Why you need it
Everyone must have seen this picture: a man with an easel in the park deftly swinging his brush, surrounded by a crowd of onlookers. Although a scene like that is getting rarer and rarer to observe today, painting outdoors is the most certain way to capture all the subtle play of light and shades that eventually defines the charm of the scenery. So if you are already familiar with landscape art basics, it’s time to learn more about painting outdoors!
5 tips for plen air artists
- Pick a spot beforehand. Before taking your easel for a walk, prowl the neighborhood to find a suitable location. This one is obvious: you don’t want to waste your time wandering around with all your art supplies. Once you choose the scenery, take a good look at it at various angles and from different distances to build the most enticing composition.
- Note that the light will be changing as the sun moves across the sky. This will naturally affect the way your landscape looks. For instance, at dawn shadows are long and dark, but they will become much shorter by noon. To avoid confusion, begin by laying down the main shapes and just wait until it is the right time of the day.
- While taking all necessary painting supplies seems the most important thing to do, you should also take care of other stuff: some snack, a bottle of water and warm clothes in case there is a sudden change of weather.
- If you are about to paint outdoors, note that you will likely attract the attention of by-passers. If you are a shy person, that might be a problem. To save yourself from the stress, stay away from crowded streets and pick quite locations where the risk of becoming an attraction for idle onlookers is minimal.
- Rainy landscapes look unusual and romantic. But can you paint rain outdoors? Actually, you can’t. Even if you have an umbrella to cover your easel or a roof to hide under, there will be too much moisture in the air for the paint even to hold on the canvas. However, it can easily be fixed if you paint rain from the window of your home!