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!

Lessons From Lemen: Do You Know Snell’s Law?

You don't have to know the scientific formula, but you surely have to understand it to convincingly paint water.  In this...

McGurl on Past Masters: Church’s “Clouds Over Olana”

In this new series, noted painter Joseph McGurl discusses plein air paintings by past masters that he finds instructive or inspiring. This week: Frederic...

Ice Bucket for Artists. Why Do It?

San Francisco artist and digital marketing professional Ed Terpening has some pragmatic questions about the Facebook meme that is sweeping through the representational art...

Why This Works: Use of the Figure in Shadow

In this series, plein air painter and instructor Jeanne Mackenzie takes a look at new paintings by contemporary artists and points out why they...

Painting Neon at Night

Cathe J. Ladner is quite new at painting nocturnes, but she bravely delved into painting neon at night, and here, she shares what she...

Why This Works: Back Light Used to Good Effect

In this series, plein air painter and instructor Jeanne Mackenzie takes a look at new paintings by contemporary artists and points out why they...

Lessons From Lemen: The Science of Water Ripples

In this new series of articles, San Diego artist and instructor Ron Lemen will explore the science behind what we see, in order to...

Why This Works: Using Shadows to Lead the Eye

In this series, plein air painter and instructor Jeanne Mackenzie takes a look at new paintings by contemporary artists and points out why they...

Putting Many Colors in the Shadows

A painting by California artist Kim VanDerHoek ably demonstrated the artist's prerogative to look closely for somewhat unexpected colors in a scene to strengthen...

Why This Works: Perfectly Piecing Together Shapes

In this series, plein air painter and instructor Jeanne Mackenzie takes a look at new paintings by contemporary artists and points out why they...

Gilkerson’s 7 Crucial Plein Air Tips

South Carolina artist Mary Bentz Gilkerson paints arresting, vibrant plein air paintings with significant impasto. It takes a bold brush to do that. She...

Painting on Shellacked Paper

A case of mistaken identity has Richard Gallego painting on watercolor paper that's been coated with shellac. He likes the results.  ...

Why This Works: Clouds and Shadows Tell the Story

In this series, plein air painter and instructor Jeanne Mackenzie takes a look at new paintings by contemporary artists and points out why they...

Hear it Again, Differently: Values

Values. They are what make a painting read and succeed. We all know it, but many of us still have to work hard to...

Painting Wrecks in England

The trim lines of well-designed boats are catnip for painters, but the rusting hulks of wrecked ships have their appeal as well. Steven Alexander...

Painting a Moving Bullet

We've all watched sunsets. The colors change dramatically every few seconds. New York painter Kenneth Salaz seems to catch the height of those fleeting...

How to Protect Your Eyes from Snow Blindness

Jane Hunt's eyes ached when she recently painted a snow scene, so she tried to crowd-source a solution: She went to Facebook and asked...

Salon Judge Looks for Work Done From Life

The October-November contest in the PleinAir Salon wraps up November 30 (get your entries in now!), and the judge for this contest, Joseph McGurl,...

Why This Works: Simple in Design, Complex in Execution

In this series, plein air painter and instructor Jeanne Mackenzie takes a look at new paintings by contemporary artists and points out why they...

Why This Works: Low Key Painting, High Chromatic Light

This series returns, with plein air painter and instructor Jeanne Mackenzie taking a look at new paintings by contemporary artists and pointing out why...
  1. Plein Air Podcast 229: Kami Mendlik on Painting, Teaching, and More