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Plein Air Drawing and Painting

Plein Air Drawing and Painting
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Are you looking for something creative to do on a clear day? Why not take a trip outside to let nature inspire you?

By Andrea Mulder-Slater

What You Need:

  • a few pieces of paper
  • pencils (or paints)
  • coloured pencils
  • a thick piece of cardboard

What You Do:

  1. Go and find a nice place to sit, where you have a great view of some trees, shrubs or flowers.
  2. Set up your outdoor workspace by sitting down, placing the cardboard on your knees, and laying the paper on top of that.
  3. Look at what you are going to draw.
  4. Really look closely to see all the details that make up a tree, shrub or flower.
  5. Start drawing.
  6. Don’t worry about what your drawing looks like – this is your impression of what you see.
  7. You might wish to lightly sketch a tree trunk and branches with pencil, and then fill in the leaves using coloured pencils (or paint).
  8. The sky truly is the limit and the only rule is to have fun!
  9. Once you are finished one picture, draw another, and another, and another!
  10. Don’t forget to sign, date and label your work.

Did You Know:

Drawing outside is known as “Plein Air” drawing. Literally translated, this French term means “in the open air”. Drawing and painting outside is a common thing for artists to do today, but as writer Marion Boddy Evans explains, “…in the late 1800s when the Impressionists ventured out of their studios into nature to investigate and capture the effects of sunlight and different times of days on a subject, it was quite revolutionary.”


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