Kevin Macpherson is a nomad who must follow the beacon of his muse to be satisfied. Whether it is waking up to morning fog drifting across the pond outside his home in Northern New Mexico, or walking down a French village street dappled by raking sunlight, he simply must share that experience with others, recording colors that express his reaction to form as a function of light.
One of the country’s leading plein air painters, he is highly respected among collectors and fellow artists alike. Past President of the Plein Air Painters of America, Kevin is a popular instructor throughout the country and abroad. His painting workshops are highly attended, often selling out years in advance.
Born in 1956 in New Jersey, this artist’s work is nationally recognized and collected, having attracted the attention of major art collectors, including Roy Rose, the grand-nephew of acclaimed California plein air painter Guy Rose. Kevin has won numerous national awards, including so many in national Oil Painters of America competitions that he is the first artist in the organization to be elevated from Signature Member status to that of Master Signature Member.
Born in New Jersey, Kevin Macpherson studied at the Northern Arizona University where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1978. He also took numerous classes at the Scottsdale Artists' School. After years as a successful freelance illustrator in Phoenix, Arizona, Kevin moved to New Mexico to pursue his goals as a fine artist. His home in the mountains east of Taos is the starting point for his frequent worldwide travels.
Along with winning countless Best of Show awards, his paintings have influenced many feature articles in Art of the West, Art Talk, and graced the covers of Southwest Art, American Artist and the Artist's Magazine. Kevin is a sought after workshop teacher here and abroad, his classes filling years in advance. He is the author of "Fill your Oil Paintings with Light and Color" which, now in its third printing, has become a best seller for North Light Books. Kevin's bimonthly column, "The Artist's Voice", is featured in Southwest Art Magazine. His leadership as President of Plein Air Painters of America has brought the organization to the forefront of representational painting.
Zion National Monument, Utah
From Redfern Gallery
From Redfern Gallery
From Redfern Gallery
From Redfern Gallery
Steeped in the American Impressionist tradition, his oil paintings are distinguished by their broad strokes and classic use of color and layering. He is a master of the art of painting outdoors directly from nature, en plein air.
Kevin excels in his ability to paint all subject matters: landscape, still life, and figurative works. Using spontaneous brushwork and candid color, Kevin’s work reveals his interpretive and creative virtuosity. He easily manipulates the elements of an artist’s "visual toolbox" to capture the mood of his subject, whether it is the dramatic light of southern France, the rugged beauty of the California coast, or the brilliance of dappled light through a floral still life.
'Reflections on a Pond’ paintings
Middletown Arts Center
Reflections of passion
Sometimes the simplest and most understated subject can take on great significance in the hands of a skilled artist. Take, for instance, the many series Monet did of such ordinary scenes as the train station at Argenteuil or the haystacks piled in a field near his home. The master Impressionist didn’t necessarily explore these subjects for their aesthetic value but rather for what they might teach him about painting their appearance under varying light and atmospheric conditions. By the time Monet moved on to the series of his beloved waterlily pond at Giverny, he was not only capturing his visual observations but also his sentiments on what a particular place meant to him. And so it was with the conception of Kevin Macpherson’s Reflections on a Pond series, a self-imposed assignment the artist began in 1996 to create 365 paintings, one for every day of the year, of the pond on his Taos, New Mexico, property. Like Monet, Macpherson’s goal wasn’t to capture physical appearance but rather to challenge his powers of perception, deepen his understanding of light and atmosphere, and create a visual journal of a place close to his heart and home.
Macpherson’s connection to this pond in the quiet Valle Escondido region 13 miles outside of Taos began long before he owned a view of it. The home he currently resides in was originally the property of his good artist-friends Ray and Leslie Vinella, and he spent many evenings gazing longingly at the peaceful simplicity of this small pond. “My wife Wanda and I and Ray and his wife Leslie shared many dinners in front of the bay window overlooking the pond, and I long coveted that view,” Macpherson says. “When they decided to move, we purchased the home mainly for the view of the pond, and I immediately set up my 6” x 8” pochade box in front of the bay window and began painting the pond at all different times of day and from various vantage points.
