Eric Rhoads, plein air painting for beginners
Eric Rhoads painting en plein air in Colorado at PACE '23

Plein Air Painting for Beginners > One of the benefits of attending the annual Plein Air Live virtual art conference is that it’s so full of tips, techniques, and even conversations about what it means to be a plein air painter. The following is from the 2023 “Every Plein Air Question Answered” session led by Eric Rhoads.

Stay tuned for more expert advice here, and join us for the next events on the calendar > Pastel Live (online in August ‘23) and a lifetime bucket list trip – paint the cherry blossoms with us in Japan in March ‘24!

Q: What should my plein air painting goal be? A study or a finished painting?

“It depends on what you want,” Eric said. “A lot of the artists I know have the goal of creating a study. They want color notes, a sense of form and shape, and they want to make sure they capture the light.

“Then they’ll go into the studio and do a finished painting from that study.

“For example, Kevin Macpherson will wait until it dries, put a piece of acetate over it, and mix colors on top of it to get them exact so that his bigger painting will have the exact nature as the small one. A lot of people want to try to keep it just as loose.

“There is no right or wrong.”

Eric Rhoads with "Every Plein Air Painting Question Answered"
Eric with “Every Plein Air Question Answered” at Plein Air Live 2023

Related: “Is It a Plein Air Painting If It Was Touched Up in the Studio?”

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

And browse more free articles here at


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here