarts.org or Preston King (dustydigits@yahoo.com). 
Date: February 5, 2011 - March 20, 2011
Location: The Autry National Center, Los Angeles, California
Event: Masters of the American West Fine Art Exhibition and Sale
Date: February 13, 2011 - April 24, 2011
Location: Museum of the Southwest, Midland, Texas
Event: American Legacy: Our National Parks, traveling exhibition of paintings by members of the Plein Air Painters of America organized by The Haggin Museum, Stockton, California. Catalog available. Exhibition travels to the Michele & Donald D’Amur Museum of Fine Arts in Springfield, Missouri from May 22 - November 6, 2011.
Contact: Plein Air Painters of America, www.p-a-p-a.com
Date: February 18-19, 2011
Location:  Red Wing, Minnesota
Event: 2nd Annual Winter Plein Air Event
Date: February 19-26, 2011
Location: Kapalua Bay, Maui, Hawaii
Event: Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational
Date: February 19-27, 2011
Location: Riverside Art Museum and Riverside Arts Project Gallery, Riverside, California.
Event: Sixth Annual Paint-Out Week sponsored by Plein Air Painters of Riverside
Date: March, 2011
Location: San Diego, California
Event: Workshop sponsored by the International Plein Air Painters (celebrating its 10th anniversary); J.R. Baldini and Linda Richichi teaching.
Contact: International Plein Air Painters website: www.i-p-a-p.com
Date: Now until October, 2011
Location: Locations throughout the state of Indiana
Event: Painting Indiana III Project sponsored by the Indiana Plein Air Painters in partnership with Indiana Landmarks. This will be the 10th anniversary of the Painting Indiana project and 80 - 100 historic landmark paintings will be included in a book published by Indiana University Press. 
Contact: Bill Wissel, Coordinator, IPAPA Painting III,  cc976@aol.com, or visit www.inpainters.org or www.PaintingIndiana.com.  
Date: April 9-10, 2011
Location: Blue Ridge, Georgia
Event: Spring Plein Air Festival sponsored by the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association
Date: April 11-15, 2011
Location: New Harmony, Indiana
Event: Workshops with C.W. Mundy, Bye Britney, and Todd Williams sponsored by the Indiana Plein Air Painters
Date: April 25-30, 2011
Location: Gadsden Museum of Art, Gadsden, Alabama
Event: The Southeastern Plein Air Invitational exhibition
Date: May 13-22, 2011
Location: Various locations between Mexico Beach and Alligator Point, Florida
Event: 6th Annual Plein Air Invitational sponsored by Florida’s Forgotten Coast Cultural Coalition. 
Contact: Joe Taylor (palme2blue@yahoo.com), Lori Putnam (lori@loriputnam.com), or www.pleinairfl.com
Date: May 12-15, 2011
Location: Carmel, California
Event: 18th Annual Carmel Art Festival
Date: May 16-22, 2011
Location: Wayne, Pennsylvania
Event: Wayne Art Center Plein Air Festival
Date: May 23-27, 2011
Location: Sonoma, California
Event: Sonoma Plein Air 2011
Date: June, 2011
Location: Wasilla, Alaska
Event: Workshop sponsored by Painted Ladies 
Contact: Painted Ladies page on Face Book, or Karen Whitworth at www.WhitworthGallery.org.
Date: June 10-12, 2011
Location: Bitterroot River Inn, Hamilton, Montana
Event: 7th Annual Montana Professional Artists Association Hamilton Show
Date: June 11, 2011
Location: Irwin Garden, Columbus, Indiana
Event: Columbus Paint Out, Indiana Plein Air Painters
Date: June 24, 2011-July 9, 2011
Location: Saks Galleries, Denver, Colorado
Event: Plein Air Artists Colorado 15th National Juried Fine Art Exhibition and Sale