Bill Cramer Featured At Telluride Plein Air

Bill Cramer's "Summer Song

Bill Cramer Featured At Telluride Plein Air

“An artist must paint not what he sees, but what is there,” painter Charles Burchfield once said.

Bill Cramer's "Summer Song

Bill Cramer’s “Summer Song”

A group 29 artists in town for the Sheridan Arts Foundation’s 10th annual Telluride Plein Air event. Their job: to create Impressionist-style paintings filled with symbols of things we vaguely recognize, rendered in dabs of color that may or may not relate to the subject under their brushes. The end result? Landscapes, urbanscapes, or portraits that somehow feel more real than the original source of inspiration.

Telluride Plein Air 2013 began last Friday, June 28 and continues through July 4, with its big exhibition and sale taking place Wednesday and Thursday, July 3 and July 4.

The term “Impressionism” was coined by a critic in response to Monet’s famous painting “Impression: Sunrise,” part of the first show, in 1874, put together by a loosely associated group of rebellious French painters, including Monet, Renoir, Pissaro, Cezanne and Degas. The seven other shows that followed between 1874 – 1876 were received with a sense of amazement and confusion that often resulted in critical abuse.

Hindsight, however, has proven the naysayers wrong. The influence of the Impressionists turned out to be major and far-reaching. In fact, much of the history of late-19th and early 20th-century painting is the story of developments from or reactions against Impressionism’s basic tenets.

Artist Bill Cramer is part of the Telluride Plein Air Class of 2013.

Bill, who grew up in southern California, always had an interest in exploring nature and creating art. As an experienced rock climber, he spent much of his youth enjoying the more vertical places of the American West, which gave him a perspective of the world few people experience.

Bill received a fine arts degree from California State University, Long Beach, and later moved to Prescott, Arizona with his wife Michelle to be closer to the scenery they both enjoyed. It was there Bill discovered the joys and challenges of landscape painting, his outdoor experiences providing much of the insight and inspiration that informed his art.

Bill Cramer's "Canyon"

Bill Cramer’s “Canyon”


The opportunity to experience and paint some of the most scenic places in America such  as Telluride has contributed greatly to Bill Cramer’s artistic growth. And others applaud his efforts. At last year’s Telluride Plein Air event, Bill won the Artist Choice/Best of Show Award for his “Clarice’s Ranch.”

“Any landscape worth painting is more than the obvious visual elements,” Bill explains.”The push of an evening breeze, the feel of sun baked sandstone, the scent of sagebrush or the sound of a raven suddenly overhead are examples of the many unseen elements that inform my work. I’m satisfied when a painting is as rich as the landscape that inspired it. My goals are to keep exploring the southwest’s wild places, search for new ideas and express what I find exciting about landscapes and about painting.”

To learn more about Bill Cramer and Telluride Plein Air, click the “play” button and listen to our chat.

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