What is plein air painting? Plein air painting or drawing (French for "full air", meaning out in the open) means leaving the art studio in order to experience painting or drawing in front of natural landscapes and models. French impressionists made this practice a recognized art form at the turn of the 20th century. Artists took paint which was now available in tubes they could transport anywhere, along with newly conceived portable easels, and off they were to create and transfer fresh lively moods onto their paintings. A form of 'freedom painting' was born.
Plein air painting (also spelled plain air painting) workshops have today become an enjoyable trend in the art world. It is a highly satisfactory activity. Artists come away with work containing an authentic piece of time and space, which makes for an "I was there and I painted that" impressive type of souvenir.
Which techniques will I learn on my plein-air Painting Holiday?
Besides the joy of sharing a loved activity with the group on a painting holiday, you might be wondering what you'll be learning, which techniques you'll go home with. Using watercolor / watercolors (and other know-hows with other media), and in a relaxed outdoors environment, we'll review different techniques. (Please see farther down below if using a dry medium like drawing or hard pastels). There are no obligations to follow instructions. We understand that advanced artists are somewhat set in their ways, and want to paint how they've painted for years.
Let us remember that a painting / drawing holiday is first and foremost an enjoyable break in a lovely place. You are there to paint (or draw) rest and relax. It is thus important finding the right balance between lessons and enjoyment. On your art vacation, you will be free to integrate these useful and easy to learn watercolor artistic techniques. (Oils and acrylic techniques farther down).
Flat wash (to obtain a solid color throughout).
Graded wash (going from darker to lighter).
Glazed wash (working around objects).
Wet-in-Wet (applying color while the paper is still wet)
Lifting wet color (as an effect or to 'erase' or lighten color).
Splattering (splattering paint on the paper with a finger from a paintbrush).
Dry brush (adding detail).
The use of different brushes.
At an easy pace, you will learn or improve (also valid for drawing):
How to sketch / make a croquis before painting.
Composition (which view and elements you will choose to be in your painting).
Color (how to find and mix the right ones).
Value or tone (light and dark).
Lines (horizon, houses...).
Shapes (the contour of things).
Textures (painting effects used to render a feel of its surface).
Oils & Acrylics:
Paintbrushes. Correct use of these tools; how to hold them and use them for best results. (This includes orientation and pressure).
Paint application (painting thin and thick).
Mixing colors (to make different hues).
Wet on wet and dry brush.
Special effects (using plastic, cotton…)
Palettes (ways to make them and clean them).
Alan grew up in Mongolia and India, where he was an art instructor for 25 years. He developped a thirst for learning art, and particularly painting in his early days. He is mostly self-taught, but did study at the Beaux Arts of Paris in the 1970s. He is a watercolor painter, but also teaches drawing, and enjoys working with pastels. You'll love his personality, as he is quite witty, funny, always in a good mood and very attentive to others' needs when it comes to art.
Mary studied painting at Loughborough College of Art & Design where she graduated. She became a teacher in UK schools, and taught for over 2 decades. She also exhibited in London galleries and won a number of awards including the Elizabeth Greenshields Award for figurative painting, and The Most Progressive Painting at the Pastel Society Exhibition in London (Mall Galleries). Mary has since relocated to Côte d'Armor, Brittanny (France) , where she is a full time artist and teacher. Mary lives with her partner, John, and their two dogs, Eddie and Annie.
Visit Mary's website: See below.
Delphine is originally from Lyon, France. She teaches art to adults at the prestigeous Beaux Arts of Brest, France. She graduated with an arts degree from the Paris Sorbonne, and went on to get her first and second masters at DNAP and DNSEP, at Ecole supérieure d'Art in Britanny.
Her work, mostly oil and watercolour paintings regular appear in art shows, including the Quartz, Maison de la Fontaine, Centre d'Art Passerelle, Gallery Artem and Camaret.