The 7 Most Hilarious Plein Air Moments of 2018 -

From nosy animals to nude beaches, and everything in between, we’re sure you’ll love this roundup of some of the year’s funniest plein air moments!

Painting outdoors - Julie McGowan -
Artist Julie McGowan

1. Julie McGowan got more than she bargained for when setting up to paint with a friend on a public beach:

“After several more hours [of painting] we were thinking about packing up, and a man walked up to comment on my painting. Although it was still chilly, I noticed he was not wearing a shirt — or any clothing whatsoever. Denise began looking around and noticed that our initially secluded plein air beach had many new arrivals, virtually all of whom had taken off their clothes. We were painting on an unposted nude beach!” [read more]

Painting en plein air -

2. Laurel Sherrie had a curious horse leave its mark on her canvas when she was painting at Hearst State Beach:

“We were painting away for a couple of hours, and the two horses in the field got curious, probably looking for treats, and came over to us,” Laurel says. “They moseyed over and stood there for a few minutes as I was admiring them.

“Suddenly — I couldn’t believe it — one of the horses put its great, huge head over the fence and right smack into my palette! When it lifted its head up, it had cadmium yellow, cadmium orange, and cadmium red all over its muzzle! Now, I’m an avid animal lover, but I’m not experienced with horses! I had trepidation about how to get this paint off of the horse! Luckily, my friend was more familiar with horses, and together we dipped paper towels into mineral spirits and kept wiping his muzzle. We kept wiping and wiping, and although we got most of it off, that muzzle was still tinted yellow, orange, and red!”

Recreation of Donald’s painting face down on El Camino Real

3. Donald Neff discovered a “new painting technique” when he had the following experience after leaving a workshop:

“…as soon as I entered the freeway, I realized I had left the wet demo painting on top of the car,” he says. “I pulled over, and it was gone! So I turned around, went back, and found the painting face down in the middle of El Camino Real, the busy main boulevard. It was in the middle of the lane and didn’t look run over, but one corner was damaged.

Donald’s demo painting was now a snowstorm!

“The asphalt had gouged out spots all over the surface, and my misty Yosemite painting had turned into a snowstorm! I just accidentally discovered a new way to paint snowstorms!”

Painting outdoors - Christine Drewyer -
Photo reference from Christine’s adventure while painting outdoors

4. Christine Drewyer tells a delightful tale of finding the perfect painting spot in her guest blog post, “Sometimes You Have to Get Wet to Find Your Inspiration.”

Art versus the ocean: Shari Gaines painting en plein air during a quietly rising tide

5. Shari Gaines was caught by surprise at her easel by a quietly rising tide:

“I started my painting and was really focused,” Shari said. “I felt the water gently lapping my feet. Soon I felt the water hitting my calves. I must have been concentrating really hard as I didn’t notice just how high the tide had come in! I heard Sharron yelling ‘Shari! The wagon!’ I glanced over at the wagon and saw that the water was within an inch of soaking our supplies. As I went to move, I noticed that my brushes and paint bag were completely submerged in the sea water!” [read more]

7 Most Hilarious Plein Air Stories of 2018 -
Jane Hunt, an artist with long hair and a great sense of humor!

6. Special thanks to Jane Hunt, who shared this “plein hair” photo with us! Head over to Instagram to read all the fun captions that others posted (and comment with how you’d caption this!).

“East Texas Beauties” (watercolor on paper, 13 x 18 in.) by Dan Marshall

7. Dan Marshall had a close call with ants during one of his outdoor painting sessions, which he shared at

“…Of course, it wasn’t until I was midway through my first wash and felt a strange sensation on my thigh that I realized what I’d done,” he says. “I looked down to see my feet and legs covered in ants. My worst nightmare had come true! I started jumping around, swatting frantically at my shoes and pants, before realizing it was too late; they were already inside my jeans. In a panic, I stripped to my unmentionables on the side of the busy road.

“About this time, I began to wonder why the fire ants weren’t stinging me. On closer inspection, I discovered that they were, in fact — you guessed it— just regular ants. In my defense, everything is bigger in Texas. I’ve been chased by cows, had paintings graced by bird droppings, and enjoyed countless other mis-adventures.”

Do you have a hilarious story to share? Email it to us at [email protected] for a possible feature!

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