Artists Magazine

Step Outside

Learning to paint en plein air means overcoming a number of challenges, but the payoff is well worth the effort:

Learning to observe: Most of us have a tendency to draw and paint what we know rather than what we observe. Our preconceived ideas are that grass is green, skies are blue and brick buildings are red. We hold to those ideas even when the ground appears to be ochre or tan, skies glow orange and pink at sunset and a shadow turns a red brick building purple.

Our observations are influenced by weather, atmosphere, seasonal characteristics and changes of light. Once you learn to go beyond what you and to, you can put aside your assumptions and begin painting convincing plein air paintings. This is the first step in becoming a skilled outdoor painter.

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