Home Painting Demonstrations & Art Tips

Painting Demonstrations & Art Tips

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

plein air color study

Step-by-Step: Creating Harmony in a Plein Air Painting

Follow along and see how Nancy Macdonald begins with a pen-and-ink sketch and color study to create a plein air painting of two figures in the Ecuador landscape.
Color mixing for artists - Landscape painting by John Hughes

Intuitive Color Mixing

Plein air painter John Hughes shares a simple way of getting the right colors when painting a landscape.
plein air painting for beginners

New Watercolor Demo: Focus on Big Shapes and Contrasts

The following is part of a series featuring a leader in the art community who will be joining us on the faculty of Watercolor Live ...
Step 1: Plein air painting setup

Refining a Plein Air Painting in the Studio

A step-by-step demonstration of how Jessica L. Bryant turns a plein air painting into a studio piece.
Watercolor paper for beginners

Watercolor Paper – An Overview for Beginners

Learn about the three basic surfaces of watercolor paper, and why you might choose one over the others.

Gifts for Artists: Your 2023 Holiday Shopping Guide

This list has it all: gorgeous frames, beautiful paints, and a special section of gifts under $50!
William Schneider, "Springtime," 40 x 24 in., plein air

Misjudged Values, Too Much Chroma, and Other Mistakes You Might Be Making

The following is part of a series that features the best artists who are teaching others how to paint through online workshops at ...
watercolor painting shadows

Art Snippet: Know Your Shadow Types

Have a moment? Learn the two types of shadows you should be aware of when painting ...
Plein air painter Margi Lucena

Pastel Landscape Painting Demo: The Fine Art of Fine-Tuning

For this New Mexico painter, pastel is the ideal vehicle for capturing the oft-hidden details of the desert.
John Pototschnik, "Of the Land," oil, 12 x 16 in.

Photo Reference to Final Painting

A landscape painting demonstration from John Potoschnik, author of Unlimited Color with a Limited Palette.
Brenda Swenson, "Autumnleaf Farm," 2018, watercolor, 9 x 8 in., Private collection, Plein air

Free Lesson: Negative Painting with Watercolor

Negative Painting means that you paint around the areas you want to preserve; Think of it like carving stone, chipping away until only the most precious elements remain.
Landscape plein air painting by John Hughes

The Three Most Important Skills Plein Air Painters Need

Thoughts on what you should practice while plein air painting; a new guest blog post by John Hughes.
How to improve a painting

An “Unethical” Art Practice Worth Trying

Catch an episode of Art School Live with Eric Rhoads, featuring Shanna Kunz, who explains her "search and destroy" method of improving a painting.
Michele Usibelli, "Winter Barn," 2019, acrylic, 9 x 12 in., Collection the artist, Plein air

Mini Demo: Designing a Clear Path to the Focal Point

See how Michele Usebelli paints a winter barn scene in three steps in this mini-less from Plein Air Today and PleinAir Magazine.
Painting with acrylic - Charlie Easton and Eric Rhoads - Art School Live

“Stop Complaining About Acrylics”

In case you missed it > An episode of Art School Live with Eric Rhoads, who interviews Charlie Easton on the benefits of painting with acrylic. Includes a painting demonstration!
plein air pastel painting

Pastels for DAYS

Enjoy a recap of the 3rd Annual Pastel Live, an unforgettable event for artists of all levels of painting with pastels.
From Clare Bowen's Plein Air Live demo

Go Small & 4 Other Quick Tips

Using a plein air setup on a photography tripod, Clare Bowen gave an oil demonstration at Plein Air Live 2023 while ...
Painting composition how-to

Rules vs Principles: How to Improve Your Painting Composition

What makes a painting boring versus dynamic? John Hughes shares his list of things to help you understand the underlying principles behind the pesky rules.
Understanding paint tube labels

Understanding Paint Tube Labels

Learn to decipher the codes, names, and symbols printed on your tubes of paint, and discover what they mean for you and what you’re trying to achieve in your work.
Rule of Thirds for painting landscapes - Michael Chesley Johnson, "Canyon Trails," 2018, oil, 12 x 24 in., Private collection, Plein air

Plein Air 101: The Rule of Thirds for Painting Landscapes

Learn how to determine the center of interest when painting landscapes by studying these three examples showing the Rule of Thirds.