Dave English, “An Eagle’s View,” Oil, 12x16 in., First Place Overall, $600 Cash Prize
Dave English, “An Eagle’s View,” Oil, 12x16 in., First Place Overall, $600 Cash Prize

We’d like to congratulate Dave English for winning Overall First Place in the April 2024 PleinAir® Salon, judged by Curator and Art Connoisseur Richard Montoux.

“I found that this piece was well realized mastering elements such as the clouds, the atmosphere, the light, the perspective, and the composition,” Montoux said of “An Eagle’s View.”

Dave English on “An Eagle’s View”

“The 2021 Driggs Plein Air Festival started with stormy weather that was to clear out the following day. Light is everything in a painting so I wanted to portray the dramatic view of the iconic Grand Teton from Table Mountain by capturing the breaking light when the storm dissipated. To do this, I climbed the long 7-hour, 6.5-mile hike to the 11,000 ft. Table Mountain, in the storm.

“I spent that night listening to the voice of the Almighty as a severe lighting storm filled with thunder, downpours, grapple, and wind lasted all night long. The following morning, I rose to such a green, cold, wet environment that it was as if the mountain had its first drink of water for the year.

“Right on cue, the storm started breaking and shafts of morning light illuminated the Grand Teton through the parting clouds. All morning long I scrambled to capture the light, values, and colors as fast as I could while the sporadic sunlight opened and closed on the peak. A mist rose from the valley floor offering a design element of soft edges vs. the hard edges of the mountain.

“I observed an eagle soaring below and thus was the inspiration for the title, ‘An Eagles View.’ I finished the painting by strategically inserting the eagle in the composition to add interest and perspective. I was fortunate to be favored with the view and light that I had hoped for because light is everything to a successful painting.”

Dave English, "Yellowstone Falls," 10 x 14 in., plein air
Dave English, “Yellowstone Falls,” 10 x 14 in., plein air
Dave English, "Rabbit Brush," 12 x 16 in., plein air
Dave English, “Rabbit Brush,” 12 x 16 in., plein air

“Most of my plein air paintings are simple gouache or oil studies that record, values, colors, masses, and designs to act as reference reminders for finished work in the studio, not for public viewing,” Dave said. “However, plein air festivals cause one to push the work to a more polished state. Sometimes that means two or three sessions in the same light (or maybe spending the night waiting for the right light).”

Study for "Redfish Lake," gouache, 4 x 6 in.
Study for “Redfish Lake,” gouache, 4 x 6 in.
Dave English, "Redfish Lake," 24 x 36 in., studio
Dave English, “Redfish Lake,” 24 x 36 in., studio

Dave continued, “My process in plein air painting is finding and organizing the masses in an interesting way to support a subject or ‘main show,’ always mindful to apply the foundational principles of successful painting, i.e. solid design, composition, values, color, and draftsmanship. Just like our bodies, without these ‘bones’ a painting falls apart. These foundational principles apply regardless of media, subject, style, or genre. Finally, ‘light,’ and how it’s recognized, how you apply or edit, and emphasize it is everything.”

Dave English, "Canyon Runoff," 10 x 10 in., plein air
Dave English, “Canyon Runoff,” 10 x 10 in., plein air

About the Artist: Dave English is a landscape, wildlife, and western artist who has been painting professionally for over 45 years. He attended Utah State University as an Illustration major learning from masters Glen Edwards, Put Putman, Harrison Groutage, David Grove, Bruce Wolfe, Bob Peak, Mark English, and many more top illustrators of the day. Dave went on to illustrate for the entertainment, editorial, and advertising industries for many years and has received recognition for his illustrations and fine art alike with numerous awards from the New York Society of Illustrators and various design conferences to different fine art shows and plein air events. His work is found in many permanent and private collections nationwide. Presently Dave dedicates his time to teaching workshops and painting landscapes, wildlife, and western subjects in a variety of mediums from his Idaho studio where he continues to observe, study, learn, and create.

About the PleinAir Salon:

In the spirit of the French Salon created by the Academie des Beaux-Arts in Paris, this annual online art competition, with 11 monthly cycles, leading to the annual Salon Grand Prize winners, is designed to stimulate artistic growth through competition. The competition rewards artists with $50,000 in cash prizes and exposure of their work, with the winning painting featured on the cover of PleinAir® Magazine.

Winners in each monthly competition may receive recognition and exposure through PleinAir Magazine’s print magazine, e-newsletters, websites, and social media. Winners of each competition will also be entered into the annual competition. The Annual Awards will be presented live at the next Plein Air Convention & Expo.

The next round of the PleinAir Salon has begun so hurry, as this competition ends on the last day of the month. Enter your best art in the PleinAir Salon here.


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