Steps for Creating Plein Air Paintings

Last week, Sharon spent three days outdoors in a Debra Joyce Dawson workshop  to enhance her plein air painting skills. Sharon has been painting en plein air since 2007 and encourages anyone who loves painting to give it a try.

What is plein air painting?

En plein air is a French term for painting outdoors. Translated literally it means: “in the open air”.  Plein air painting came out of the French Impressionists period in the late 19th century, and has endured in America until today.

Sharon states, “The idea for plein air is to do a quick painting outdoors, then use it as a reference for a larger work in studio.”  Wind Swept is an example of a painting created from a plein air piece.

Wind Swept from a plein air painting.
“Wind Swept” is available as a print and as other merchandise (throw pillow shown) on Sharon Weaver – Fine Art America.

Steps for Creating a Plein Air Painting

  1. Begin by drawing a value sketch of your chosen scene in pencil or black marker limiting your values to 2 or 3.
  2. Transfer drawing to canvas and mass in the drawing with a large brush using middle values.
    TIP: Be sure to use lighter values than the scene appears.
  3. Cover the surface as quickly as you can with these middle values.
  4. Once canvas is covered begin pushing and pulling colors and values, adjusting as you go, till finished.

 At the Plein Air Workshop

Deb Dawson at her Plein Air Workshop
Debra Dawson demonstrating in her workshop. 
Sharon outdoors plein air painting.
Sharon outdoors plein air painting.

View Sharon’s plein air portfolio.

Contact Sharon for more information about purchasing a plein air painting from her portfolio.

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