Plein-Air Painting: Taking Your Paints Outside


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What is plein air technique?

Plein-air is a term derived from the French phrase en plein air, which literally means "in the open air." It's a familiar concept today, but in the late 19th century, when the Impressionists ventured outside of their studies into nature to capture different lights at different times of the day, it was revolutionary.

What and where to paint outdoors?

Your subject is entirely up to you, but remember that you don't have to paint everything you see; Be selective and think about the essence of the scene. With that said, focus on what you see, not what you can imagine or intellectualize on the subject (otherwise you might be back in your studio).

Consider looking for locations in advance to decide what to paint, what time of day, and where it will settle. That way, when you head out to paint, you can spend all day painting and take home the best selection of colors for that particular scene and lighting conditions. Look around 360 degrees so you don't miss the possibilities "behind" you.

Don't think your location has to be remote or glamorous. You can go to a local park, a friend's pretty flower garden, or a table in a cafe. The ideal place to settle will be in the shade and protected from the wind, but this is often not possible. If you are using an umbrella for shade, make sure it doesn't cast any color onto your canvas.

How to manage viewers

There is something about seeing an artist at work that makes people curious, more likely to talk to a stranger, and more likely to give unwanted opinions. This can be confusing, especially if your paint is not working well, and quite disturbing if it happens frequently. Consider standing where people cannot come behind you, such as against a wall or a closed door.
If you don't want to chat, don't reply politely by saying, "I'm sorry. I can't speak right now. I have little time to do so. Most people just want to get a closer look at what you're doing and therefore say, "Take a look," so keep going. Some people will want to give you all kinds of unsolicited advice; I have thick skin and I try to get rid of it with extreme courtesy, for example with a "Thank you, but I agree with what I am doing."

How to deal with light changes

The scene in front of you will change as the sun moves across the sky. For example, strong shadows early in the morning will diminish as lunchtime approaches. Start by inserting the main shapes throughout the painting, then the details. If you work slowly and may be in one place for several days, consider having different canvases to record the scene at different times and create a series of paintings. As the day progresses, switch from one canvas to another.

Do I have to finish painting outside?

Purists will argue that an outdoor painting should begin and end outside of the studio, but surely it's the end result that matters, not just where you created it. If you prefer to draw or make preparatory paintings for studio work, please do so.

What materials do I need?

If you can afford it, keep a separate set of outdoor painting supplies so you can easily collect everything, rather than having to pack your art supplies every time.

Is it safe to take my paintings on an airplane?

Although acrylic and oil paints are not flammable, it is best to keep them in your bag that will be checked in, rather than carry them in your carry-on luggage and risk being confiscated by overzealous security guards. Because they don't believe you. Also put your brushes and spatulas in your checked luggage as they could be seen as potential weapons. Liquids, turpentine and mineral spirits should be considered dangerous and should not be transported on an airplane; buy them at your destination. When in doubt, obtain a product information sheet and check with the airline.

Do i need an easel?

There are a variety of portable or drawing easels on the market that are lightweight and fold quite small, but you can rest your board on something, like the bag that you carry your art supplies in. If you paint from your car (like when it's raining), you can prop it up on the dash. First, see how much you love painting outdoors before investing in another easel.

How to transport the wet canvas?

Unless you have room in your car to lay down a flat tarp, transportation can be tricky. If you are using oils, use a medium that will speed up drying. A French easel can allow you to attach a canvas to it to transport home. Some art stores sell clips that can be attached to the canvas to separate them. If you are happy to paint small pictures, consider a pochade box, a compact and elegant box that contains several wet panels on the lid and your paintings on the bottom; A palette keeps your paints in place and slides out when you want to use it.

Enjoy The Video Tutorial about Painting En Plein Air - TOP TIPS for a successful scene!

Source: Andrew Tischler

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