Dan’s Papers Cover Artist Gene Samuelson on Working en Plein Air and More

Gene Samuelson's art as seen on the cover of the Dan's Papers August 28, 2020 issue
Gene Samuelson's art as seen on the cover of the Dan's Papers August 28, 2020 issue

Cover artist Gene Samuelson talks about working en plein air, his art school studies and more.

What was the inspiration for this piece?
The Beach Hut is one of the sites the plein air group, The Wednesday Group, revisits every season. It’s a favorite. A great structure! Frank Sofo and I co-founded the group about 10 years ago. We have about 15 members and paint at locations May through October. Look for us every Wednesday.

Talk about your art style.
I am a realist working in watercolor, pen and ink and pencil. I would break my work down to cityscapes, landscapes, seascapes and homescapes and house portraits on commission. The realism can be traced, I think, back to art school, where I was an illustration major.

Gene Samuelson and a selection of his paintings
Gene Samuelson and a selection of his works, Images Courtesy Samuelson

Tell us about your artistic process.
My process is simple, really. I paint what appeals to me. I will be driving along and suddenly I will see a picture—buildings, barns, houses, boats, shapes, colors, textures. All are elements of my work. I consider myself a realist, but a lot of the elements of my work sometimes give it a bit of an abstract feeling. I paint en plein air on-site, take notes and pictures and finish in my studio if needed. In deep winter, I paint indoors from notes and pictures.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be doing?
In art school, Phila Museum School [now University of the Arts], 1957-61, I also studied painting, photography and film production. From the time I graduated, I worked for film production companies or ad agencies as an art director/producer making TV commercials. It would be very hard to pull the two apart; they were tied together closely. I guess if the art part wasn’t there I would have done film production. By this time it was too late to become a dentist or stand-up comic.

What inspires you the most?
Look and feel of a subject. The field trips to paint plein air have always been a great influence on me. The moods, feelings colors, shapes, textures of objects, boats and buildings make their own compositions. All you have to do is paint them.There is no shortage of subject matter out here on the East End. As long as I have paint and brushes, I will make pictures.

See more of Gene Samuelson’s art at genesamuelsonart.com.

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