Exciting yet challenging but so rewarding!
Painting outdoors is one of the most exciting and rewarding ways to work. However, it can be challenging and a little bit intimidating to leave the studio and learn how to decipher so much visual information!
Learning foundational skills while on location.
I will show you how to get started by walking you through my process for creating lively, vibrant paintings. The emphasis will be on developing a strong foundation of learning to see colors and mix them with a limited palette. Learning how to use certain artists' tools like a view finder, a sketchbook for small thumbnail sketches and even your smart phone for understanding value. How to simplify forms and editing to capture the essence of a location.
Each session will start with a brief discussion about one of the key elements of painting - design, composition, value, color mixing, color temperatures, and edges. I will include a hand-out with helpful exercises to practice and additional references to take with you.
Instructor demonstrations are valuable.
I will first start with an abbreviated demonstration to focus on the lesson of the day. During the demo you'll be able to ask questions and take notes in your sketchbook.
Next, it's your turn to paint.
You can either set up your easel right behind mine and work on the same scene (this is an excellent format if you're brand new to painting) or you can choose your own location. Once you've selected your location, and get set up, I will go around to each student to assist one-on-one to help or make suggestions. You'll have approximate two hours to work on your own painting.
Gather, Gentle Critique and Lunch.
At the end we will gather together where we first started and side by side we'll review and encourage each other through a gentle critique that will help in the learning process and enjoy lunch together.
Afterwards, you can stay and work more or your piece or pack up.
We will work indoors in my studio if it rains.
Studio location: 205 West Main Street, Suite 226, Branford, CT
Materials and Supplies
Each student will be responsible for their own supplies and easels. If you are new to plein air painting and don't have an easel, I have 4 easels that students can borrow for the class. Students can work in either oils or acrylics.
See the right hand column for supplies or download a printable copy.
Beginners are welcome! We all start some where!
We will have students at all different levels in each sessions, that's just how it goes and in fact I encourage it. The new students learn just as much from me as from all the other students. There maybe some vocabulary words that are new to you but that's ok, you'll catch on - we all start some where. If you are new to painting, I would suggest that you read a blog post that I wrote recently for my class. click here to read.
Plein air painting is a passion of mine!... Teaching is too! I just love sharing what I know and my experiences to help my artist friends, students and to connect with others who love the beauty that surrounds us.
My goal is to introduce you to the wonderful world of plein air painting and to help grow your artistic skills. To help you build your painting confidence, to encourage you to paint what you love and share it with others. Creating art and sharing your art has a way of connecting us with others, seeing beauty in the ordinary and developing long lasting friendships.
What Does "En Plein Air" Mean?
The French call painting outdoors "en plein air" - "in the open air" - some say plein -air others say plain- air. It doesn't really matter. According to art historians, there are many records of artists' sketches done outdoors dating before the impressionism era but these sketches were done for practice or recording. It was the Impressionists that considered a painting done "en plein air" as a finished work.
Currently, the Plein Air Movement is one of the largest art movements in art history. As the Publisher of Plein Air Magazine says "It's the new Golf". Groups of artists are taking their easels and art supplies to venture outdoors to paint their surroundings. There are several groups in Connecticut to join.
On a larger scale there are Competitions, Paint Outs, Quick Draws, Invitationals and Festivals held throughout North America for Plein Air Painting. There's even an annual week long convention where well over 1000 artists attend. That is definitely on my bucket list! in 2020 the convention will be held in Colorado!
Equipment and Materials
Our garden with Jac the cat posing
Anticipating the Season, oil, 8 x 10, en plein air, May 17, 2012
read blog post