Begin the Journey

Artistic Philosophy

Published on April 2, 2011 under All Posts
Artistic Philosophy

“Strawberry Valley Inn” by Stefan Baumann

We are just digging out of 8 feet of snow that fell over the last 4 days at The Grand View ranch.  Wow!  What an ordeal!  I respect the power of nature and am amazed at how one big storm can totally change my world.

Mount Shasta may be a small community but the town’s people have great respect for their home and community.  This little inn in the heart of Mount Shasta is a perfect example of one of the treasured landmarks of the community.  These historic stone homes were built in early 1900.  I painted this for you so you could enjoy seeing the charm and uniqueness of these early homes.

In my classes and workshops, along with teaching the technical aspects of painting, I have been introducing artistic philosophy.  Some believe that art is only about painting the view that is in front of them.  When I teach the concepts of artistic philosophy, I patiently appreciate my students’ struggle to understand how to create art consistent with that philosophy.  Most students begin with preconceptions about what art is.  Some think it is self-expression, re-creation, or just decoration.  My first task is to encourage the student to shed those limiting beliefs. 

Part of my philosophy is that art is a personal expression of careful observation of the subject and the artist’s visceral and emotional response to what he sees and experiences.  For example, when we observe the subject live, we see the air and light around the subject and in the landscape creating the feeling of being there.  This does not make sense to students if they have never painted from life.  Successful artists think visually which means seeing the painting in their minds before they paint it.  Take a moment to imagine a finished painting in a clear, simple, and beautiful way.  Intensify the light; play with the shadows, see the colors, then add contrast from warm to cool and dark to light.  See the painting clearly in your mind before you ever lay your brush to canvas.

I believe that painting enhances intelligence and develops sensitivity; sensitivity to the way we see and relate to people, to values in nature, sensitivity to seeing color and the relationships of light and shadow.  All this is found in nature.  Painting our relationship to nature and sharing that with the community and then the world is what makes us artists.


Plein air and Alla Prima artist Stefan Baumann, host of  the PBS painting series “The Grand View, America’s National Park through the eyes of an artist” and author of “Observations Of Art and Nature,” travels in his vintage travel trailer painting America’s western landscape. Baumann paints outdoors with oils and canvas capturing stunning vistas, wildlife, western landscapes, National Parks and still life, thrilling art collectors throughout the world.  He has many collectors acquiring his paintings as investment internationally. His painting style is called Romantic Realism with Lumunism and the extraordinary way he captures the effect of light is a truly an American Style used to paint the Western Landscape.  He can be seen painting in Yellowstone, Yosemite and in the Grand Canyon and Baumann’s “how to paint” DVDs filmed on location in the National Parks  are the very best on the market.

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