The first time Kathryn Weisberg took her painting outdoors, her work was forever changed. Although she had completed intensive studies at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, she hadn’t before experienced the delight and fear of working en plein air.
“I thought I knew a little bit about painting until I was standing in front of nature in all her complexity, fast-changing light, and infinite color. It was humbling, indeed!” she says. “I was reminded of my art-school professor’s comment, ‘You must learn to fail your way to success.’” It would take her, she says, about two more years and 150 canvases before the process clicked.
Now the artist lives in northern Idaho, where she paints “the grandeur of the landscape” both in her studio and en plein air on a daily basis, typically gravitating toward scenes featuring water. Her proximity to the Cabinet and Selkirk mountain ranges provides abundant painting material. “If I’m emotionally struck by a scene, I know it will translate well into a painting,” she says. “It can be the way the light falls across the landscape, creating contrasting light and dark masses, or I may be moved by the pure design potential, like an unruly garden bursting from its confines.”
Weisberg also painted wildlife for many years, carrying on her childhood love of sketching scenes on her parents’ cattle ranch in California, and she remains a signature member of Artists for Conservation, an international nonprofit organization of nature artists supporting wildlife and habitat conservation. Her works can be seen at www.kathrynweisberg.com. —Jessica Canterbury