Week 32 - Stranger in Plein Air Paradise

Jean Parker, Sharon Fox Cranston and Wendy Muise plein air painting in PEI.


Plein air is a French term that translates to "open air," and in the art world, it refers to the act of painting outdoors, directly from nature. It's all about immersing yourself in the sights, sounds, and smells of the environment and translating that onto your canvas.

Have you ever considered going away to another place to paint en plein air with friends? If not, you're missing out on a truly enriching and inspiring experience. Painting outside, surrounded by nature, offers a unique opportunity to connect with both your artistic side, and the opportunity to make amazing memories.

Flowerpot Rock in Sea View, PEI. Golden High Flow Acrylics on canvas.
Set up to plein air paint at Flower Pot Rock.

Why paint plein air?

Painting plein air, or painting outdoors, allows artists to capture the true essence of a landscape. The natural lighting, capturing colours, shadows and textures can't be replicated in a photo. 

Pien air painting in gouache on hot pressed watercolour block. I tape the edges,
so that the finished work will have a clean white boarder once done.


The benefits of spending focused time in nature

A plein air getaway will immerse you in the painting process. Focused time spent in nature allows you to disconnect from the distractions of everyday life and fully concentrate on your artwork. This can lead to a deeper level of creativity and a more meaningful connection with your surroundings. Also, the support and feedback you receive from your painting buddies is invaluable.  

A quick gouache painting before the rain came. Sea View, PEI


Mediums I like to use when Plein Air Painting

Designer gouache is the chameleon of the art world. It's a versatile medium that combines the best of both watercolor and acrylic paints. With its vibrant pigments and matte finish, gouache allows you to capture the essence of your surroundings with ease. I like to paint gouache on hot pressed watercolour paper blocks. Clean up is with water, and your brushes can wait until you get back, as gouache is water activated, and it won't hurt your brushes if the gouache is allowed to dry on them prior to cleaning.

Liquid acrylics is another perfect companion for plein air painting. These paints come in bottles, ready to be squeezed onto your palette and mixed with water. They offer vibrant colors, quick drying time, and easy clean-up. Plus, they're versatile enough to create both bold strokes and delicate details. I generally paint on 1" wrapped canvas when plein air painting with acrylics. The only downside, is that you'll need to rinse out your brushes really well on location, as acrylic when dried on brushes won't come off, and will destroy them.


Sometimes Mother Nature isn't with us, and the wind and rain sent us back into the cottage to paint from freshly forged photos. This is painted with high flow acrylics on canvas. A snapshot of Cavendish Beach grassy dunes.


So pack up your brushes, paints, and canvases and go explore the great outdoors!

Until next week...

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