Plein Air Art- Create Art Anywhere

A Guide to Take your Art Outside

We recently discussed the 10 Places Every Artist Needs to Plein Air Paint and offered some great places to get outside and create. Now lets talk about what to bring with you. What are really the best tools and supplies to take with you when you are painting or drawing en plein air? Which easels or paints work the best so that you don't have to take your whole studio with you? Jerry's Artarama has all the tools necessary to withstand nature and give you the best opportunities to paint and draw nature from within!


A firm support is a great place to start when taking your work outside. Travel or French easels are  great and versatile types of easels that are easy to set up on many different terrains for great outdoor results and don't take up much storage when you're not using them. Although French Easels tend to be a bit bulkier, they do typically provide storage bins and trays for your paints, brushes and tools. If you prefer to travel ultralight, a travel easel is much lighter and simpler, just giving you a place to support your canvas, panel or board. The key is to decide which easel would more match your style and decide how you prefer to plein air paint.

We suggest the Jullian French Easel for artists on the go. The Jullian French Easel has a handy metal lined drawer for paints, metal leg spikes for extra sturdiness on soft ground and even a finished mahogany wood palette making it a one stop shop to hold all of your outdoor painting tools and materials.

Paints and Palettes

One of the reasons plein air painting took off during the 1800s was because of the spread of purchasable portable paints. Today, portable paint tubes are more than readily available and are perfect for taking outdoors whether they are pre-mixed oils, acrylics or watercolors. Here are some tips for taking your paints outdoors:

Watch plein air painter Mike Rooney explain some handy tips and tricks for painting outdoors!

In the sun it can be kind of hard to see what your paints look like. All the glare from sunlight can make getting an accurate view of your colors. However, with the SoHo Grey Toned Disposable Paper Palette the colors you use can be seen without any sheen or glare. The grey paper helps artists see their paint colors more accurately in direct light where white paper palettes can reflect light off the colors, distorting them to your eyes. And when you're all finished painting, simply throw away the sheet you used and the next one will be ready for your next plein air masterpiece. 


Solvent Holders

We at Jerry's try to be as environmentally friendly as we can. Part of that is when plein air painting, we pack out what we pack in. Having a good container for your mixing and cleaning water can be key when you plein air paint and the Aqua Tote Travel Water Bag is the perfect solution for all of your messy solutions (get it?). Aqua Totes are extremely strong and sturdy, made of water resistant nylon with a nylon support frame and nylon liner. This wont blow over in the wind or tip over easily outside. It can also fold up nicely so it barely takes up any space when the weather isn't as nice. 

Papers, Boards and Sketchbooks

What you paint or sketch on plays an important part of plein air painting. You want something a little more durable than you would use in your studio. For watercolors we suggest Fabriano Artistico paper which works for all water media and even charcoal and pastel use. If you're painting on an easel, the Creative Mark Butterfly Oil Primed Linen Plein Air Panels are lightweight and versatile for any outdoor painting. It weighs a fraction of other panels but still retains its durableness. We also really like the Artist Survival Book for which is easily portable and is great for sketching or artistic journaling. It even has a pen/ pencil loop so everything you need to sketch an outdoor scene near you is all in one place. It can also be used for all kinds of media whether for paints, pastels, colored pencils, pen or charcoal


We at Jerry's hope you're now perfectly prepared to tackle the great outdoors with some plein air prowess! If you would like to find other great supplies, Jerry's Artarama has an entire section devoted to Traveling Outdoors  with all of our And if we missed anything you have to have while plein air painting, let us know in the comments below. Now get outside and create!



Presidential Painters- How well do you know them

George W. Bush isn't the Only Painter who Ran our Country


Recently it's come out that  Former President George W. Bush has spent his last two years painting and is now displaying his portraits and paintings at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Texas. After some mixed reviews, general consensus is that he's actually pretty good for an amateur oil painter and portraitist. 

