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!

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 -

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 -

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...
Landscape oil painting demonstration

4-Step Plein Air Oil Painting Demonstration

For plein air beginners: See how oil painter Anthony Salvo paints "Sparkling Cliffs, Inspiration Point," in four basic steps that you can apply to your next landscape.
How to Paint Landscapes - “Painting Light and Atmosphere” with Joseph McGurl

Free Viewing: Joseph McGurl on Painting Landscapes

Today, we're traveling into the minds of great artists to discover how they rose to a level of unsurpassed mastery of painting landscapes in “Painting Light and Atmosphere” with Joseph McGurl.
Drawing advice for painters -

10 Drawing Principles That’ll Improve Your Paintings

Improve your drawing skills to achieve accurate placement and proportions in your paintings. The good news is that you don’t have to stop painting in order to improve your drawing; it’s not an either–or situation. Read on to shine a light on this challenge!
How to paint trees -

Six Keys to Painting Trees with Character and Dimension

To avoid trees that look generic or pasted on, follow these tips for painting compelling contours, varied sky holes, and details at a range of distances.
Watercolor paintings - Marjorie Glick

Plein Air Watercolor: From Sketch to Finish

See how this outdoor painter considered her options for capturing a “Joyful Day” on paper at Acadia National Park.

How to Begin Teaching Art Workshops

Are you ready to start teaching art workshops? Christine Lashley shares the benefits of teaching, strategies you can use, how to find students, pitfalls to avoid, and more.
What is Gouache

What Is Gouache?

In this free article, learn if gouache can be used like watercolor, how the two are similar, and what makes gouache unique.
Artist challenge

Painting With Random Tubes of Paint

Have you heard of the Random Tube Challenge? See how it works, and try it yourself. You just might discover that although it's dubbed a challenge, it’s actually quite liberating.

Do You Paint What You Love, or What You Think Will Sell?

This dilemma seems to plague all artists at one time or another. Painting from the heart, or painting what sells? Is it possible to do both?

Plein Air Paint Like a Boy Scout: Be Prepared!

Award-winning plein air painter Kathleen Dunphy knows a thing or two about maximizing her time in the field. Here, she shares four secrets to staying at the ready for whenever inspiration strikes.

Travel Sketching: Tips for Keeping an Art Journal

From 2015 to 2018, Ivan Chow made trips to and around Istanbul, Turkey, sketching many scenes along the way. In this excerpt from his upcoming book, "Travel Sketching: Drawing Insights from Istanbul," he shares one of his favorite formats for drawing on location.

What Comes First: The Painting or the Title?

Artist and author John Pototschnik explains his process when it comes to giving a landscape painting the perfect title.
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  1. PleinAir Podcast 215: Larry Moore on Creativity and More