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Local Shelburne Artist Featured in Plein Air Painting Book

Sep 06, 2017 12:23PM ● Published by Linda Ditch

A romantic image familiar to most people is one of a painter standing outdoors at an easel creating a beautiful landscape. This is known as plein air painting, a 400-year-old art form that’s seen a resurgence in recent years. Artists are in direct contact with the natural setting they are attempting to capture.

Shelburne, Vermont, artist Mark Boedges is featured in a new book on this style of painting. The Art of Plein Air Painting: An Essential Guide to Materials, Concepts, and Techniques for Painting Outdoors by M. Stephen Doherty is a guide for painters who want to venture into the great outdoors where they can create work that is lively and spontaneous thanks to the landscape’s changing light, forms, and colors.

However, there are also difficulties related to painting outside compared to working in a studio. This book addresses the challenges of choosing a location, rationing supplies, working within a time limit, and adjusting to weather changes.

Boedges’s first showing of his work in 2003 nearly sold out. Among the top honors he has received are the Grand Prize for Landscape and a spot on the cover of International Artist magazine, as well as more recently the Joseph Hartley Memorial Award at the prestigious Salmagundi Club in New York City, Best in Show at the American Impressionist Society National Exhibition, and Best in Show at the Scottsdale Salon of Fine Art.

 In Doherty’s book, Boedges is one of the featured contemporary plein air masters interviewed by the author. He also wrote a section titled “Adjusting Colors and Values.” In it, he says, “The most basic axiom we representational painters abide by is to paint what we see. It is a solid rule to live by as an artist and not, in my opinion, something to be forsaken lightly. However, in some cases, if executed literally this axiom can yield unsatisfactory results, for a number of reasons.”

To learn more, pick up a copy of The Art of Plein Air Painting, which will be released by The Monacelli Press September 5th. You can learn more about Boedges and see his work at his website (

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