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Plein Air Workshop



French expression meaning “IN THE OPEN AIR”

Involves completing the artwork in one setting.

You need to work fairly quickly and adapt to the environment…

You can start in the sunshine and finish in the rain!


In the mid 1800’s - portable paint tubes and easels made it possible to go outside of studios to engage with nature.  You try to capture the essence of being outside – while embracing the imperfections and spontaneity of working outdoors.


BENEFITS – develops your artistic process.  Light and weather can breathe new life into your work.  You learn to paint quickly, and it gives you more confidence.



1. Bring a portable easel or table and chair.

2. Essentials only! – only bring colors and brushes necessary for your painting.  Keep it simple!

3. Sketchbook – plan your composition before you commit to canvas!  A two-minute sketch can really help you!

4. Be prepared for the weather!

5. Embrace change – in lighting!

· Pack not only canvas, easel, paint, and brushes – but ALSO

· Water container – Water – Paper towels or Rags (for cleaning brushes)

· Canvas panels are a popular choice – they provide a stable surface to paint on.

· White canvas – good start

· Toned canvas – the under paint helps warm up the painting.

· Avoid direct sunlight – paint in the shade – your colors will look more vibrant!

· Take a reference photo – in case the light changes quickly or the weather changes!

· Start with your darkest shapes – this will establish a dynamic from the beginning.

· Try breaking down the landscape into basic shapes – and simplify them.

· Painting quickly encourages loose expressive brush work.

· First painting – well – embrace it!!!


1. Start slow – look in your backyard for something inspiring to paint.

2. Have a plan – make sure you take everything you need.

3. Take a break.

4. Maybe bring a friend to paint along with you – or just for moral support!




For information regarding registration for the gallery’s next Plein Air event please visit our website.

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