From On Location to Studio: Plein Air Live is for Everyone

In March 2023 many of us gathered online for the opportunity to learn from 30 of today’s top landscape painters during the 4th Annual Plein Air Live. Some were dedicated outdoor painters who would finish an impressionistic work on location, and others were keen to use the art of painting outside to create color studies that would later be used in the studio for works that leaned more toward contemporary realism.

Here’s a recap of what you may have missed:

“One of the biggest challenges of outdoor painting is not having control over your environment: light, wind, temperature, etc.,” said Matt Smith in the Plein Air Live chat on Day 2. “Once you learn to embrace that the focus moves back to the process.”

Matt was part of an event favorite – a casual panel discussion with fellow legend painters Skip Whitcomb and Bill Anton, moderated by Kelly Kane.

Plein Air Live panel
Kelly Kane with Skip Whitcomb, Matt Smith, and Bill Anton;
“It doesn’t matter what you paint, you have to work from direct observation.” ~Matt Smith
Bill Anton, "Makeshift Ambulance," Oil on linen, 34″ x 46″
Bill Anton, “Makeshift Ambulance,” Oil on linen, 34″ x 46″

In two exclusive “Every Plein Air Question Answered” sessions, Eric Rhoads addressed common topics for those new to painting outdoors, including what type of carrier to use (hint: consider the weight!); how to deal with things like wind and flying sand; and more.

Plein Air Live - Eric Rhoads
Eric Rhoads with “Every Plein Air Question Answered”

“Critiquing is one of the most important things I do as an instructor,” said Kathleen Dunphy during her special plein air critique session. She added that it’s important to remember, however, that an art critique is just an (educated) opinion. She said to take a critique seriously, to listen to it, and then decide what aspects you want to apply to your painting.

art critique
Here, Kathleen explained that you can think of a subject like cows not as animals, but simply as dark shapes. She used annotated photos to help explain design elements.

Camille Przewodek welcomed us to paint along with her as she put down a lay-in on canvas, starting with big shapes and then continuing to modify the colors over the course of an hour. Camille’s demo took place in the mid-morning light of Petaluma, California. Then, she took the canvas indoors to refine it in the studio.

From Camille Przewodek’s plein air portion of her demo
From Camille Przewodek’s plein air portion of her demo

We ended each night with another favorite – the Paint Along Cocktail Hour, hosted by Eric. Always entertaining and inspiring! You can still join us and even catch the replays for sessions you missed! Visit now.

Join PleinAir Magazine in the Smokies for the 11th Annual Plein Air Convention & Expo! May 20-24, 2024 we’ll have five stages with over 80 instructors, and will be painting throughout The Great Smoky Mountains, including the Biltmore Estate.