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.

A photograph of frost.

From Nature’s Tinest Creatures to Her Broadest Feats

The patterns of nature inspire our artwork. One of the most fascinating recent discoveries is the intimate relationship between the patterns found in nature’s tiniest creations to the patterns found in her broadest, most sweeping productions. The apparent chaos of nature can now be understood in terms of repeating patterns which can be mathematically described.…

Monet Painting in his Garden at Argenteuil by Renoir, oil painting.

The Garden as Art

It is the time of year when we find great joy and inspiration in our gardens. We love to watch our flower gardens slowly unfold through the spring and seemingly explode with the summer sun into a riot of colors, shapes and textures all demanding our attention. However, there is a unique challenge in painting…

Summer Wind Patterns

As we all start getting ready to step outside our studios and paint outdoors or create studio landscape painting based on our experiences in nature, I wanted to explain the design elements that I put together for this particular painting, Summer Wind Patterns. Summer Wind Patterns by Robert Reynolds, transparent watercolor painting on rag paper.…

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Don't Forget to Look Behind You

When walking through a landscape looking for that magical spot that compels you to stop to sketch or put up your plein air easel, don't forget to look behind you (and not for muggers, but the view!). Stop regularly, turn around and consider the view in a direction other than what's been straight in front…

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Get Out for a Change

Winter can be a challenging time for those of us who like painting outdoors. The most hardy souls can always be found heavily bundled up and happily working in punishing conditions. The rest of us wait for the right day, say, when it is above freezing, to go out and enjoy the wonderful winter light…

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Value Division in Landscape Painting

Landscape values are easier to understand when viewed as falling into four major divisions or zones. Reading values in landscapes is somewhat different from reading values in other subjects. All subjects have a light source, but the source in a landscape – the illuminated dome of the sky – is part of the subject. This…

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Plein Air Nocturnes: More Alive Than the Day

"I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day." –Vincent Van Gogh Moonrise Road by John Hulsey, plein air painting. Plein air painting at night in bright moonlight is great fun and a wonderful learning experience for the outdoor painting artist. With nocturnes, it seems as if we…

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The 9 by 5 Impressionism Exhibition

The lesser-known Australian Impressionist painters were pioneers in portraying the unique light, landscape and daily life of Australia. We have featured them in an article for Members of The Artist's Road (The Australian Impressionists). Perhaps the most famous exhibition of these artists was produced in 1889 and called the "9 x 5 Impressionism Exhibition". It…

Painting during twilight often means the added complication of using artificial lights to illuminate your canvas.

Twilight Painting en Plein Air–No Vampires, Please

Painting during twilight often means the added complication of using artificial lights to illuminate your canvas. This blog has been adapted from an article written by Allison Malafronte. Plein air painting during twilight is exciting but challenging. The lighting conditions change so rapidly and the landscape looks totally different all of a sudden. During this…