Home Tips for Artists

Tips for Artists

From color to composition, to dealing with the elements, learn from the community of plein air painters with these tips for painting outdoors!

What is color relativity

What Is Color Relativity?

In this Art School Live interview with Eric Rhoads, Kami Mendlik shares one of her biggest secrets: how in any medium, with any painting, you can bring your paintings alive with light.
Brienne Brown, “Day for Exploring,” watercolor, 20 x 16 in, $2700, Available through the Illume Gallery of Fine Art

Watercolor Tip: Be Adaptable

Brienne Brown shares her approach to painting with watercolor in this quick tip for beginners.
Intuitive painting tools for artists

Free Mini-Lesson: Can You Use a Putty Knife for Painting?

Watch as Douglas Fryer shows you how to use an unconventional tool for painting, including how he "triple loads" it with color.
Fall Landscape Paintings Melanie Barash Levitt

Watch: Painting Fall Foliage with a Palette Knife

In this Art School Live interview with Eric Rhoads, Melanie paints a fall landscape using only a palette knife.
Plein Air Tips - Carrie Curran, painting the Indiana Dunes

18 Plein Air Tips for Beginners

Check out this helpful list of tips from Carrie Curran, who lays out what you should do before painting, advice for sketching your scene, and steps for success.
how to make watercolor paint

Can You Really Make Your Own Watercolor Paint?

If you want more vibrant and rich color with deeper darks from your watercolor, watch this episode of Art School Live with Eric Rhoads, as he welcomes guest artist Stewart White.
Painting vibrant color - Jed Dorsey, "That One Morning," 2018, acrylic, 18 x 24 in., Private collection, Plein air

7 Tips for Painting Vibrant Color

Plein air painter and fourth-generation artist Jed Dorsey shares his tips for getting brilliant color into your next landscape painting.
photo reference for plein air painting a landscape

Plein Air Practice: Achieve Better Designs By Doing This Now

Try these exercises at home to sharpen your plein air skills, and create better designs on the spot.
Painting clouds

Practical Advice for Painting Clouds

Because the diversity of cloud paintings is so unexpected, we offer the following practical advice for painting clouds and skies.
John Hughes painting en plein air at Big Sur

10 Surprising Tricks for Painting en Plein Air

You might think you know all the tricks to the trade when it comes to painting en plein air, but these four artists have some witty ideas for making it an even better experience.
Painting from a photo reference - Shelby Keefe, "Solista del Sol," oil

How to Create a Great Painting From an Imperfect Photo Reference

Plein air painter Shelby Keefe shows us how she took a lackluster photo reference and turned it into a painting with great design and color. BONUS: Keep reading to find out how you can win a set of artist oil paints from Grackle Studio!
Plein air at Halfmoon Bay, California, 2022 quick painting

9 Ways to Improve Your Quick Painting / Pochade Skills

Quick painting trains our reflexes and judgment; it improves the observation of the eyes and drawing skills of the hand.
Peggy Immel, "Spring Willows," 2019, oil, 9x 12 in., Collection the artist, Plein air

Landscape Painting Tutorial: Plotting Points of Interest

Plein air painter Peggy Immel takes us through a step-by-step landscape painting tutorial on how she created "Spring Willows."
Landscape painting tutorial - Richard McKinley, "Pacific Sentinels," 2019, pastel over watercolor, 15x 10 in., Collection the artist, Plein air

Tutorial: Don’t Underestimate the Underpainting

Richard McKinley takes us through a step-by-step tutorial of painting with pastel over a watercolor underpainting.
How to paint with water-mixable oils

5 Q&As About Water-Mixable Oils

Get the answers to common questions about painting with water-mixable oils, such as their working time, freezing, glazing, layering, and more.
landscape painting - Michael Chesley Johnson, "Early Spring Day," 2019, oil, 11 x 14 in., Studio, Collection of the artist.

Refining and Finishing a Landscape Painting

In this excerpt from "Beautiful Landscape Painting Outdoors: Mastering Plein Air," Michael Chesley Johnson explains how to finish a painting, and three tricks to help you decide if it's complete.
Steve Puttrich winning an award during a recent painting competition

How to Prepare for Plein Air Painting Competitions

If you're ready to participate in painting competitions, check out this important advice on what to bring, how to prepare, what to expect during the event, and what to do afterward.
plein air painting in the sun

Are You Using Protection?

It’s summer, and the heat is on. Don’t let the romance of painting ruin your…
sketching en plein air - Paul Kratter 062022

Watch: Secrets of Sketching en Plein Air

In case you missed it, check out this interview below with Paul Kratter, who demonstrates helpful techniques for sketching en plein air.
The "check-in" at a plein air painting event

Does Your Plein Air Painting Experience Need a Recharge?

Mary Longe explains why you should consider a competitive plein air event, including the various types, common elements, and what not to do.
  1. Plein Air Podcast 229: Kami Mendlik on Painting, Teaching, and More