Summer Plein Air Painting

Bring art outside this summer by painting plein air!

Summer is here! Time for pool parties, barbecues, trips to the beach or mountains — or maybe somewhere even more exciting! Why not record your memories of these happy summer days not with a snapshot, but with a painting? Pack up all your art supplies and head to the great outdoors!

Painting en plein air (French for "in the open air") truly gained in popularity in the mid-to-late 1800’s, coinciding with the development of some of our favorite art supplies today, including French easels, easel accessories, and pre-mixed oil or watercolor paints available in tubes (previously artists ground their own pigments to mix paints from scratch — not a very convenient practice outdoors!).

The Impressionist artists were especially enamored of plein air painting: reflecting the mutable, changing effects of light over a landscape was the epitome of achievement for many artists like Monet, Renoir, and Pissarro. Don’t be intimidated — you too can capture a moment en plein air in any medium you wish: watercolors, acrylics, oils, even pencil and pastel!

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

Some great supplies for plein air painting:

So whether you’re taking a trip or enjoying a "staycation," whip out those paints and brushes and capture this summer’s best moments by painting en plein air!

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