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4 Tips for Painting en Plein Air from Fine Artists

Mark Keathley

1. Mark Keathley

“I do preliminary work in acrylic, blocking in the form, and overall mood/light quickly. Changes are much easier in acrylic because of the short dry time. After a couple of hours, I can [see how it will look], and then paint over it in oils. There are no areas [in my paintings] where the acrylics show on canvas or panels.”

Autumn's Call by Mark Keathley

Autumn’s Call by Mark Keathley


2. Paul Trottier

“Acrylic heavy-bodied paint dries fast – very fast – when it’s windy and hot, but it allows on the spot changes to composition or color choice. Carrying the finished piece home at the end of the day is easier because it is usually dry enough to be handled.”


Plein Air Painting by Paul Trottier on Princeton Artist Brush Co.

Black and Tan by Paul Trottier


3. Dena Peterson

“Once you have a plan, respond quickly and intuitively; be sure you squeeze out lots of paint before starting. Use a limited palette.”

Palmer Lake by Dena Peterson

Palmer Lake by Dena Peterson


4. David Eger

“I try to use a combination of different watercolor techniques, like wet-on-wet washes, as well as dry brush work. I often put my brush tip right into the tube and use that pure pigment in my dry brush strokes. I also have nothing against using white.”

“I have found that usually the paintings I like best are the ones where I have used 4 or less colors, and 4 or less brushes. I will work those colors into each other and create different variations but it’s usually 3 or 4 pans I am dipping into.”

By David Eger

By David Eger

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