Thursday, May 14, 2015

Plein Air Tips for All Us Beginners

One of my goals this summer is to Plein Air paint.

My first attempt last summer was not good. I haven't attempted it again but am determined that this will be the summer I learn to paint plein air.

Plein Air is painting outdoors. The artist must deal with the elements, especially the changing light along with time limits. I've signed up for a class and gone to Pinterest where I have been collecting plein air tips for awhile now. Here are some tips and comments I feel are worth noting;

Vadim Klevenskiy lists what the advantages of painting Plein Air are.

1. To paint in the open air is to experience the environment of which you are painting, the sounds, the smells.

2. Plein Air teaches you to be more organized.   

3. You learn to make good use of time while painting. Light can change quickly so you need to make decisions fast.

4. Plein Air forces you to think about what you are painting, actual tones and colors can be interpreted far more accurately .
5. You'll gain knowledge of colors, hues, how light affects things, painting techniques, etc. As my friend Rich says, " You'll learn a lot about mixing colors."

6. It will help you to have stronger observation skills. You'll be more able to discern lights and darks, tones, hues,values, perspective etc.

7. Photographs never capture the quality of color that the human eye can see.

Dan Boone offers these tips.

1. Determine your subject. Focus your eye on a compelling scene within the larger setting.  You don't have to paint everything. Just sit in the setting for awhile before you paint to feel the essence of the environment.

2. Pay attention to how you position your easel. If you have a wall or door to your back people will be less likely to creep up on you. You may want to paint under a tree to be in shade.

3. Lighting is important. The time of day you choose to paint outdoors has a profound effect on the mood of your painting. Colors in the morning and evening are cool tones, while afternoon colors are warm. Beach paintings are lovely at sunset.

4.Use a familiar color palette with paints you've mixed before.

And always know the painting does not have to be completed outdoors. Finish it in your studio if you are more comfortable there. Be sure to take several photographs for reference.

For these and more information see my Plein Air Tips board on Pinterest at Jill Rae Finally Art.

Do you have some tips you'd like to add? Please share them in the comments.

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