plein air painting - Joseph McGurl, “Study of Brick and Stone,” 9 x 12 inches, Oil on panel, plein air sketch
Joseph McGurl, “Study of Brick and Stone,” 9 x 12 inches, Oil on panel, plein air sketch

On Plein Air Painting > “The plein air sketch forms the basis of all of my art making,” says Joe McGurl. “Despite the fact that many of my studio paintings are completely imagined scenes, they are informed by and based upon thousands of these sketches painted over a 30-year period. Working this way has required a significant amount of time meditating upon, observing, and desperately struggling to interpret nature in paint.

“Knowing that the only reference for developing subsequent studio paintings is what I have studied and painted on site encourages me to dig in and fight for every bit of information I can grasp before I leave the field. Because I am usually able to render the scene before me with enough fidelity to meet my needs, a photo to make corrections is not necessary.

“Plein air painting without photographic reference as a backup is similar to that old cliché of walking a tightrope without a net. It compels one to concentrate at the highest levels.”

Learn more about Joseph at:

Learn more about painting realism landscapes through Joseph McGurl’s PaintTube.TV workshops: Painting Light and Atmosphere and Advanced Landscape Painting (available as a combo set with over 25 hours of in-depth instruction here).

Here’s just some of what Joe covers in Advanced Landscape Painting:

  • How to do an on-location outdoor “plein air” painting
  • How to upsize a small painting to a massive studio painting
  • How to create a proper underpainting
  • How to build up a painting, and where and when to use texture
  • How to use thin, subtle layers to give the painting depth and mood; and more

The above quote is an excerpt from the following article at our sister site, RealismToday:

Realism Without Photography


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