Plein Air Painting Blog

The Plein Air Blog celebrates the making of art in the great outdoors. From inspirations on painting light during different times of day to dealing with the practical matters that are an integral part of painting outside the studio, the Plein Air Blog is your faithful companion when it comes to tips and techniques, troubleshooting advice, informative resources, and surefire strategies for success. The plein air painting experience is about an artist’s love of nature and love of art, and the Plein Air blog is here to help you discover how to put the two together, so explore all the articles, step-by-steps, inspiration galleries, technique guides, and more that we have for you.

Waiting on the Tequila Express by Thomas Van Stein, oil painting.

How to Evaluate Your Outdoor Painting

Step Back and See Your Victories–and Your Mistakes Amidst all the sights, sounds, and smells that swirl around you when plein air painting, you have to remember to step back and assess your work and give a thought to how the painting is progressing. Plein air painters are at their best when they step back, figuratively…

Landscape Painting Essentials: How to Paint Trees

Painting Trees Means Knowing Their Anatomy We often think of trees in a very human way—that they have personalities and traits that distinguish them from all the rest. Their symbolism can be powerful and moving, and they are definitely a landscape painting essential. To better understand their structure and how to paint them realistically in…

Want to Loosen Up? Go Winter Plein Air Paint!

On a sunny winter day it’s so hard sometimes to overcome the temptation to go outdoors with a sketchbook! Snow and sun make a special light and colors you never see in any other season. So why not to go out for a winter plein air painting session? Well, there are at least two main…

Star of the Hero by Nicholas Roerich, 1936. Pinning inspirational images on Pinterest is a great studio activity that keeps me engaged.

Beating the Winter Blues

  The Plein Air Studio Solution Call it the blues, call it the doldrums, call it what you will–it seems that many of us plein-air painters go through a slump about this time of year. Even if the weather is good enough for painting outdoors, nature isn’t always at her finest when we’re waiting for…

Moon Walk by John Hulsey, pastel painting.

Ever Hear of the Purkinje Effect?

Have you ever noticed when you are plein air painting how the colors of objects look so radically different in the very low light just before dawn or twilight? Take a red rose, for instance. We know that the flower’s petals are bright red against the green of the leaves in daylight. But, take a…

A Giant in the Field

Mammoth Plein Air Easel Another sunflower season has come and gone and this one was amazing. Our neighbor, Farmer Ted, grows about sixty acres of sunflowers for a birdseed crop every year. The sunflower is the official symbol of the state of Kansas. Western Kansas has enormous fields of them. Around here, though, they are…

Turner’s Mysterious Yellow

A Watercolor Wonder A favorite pigment color in our watercolor palettes has always been Holbein’s Indian Yellow. We were distraught when it was discontinued in 2012. When we contacted Holbein to ask them why it had been discontinued and if they planned to bring it back, they replied that “changes have been made to the…