South Carolina artist Mary Bentz Gilkerson paints arresting, vibrant plein air paintings with significant impasto. It takes a bold brush to do that. She recently distilled crucial advice to plein air painting newcomers on her blog. What’s her list of seven plein air painting tips? 

Gilkerson previously wrote a blog post on selecting plein air equipment and materials. In her newest one, she offers advice on choosing and tackling the subject matter.

“Weston, Fall Fields,” by Mary Bentz Gilkerson, oil, 4 x 6 in.

In brief, Gilkerson advises that you tone your canvas, make a thumbnail sketch, look for bold patterns of light and dark and of warm and cool, settle on a dominant color, mix your colors, and work from dark to light and from background to foreground. 

“Summer Evening Sky,” by Mary Bentz Gilkerson, oil, 9 x 12 in.

It’s important to note that she focuses on oil paints, although most of the advice holds for any medium. Read her full post here.


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