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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!

How to Paint a Nude Figure en Plein Air

Expert artist Patricia Watwood, who is classically trained, shares a step-by-step demo of how to paint a figure en plein air.
Plein air painting of water

Tips on Painting Ocean Water

Catherine Fasciato paints water wonderfully, particularly the ocean waves along the California coastline, where she lives. Her advice for painting convincing waves and seascapes is simple, but devilishly difficult.

Palette Knife as Ticket to Simplification

For Jane Boyd, the key to simplifying her paintings was simply to put down the paintbrush.
McMahon’s plein air setup on Fort Myers Beach

People . . . Who Paint People en Plein Air

Kathryn A. McMahon is not one of those plein air painters who are bothered by passersby. She puts them into her paintings, and chats with them. How?
Teaching art

Unsticking the Stuck Student

Artist and art industry veteran Terry Stanley has some advice for art instructors who encounter creatively blocked students.
Painting landscapes - Bill Davidson - OutdoorPainter.com

10 Mental Keys to Make an Extraordinary Painting

Plein air painter Bill Davidson takes us through his process of creating a powerful landscape painting.
Design and composition - Painting of a French town

Putting Design Over Subject

North Carolina painter Jean Cauthen says she seeks out “the places between or in back of places,” by which she means finding a strong design rather than painting a portrait.
How to paint landscapes - Thomas Jefferson Kitts - OutdoorPainter.com

Impressionism, Sorolla, and the Color of Light

Seeing, understanding, and learning how to use color temperature in your work can elevate a so-so painting into a work of art.
landscape oil painting composition

Telling the Truth – By Leaving Stuff Out

Most of us mistakenly feel when we start out, that the more detail we include in a painting the more convincing it will be. Where does this lie come from? It may sound silly, but I think it’s partially the fault of...
Oil painting of a barn - landscape painting tips

Joseph McGurl on Contrasting Edges

"What I’m trying to do is paint the appearance of nature, the experience of looking at it," McGurl explains. Learn more, and see what's in his landscape painting toolkit!
Ivan Chow, author of "Travel Sketching: Drawing Insights from Instanbul"

On Keeping a Travel Art Journal: Tips for Artists

In this excerpt from Ivan Chow's  "Travel Sketching: Drawing Insights from Istanbul," the artist shares his approach to a practice that is both satisfying and memorable.
Painting of an adobe

Painting Architectural Subjects in the Landscape

Tempted to cover up an awkward part of your painting with a random landscape element? Find out why you shouldn't, and more great advice, in this guest blog post from outdoor painter Peggy Immel.
Artist Joseph McGurl painting en plein air

How Joseph McGurl Uses Sight-Size Drawing

Stop Fussing, Start Painting! Joseph McGurl champions the sight-size method, which allows him to spend less time drawing and more time painting; here's how.
Tertiary, Monochromatic, and Analogous Colors - Color Theory - OutdoorPainter.com

Tertiary, Monochromatic, and Analogous Colors

Because I’ve been painting so long, I use color intuitively. I just “feel” my color. I choose colors automatically and know which ones harmonize or contrast with each other depending on the effect I want. I have long since stored by paint-splattered color wheel deep in a drawer in my studio, ignoring the wealth of information hidden within it. I’m sure I learned all there was to know about color in high school or college, so what is the point?
Ginny Good painting en plein air

Just Do the Preliminary Sketch – and 25 Other Painting Aha Moments

Do you remember the first time a painting concept clicked for you? For these Dreamliners, the big "aha" moment came during plein air workshops, painting travels, and even at recent Streamline events such as Plein Air Live, the world's first online art conference. Keep reading to see if you've shared some of these special moments!
Painting nocturnes in plein air

19 Tips for Painting Day-to-Night Nocturnes

Whether you paint exclusively en plein air or split your time between indoors and out, we hope the tips shared here entice you to try your first day-to-night scene or help you make your next one that much more believable.
Chris Morel, painting outdoors

The 6 Steps to My Plein Air Painting Process

Be inspired by this outdoor painter, who shares his process for painting landscapes in the northeast and southwest. You might be surprised by what they have in common. (Includes a bonus interview video!)
How to paint landscapes - Joseph McGurl - OutdoorPainter.com

7 Oil Painting Ideas for Artists

We've put together some of our most popular articles with oil painting ideas and techniques for all levels of artists. Bookmark this page so you can come back often, and share it with a friend who could benefit from this!
Watercolor painting demonstration

101 Watercolor Painting Ideas, Tips, and Techniques – A Free Guide

Want to learn how to paint with watercolor? Don't think you have the talent or skill? We can teach anyone to paint - start with this free guide that's full of watercolor painting ideas.
drawing architecture landcapes - Thom Rozendaal

Architectural Subjects: To Paint or Draw?

When this artist approaches architecture as a subject in the landscape, certain factors determine if the resulting art will be a drawing or a painting. See why...
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  1. PleinAir Podcast 212: The Future of the Plein Air Movement