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Plein air. What is plein air painting? En plein air is a French expression that means “in the open air.” It is used by artists to describe the art of outdoor painting, capturing landscapes and views in natural light. This kind of art has been a popular practice for centuries and requires specific skills and techniques.

It is very popular painting landscapes plein air. You need to take your art material with you when painting plein air. You might need an easel. it has to be light weight if you are going to take it to a remote spot. You need a set of paints and brushes and you need a canvas or surface to paint on. And you might need protection from the sun.

Artist such as Turner and Monet and Van Gogh painted most of their work plein Air. Van Gogh carried his easel on his back and he could fit 3 wet paintings into his easel. So he would go out and do 3 paintings in one day.

Turner would paint a quick watercolor and then take that back to the studio where he would change that into an oil painting.

I also use the same method. A 10 minute watercolor will turn into a acrylic and oil painting. Pictures of this process will be posted in a blog soon.

So how do you get your composition right when you are on site. You can take a photo with your mobile phone and then use the crop tool to get the right “frame”. There is a further tool that gives you gridlines on your picture By drawing a rough gridline on your paper you can quickly get the right composition.

Light changes quickly when you are outside and plein air landscapes will reflect the light seen at a specific time. This creates an authentic look to a landscape other than a photo. Because the artist will interpret what he sees and not try and replicate the scene exactly

This is a scene I painted after witnessing a very vivid sunset in Mauritius. Mauritius has no air pollution so the air is always crisp and true to color. The artist just takes the interpretation further.