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!

Steve Puttrich winning an award during a recent painting competition

How to Prepare for Plein Air Painting Competitions

If you're ready to participate in painting competitions, check out this important advice on what to bring, how to prepare, what to expect during the event, and what to do afterward.
plein air painting in the sun

Are You Using Protection?

It’s summer, and the heat is on. Don’t let the romance of painting ruin your…
sketching en plein air - Paul Kratter 062022

Watch: Secrets of Sketching en Plein Air

In case you missed it, check out this interview below with Paul Kratter, who demonstrates helpful techniques for sketching en plein air.
The "check-in" at a plein air painting event

Does Your Plein Air Painting Experience Need a Recharge?

Mary Longe explains why you should consider a competitive plein air event, including the various types, common elements, and what not to do.
Creative Expression - Richard McKinley, "Tennessee Trees," 2015, pastel over watercolor, 12 x 9 in., private collection, plein air

7 Tips for Greater Creative Expression

Landscape painter Richard McKinley shares his "7 Tips for Greater Creative Expression," especially for those painting en plein air with pastel.
Painting atmosphere - Kathleen Hudson, "Rolling Surf," 2018, oil, 13 x 21 in., Collection the artist, Plein air

Creating Atmosphere: An 8-Step Landscape Painting Tutorial

"More than anything, I enjoy the sense of connectedness that painting on location brings,” says Kathleen Hudson. “My own sense of wonder in the landscape comes from my immersion in reading history. A place isn’t just scenery when you come to know its story, when you think of people from generations past who stood upon the same ground, taking in their surroundings just as you are.”
How to paint halos of light - Carl Bretzke, "Boot Store," 16 x 20 in.

Nocturne Know-How: Paint a Halo of Light in Your Night Scene

Check out this tip from Carl Bretzke on how to paint a halo of glow around light at night.
Beth Bathe, "Pipkas Cottage," 2017, water-mixable oils, 12 x 24 in., Private collection, Plein air

Painting Tutorial: Water-Mixable Oils in Action

In this demonstration from PleinAir Magazine, we see how Beth Bathe uses water-mixable oils to create the tonal landscape painting, "Pipkas Cottage."
How to paint landscapes

7 Ways to Handle Details in a Mood Painting

What details should go in and how should you paint them? What should be left out? John MacDonald shares his expert suggestions.
How to paint landscapes

How to Paint Landscapes: A Q&A with Kathleen Hudson

Kathleen Hudson (who is on the faculty of the Plein Air Convention) has been drawn to the landscape since childhood. Here, she explains her process of how to paint landscapes.
Gene Costanza painting on location

5 Quick and Dirty Tips for Artists

Plein air painter Gene Costanza shares his five quick tips for artists on composition, color, and more.
Larry Cannon, “Malibu Thunder” 16 x 20 in., watercolor on paper

2 Quick Tips: No-Frills Advice for Landscape Painters

"You will learn far more from your failures than you will from your successes. You will always remember ..."
Backpacks for plein air painting

The Best Backpacks for Plein Air Painting

There are as many backpack brands and styles as there are colors in the western sunset, so what’s the best backpack for artists who paint en plein air? We asked, and you answered! (Bonus: Watch a free video from Eric Rhoads on how to pack a light plein air backpack.)
Finding the perfect place to paint

3 Considerations for Finding the Perfect Place to Paint

A plein air painter shares her quick and dirty tips for finding the perfect place to paint, above ground or below!
Plein air painting in Chicago

Plein Air Painting and Personal Safety

This could save your life > Get expert tips from a Chicago artist on how plein air painters can be safe while painting outdoors in public spaces.
Eric Rhoads during "Plein Air Gear" on Beginner's Day

How to Fly with Art Supplies

Artists have many questions when it comes to traveling with art supplies - we have your answers.
Artist Joseph McGurl painting en plein air

Joseph McGurl: You Know You’re An Artist When …

Joseph McGurl shares five secret practices that might seem off-the-wall to others, but have become completely normal for him.
7 Tips for Improving a Landscape Painting Composition

7 Tips for Improving a Landscape Painting Composition

In this free article, score Dan Marshall's tips, plus three case studies on landscape painting composition.

What to Know About Painting Snow

Eight top artists help break down the important elements to capturing snow-covered landscapes in pastel and oil.
Landscape painting by Bill Davidson

Glow, Energy, Texture: How to Paint Landscapes Step by Step Demo

How to Paint Landscapes > Learn how to quickly accomplish a glowing, magical atmosphere in paintings with this free step-by-step demo from Bill Davidson ("How to Paint Glowing Landscapes" on PaintTube.TV).
  1. Plein Air Podcast Special Episode 254: Artists for Lahaina