The southeastern United States has a wealth of natural beauty from coastal salt marshes and barrier islands, to bucolic farmlands and deep deciduous forests. Our towns and cities are steeped in history and architectural elegance: the antebellum homes, colonial churches, courthouses and lighthouses. Throughout every state, one can see colorful reminders of a grand heritage in Southern landscapes and cityscapes.
With so many themes from which to choose, the Southeast has long inspired artists to commit its evocative subjects to canvas. We, the Plein Air Painters of the Southeast (PAP-SE), are an organization of professional plein air painters bound by a common passion to promote the traditional methods of painting en plein air.
Dee Beard Dean, along with a handful of fellow painters, founded PAP-SE in 2001. Dean had a dream to build a professional organization of painters living and working in the southeastern United States. Encouraged by collectors, museums and gallery directors who were expressing interest in having one place where they can view the ongoing works of notable southern artists, the newly-formed Plein Air Painters of the Southeast designed a website, www.pap-se.com, to fulfill this purpose.
The mission of this early core group of painters was threefold: 1) to hone their painting skills through the demanding rigors of painting outdoors; 2) to enjoy the camaraderie and shared knowledge of fellow plein air painters; and, 3) to raise awareness and appreciation of this traditional method of painting among art collectors and connoisseurs. To maintain a high level of professionalism and expertise, they decided to create a juried organization and to add only a few new members every year.
Academic training and professional recognition matter in their selective process, but outstanding talent is the main criterion. Most members are primarily oil painters though several of the painters are also accomplished pastel artists. Says Dean, "Looking back, how proud I am of this association of distinguished painters, whose level of excellence has made this group one of the top plein air organizations in the country. From its inception, PAP-SE has maintained high standards of excellence which has brought it national recognition.
PAP-SE's first exhibition was held at the Wells Gallery in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2001. Subsequently, our group has enjoyed frequent invitations by other galleries to exhibit our works, and we typically offer one group workshop and art exhibition per year.
Our current membership includes: Perry Austin, Scott Boyle, Loryn Brazier, Anne Blair Brown, Roger Dale Brown,OPA, Scott Burdick, Katie Dobson Cundiff, Bill Davidson, OPA, Dee Beard Dean, Beverly Ford Evans, Trey Finney, Paula Frizbe, Chirs Groves, Karen Hewitt Hagan, Mark Kelvin Horton, Robert Morin Isley, L. Diane Johnson, Andre Lucero, Diane Cruickshanks May, Kevin Menck, Larry Moore, Gwen Nagel, Richard Christian Nelson, Richard Oversmith (current president), Lori Putnam, James Richards, Stuart Roper, Junko Ono Rothwell, Shannon Smith, Hodges Soileau,OPA, Sue Stewart, Brett Weaver, and Dawn Whitelaw. All our members are well established in galleries throughout the U.S and many conduct individual exhibitions and workshops throughout the year.
WHAT IS PLEIN AIR PAINTING?
Plein air is a French term referring to the traditional process of painting out-of-doors, on location, in an impressionistic style. The Plein Air Painters of the Southeast (PAP-SE) prefer to paint outside from life, in an effort to capture the fleeting beauty of the landscape. Our goal is to translate the complete essence of how the scene looks and feels to us at a certain moment in time.
Painting en plein air is a spontaneous reaction to nature and the environment — a study technique which drives us, again and again, to leave our comfortable studio space and brave the unforgiving elements. We typically work in areas that are unfamiliar and often ill equipped for painting. Yet, painting outdoors can offer an irresistible and exhilarating feeling: To stand at the easel when the skies turn golden and the distant mountain ridges or coastal salt marshes glow with a warm, ethereal light is to witness the magic of nature's artistry.
What PAP-SE artists seek is to translate the mood and immediacy of evocative outdoor scenes onto canvas. These petite vignettes of color and composition are enlivened by the plein air method of painting with quick and textured brushstrokes — a process that emphasizes the beauty of atmospheric light, and reveals the ever-inquisitive soul of the outdoor painter.
A COLLECTION of FAVORITE QUOTES
Featured quotes selected by member artists:
You learn to paint by painting.
Pretend you are dancing or singing a picture. A worker or painter should
enjoy his work, else the observer will not enjoy it. It is not good to wear lace
that was a drudgery to someone to make. The lace, as well as the picture,
shoulmade in joy. All real works of art look as though they were done in joy.
— Robert Henri
This is the test of the highest form of art- that it should stimulate the
imagination and suggest more than it expresses.
— Birge Harrison
Detail may or may not be added, but no amount of rendering is
sufficient enough to save a work that has misjudged the
fundamental relationships of color and value.
— Frank La Lumina
Paint in verbs, not nouns.
— Charles Woodbury
Vision! The key to the door of art: the power to see with the eyes of the
soul is as necessary to the artist as faith is to the true believer.
— Birge Harrison
If you will learn value, you will get color.
— Everett Raymond Kinstler
One must paint what one sees, but one must see through the mind
as well as through the eyes.
— Birge Harrison
To Work is to Pray
— John Singer Sargent (Tombstone inscription)
There is no try, only do."
You are going to do a hundred bad paintings before you get a good one,
so you may as well get started.
Q: "How's life?"
A: "It's takin' forever.
It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance, and I know of no
substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process.
— Henry James
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes
but in having new eyes.
— Marcel Proust
Art comes to you proposing frankly to give nothing but the highest quality
to your moments as they pass.
— Walter Pater
What was any art but an effort to make a sheath, a mold in which to imprison
for a moment the shining, elusive element, which is life itself.
— Willa Cather
To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.
— Henry David Thoreau
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you
didn't do than by the things you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away
from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream.
— Mark Twain.
Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do.
— Edgar Degas
Industry in art is a necessity — not a virtue — and any evidence of the same,
in the production, is a blemish, not a quality; a proof, not of achievement, but
of absolutely insufficient work,
for work alone will efface the footsteps of work.
— James McNeil Whistler
Ars est celare artem (Art lies in concealing art).
— Latin proverb
You may have the universe if I may have Italy.
— Giuseppe Verdi
When your horse dies, get off.
— Cowboy wisdom
L. Diane Johnson
Do some great work, Son! Don't try to paint good landscapes. Try to paint canvases
that will show how interesting landscape looks to you—your pleasure in the thing.
— Robert Henri
My studio! But I never had one, ... I don't understand why anybody would want to shut
themselves up in some room. Maybe for drawing, sure; but not for painting.
— Claude Monet
I will astonish Paris with an apple.
— Paul Cezanne
Rivalries, and Artistic Exchanges
• Ted Seth Jacobs - Light for the Artist
• Kate F. Jennings - John Singer Sargent