Florida painter, Everglades, Marco Island, artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Plein Air Tips

Exploring Limits, 2016, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 24 x 48

Some tips for painting "en Plein Air"

Paints – ideally a limited palette
Easily portable, sturdy easel
Canvas or other support
Something to sit on if you need it
Hat, sunscreen, bug stuff
Water, to drink and to clean brushes
Paper towels or rags
Trash bag - please take everything you bring with you when you leave

Painting Process

Compose thumbnails to save painting time
Don’t try to put in the whole landscape,determine a focal point

Decide canvas orientation - active (vertical) or passive (horizontal)
Decide horizon line – landscape or skyscape.
Block in the main values simply and quickly.
Work all over canvas to ensure desired placement of compositional elements
Keep a sense of Place, but don’t hesitate to move  or re-size landscape elements to improve composition.

Color in basic values in broad, loose swatches
Squint to establish your values – again and again!
Compare values and colors constantly.
Remember atmospheric progression - it's almost always grayer and cooler in distance.Use strongest value changes and sharpest edges in center of interest.
Exaggerate natures gifts of light. 

It’s a given that the light will change while you’re out there. Once direction of light is set, don’t chase shadows -- or clouds!

Step away from the canvas and turn away to refresh your eye.  Looking back, problems will stand out and you'll see areas that need attention,

Don't get tangled up in details too early.

Have fun, stay loose, and enjoy the view
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