McCloud Hotel & Sage Restaurant

McCloud Hotel – A Space for Art

May 8th, 2024 by mccloud

Dorothea Barlett Schoenstein, Artist – A Plein Air California Impressionist’s work is currently showing in the McCloud Hotel gallery.

As a “plein air” artist, finding a suitable outdoor location to work in can be pretty challenging. It involves carrying a portable easel, a canvas secured with a bungee cord, oil paints, and brushes to the chosen location. Dorothea Barlett Schoenstein, an artist specializing in this field, often takes on such challenges and ventures to various outdoor vistas to paint. Our area is known for its trails, which attract people to the natural beauty and challenges of the climb. However, Dorothea prefers painting by a lake, in a field, or at the McCloud Lower Falls. She is one of many artists in the country who practice plein-air California Impressionism. Painting ‘en plein air’ is more than just a representation of the surrounding view; it is a visual interpretation of a scene influenced by the varying elements of nature. “Working outdoors is an inspiring experience. Compositional variations are created by rapidly changing natural light, requiring constant rethinking of prior decisions. However, this is just one of the challenges for a ‘plein air’ artist. The wind can be blowing, the hot sun is often directly on me, and bugs are attracted to the odor of my oil paints. It is an experience!”

‘Dorothea is a painter who finds inspiration in the natural world. She is captivated by how trees stand out in a landscape, with their branches reaching up to the sky or twisting downwards. She is also awed by the beauty of sunsets, rushing rivers, and vibrant greens in the valley. Dorothea wonders how many shades of purple she can see. These elements are open to artistic interpretation and motivate her to paint nature on canvas. She strives to bring her personal experience of sitting in nature and her unique artistic interpretation to her plein-air paintings.

Edgar Payne, one of California’s greatest plein air painters, says, “In painting from nature, the artist faces the problem of judging between the influence of realism and the power of artistic ingenuity. Nature always challenges.”  No art experience equals the challenge and joy of painting from life, be it the human figure or Mother Nature. It is personal and a record of the time and place.

Dorothea Barlett Schoenstein is a highly respected artist who has been creating and exhibiting her work for over 50 years. She holds degrees in Art from Penn State University and UC Berkeley and has also pursued Doctoral graduate studies in Venice, Italy, at New York University. For 18 years, she owned the Bartlett Fine Arts Gallery in Pleasanton, CA, and has also taught Life Drawing, Basic Drawing, Color and Composition, and Art History at Chabot College, Hayward. Dorothea has earned numerous awards for her extensive exhibition of work, including one-person shows in Italy and the United States. Although initially recognized for her work with the female nude and sizeable mixed media abstracts, her recent focus has been on realism, particularly ‘plein air’ landscape oil paintings. She and her husband, Alan Schoenstein, have retired to McCloud, CA.

Her work will be on display indefinitely at the McCloud Hotel, historic downtown McCloud, CA. Many of the pieces are for sale.

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