These En Plein Air Paintings Are So Realistic

Photography by Dominic Avant & Daniela Mortada

Text by Cindy Cooper

Painting the landscape on canvas is a pursuit favored by many fine artists because of the challenges presented by the continuous changes in light and colors of nature. In the fine art world, this popular style of painting on location is called en plein air, and its roots can be traced back to 19th-century French impressionism. 

Photography by Jim Bathie

A resident of Sarasota, Florida, plein air artist Dominic Avant enjoys not only being immersed in the landscape but also adding to the depth of his paintings by introducing figures. The marriage of natural light from the outdoors and the narrative qualities of the portrait allow him to create pieces that combine his two favorite subjects. He treasures incorporating the storytelling sensibilities of the figure while allowing light to enhance the mood and essential details of his paintings. 

Photography by Dominic Avant & Daniela Mortada

Rich oil paints in luminous pigments are Dominic’s medium of choice, allowing him to create the kinds of textural brushwork patterns proven to last for many generations. From boyhood nature treks to artistic ambitions, Dominic carries with him a lifetime of experiences and an uncanny flair with fine portraits that seem to have granted him a deeper understanding of the spirits and personalities of the people he paints.

Photography by Dominic Avant & Daniela Mortada

After receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in illustration from Rhode Island School of Design, Dominic went on to be an animation artist for Walt Disney Feature Animation, where he was able to work on numerous feature films. It was this creative community that introduced him to plein air painting. A series of field studies he created in his spare time eventually led to gallery exposure. His subjects expanded to wildlife, portraits, and eventually large-scale narrative paintings. Dominic became confident that his work resonated after his first Best of Show award from Oil Painters of America. It was his award-winning painting, Mother and Child, that opened the door for portrait commissions.

Photography by Dominic Avant & Daniela Mortada

For the past 15 years, he has been teaching at Ringling College of Art + Design in his home state of Florida, where he strives to instill artistic disciplines and principles in his students. 

Photography by Dominic Avant & Daniela Mortada

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