It was recently discovered that he was a painter after a family member's email was hacked and two self portraits were found of the President himself. Now that the news is out, many of Bush's pieces are now on display with self portraits, portraits of Tony Blair of Britain, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia,  Angela Merkel of Germany, President Hamid Karzai of Afganistan, George H.W. Bush, and even the President's dog, Barney. 

However, Bush is not the only president to have a hobby. As we know, Bill Clinton played the tenor saxophone, Thomas Jefferson was a writer, wine maker and industrial designer and Teddy Roosevelt was a famous hunter, but did you know that there were other presidential painters?

Here are a few of them:

George W. Bush

(Bush Paintings, Image Source:NY Times/ Gawker) 

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower began painting to relieve stress during his time as president, not of the United States, but of Columbia University. He unfortunately never took his art as a serious matter, but his art did gain some national attention. Eisenhower himself however said of his artwork that "They would have burned this **** a long time ago if I weren't the President of the United States." 


(Portraits of George Washington, Waterfall, Image Source: Dwight D. Eisenhower Library)

What do you think of his work?

Ulysses S. Grant

Ulysses S. Grant was a more serious watercolor painter and quite accomplished. Very detail oriented, he honed his skills painting and drawing at West Point. He took pride in not only being able to command armies but also to create art!

(Grant Paintings, Image Source:www.granthomepage.com) 

Jimmy Carter

Specializing in naturalistic scenery and animals, Jimmy Carter was also quite an artist. Carter not only painted but also partook in woodworking, selling items like handmade stools and auctioning his paintings for charity. In 2012, Jimmy Carter sold an original painting at auction for a steep price of $250,000!



(Carter Painting, Image Source: www.cartercenter.org)

How do you think these POTUS Painters hold up? Which is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!


Did you know- Fabriano Watercolor Papers

Facts about One of Europe's Most Storied Paper Makers

Fabriano, one of Europe's oldest fine artist paper makes has been famous across the globe for their paper and making it for centuries. Today, we thought we'd share some fun and little known facts about this old, wonderful and storied company and their terrific products. 

  • The company is currently celebrating their 750th Anniversary as a company meaning that they've been making paper since the 13th Century.
  • 30 generations of loyal workers have passed since 1264- whole nations, states and empires have been born and died in that time.
  • Artists and creators such as Michelangelo, Raphael, Francisco Goya, Beethoven and Giambattista Bodoni, the Italian typist who has several typefaces named after him.
  • Fabriano is still today one of the largest producers of the Euro, because of Fabriano paper's anti-forgery characteristics.
  • Jerry's Artarama carries about 20 different product lines by Fabriano including best sellers like Fabriano Artistico Watercolor Paper line.
  • Fabriano watercolor paper makes a great basis for paintings like the one below and has an even and toothy surface for even water absorption and an almost spongy feel that makes it a favorite among printmakers and digital printers as well as watercolors!


  • Fabriano Artistico Watercolor Paper has almost a perfect rating from Users on Jerrysartarama.com and has reviews from real artists like:

-"Fabriano Artistico Paper is my first love in Watercolor supplies. I think a watercolorist needs to have a relationship with their paper. I love the texture, the buttery surface and the way the paper lifts so easily. Fabriano Artistico is ALWAYS my first choice in papers"

-"Fantastic! I have been a watercolor painter for years with emphasis on pen and ink detailing. I really love the Fabriano Artistico 300 lb paper in the cold press smooth and rough. It is incredibly forgiving for those of us who have a tendency to try and overwork our paintings. I'm willing to pay extra for the excellent quality of this paper and Jerry's Artarama has a fabulous price."

-"Paper is smooth and it is perfect for art journaling. I make my own art journals with this paper. I love the way it feels. I can paint with acrylics and use watercolor if I choose. Very versatile."

-"This paper will take a beating without falling apart- water, scraping, lifting- just about everything. I've been using it for years."

  • Right Now, Jerry's is sponsoring the Fabriano 750th Anniversary Art Contest! 

Have you tried Fabriano's watercolor paper? What do you think about it? Let us know in the comments below or on the review tab of the Fabriano product pages. We'd love to hear from you.

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