information and tips on outdoor, plein air painting

Alla Prima Painting – The Process

Alla prima, literally means ‘at first’. This term describes the ‘wet on wet’ painting technique, otherwise known as ‘direct painting’, where the artist completes a painting in one sitting much like plein air painting. Below is my process for alla prima painting. Follow these simple and important tips for a successful painting: First lay in the darks Keep the darks thin and transparent Paint dark to light Dark = Transparent Light = Impasto Next build up the [...]

2011-03-01T16:39:17+00:00 December 21st, 2009|Fine Art Tips, General, Guest Articles, Plein Air, Videos|2 Comments

A Favorite Book: “Composition of Outdoor Painting” by Edgar Payne

One of my most cherished artistic possessions is the little book, Composition of Outdoor Painting by California Impressionist, Edgar Payne . Often referred to as the ‘Bible', it is an indispensable tool that can be found in the studio of most every serious landscape and plein air painter. If you can buy only one art book on composition, this should be it! Multi talented, Edgar Payne was one of the great California Impressionist painters as well as a great teacher and author. Rather [...]

Top 10 Reference Photo Tips for Artists

For centuries, artists have relied upon the use of tools to help improve their art compositions and concepts. Even the great Leonardo da Vinci used the grid method to help perfect his drawings, and nearly two hundred years later, Johannes Vermeer employed the use of the camera obscura. Artists have always been at the forefront of technology. Nowadays, many landscape and wildlife artists learn to be proficient photographers as well. In fact, most successful artists use the aid of a camera. The above reference [...]

2013-12-08T15:17:47+00:00 August 28th, 2009|Fine Art Tips, General, Misc. Articles, Plein Air|7 Comments

Use The Hidden Meaning of Color In Your Art

The hidden meaning of color can be used as a powerful tool in art. Once the simple principles are understood, the artist can use color to enchant the viewer. In fact, research shows that color can play a major role in our overall state of well-being. The colors we surround ourselves with directly influence the way we feel and relax. In art and design, color allows us to create our own individuality and flare. For years, interior decorators, [...]

A Brush with Danger: Plein Air Painting in the Backcountry

During the summer months here in Idaho, I spend a lot of time exploring and plein air painting in the mountains. Plein Air painting is the French term, which literally means, ‘painting in the open air’. Just like the Impressionists, artists venture out from the comfort of their studios and into the field in order to study the effects of light on a subject. But, painting pretty pictures in the backcountry isn’t as easy as it looks. It [...]

2012-04-10T12:23:49+00:00 July 30th, 2009|Art Travels, General, Plein Air|8 Comments

Survival Tips for the Outdoor Painter & Enthusiast

Painting pretty pictures in the great out-of-doors is not just another walk-in-the-park. In fact for the outdoor painter, plein air painting is tough work. It takes us from the controlled environment of our studio and into the unpredictable environment of Mother Nature. Outdoor painting with a pochade box is a wonderful experience, but believe it or not, there are some hazards the artist should be aware of and prepared for when painting outside. The most effective way to prevent mishaps [...]

My Paintings of Provence

Provence, France  has fascinated landscape painters for ages. Artists have been painting in Provence since prehistoric times.  Paintings of bison, seals, penguins and horses dating to between 27,000 and 19,000 b.c. were found in the Cosquer Cave near Marseilles. From the 1300's up through the 1700's, Provincial rich art history consisted of biblical art, fantastic animals and scenes of daily life.  My daughter and I saw many of these paintings at our day at the Louvre. By the 19th [...]

2013-06-28T08:47:29+00:00 June 7th, 2009|Art Travels, Fine Art Tips, General, Plein Air|15 Comments

Painting & Playing in Provence, France

Awww...Paris. Rich in history dating  back more than two millenia, Paris has attractions sufficient to last a lifetime. But for me - the deep blue of a Provincial sky, the aroma of fresh baked bread and lavender fields floating on warm breezes beckoned me into the French countryside of Provence. My daughter and I were fortunate enough to organize a painting trip with a wonderful group of ladies. After many years of studying the French Impressionists, I have always dreamed of painting in France. Our tour de France started [...]

2013-12-05T12:25:58+00:00 June 1st, 2009|Art Travels, General, Misc. Articles, Plein Air|14 Comments

My Tour de France – Paris

What a whirlwind trip!  My Tour de France was filled with art museums, plein air painting, touring villages & castles and of course - fresh baked baguettes & croissants with cheese! We went from Paris to Provence and back again.  So, before I begin to write about all the art, I wanted to share some of my French musings. Our 'tour de France' began in Paris! My daughter and I arrived to a wet mid-morning after a [...]