Profile: Bethanne Kinsella Cople
Bethanne Kinsella Cople
A Walk Through the Woods 6 x 20" Oil
“I love painting the landscape en plein air.
In the outdoors you can incorporate not only what you see, but the sounds and the smells of the landscape.
All of this lets me convey the sense of wonder
that I feel at the subject.”
Bethanne Kinsella Cople's paintings are evocative responses to the moods of the landscape. Her love of the changing skies and land shows in her expressive brushwork. Cople is a frequent traveler, constantly capturing new landscapes in her painterly style. She has received many awards including the Award of Excellence from the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters and twice the Best Traditional Painting from the Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Exhibition at the National Art Club. She has served as President of the American Women Artists association for two terms.
Enjoy these excerpts from our recent interview with Bethanne for our Voices of Experience feature:
How did your work develop? Do you consider yourself largely self-taught since your college art courses?
I did have exemplary art training but I also continued to read and paint and grow on my own. The plein air resurgence really spoke to me. I have always loved the outdoors. I loved riding horseback cross country in Middleburg, Virginia, off-road trips to Virginia's eastern shore and skiing with my family in Park City, Utah. I would always take the long routes that opened up on distant vistas. I became aware that I could be combining my love of painting and being outdoors recording the beauty around me. I set out to study landscape painting and began a year of self-instruction. I read John Carlson, Edgar Payne, Emile Gruppe, Robert Henri and others. I studied the work of the Impressionists in the National Gallery and Whistler in the Freer Gallery. In fact Whistler is the artist I visit the most. His paintings are so beautifully simplified and his paint application masterful. After a year of study I began to take plein air workshops where, having perfected my equipment, I began to develop my personal style. I continued to study and paint, paint, paint, putting in the necessary hours to have a complete understanding of my medium - oil - and my materials, all the while honing my technique.
(We have included links to books by the authors that Bethanne Cople mentioned:
Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting by John Carlson
Composition of Outdoor Painting by Edgar Payne
Gruppe On Painting Direct Techniques In Oil by Emile Gruppe
The Art Spirit by Robert Henri)
What other artists’ work do you look at regularly - historical and/or contemporary?
If you could spend a week painting and visiting with one artist from history, who would you choose?
Along with Whistler, I love Sargent, Sorolla, Zorn, Payne, Turner, the usual… but I also love Armin Hansen, and Arthur Streeton. I think I would like to spend a week painting with Arthur Streeton. (See our article on The Australian Impressionists.) He painted the Australian outback in the early to mid-1900s and used such interesting formats. He did a landscape 4 x 26 inches that is just amazing. He also did a painting of the view from his partially opened tent, 22 x 4" - very compelling compositions.
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