The series actually took five years for Macpherson to complete and resulted in more than 500 panels, but the artist allowed himself the liberty of taking as much time as the project required. “With a full schedule of painting, teaching, traveling, and exhibiting, I couldn’t complete the series in one year,” he admits, “but I continued until I had a painting that best represented each day of the year. Because there was no deadline or gallery commitment with this project, there was a certain sense of freedom and enjoyment attached to it. Every time I came to the easel to paint the pond, it was a meditative pause from my busy life as an artist. It became a window of time, an hour or so that I gave myself to reflect on the scene and on what was going on in my life. I’m glad I didn’t rush to complete this in a year. The passage of time made me more aware of the preciousness of life and what a blessing art is, and I’m not sure that would have come through in the same way if I had been forced to complete the project sooner.”
Of course there were those winter moments during the five years it took to complete this project when Macpherson was left cold and discouraged by a particular day’s painting, but he always kept the greater goal in mind. “Occasionally I questioned the sanity of painting the same scene over and over again, assuming that the nonartist would consider it obsessive-compulsive,” Macpherson wrote in his journal after completing a painting. “But my pursuit has been validated by fellow artists, who find my dedication an inspiration for seeing their own environments more acutely. Will my pond series inspire artists in the next generation? Will it inspire art appreciators to see the world around them as a living, changing organism? We’ll see.”
(REFLECTIONS ON A POND: AN EXPLORATORY SERIES ON LIGHT & ATMOSPHERE by Allison Malafronte at artistdaily.com)
Kevin’s work has been featured in many national magazines, Art of the West, Art Talk, U. S. Art, Wildlife Art and gracing the covers of Southwest Art, American Artist, International Artist, and The Artist’s Magazine. Contributing editor to Southwest Art Magazine, author of “The Artist’s Voice, 2000″. In addition to numerous gallery exhibitions,he has shown at the Gilcrease Museum, the Arizona State Capital and the Albuquerque Museum. The Haggin Museum, Stockton, CA, Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, CA, Millicent Rogers Museum, Taos, NM, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, National Wildlife Museum, Jackson, WY, Carnegie Art Museum, California, Forbes Museum, New York City, NY.
2002 Salon International 2002, Best of Show
2002 Oil Painters of America, Founders Award
2001 Oil Painters of America, (National) Donors Award
`92, `95 Arts for the Parks, (Jackson Hole, WY) (Top 200)
2000, `01, `02 Arts for the Parks, (Jackson Hole, WY) (Top 200)
2000, `02 Arts for the Parks, (Jackson Hole, WY) (Top 100)
2000 American Impressionist Society Show, Raymar Floral Award
1999 Oil Painters of America, Peoples' Choice Award
1999 American Impressionist Society Juried Members Show, Best of Show
1997 Invitational Plein Air Carmel Show, Gold Medal
1997 Artists' Magazine, Finalist Landscape
1996 Oil Painters of America, Peoples' Choice Award
1995 Oil Painters of America, Corporate National Award
1995 Oil Painters of America, Jurors' Choice Award
1994 Oil Painters of America, Franklin Mint of Excellence
1993 Oil Painters of America, Grumbacher Gold Medallion
1993 Artists' Magazine, Honorable Mention, Landscape
1993 Artists' Magazine, Third Place, Floral
1992 Oil Painters of America, Best Landscape
1990 Stacey Scholarship, Cowboy Hall of Fame, (Okc, OK)
1987 Amarillo National Landscape Competition, Best of Show
1986 Best & The Brightest, Scottsdale Artists' School, Second and Purchase Award
1989 Best & The Brightest, Scottsdale Artists' School, Third Place
1995 Oil Painters of America, Best of Show (Regional)
1993 Oil Painters of America, Best of Show (Regional)
1988 Visions of New Mexico, (Juried Show), First Place
1988 Parada Del Sol, Best of Show, (Juried Show), (Scottsdale, AZ)