A Wisconsin native, Kenn Backhaus spent much of his childhood on the family farm. His love of nature became the catalyst for his art. After graduating from the Layton School of Art in Milwaukee in 1973, Kenn began a career in design and illustration. Although he received many awards and commercial success, Kenn longed to paint the great outdoors.
With his developing interest in the historic traditions of plein air painting, Kenn decided in 1984, to devote more time to his passion for painting and the love of the outdoors. He found that capturing true color, value, atmosphere and the mood of a subject was best done on location or through direct observation. He has also discovered the importance of his studio time in union with his outdoor experiences and enjoys the challenges in both environments. His passion for painting has broadened his subject matter to include not only landscapes, but also figurative, portrait, still life and nature work. When asked what he likes to paint, Kenn's answer is, "Anything under the sun and moon is fair game."
Kenn has been featured in numerous art publications and books. His works have been juried into many shows across the country and his paintings have been bestowed with many honors including the prestigious Best of Show, Collectors Choice and Artists Choices awards. He regularly serves as an acceptance juror and awards judge for many shows around the country.
In September of 2006 Kenn was filmed painting in Alaska as part of a PBS series entitled, Plein Air, Painting the American Landscape. For more information, please visit: www.pleinairamerica.com.
Bye Bitney is a contemporary artist and fourth generation Montanan. A largely self-taught painter, he began showing in major galleries at age 22. Art critics praised his keen draftsman's eye and expert use of muted colors. His works include portraits, figural work, landscapes and still lifes. Bye's paintings feature ocean and sky, people, animals and flowers.
Bye says he learned the art of painting largely through independent study based on a large collection of fine art books, which are among his most cherished possessions. He has also studied the works of many favorite 19th and 20th century representational and impressionistic painters.
He says he feels fortunate to earn his living by doing something that is so much fun, and that the biggest challenge in painting is satisfying his own expectations. Bye lives on the western shore of Flathead Lake, Montana, with his wife Kay.
John Budicin John Budicin was born in Italy and moved to Southern California at age 11. After several years as a commercial artist and freelance illustrator, John decided to pursue his dream of becoming a plein air artist after his employer moved out of state.
He loves to paint directly from nature and works outdoors almost every day. John paints many of his paintings close to his home in San Bernardino, California.
In addition to being a dedicated painter, John teaches workshops across the United States for several weeks each year. He has also taught workshops in Umbria and Tuscany, Italy. John is a signature member of the Plein Air Painters of America and served as its president from 2005 to 2007.
John Cosby Born in Hollywood in 1955, John Cosby was raised in the West. He began to draw and paint at an early age and his grandmother was an oil painter. John also started traveling at an early age. At 18, he was hired as a communications advanceman for President Nixon and began to travel the globe, serving through the Ford Administration. He was captivated by the great works of art he encountered.
After leaving the White House,John began his art career while sailing up and down the eastern seaboard for three years with a friend. After returning to California, he began painting the sea and landscape of coastal California.
His success as a painter quickly followed.John lives in Paso Robles, California, where he has a studio, and works on location around the world. He was a founding board member of the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association and is a signature member of California Art Club. He was also a founder of the Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational held at the Laguna Art Museum.
Don Demers was born in 1956 in Lunenburg, Massachusetts. His interest in painting maritime subjects began while he spent summers on the coast of Maine. Don was a crew member aboard many sailing vessels, and he remains an avid sailor. After finishing a high-school art program, he attended the School of the Worcester Art Museum in Worcester, Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston.
Don began his career as an illustrator and expanded into the field of fine art. Don’s paintings have been featured in publications including American Artist, Artist, Plein Air, Fine Art Connoisseur, Art and Antiques, Yachting, Nautical Quarterly, Nautical World, Offshore magazine and Maine Boats and Harbors. His works also include landscapes, which are inspired by subjects across the country.
Don’s landscape work has garnered him awards at the Laguna Plein Air Invitational in Laguna Beach in 2001 and 2002. He also received an award for his painting at the 2007 Crystal Cove Invitational, sponsored by the Irvine Museum in Orange County. Don is a fellow of the American Society of Marine Artists, an elected member of the Guild of Boston Artists, an elected member of the California Art Club and a signature member of Plein Air Painters of America.
