Brenda Boylan, “Sun Day Off,” oil, 11 x 14 inches

No-fear plein air painting requires a little planning, a healthy dose of respect for nature and a keen sense of humor. With Brenda Boylan’s simple tips for painting en plein air, you’ll be able to hit the ground running and make the most of your experience.

  1. Practice setting up your easel a few times before your first outing. Navigating an umbrella can be a humorous endeavor for others to observe, so practice where and how to hook it up to avoid frustration and wasted time.
  2. Your first mark should be the horizon line. This grounds your painting and immediately navigates the space.
  3. When dressing, think thin-to-thick. Wear layers of clothing to avoid colder-than-expected or steaming hot conditions.
  4. Be courteous and respectful with nature and your fellow painters while out painting. In that way, painting outdoors is a little like camping. If you are in a very wild area, expect natural things to happen. Bug bites, wildlife, unexpected weather conditions, or a potential angry farmer, as well as the best painting subject matter, are all part of the plein air experience. Leave no trace behind.
  5. Have a sense of humor at the easel. This keeps things simple and not overworked — not to mention, the “fun factor” is definitely increased.
Brenda Boylan, “The Fall Line,” pastel, 24 x 24 inches

Don’t miss your chance to paint with Brenda Boylan in person at the 7th Annual Plein Air Convention and Expo in Santa Fe, New Mexico, April 16-20, 2018!

This article was featured in PleinAir Today, a weekly e-newsletter from PleinAir magazine. To start receiving PleinAir Today for free, click here.


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