Plein Air with Ron Rencher

Workshop Dates: May 9-11



Award winning and nationally recognized artist, Ron Rencher, shares his love and knowledge of painting outdoors.  The class will be conducted in several locations where Ron will be teaching the nuances of plein air painting: including materials, selection of subject matter, composition and design, values, color mixtures, color harmony, and more, including one on one instruction and class demonstrations.

Ron tells us, “Nature is the best teacher and that is why we go outdoors to learn how to paint the landscape.  When we are on location, en plein air, we see color and its variations in temperature and value that are not discernible in photographs.  Also, it is easier to paint with a degree of spontaneity which is conducive to evolving our own style and attain more creative interpretations of the subject.  We have a dialogue with nature in the language of the brush to create our art.


…. in our fine arts, not imitation, but creation is the aim. In landscapes, the painter should give the suggestion of a fairer creation than we know. The details, the prose of nature he should omit, and give us only the spirit and splendor.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Artist Bio 

A native of Utah, Ron was born in St. George.  He spent his early formative years on the family’s ranch north of St. George, in the Pine Valley Mountains.  Ron credits those early years as being critical to his lifelong love of nature which led him into landscape painting.  He started painting in oils during his junior high years, pursuing art throughout his years of secondary education, and earning a B.A. degree in Fine Art at Southern Utah University where he graduated in 1975. 

Ron started his early career painting Southern Utah landscapes, including five winters in and near Zion National Park, occasionally venturing to the Grand Canyon.  At this time he was working exclusively in watercolor, a medium he mastered in a short five years.  In 1987 Ron moved to Taos to further his career, seeking name recognition and expanded gallery representation.  At that time he began focusing on oil painting, a more complex and tactile medium.  In 2001 he and his wife-artist Carlene Reeves moved to Canyon Lake, Texas to be closer to Carlene's aging father.  They live and work in their home studios.  They often travel to various locations, ranging from California to Maine, to paint on location and taking their works back to the studios for use as studies for larger paintings.  Their future plans are focused on a move back to Taos.

His post collegiate art education included classes with Ned Jacob, Mark Daily, Dan Gerhartz, Lowell Ellsworth Smith, and Milford Zornes. His artistic mentors include, Len Chmiel, Dan Pinkham, Walt Gonske, and the late Jim Jones.

 Ron’s  most recent accolades include:  Golden Thunderbird (Artist’s Choice), Gold Medal for best group of paintings overall, 2015 Maynard Dixon Country Invitational., at the Bingham Gallery in Mt. Carmel, Utah;  Plein Air Magazine Associate Member Award of Excellence at the American Impressionist Society 17th National Juried Exhibition;  Best Associate Honorable Mention at the Oil Painters of America 25th National Juried Exhibition. 

He is included in  several books and magazine features:  Art of the National Parks; Historic Connections, Contemporary Interpretations, Fresco Books;  Painters of Utah’s Canyons and Deserts, Gibbs Smith Publisher; Enchanted Isle, A History of Plein Air Painting in Catalina Island; feature articles in Art of the West, American Artist, The Artist’s Magazine,  Plein Air Magazine; and the PBS series Plein Air: Painting the American Landscape.  

Select collections:  Citicorp, Las Vegas, NV; Las Vegas Art Museum, Las Vegas, NV; Sunflower Cable Vision, Lawrence, KS; University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS; Kirkpatrick Center for the Arts, Oklahoma City;  Catalina Island Conservancy, Avalon CA; Catalina Island Company, Avalon, CA; Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery, University of Southern Utah, Cedar City, UT; Zion Natural History Association, Zion National Park, UT; St. George Art Museum, St. George, UT;  Smith/Hartvigsen Law Firm, Salt Lake City, UT;  Buttram Collection, Oklahoma City, OK; Clements Foods, Oklahoma City, OK; Roy Rose collection, Avalon, CA; Thor Stensrud collection, Paradise Valley, AZ.

Invitational shows include:  Mesa Verde Foundation’s Rims to Ruins; Catalina Island Conservancy’s Wild Side Art Show;  Maynard Dixon Country Show and Sale in Mt. Carmel, Utah;  Grand Canyon Celebration of Art, South Rim Grand Canyon National Park.  He participates in the Annual Spring Salon at the Springville Museum of Art, Springville, UT. 

Gallery Representations:  American Legacy Gallery, Kansas City, MO; Bingham Gallery, Mt. Carmel, UT; Mission Gallery, St. George, UT; Illume Gallery of Fine Art, Salt Lake City, UT; Sage Creek Gallery, Santa Fe.

The Plein Air Painters of America accepted Ron as a Signature Member in 1998.  He is also an Associate Member of the Oil Painters of America, and the American Impressionist Society.



Nature and the living elements of nature have always been my source of inspiration as an artist.  My first preference for subject matter is the landscape, a source inspiration and knowledge.  I believe any artist who is devoted to realism is obligated to work from life, or nature, whether the subject is landscape, figurative, or still life.  Studio paintings that are convincing testimonies of nature’s truths are not possible if a significant segment of the artist’s time is not spent working en plein air.  Nature demands that she be consulted often for those truths to be intoned in one’s paintings, either studio or plein air.  

Strict observation of the time-tested Principles of Art are also required in order that the paintings one produces are well constructed in terms of design and composition and application of the Elements of Design.  When these are well ingrained in the artist he or she can then more freely and naturally incorporate them in their paintings.  This is my constant endeavor.

I desire for my art to convey the beauty of nature to the viewer, to raise that viewer’s awareness and appreciation of the natural world, and the spiritual connection that we all have to the world we inhabit.  As a result, I hope to bring realization to the viewers of their own inner beauty, and the fragility of the earth, and how inextricable we are from the nature.  Emerson said that we cannot find beauty in the world unless we first find it in ourselves.  I believe that art is a profound mechanism for revealing and affirming the beauty in ourselves, and then by some process of grace, the beauty in the natural world is revealed to us.  If I can be a part of this, however great or small, I will have made at least some contribution to a better world. 



As an artist I am defined by those influences of nature and humanity that I have encountered along the path of life.  What I paint, how I interpret my subject through concept, design, color, and application of paint, and how I feel about art, are reflections of my continuing journey as an artist.  I am in a constant state of flux,  growing and evolving as this journey leads me to new places of inspiration in my creative imagination and in the way it is influenced by what I see in the world around me, in the works of other artists, and as I grow spiritually.

I feel that in order to create a work of art that is real, honest, and enduring I must make a subject my own, not by copying whatever it may be, but through interpretation.  Emerson says of the artist, “The details, the prose of nature he should omit, and give us only the spirit and splendor and he will come to value the expression of nature, and not nature itself.”  A painting should bear witness to the artist’s imagination, personality, and character.  A painting needs to have enough emotional impact to make a connection with the viewer, while having an intellectual construct which is hidden beneath the aesthetic surface.

In the end I can only hope that I will have left the world a better place for having had the privilege of being an artist, and that those works of art will be a record of my life’s experiences with all of the struggles and triumphs that I have experienced as an artist on this journey.