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All Things Ampersand

En Plein Air and Gessobord with Cynthia Rosen

Across the Fields 12×24 oil on Ampersand Gessobord

En Plein Air and Gessobord with Cynthia Rosen

From a background making non-objective art in NYC to a move to Vermont, the tides changed and a passion for plein air took hold. This love of the outdoors is additionally translating into larger studio works. Painting in the field, to limitless color. Ever-changing light, and the sound of a spinning world engages and challenges both perceptions and expression. No sooner do I embark on one path when the road turns introducing new sights and inspirations, broadening my visual vocabulary with no end in sight.

1. Do you work with a favorite color palette? Or do you work with the environment you are in?

Painting the Desert 36×60 oil on Ampersand Gessobord

My color palette is fairly standard. I lay out my palette left to right: Cobalt Blue, Prussian Blue, or Phthalo Blue (depending on the season and site), Dioxazine Purple, Alizarin Permanent, Cadmium Red Medium, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Lemon Yellow, Zinc White, and Titanium White. Occasional extra colors to enhance my palette are: Cobalt Teal (which is great for spring greens), Transparent Orange (just because I love it), Rose Madder, and Portland Grey Cool. If I am going to the coast, I will be sure to bring either Ultramarine and/or Radiant Blue. I do not carry greens, browns, or blacks. That is not to say I might not someday carry other colors to further experiment and learn.

2. Do you have a favorite season to paint?

An Autumn Snow 18×24 oil on Ampersand Gessobord

I do not have a favorite season in which to paint but rather love the challenge and changes that each season brings. Sometimes I wish they would last a bit longer, but loving to paint plein air, I cannot help but be influenced by the colors around me. For example, I find it difficult to paint a snow scene when surrounded by spring greens or the oranges of autumn.

3. What has been your most memorable location to paint?

Of Earth and Sea 18×24 oil on Ampersand Gessobord

Because I live in a land-locked state, I love any opportunity to paint along a coast. My most memorable location was Monterey, CA. I was both shocked and enthralled by the variety of colors in the water. I have rarely been to the Pacific where the water just looks lighter than that along the northern Atlantic coast. Add the excitement of the ocean crashing against the rocks both mesmerized and inspired me.

4. Which plein air artist inspires you the most?

I cannot pick one single plein air painter who I find the most inspirational, but I will list a few contemporary plein air painters in alphabetical order:

Slava Korolenkov, Patrick Lee, Vitaly Makarov, and Tara Will. My favorite painter of all time was Mark Rothko.

5. You paint both en plein air and larger studio pieces. Which is the most gratifying?

In the Land of the Red Plateaus 22×36 oil on Ampersand Gessobord

Painting larger than four feet gifts me with a challenge as well as a great amount of gratification. I love being able to work on a painting over time and I love the larger scale.

My smaller plein air works are one-shot deals. With that said, they have and continue to teach me a tremendous amount, as well as broaden my horizons by taking me to events with unfamiliar sites and scenes. I started painting plein air as dictated by my living space, but that has changed, and I can now paint as large as I want in the studio as well.

My favorite place to paint is still outside despite grappling with some technical time issues caused by my penchant for painting large with the palette knife. (It takes longer to paint with the knife). My work is still evolving, as I expect it to do forever, and I may start mixing up and using a variety of tools, but Gessobord will continue to be my favorite surface.

6. What is the best advice you have been given? Art related or in general.

Human Ingenuity 16×12 oil on Ampersand Gessobord

The best advice I ever received was to consider the vast majority of your paintings to be part of a longer learning process as opposed to a final product in and of itself. This particularly applies to plein air, as studio paintings can be corrected over long periods. It is the advice I pass on to my students, albeit phrased differently.

7.  What do you love most about Ampersand’s Gessobord for your work?

Early Light 8×10 oil on Ampersand Gessobord

Ampersand Gessobord, while seemingly incredibly smooth has enough tooth to well hold the paint. It is my favorite surface to work on. It allows for both thin or thick applications, without the insult of unintended texture. Not only does Gessobord allow me to wipe out or scratch through the paint to a stunning hard white surface, it is super easy to transport, with no worries about the surface denting. Finally, it is affordable and easy to frame within either pre-made or custom frames, as it is always perfectly sized.

Finally, I have recently purchased Ampersand Pastelbord and Aquabord which I am looking forward to using. I love Ampersand’s products.

Artist Bio:

Cynthia Rosen was born in Philadelphia, PA, USA.

She attended the Museum School in Boston during which time she started her art career selling non-objective mixed medium works through galleries in NYC and Philadelphia and starting a not-for-profit organization that set up art programs in social service organizations (halfway houses, jails, alternative schools).

Later she moved to Vermont to raise a family and turned her focus to education, focusing on art, maintaining sporadic art involvements. Later in life, she returned to making art professionally, starting with plein air. Her present art finds her still painting in the field, participating in select plein air events, or working in her newly created studio.


Featured articles:
Plein Air Magazine 2020, 2018
The Artists Road (online) 2019
Fine Art Connoisseur painting featured 2018
Southwest Art Magazine 2018
American Art Collector 2018
The Outdoor Painter (online) several years
American Art Collector 2017 (Artist Focus, Collectors Focus)

Instructional videos:
Streamline Art Video: “Expressive Landscape Painting: Palette Knife in Plein Air” recently released

Faculty member:
2019 Plein Air Convention and Expo

Group shows:
2020: “Strong Women Move Mountains”: Pace Center, Fryeburg Academy, ME
2019: 3-person show: “Knife to Canvas” – Lake Placid Center for the Arts, Lake Placid, NY
2018: 4-person show: “American Fauves – The Wild Ones” Arts At Denver Gallery, CO
(show featured in Southwest Art) 2 person show:
2017: 3-person show: “Adept and Accomplished” 4th Corner Foundation, VT

Solo show:
2019: Desertscapes Desert Art Collection, Palm Desert, CA

Group exhibits:
2019,18,17,16: Mountain Oyster Club Art Show, Tucson, AZ
2016-2020: Various group shows California (AIS small works), Colorado (PAAC), Indiana (OPA), Maine, Maryland (MAPAPA), New York, Texas (OPS), Vermont.

Helmholtz Fine Art, VT: “Kaleidoscope” and “Changing Horizons”
Lake Placid Center for the Arts/Gallery 46, NY
The Southern Vermont Art Center, VT
The Salem Community Center, NY
Small Works: American Impressionist Society
Oil Painters of America Eastern Regional Exhibit
OPA Salon Show
Outdoor Painters Society
Celebrating Women Artists, Robert Paul Gallery, VT
PAAC: National Juried Exhibit, CO
Wilson Art Museum: Vermont Painters – Past and Present

Adirondack Plein Air Festival
Bath County Plein Air Festival
Brandywine Plein Air Festival
Borrego Springs Invitational
Escalante Plein Air Festival
Harford Plein Air Festival
LBIF Plein Air Festival
Olmsted Invitational
Paint Annapolis
Solomons Island Plein Air Festival

Chasen Fine Art Galleries: Richmond, VA
Gallery 46: Lake Placid, NY
Helmholtz Fine Art: Manchester, VT and Tribeca, NY
Robert Paul Galleries: Stowe, VT

Upcoming events:
Olmsted Plein Air Invitational
Plein Air Easton
Wayne Plein Air Festival
Bath County Plein Air Festival
Harford Plein Air: as the Awards Judge

One thought on “En Plein Air and Gessobord with Cynthia Rosen”

  1. Avatar Cem Sönmez says:

    Very nice paintings.

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