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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 painter Randall Cogburn

A 260-Mile Plein Air Relay

Is it possible to participate in two distant plein air events in the same week? This ambitious artist pushes the limits to find out. Bonus: Includes a list of tips for your next plein air event!

The Best Plein Air Umbrellas for Artists

What's the best umbrella for plein air painting? We asked, and you answered! Here's what artists from our community had to share, including some helpful photos.
Katy Smith's setup for painting landscapes

How Much Should Your Plein Air Painting Gear Weigh?

There’s a mental freedom we associate with painting outdoors, but that lightness can easily be juxtaposed with the ...
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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...
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 ...
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.
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 ...
  1. Plein Air Podcast Special Episode 254: Artists for Lahaina