A Plein Air Today Reader Spotlight on … Emily Neel

My Favorite Place to Paint

By far, my fave place to wield a brush is on the beach, and luckily, it’s just a few blocks from my house. Even in the dog days of summer, there’s a wonderful ocean breeze to keep me cool. I love listening to the rolling surf as I paint. I always sleep better after I spend a few hours painting on the beach.

My Favorite Subject

I’m obsessed with capturing all the crazy things that happen around the water – surfers, fishermen, boogie boarders, lifeguards, little kids running up the beach or a simple sunrise – there’s always a story to tell. Specifically, figures on the beach doing their beach thing, whatever that thing may be, is my favorite thing to paint.

plein air painting at the beach

My #1 Medium

Oil is easily my number one medium of choice. I love the sculptural quality of oil, as well as the luminosity and richness of the colorful cadmiums I use.

I once took tons of photographs to hang around my house, but the depth of color an oil painting radiates, compared to all my photographs, is so much better. So guess what? I’m gradually taking down my faded photography and replacing them with oil paintings – mine as well as other artists’. I never get tired of looking at them!

Connect with Emily Neel:
Website | Instagram


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– Incredible art retreats
– Educational and fun art conventions, and much more.

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