In­formed by Na­ture

American Art Collector - - Contents -

In his pur­suit of artis­tic truth, painter Lynn Boggess has taken plein air to an ex­treme level of ded­i­ca­tion. “What I’m look­ing for out there is the en­ergy and the light, and to act on the im­pulses I have with the paint,” he says. “It’s about cap­tur­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence of na­ture.”

Boggess, who owns a 120-acre wilder­ness tract in West Vir­ginia, of­ten ven­tures out into the dense coun­try­side with huge can­vases mea­sur­ing as large as 48 inches wide, which he sets up on an easel un­der a makeshift shel­ter that he builds on site. It’s very much off-road plein air done on an im­mense scale. This method of paint­ing is not with­out its risks—“I’ve left paint­ings out­doors for days at a time,” he says. “Oil paint is quite re­silient. Just knock the snow off and you’re good to go.”—but it’s the only way that puts the artist this close to his sub­ject mat­ter.

“If you’re paint­ing a land­scape in a stu­dio with four walls, I just don’t know how that is done well. Some artists pull it off, but there is no sub­sti­tute for be­ing out­side. It’s a heck of a lot of work to get there, es­pe­cially on the scale that I work, but it’s real, not ar­ti­fi­cial. And that’s im­por­tant,” he says. “I’m look­ing for that au­then­tic ex­pe­ri­ence to in­form my paint. There are hun­dreds of rea­sons not to go out and do it this way, but from the get-go I’ve in­sisted that this would be the way to do it, no mat­ter the size of my can­vas.”

Boggess uses a pal­ette knife ex­clu­sively and he lay­ers the paint on thick, cre­at­ing lus­cious im­pasto sur­faces. “I’m look­ing for this spon­ta­neous and in­tu­itive power of paint. When you have to stop and wipe and clean the brush it slows the process down,”

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