Larry Witham (b. 1952) earned his bachelor’s degree in painting in 1974 at San Jose State University in his native northern California. Although he followed a career in writing and publishing, he has maintained his interest in representational drawing and painting. He has been an award-winning journalist and author in the Washington D.C. area. After leaving the newspaper business in 2003, Witham wrote and edited books. He is the author of 16 books, the last four on art and art history. His Piero’s Light, on the Renaissance artist Piero della Francesca (2014), was a finalist in the Pen Literary Awards for biography. His final work, the novel Gallery Pieces: An Art Mystery, came out in 2016. The year before, Witham geared up to become a full-time painter. He is a member of the Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters Association, and has exhibited at venues in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey. Witham works in oils, watercolor, and pastel and is interested in landscape, figures, and still life. His works are for sale and he will do commissions. He and his wife live in West Laurel, Maryland.
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A NOTE ON PLEIN AIR PAINTING:
Plein air: “to paint in outdoor daylight.” So says Webster’s. Plein air today has a spectrum of meanings. On one end is "purist" plein air, which requires the completion of a final painting on site, often in one fell swoop of a few hours. This is group “competition” plein air as well. Opposite to that is the pragmatic end of the spectrum, where plein air means doing a study outdoors, followed by a larger painting in the studio (often with photo references). Most painters are somewhere in between. My plein air works begin as full-size paintings outdoors, on site, requiring one or two sessions of three to five hours. Most of these paintings, however, are then polished in the studio (rarely using photos). Which ever definition of "plein air" is preferred, its goal is to capture the effects of light and the moment, offering a freshness and mystique for both the painter and viewer.