Tips for Plein Air Painting

Plein air painting first became popular in the 1880s with the Impressionists. The fact that paint was now available in tubes allowed these artists to work “in the open air” instead of their studios. This freedom helped the Impressionists capture the ever-changing light and shadows of their landscape and world. Today, modern plein air painters continue this passion for painting outdoors.

Jennifer VonStein, Moon Dancer Winery, Plein Air

Plein air painting can be a wonderful experience, especially if you prepare properly. If possible, scout out your location beforehand to find what inspires you. Remember, you are the artist, so you don’t need to include every detail in a particular scene – you are allowed to edit and enhance. Along with your Atelier Interactive paints, Unlocking Formula and water sprayer, consider taking a few different surfaces or canvases. That way, when the light and shadows change, you’ll be able to paint the new scene before your eyes. Take a limited amount of colors (perhaps just the primaries and white) to challenge yourself, and for the ease of logistics.  There’s no need to bring your entire studio with you!

Always remember to take your “dirty water” with you for proper disposal, and bring a trash bag for dirty paper towels and other waste. Other handy non-paint items are an umbrella, a stool, a snack, plenty of water to drink and sunscreen and/or a hat!

Jim Cobb, Alice Spings Plein Air

Because you have the ability to control Atelier Interactive’s drying process with the Unlocking Formula, you can work wet-in-wet if desired, even outdoors. Mediums such as Atelier Slow Medium and Thick Slow Medium will extend Atelier Interactive’s working time, which can be helpful in this type of situation. Want to layer quickly – try using the Universal Medium.  Since the environment affects any paint’s drying and curing time, you might find that you need to use the Unlocking Formula fairly soon in the process to reopen paint layers. This is especially true if you are painting in a warm and sunny place. You can also use the Unlocking Formula to help refresh paint that’s drying on the palette, and the next day, use it to reopen paint layers if you choose to “finish” your painting in the studio at a later time.

So instead of painting indoors,give plein air painting a try, and show us what you created on our Facebook page!