Painting outdoors - watercolor
Frank Costantino, “Castine’s Corner Store, Castine, Maine,” watercolor

When time is of the essence and access to supplies is limited, you must be prepared to make the most of what you have. Plein air watercolor painter Frank Costantino offers his best advice for how to handle just about any outdoor painting situation.

Plein Air Watercolor Tips and Tricks

What to do….

When there’s a chance for inclement weather. Pack a suitably sized trash bag to protect your work from showers or sudden downpours. I’ve saved many nearly finished watercolors by having one at hand.

If you don’t have an easel umbrella on site. Look for the sun’s track over a few hours to find a convenient shade condition to set up for the duration of work. Sometimes a shaded spot affects your choice of view.

When you need to work quickly with a frame shop for displaying a piece at an event. Pre-size your image area to a planned matte or frame size.

To maximize the placement of your easel on-site. Set your easel in the direction of view. Many artists position themselves at right angles to their subject and have to shift view, constantly refocusing between the large-scale view and the reduced image on the easel.

To keep your colors fresh. Remember to pay careful attention to the degrees of paper moisture, as well as the moisture in your brushes.

To learn more about the artist, visit Frank M. Costantino.

Become a better outdoor painter today when you get the FREE e-Book for artists, “240 Plein Air Painting Tips.” [click here]

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  1. I paint for relaxation and for the joy of it. Although I havee done planned watercolors indoors, I find that I am often at my best when I paint intuitively and spontaneously so I definitely enjoy plein. Glad I found this site.


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