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 Soho Artist Light Weight French Easel for artists on the go. The SoHo Urban Artist Lightweight Mahogany French Easel A Full Size French Easel That Weighs Less Than 9lbs! 30% lighter than other French Easels. All the features and one new one that you would expect in a French Easel but up to 30% lighter than other French Easels making it easier to carry, especially when fully loaded with supplies.
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 oil paints, acrylic paints or watercolor paints. 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.
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 watercolor blocks we suggest Fabriano Artistico Watercolor Blocks 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.
Really want a great panel that was made for the outdoors? I am sure you do!
Painting outdoors with the bright sun can be difficult so we recommend to use a non-reflective surface perfect for plein air painting! The Pro-Tones All-Media Toned Canvas Panels are triple primed canvas panels available in four, non-reflective colors!
These tones allow artists to see colors more accurately either inside or outside en plein air, because they create a softer and more forgiving background than the traditional white color.
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 supplies and tutorials for Traveling Outdoors to do art.
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!