Get Outside and Paint!


Plein air pastel, Clinton, NJ - 12x8 in.

It’s finally gotten nice outside! While the warm weather lasts, get outside and paint every chance you get. Painting outdoors is challenging and one of the best ways to build your observation skills. It also forces you to work quickly (the light is constantly changing) and to rely on values. If you block in your values at the beginning, you’re home free. Stay with what you block in and use the scene in front of you as a color reference. Remember to use a variety of warms and cools in both your shadow and light areas. Rely on the values, especially the darks, to create depth and dimension, and to carve out form. A city or townscape such as this is perfect for practicing perspective and it automatically draws the viewer in to your composition.

So, get your plein air kit together, it does not need to be complex. I did this with a handful of pastels, a board to draw on (I just used an old canvas panel), and some PastelMat paper. Find a place that interests you and just do it! 🙂


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