Linda Whynman: En Plein Air

Artist Linda Whynman’s passion is watercolor painting, and she’s especially passionate about painting en plein air. This method — which dates from the mid-19th century, when artists’ materials, paints and easels, became more portable and accessible for all — allows artists to capture life and nature’s beauty in real time, on the spot, outdoors.

Linda painting en plein air at the Via Organic Farm and Ranch

“When I’m sketching and painting outdoors,” Linda says, “I am fully present in the moment. It’s a deeply pleasurable and creative experience. It keeps me centered. Then later on, when I look at the painting in my studio, I remember all the sounds, the weather, the people who passed by — the entire plein air experience.”

Linda in her home studio

Linda has been practicing and sharing her artistic passion professionally for more than thirty years, the last twenty of which have been in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Linda’s watercolor paintings are in collections all over the world. Her work is represented by Galeria San Francisco in the Fabrica la Aurora art and design center in San Miguel, where she also gives watercolor classes and workshops.

Linda (far end) teaching a watercolor class at Galeria San Francisco

I recently sat down with Linda, who turned 80 last month, at her home here in San Miguel to ask her about her life and her art. Here are excerpts from our interview:

BB: What would you say are your biggest accomplishments to date?

LW: I want to say raising three wonderful children and being happily married to Saul for 46 years! But in terms of my art, I’d say that getting the gallery [Galeria San Francisco] to join the International Watercolor Society, having had two International Plein Air Festivals in recent years, and teaching are what I’m proudest of.

I’ve been an art teacher – at all levels—all my professional life, and I am very moved when somebody comes to me and says, “You know how to teach so wonderfully.” That makes me feel good.

BB:  What are some of the secrets of your success?

LW: One of the things is networking. I’ve been able to accomplish quite a lot in the art field, especially in San Miguel, by reaching out, working with the community and finding like-minded people with whom we can collaborate.

The highlight of this collaboration for me was the creation of the premier International Plein Air Festival in San Miguel in November ’22. The reception and enthusiasm were wonderful.

I’m also mentoring two young men now for [the nonprofit organization] Jovenes Adelante, and I keep encouraging them and introducing them to artists here so that they can create a network for themselves.

And I must say my partner Saul is wonderful – he helps me so much. I don’t think I could have gotten this far without him.

BB: What have been some of the obstacles you’ve had to overcome?

LW: I’d say that my own self-criticism has been my main obstacle. I’m always striving to get to a certain point, telling myself, “You’re almost there!” But I have to keep reminding myself that art is a journey, and I’m never going to say, “That’s it! I’ve reached the peak!” We’re all always honing our skills. You can study with a whole bunch of people, but it’s still your brush strokes.

One of Linda’s paintings in a show at the gallery last October

BB: What sustains you in your work? What keeps you going?

LW: What sustains me is teaching. I love teaching, and I love helping to make people happy in their art journey. Teaching gives more to me than I give. To see people thriving and growing and being content gives a lot to me.

Also, every once in a while, I enjoy the validation of selling one of my paintings and seeing it go to a good home.

BB: What have you found to be some of the advantages of advanced age?

LW: Experience. Openness. Perspective. Appreciation.

BB: Appreciation for what?

LW: Relationships, friends, partners, truth.

BB: If you were to give a commencement address to the graduating class of a women’s college, what would the thrust of your message be?

LW: It sounds overdone, but my message would be: The world is yours. Don’t close doors. Take advantage of every opportunity. Don’t listen to people who tell you that you can’t do things; you can do whatever you want!

My mother told me I’d better be married by the time I was 21 or I’d be an old maid. That was the upbringing for us then. So I would tell young women today: Do whatever you want. The world is yours. Travel. Get an education. Don’t get married until you’re ready.

BB: How do you feel about having just turned 80?

LW: Yes, I am 80 now, but I don’t feel 80. I stay active and alive. My mother lived to be 96. I’ve reached the point where I’m not afraid of dying, I just don’t have the time for it!

The books Linda has designed and/or illustrated

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  • For more about Linda and her achievements, visit her website: .
  • For more about the San Miguel chapter of the International Watercolor Society, go to .
  • See my WOW post, with photos, about the plein air outing that Linda led at the Via Organica Farm and Ranch outside of SMA in July 2022: .

22 thoughts on “Linda Whynman: En Plein Air”

  1. What a wonderful article Bonnie! Linda is such a wonderful teacher in so many ways and I highly recommend her classes!

  2. Such talent! Thanks so much for this insightful interview. I wish I had had Linda as a teacher when I was still trying to make my way in the world. I might have been an artist!

  3. Thank you for this lovely post and the reminder that I want to learn watercolor. Am so EAGER to sign up for her April workshop. Beautiful photographs, B. And so nice to see them big and bold. Love, love, love the painting of the burro.

  4. Great article about such a great teacher and woman. I learned alot from a few days class with Linda. Her way of being is real, relaxed,fun and encouraging! I highly recommend taking her classes

  5. A real artist is not one that keeps her art to herself, secluded and self-indulgent, but rather one that wants to share with others how to maximise the joy of their passion. No doubt, Linda’s enthusiasm for life will keep her forever young.

  6. Linda is truely an artist but for us fortunate students – an amazing teacher. She is able to reflect on what she observes and us generous with her feedback which enhances our work.

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