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 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.
Step 3 of the watercolor tutorial

Watercolor Tutorial: Building a Façade

Check out this step-by-step plein air watercolor painting demonstration with Mat Barber Kennedy, who paints a street in Maryland.
Plein air painting using broad brushstrokes

15 Ideas for a Painting

An excerpt from Aimee Erickson's book, "Plein Air Techniques for Artists: Principles and Methods for Painting in Natural Light"
Lori Putnam, "Clouds Above the Crown Range," 2018, oil, 10x 12 in., Collection the artist, Plein air

Art Snippet: Paint the Less Obvious

While most of her workshop students were preparing to paint the New Zealand mountain range before them, Lori Putnam ...
Jed Dorsey, "Two Houses," 2019, acrylic, 18 x 24 in., Collection the artist, Plein air

Dull Scene? Boost the Color! (free demo)

A step-by-step demo where Jed Dorsey explains how to bring harmony to a plein air landscape painting.
What Can You Do With Broken Pastels?

What Can You Do With Broken Pastels?

Learn how to make new pastels out of your broken pastel sticks in this Art School Live session with Brenda Boylan and Eric Rhoads.

Free Painting Demo > How to Create Atmosphere

In this free painting demo, Kathleen Hudson takes us through 8 steps to creating a beautiful plein air painting of waves crashing on a rocky beach.
altoids mints focus plein air painting tips

Can Altoids Help You Paint Better?

Plein air painting can get to be a mental endurance test, so here are some tips to keep concentration high.
pastel painting outdoors - tips for artists - Jill Stefani Wagner

The Only Way to Improve Your Art

... "And I learned to accept the convoluted process I personally need to go through to finally say 'YES!' to new opportunities."
Johanne Mangi paints outdoors as well as in the studio

What Exactly is Normal?

Representational painter and plein air artist Johanne Mangi is known internationally for her animal and floral fine art. When we asked her if she had any unusual habits as a painter, she had these gems to share.

Awake at Night: Painting Nocturnes

When painting nocturnes in urban areas, I’ve had all kinds of encounters with ...
Advice for artists - William Schneider, "The Paint Out," 9 x 12 in., plein air

Broken Strokes for Different Folks

One artist shares the surprising and unusual methods he uses for creating effective values, edges, marks, and more.
Royal Talens Cobra is one of many brands of water-mixable oils on the market.

Pro Tips for Using Water-Mixable Oils

If you have questions about how to use water-mixable oils, start here with this Q&A from Christine Lashley.
Color white for plein air painters - painting trees

How Light Affects Your White

Understanding how to paint the light is a common conversation topic for plein air artists, and it’s one that came up during a special talk led by ...
how to paint with watercolor

Watercolor Tip: How to Make Splatters with a Paintbrush

"Many people use a toothbrush, but a toothbrush makes the spatters too even for me," says Richard Sneary. Here's his quick tip on how to make natural-looking marks with watercolor.
Plein air painting

Demo: Establishing a Strong Underpainting

Check out a short and simple landscape painting demo that focuses on the underpainting part of the process.