Enough about Me (Part II)

Let’s talk about some other living artists for a change. There is a lot of great painting being done at the moment, and I often feel that my colleagues and students in Europe aren’t aware of many of the great contemporary painters working in America, and vice-versa.

This post is mainly about the contemporary artists who have most influenced my own work. Before the internet and social media it was often hard to see work by contemporary naturalistic painters, but I was very lucky to stumble across shows from time to time.

I studied and taught on and off for ten years with Charles Cecil, so the technical side of my painting was most influenced by his training with R. H. Ives Gammell, as well as Cecil’s own research into historic painting methods. I later taught at the FAA for Daniel Graves, and they are producing both great work and great painters.

Joseph McGurl is probably the living landscape painter who most strongly influence my own landscape work. I saw a show of his at the Hammer Gallery in NYC when I was first starting out, and up until then I wasn’t aware that this level excellence in landscape painting was still possible.

Of the plein air painters working today, Joe Paquet is the one who’s work I like the most. We painted together this August in Ireland and in our discussions in the evenings I feel we have very similar ideas about the state of landscape painting today, as well as the direction in which we would like to see it heading. T. Allen Lawson is another painter who’s work I really admire.

The other landscape painters working in America today who I always looked at are Clyde Aspevig, Donald JurneyKevin MacphersonMatt Smith, and Skip Whitcomb. For anyone on Facebook, some of them are in an association called the Plein Air Painters of America, and they have regular updates on these as well as lots of other great artists. You can follow (or ‘like’) them here.

Stapleton Kearns has far and away the best painting blog on the internet.

Over on this side of the Atlantic, the painter who probably influence my work plein air landscapes was Julian Barrow, who passed away this week. I also saw a show of his in New York and was amazed by the variety of his work. In that exhibition I never saw a remotely similar light-effect, subject, or composition twice. The man never shied away from any subject, no matter how complicated or unusual, and it really showed me the vast range one could achieve with plein air painting.

The big realist painters over here who were on my radar from early on would be Odd Nerdrum and Antonio Lopez Garcia.  Though American ex-pat and, until recently, neighbor of mine Richard Maury‘s work always appealed to me much more.

Trevor Chamberlain and David Curtis are two great contemporary English plein air painters whose work I’ve always enjoyed.

Last time I did this, there was a valid complaint that I didn’t include any women. There are a lot of great female artists working today, but I only discovered them recently, or they didn’t paint landscapes. A very incomplete list would be Elena ArcangeliJuliette AristidesDaniela AstoneKim Casebeer, Kamille CorryKathleen Dunphy, Louise FenneRose Frantzen, Jill HooperSarah Lamb, Kate Lehman, Jennifer McChristian, Hazel Morgan, Lori Putnam, Roos (pronounced ‘Rose’) Schuring, and Alexandra Tyng. A good resource for researching others is the Women Painting Women Blog.

There are lots of other great painters out there who I look at regularly. These are just the ones who I came across early enough for them to influence my own work. If anyone has any others to recommend, please leave them in the comments.


  1. Thanks Marc that was very interesting to learn more about artist from the other continent that have influenced you. I would add to my recommended state side list Jim McVicker and Thomas Kegler.
    As always I greatly appreciate your work and the information you share.

  2. There are two contemporary landscape artists with the same name. You mentioned (excellent) English painter David Curtis yet linked an American painter David P. Curtis.
    Btw, have you seen Dennis Doheny’s landscapes? They are truly outstanding.
    I also (among three dozen of other top notch plein air artists) like Marc Bohne’s work for his simplicity (i.e. masterful simplification), color scheme and power of design
    (I could go on with the name dropping, but I am not sure if it makes sense.)

  3. In the UK I would say Peter Brown and Ken Howard are two great plein air painters to look up. I had the pleasure of painting with Ken in Morocco in March and for an 81 year old his energy is incredible, still painting from 7am to 6pm..

  4. Hi Marc,
    Can you share any part of your conversations you mention above about the state of landscape painting today and its direction?

  5. Thanks for the correction Valentino and Jose, I wrote this quickly and copy and pasted the wrong link.

    Craig, that will take a new post.

    Thanks for the suggestions everyone, I’ve been going through them this morning. Some really great stuff.

  6. Hi Mr Dalessio,

    Would you be willing to consider putting up some of your earliest plein air works? It would be nice to see where you come from, give us something to compare and see the evolution that’s happened. Might give the rest of us a bit of courage… your work is impressive enough to be both a motivating and demotivating factor. 😉

    greets from belgium

  7. Top living Irish artists. Im an irish man who has a good knowledge of the irish art scene. We have some great painter currently living and working at the moment. Please see list below for some of these painters

    (1) Paul Kelly – He recently had an 80 painting exhibition about the Carnival of Venice. A book was released with it. See blog below.
    (2) Kevin mcnamara – http://www.kevinmcnamara.us/. I think he’s one of the best painters Ireland has produced.
    (3) Norman teeling – see http://www.normanteeling.com/. Very good plein air painter.unfortunately site does not reflect this.
    (4) James Brohan – http://www.jamesbrohan.com/
    (5) Sunny Apinchapong Yang – Irish American painter. Gave training to both Paul Kelly and norman teeling. recently released a retrospective book -http://www.apinchapong.blogspot.com/
    (6) Oisin Roche – Brilliant portrait Painter. http://www.oisinroche.com/. See Adams auctioneers for a recent exhibition of his work
    (7) Thomas Ryan – unfortunatley no website. check the link below where he sells his work – http://www.theoriel.com/2CollectionArtist.asp?ArtistSurname=Ryan
    (8) Henry McGrane – excellent painter. http://www.henrymcgrane.ie/gallery_still_life.php
    (9) James English – another excellent painter – http://www.jamesenglish.ie/gallery.php
    (10) Kenny Mckendry – I almost forgot to include him. He’s brilliant. http://www.kennymckendry.com/