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  • Writer's pictureTeresa Craighead

Traditional Atelier PLUS

Roger Parsons paints landscapes of the American West and Southwest, for which he has won several awards. A stroke in 2011 ended Roger's structural engineering career, but launched his art career. He has studied with Arturo Chavez, Camille Przewodek, Dan Mieduch, Michael Lynch and Ovannes Berberian. Roger signs his work with a red dot at the end of his name, symbolizing the blood clot that caused his stroke.


When I first heard that Holly was establishing a new Atelier in Kerrville, I congratulated her and wished her the best in this new venture. There was very little in the way of high quality formal art training in the area. Traditional ateliers, unlike many art schools, have a rigorous curriculum focused on Still Life and the Human Form, both figure & portrait. I’ve had some training in both areas, but a year of portrait classes and a weeklong portrait workshop convinced me that I would not be a portrait artist!

 

There are Atelier-trained artists, competent with still life and human forms, who struggle with landscape painting. Many fundamentals are the same. Traditional representational art, be it Still Life, Human Form, or Landscape, is concerned with translating a 3-D subject onto a 2-D surface, trying to make the forms look solid. 


Roger Parsons, Snowscape, artwork showing depth of field

One of the major differences with Landscapes is generally the depth of field. With studio work, the entire subject area from front to back ranges from a few inches to a few feet. With landscapes, the depth of the subject may range from several feet to several miles. Accurate Linear Perspective is of paramount importance (the z-axis in the standard x, y, z Cartesian coordinate system). And Aerial Perspective is generally a much greater factor in landscapes than with studio paintings. Plein air landscapes present perhaps the greatest challenge due to a constantly moving light source and different colors of light from the sun.

 

The next time Holly and I met, the conversation quickly revealed we were both on the same page — add a Landscape component to the Atelier curriculum. In January 2024, we launched the first class, Landscape Painting in Plein Air, i.e., outdoor painting on location. 

an art student painting outside
Atelier Landscape Class student working en plein air

In that respect, plein air painting is like studio painting, i.e., working from direct observation. Future landscape classes are in development as of this writing. The goal is to develop your landscape process and skills, and mentor artists in my process, using drawings, plein air studies, and reference photos to paint large format landscapes in the studio. 


an oil painting of an Arizona Sunset
Roger Parsons, Arizona Sunset

From time to time, I will post on the Texas Hill Country Atelier Blog, tips and commentary on landscape paintings, and some progress photos of work currently on my easel. 


An oil painting of a southwestern landscape
Roger Parsons, Plein Air Landscape

Check back occasionally. 


Happy Painting, Rog.

Roger Parsons at his easel painting
Roger at his easel mixing color

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