Marc Anderson (b. 1987),
Marc Anderson (b. 1987), "Giants of Little America," 2022, oil on board, 24 x 48 in., Lily Pad | West, Milwaukee

There is a lot of superb contemporary realism being made these days; this article by Allison Malafronte shines light on a gifted individual.

The following is part of a series featuring a leader in the art community who will be joining us on the faculty of Plein Air Live, March 6-8, 2024.

Marc Anderson (b. 1987) has called the Midwest home since he was a child, having been born and raised in the Rockwellian town of Wild Rose, Wisconsin. The young artist studied illustration at the University of Wisconsin-Stout and then went to work as a freelancer for several clients and publications. Eventually he decided, however, that fine art was more his speed and spent the next several years teaching himself how to paint through a lot of reading, workshops, and practice.

When the artist discovered plein air painting, he found his true passion. Painting outdoors was a far cry from the commercial illustration life and a welcome reprieve from endless hours in the studio. Right in his native state of Wisconsin, Anderson finds all the inspiration he needs, whether he’s painting industrial scenes, local lakes, or sprawling mountain vistas.

As he has advanced in his perception and interpretation of his surroundings, the artist has found himself focusing on more conceptual elements. “I’ve been very interested in how light affects color lately,” Anderson shares. “Every scene has unique properties and infinite subtleties that I take great pleasure in trying to capture.”

Take, for instance, “Giants of Little America,” illustrated here. The foggy sky casting a misty pall on the structures below certainly took a lot of attention to subtle value and color transitions, as well as compositional accuracy to convey the street-level, wide-angle view. This painting advertises a signature Anderson motif, in that it is about light and atmosphere but also a statement about a sense of place.

“’Giants of Little America’ is all about scale and atmosphere,” the artist says. “These feed mills are indicative of small, Midwestern towns, and the juxtaposition of these massive structures and rural communities has always piqued my interest.”

Today Anderson resides in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, where he runs the M. Anderson Studio as a showroom, studio, and instructional space for workshops.

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