Plein Air Painting

Posted by on Jun 9, 2015 in Plein Air, Thoughts | 2 Comments

In reference to plein air painting, a friend who is a watercolorist emailed me and said, “I thought as a oil painter you would be into it.” 

That is a common assumption about oil painters.

(My friend is more artistically adventuresome than I am. She goes out in an atmosphere where sometimes the watercolors evaporate before they are fully blended!)

When I took a studio painting class, specifically called “photo-realism for studio painters”, the teacher asked how many of us wanted just studio painting and how many wanted the photo-realism aspect. Very few were in my camp, and he told the class that it is just a matter of tricks that anyone can master. (He never did address nor explain or demonstrate those so called “tricks”.) Then he set up still life arrangements and made plans for us to go out plein air painting. I signed up to specifically learn to be a photo-realist studio painter, so after half a semester, I dropped the class.


So, here is the progression of my own weak attempts at plein air painting. It is a Three Rivers scene, which you probably figured out all by yourself.


Block it in from photos while in the studio


Set up on location and make a few stabs at improving it. More was revealed in real life than from the photos – that was helpful.


plein air painting

Finish it up in the studio.

The finished piece is spoken for, but the “buyer” doesn’t want it yet. Hmmm, any other offers? Until money exchanges hands, it is simply conversation.