Andy Evansen Andy Evansen began painting watercolors in the mid-1990s, is largely self-taught, and has studied with such well-known watercolorists as Skip Lawrence, Eric Weigardt and Alvaro Castagnet. He served as president of the Minnesota Watercolor Society from 2004 to 2006 and teaches workshops around the United States.
Evansen’s paintings have appeared on the cover of American Artist's Watercolor,International Artist and American Art Collector. He wrote an article about a trip to China that was published in American Artist called "Plein Air Painting in the Far East."
He took part in Coleman Fine Art's “Wet Paint 2007” plein-air event, where four artists from around the country were invited to paint the city of Charleston, South Carolina, for a week. Evansen is the first watercolorist to participate in a Wild Side art show.
Native to the San Francisco Bay Area and a graduate of the Academy of Art University, San Francisco, Kim Lordier combines keen observation and sensitivity to create her award winning landscapes. After college, Lordier flew for a major air carrier, experiencing many domestic and foreign locales, while keeping up with painting and portraiture. After the events of September 2001, she turned to painting full time.
Inspired by the turn-of-the-century California Impressionists and Tonalists, Kim paints in the plein air tradition. Fascinated with California's unique atmospheric qualities, Kim strives to capture the beauty, depth and energy of the land and sea. She is currently a Signature member of the Laguna Plein Air Painters, the Pastel Society of America, a Distinguished Pastelist in the Pastel Society of the West Coast, and Artist Member of the California Art Club.
Joseph Paquet, while pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the School of Visual Arts in New York, had the good fortune of finding a mentor in John Foote, who opened his eyes to the joys of drawing the human figure. After graduating, Joe met another major influence in his life, John Osborne, who was uniquely gifted in producing convincing landscape paintings from memory. Osborne believed a landscape painting should begin on location, but that its poetic essence should be completed in the solitude of the artist’s studio.
Paquet experienced a demanding and rewarding apprenticeship, in which he learned to fuse field studies with the image he could see in his mind’s eye. To summarize this experience, he explains, “The intellectual process became married to the intuitive. Paint what you know well as what you see. If I have the need or desire to move a mountain, add a figure or change the course of a river, I can do so. I am no longer shackled to nature. Now, I am painting my picture.” Paquet teaches and paints at Hurinenko and Paquet Studio in St. Paul, Minnesota.
He has been featured in Washington Post Sunday Magazine, The Artist, American Artist and Plein Air Magazine. Paquet’s recent awards include both Artists’ Choice and Collectors’ Choice from the 2007 Laguna Beach Plein Air Invitational as well as the 2008 Alden Bryan Memorial Prize from the Salmagundi Club of New York and the First Place in Landscape from the Richeson 75: Artist’s Choice Competition.
Paquet is a Signature Member of the Plein Air Painters of America, The Salmagundi Club and an out-of-state artist member of the California Art Club.
Matt Smith was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1960 and moved to Arizona at a young age. He later moved to Europe, where he lived in France and Switzerland. Matt has also painted in Germany, Austria and Italy, but has spent most of his life in Arizona, where he has a deep attachment and respect for the Sonoran Desert.
Matt graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting. He studied the traditional styles of landscapes masters such as Maynard Dixon, William Herbert Dunton and Edgar Payne.
He can often be found painting plein air from southern Arizona to the Canadian Rockies, the California coast to the mountains of Colorado. Matt says he is especially inspired by the untouched landscapes of the American West.
Matt is a signature member of Plein Air Painters of America. He lives in Arizona with his wife, Tracy, who is also a painter.
Brian Stewart Two decades ago, Brian left a successful career in advertising to become a painter. He’s never looked back. The journey has given him a lifetime of experiences, travels and memories, not to mention a few accolades and recognition along the way.
He received his early training at the Art Center in Los Angeles and later at Atelier Le Sueur in Minneapolis, where he learned the classic, academic fundamentals as they were taught in Paris a century ago. He enjoys sharing and passing on these fundamentals through teaching workshops.
Skip Whitcomb After earning a BFA from Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, California, in 1971, Whitcomb returned to his native Colorado, where fellow painter Ned Jacob introduced him to the virtues of outdoor painting. Growing up in a hard working ranching family instilled in Whitcomb a deep love and respect for the land. “This connection to our physical world, the natural order, is what I seek to convey in my work,” says Skip, “to let the reality of the facts come alive in my imagination, a living reality, as I see it.”