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Plein Air for Beginners

If you’re new to painting outdoors with watercolor, pastel, oil, or acrylic, start here with advice from seasoned plein air artists.

Plein air watercolor

9 Painting and Design Tips for Plein Air Watercolor

When painting with watercolor en plein air, follow this advice for the best shapes, angles, and experience.
Color mixing for plein air painters

A Good Way to Screw Up Your Palette

How many colors should you use when painting en plein air? Eric Rhoads answers in this teaser from Plein Air Live.
Plein air painting with watercolor

Plein Air 101: Mistakes to Avoid, Advice to Heed

If you’re new to plein air painting, here are five mistakes you can avoid from the get-go. (A guest blog post by Brienne M. Brown, who shares her "then" and "now" paintings!)
A common scene at the Plein Air Convention - artists of all levels and backgrounds painting together

Do You Know These 19 Outdoor Painting Tips?

Which of the following painting tips will you put into practice? Share your answer in the blog comments for your chance to win a 10-tube set of Sennelier Finest Artists' Oils, and a variety of paint brushes from Raphaël!
how to carry wet canvas panels - Eric Rhoads painting alongside others during the 2023 Plein Air Convention & Expo

What’s the Easiest Way to Carry Wet Panels?

The easiest way to carry wet panels (such as a wet canvas) is to ...
Rule of Thirds for painting landscapes - Michael Chesley Johnson, "Canyon Trails," 2018, oil, 12 x 24 in., Private collection, Plein air

Plein Air 101: The Rule of Thirds for Painting Landscapes

Learn how to determine the center of interest when painting landscapes by studying these three examples showing the Rule of Thirds.
Eric Rhoads, plein air painting for beginners

Q: Is a Plein Air Painting a Study or a Finished Painting?

One of the benefits of attending Plein Air Live is that it’s so full of tips, techniques, and even conversations about what it means to ...
Michael Chesley Johnson, “Down by the River,” 9 x 12 in., pastel, en plein air

Painting the Landscape? Do Not Overlook This Step

When it comes to painting the landscape, there are many common mistakes that artists - especially new plein air painters - make...
Painting outdoors - tips for beginners

Tseng’s Tip for Beginner Plein Air Painters

To achieve free, direct handling, Hsin-Yao Tseng says it's impor­tant not to ...
Shuang Li at Easel, in rural Northwestern China, plein air painting

The Worst Time of Day for Plein Air Painting

Avoid ending up with a plein air painting that has too many scattered, isolated, small shapes by ...
John Pototschnik teaches a demo on painting landscapes (from 2022 RealismLive.com)

5 Fixes for 5 Common Painting Mistakes

When you’ve been painting landscapes for as long as John Pototschnik, you come across common mistakes that ...
Advice for artists - William Schneider, "The Paint Out," 9 x 12 in., plein air

Broken Strokes for Different Folks

One artist shares the surprising and unusual methods he uses for creating effective values, edges, marks, and more.
Kathleen Hudson painting en plein air

What to Take When Painting en Plein Air: Kathleen Hudson’s Toolkit & Setup

If you're new to painting en plein air, or are experienced and curious about what others use on location, check out Kathleen Hudson's packing list, including her art toolkit and plein air setup.
Mark Fehlman, painting en plein air

Are You Talented Enough to be a Painter?

TLDR: Yes! But keep reading to see what these seven plein air painters had to say when I asked them for their responses to a question that all creatives hear in their minds at some point.
Plein Air Tips - Carrie Curran, painting the Indiana Dunes

18 Plein Air Tips for Beginners

Check out this helpful list of tips from Carrie Curran, who lays out what you should do before painting, advice for sketching your scene, and steps for success.
art supplies for plein air painters

The Hottest Plein Air Art Supplies of the Season

We always need more art supplies - like, always. Here are some the most popular colors, surfaces, paint brushes, frames on the market now. You're welcome!
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.
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.
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.)
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.