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 Build an Easel, (Reasonably) Easily and Affordably

David and Mindy Jamieson wanted their own easels, so they built their own. How’d it go?
One of Terry Stanley’s Photoshop critiques

Are You Good at Giving Critiques?

Terry Stanley, an artist and art industry veteran who launched the Jack Richeson School of Art and marketed its art materials before retiring, offers what she has learned about the art of the critique in this special feature.
Pochade box for pastels

Packing with Pastels: Pochade Box Tips

We asked prolific artist Jude Tolar, “Do you know of a great, light pochade box for pastel painters?” Tolar’s response was worth quoting in full.

A Way to Prepare for Drawing and Creativity

When it comes to painting, the act of drawing is often a departure from the classical linear concept that is understood by most people. Drawing, in the painting arena, has more to do with large compositional ideas and design elements, such as placement of objects or masses, linear movement, relative sizes of objects, weight distribution, and shapes.
Art composition - oil landscape of a canyon

Variety: The Spice of Art

The very idea of how we approach our own art and feel about the art of others, keeps the “spice of art” alive. Now, I will be the first to confess that...
John Hughes, “Storm Clouds over the Elk Refuge,” 36 x 48, oil

6 Studio Lessons For Plein Air Success

Six seasoned pros share their knowledge on when a painting is finally finished.
Quick draw figurative art

The “Point” (and History) of Quick Draw

Acclaimed painter Ned Mueller has some fascinating thoughts about the origins of this popular practice we think you’ll enjoy.
Eric Rhoads and Kelly Kane at Plein Air Live

33 Special Highlights and Bonus Tips from Plein Air Live

Hundreds of artists gathered recently during Streamline's 2nd annual Plein Air Live, where they had front row seats to presentations and demonstrations from today's masters, such as Clyde Aspevig, Dawn Whitelaw, C.W. Mundy, Thomas Jefferson Kitts, Lori Putnam (who got a very special surprise!) and so many more. 

Exposed: Nude Plein Air Painting Secrets

Expert artist Patricia Watwood, who is classically trained, shares a step-by-step demo of how to paint a figure en plein air.
Plein air painting of water

Tips on Painting Ocean Water

Catherine Fasciato paints water wonderfully, particularly the ocean waves along the California coastline, where she lives. Her advice for painting convincing waves and seascapes is simple, but devilishly difficult.

Palette Knife as Ticket to Simplification

For Jane Boyd, the key to simplifying her paintings was simply to put down the paintbrush.
McMahon’s plein air setup on Fort Myers Beach

People . . . Who Paint People en Plein Air

Kathryn A. McMahon is not one of those plein air painters who are bothered by passersby. She puts them into her paintings, and chats with them. How?
Teaching art

Unsticking the Stuck Student

Artist and art industry veteran Terry Stanley has some advice for art instructors who encounter creatively blocked students.
Painting landscapes - Bill Davidson -

10 Mental Keys to Make an Extraordinary Painting

Plein air painter Bill Davidson takes us through his process of creating a powerful landscape painting.
Design and composition - Painting of a French town

Putting Design Over Subject

North Carolina painter Jean Cauthen says she seeks out “the places between or in back of places,” by which she means finding a strong design rather than painting a portrait.
How to paint landscapes - Thomas Jefferson Kitts -

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.
landscape oil painting composition

Telling the Truth – By Leaving Stuff Out

Most of us mistakenly feel when we start out, that the more detail we include in a painting the more convincing it will be. Where does this lie come from? It may sound silly, but I think it’s partially the fault of...
Oil painting of a barn - landscape painting tips

Joseph McGurl on Contrasting Edges

"What I’m trying to do is paint the appearance of nature, the experience of looking at it," McGurl explains. Learn more, and see what's in his landscape painting toolkit!
Ivan Chow, author of "Travel Sketching: Drawing Insights from Instanbul"

On Keeping a Travel Art Journal: Tips for Artists

In this excerpt from Ivan Chow's  "Travel Sketching: Drawing Insights from Istanbul," the artist shares his approach to a practice that is both satisfying and memorable.
Painting of an adobe

Painting Architectural Subjects in the Landscape

Tempted to cover up an awkward part of your painting with a random landscape element? Find out why you shouldn't, and more great advice, in this guest blog post from outdoor painter Peggy Immel.
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  1. PleinAir Podcast 216: Kevin Macpherson on How Artists are Wired Differently, and More