Kevin McCain is a Plein Air painter whose Impressionist paintings and drawings are in the collections of patrons across the United States, Mexico and Brazil. Kevin McCain lives in central Arizona, surrounded by the landscapes he loves to paint. Kevin’s use of vibrant colors and thick impasto give his paintings a life and vitality to capture the viewer’s attention. His landscapes have a dreamy quality to them. His paintings are more reminiscent of memories rather than an illustration of a particular scene. The impression of the landscape is more important than the actual content.
What challenges and advantages do you find with Plein Air painting?
Plein Air painting is great, packing your studio up and entering into the wilderness. There is something very romantic and adventurous about the idea. You get outdoors see beautiful scenery and paint from nature in the fresh air away from the studio get you daily dose of vitamin E what could be better? The downside of course you are painting outdoors at the mercy of nature. I mean of course your have the bugs biting ants, annoy-some mosquitoes, and biting flies I won't even start on the scorpions and snakes in the desert. You also have the weather. Winds whip around you and sometime take you easel with it. You are painting one moment then you get caught in a cloud burst and rained out. There is also the rare occasion of a chance and not always friendly encounter with local wildlife. With all that said one may wonder why you would go to all the trouble to get outside and paint. The answers is the you see more when you paint outside. Photographs just do a good job with subtle color. The camera doesn't perceive color the same way the human eye does. So when you paint outside instead of from photographs you can see different colors. Also being surrounded by what you are painting in the landscape for me makes painting so much more interesting and inspiring which translates into better artwork. Though it may not be for everyone painting in the outdoors with all the drawbacks make me a better painter. It makes painting a greater adventure.
Are there particular places you like to visit to gather inspiration for future paintings?
I was born and raised in Arizona. Arizona is in my blood. The great thing about Arizona is it's diversity. It is the only state in the country that has every ecological zone. From the low deserts, to the grass lands high deserts, Pine and Aspen forests to above the timber line. It is that unique quality that makes Arizona such a great place to paint as an artist. Whatever you are looking to paint it's all just a couple of hours away from anywhere in the State. I have been all over the western states and Arizona is my favorite place to paint. Having been raised in the Sonoran deserts I rarely feel more comfortable and at home than painting the desert and especially the unique places of the Superstition Mountains. Mountains that in and of themselves are rich with myth and legends of lost treasures and unseen places that few have visited and from which even fewer have returned. I love these stories which help to feed my creativity as an artist. The Deserts of the Superstitions will always be a reoccurring theme in my painting. Desert landscapes paintings of lonely desert scenes or secluded Canyons of the Superstition wilderness. These bring me comfort and even Peace. I love the desert! It will always be home.
Are there are particular themes or mediums you'd like to explore in future work?
My landscapes are more than just pictures of places many of them are of unique places that now because of urban development are lost forever. Just as the French impressionists were conscious of the urbanization of the lands throughout France and of the impact man was having on nature at that time. I believe that it is very poignant theme still today especially for the dry country of the Western United States. I explore the continuing theme of man and his interaction with the land. I believe it is our responsibility to preserver our natural places and leave as little impact on the land as possible. I will continue to encourage responsible action in management and development of our lands in the future through my art work.
Many thanks to Kevin for sharing his work.
What do you think of Kevin's plein air paintings?