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 beaches - Mike Barr -

How to Paint Beaches: Nail the Illusion of Distance, Light, and Atmosphere

The key to an effective plein air beach scene is to keep it simple — and that goes for your equipment, your palette, and your subject.
Landscape Painting Advice - Peggy Immel -

Painting Outdoors? Plan for Spontaneity!

“The best plein air pieces start with a well-thought-out plan that is then executed spontaneously with an intuitive hand.” Follow Peggy Immel’s three steps before starting your next landscape painting.
Plein air for beginners -

Plein Air Painting for Dummies

If you’re new to painting outdoors (or know someone who is), take advice from these 11 artists, including the most obvious but overlooked things you should know, and what “plein errors” to avoid.
How to paint landscapes - Joseph McGurl -

How Joseph McGurl Paints a Landscape in Oil

Preview Joseph McGurl’s newest art video workshop in this exclusive announcement on how to paint better landscapes.
How to paint landscapes -

How to Use “Concept” to Create a Successful Painting, From the Start

As artists we must decide what we want the viewer to take away from our creations and determine how best to communicate it.
Plein air art supplies -

A DIY “Micro” Pochade for Painting Outdoors

How one outdoor painter is making the most of plein air with this artist hack.
How to paint landscapes en plein air -

The Benefits of Repeatedly Painting the Same Location

With keen observation and awareness, we can identify opportunities for a successful plein air painting.
How to paint landscapes - Thomas Jefferson Kitts -

How to Paint Landscapes: 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.

Ways to Use Rhythms in Your Next Landscape Painting

“Almost everything presents rhythms and patterns once you begin to discover them,” says Lori Putnam. “The real challenge for an artist is knowing when to emphasize the pattern or rhythm, and when to break it.”
How to paint landscapes - Color Value -

Painting Basics: Understanding Value

“All of us, beginners and experienced painters alike, can benefit from a refresher course in the bedrock principles of value and color.” John MacDonald explains more in this overview.
Painting landscapes en plein air -

Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Painting a Landscape

Ultimately, when you paint a landscape, you’re painting movement. The air moves, the light changes; it’s never static. Light and atmospheric forces act upon the components of the landscape to create a story, and it’s up to you as the artist to pick the story you want to tell...
How to paint clouds en plein air -

How to Paint Clouds en Plein Air

The unique challenge of painting clouds is that, unlike other landscape elements, they’re in constant motion. Learn how to choose the right moment for painting clouds en plein air.
Color mixing for beginners -

Color Mixing for Beginners

Achieving color harmony is certainly one of the keys to creating a successful painting. We need to infuse our paintings with harmonious color; however, our job becomes somewhat more complicated because...
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.

The 6B Graphite Pencil: An Essential Drawing Tool

Toolbox tip: Learn about the drawing tool that Michael Chesley Johnson says is essential for plein air artists.

PleinAir Tip from Stefan Baumann: Sketch Quickly

When painting outdoors, it is important that you capture this piece first.
The Importance of Accurate Color Values

The Importance of Accurate Color Values

When learned and absorbed, this knowledge can bring dramatic changes to your work. See how in this guest blog post from John Pototschnik.
How to create focal point in art

An Exploration of the Focal Point in a Painting

Is the focal point always the subject? The next time you are wondering why a painting you are working on seems dull and lifeless, think about this principle of “harmony and contrast” to see if you can come up with the answer.
Plein Air Painting Events

Must-Have List: Crucial Outerwear and Art Supplies for Plein Air

From pants to paint tubes, you’ll want to refer to this list for your next plein air painting trip. Bonus: It includes tips for flying with art supplies!
Plein air painting

What You Learn Painting Clouds in the San Francisco Bay

Steven McDonald finds that the baylands outside of San Francisco offer a superb place to observe and paint clouds. Here’s what he’s learned there.