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Plein Air Art Hacks to Improve Your Outdoor Art Experience
Editor Courtney Jordan delivers plein air art hacks so you can have a bit of a spring fling and enjoy more painting in the great outdoors.
Gear Up, Weigh Down
You may want to invest in a tripod stone bag — this accessory hooks onto the legs of your tripod and weighs it down. You can ﬁll it with stones (hence the name) in windy conditions to keep your easel from tipping, and it doubles as a handy pouch to store odds and ends.
Grab a Cold One
Reaching for your water bottle and getting a lukewarm sip is the worst. The night before you’ll be painting, ﬁll your bottle halfway and freeze it on its side. When it’s time to set out, pull it from the freezer and ﬁll it the rest of the way with your favorite beverage. The frozen half will act as a giant ice cube.
The last thing you want is to come home from a painting excursion with bug bites galore. Create an easy, natural bug repellent by cutting a ripe lime in half and studding it with cloves. Bugs hate it, and it actually smells good!
Don’t Get Turned Around
Out there amidst all the gorgeous landscape features, don’t forget the basics on perspective. They will ground your composition in reality and make it convincing.
Another one of our plein air art hacks is: Put your phone inside a clear zipper storage bag when you’re close to a body of water or painting poolside. This will protect your gear, but your camera feature will still be usable, so you can snap any reference shots you want.
Not Just for Rainy Weather
Save yourself from soggy feet when painting rainy scenes, seascapes or marshy landscapes. Wear rubber boots for your next waterways excursion. Your socks will thank you.
Don’t Forget the Munchies
Yummy trail mix is only a few handfuls of goodness away.
No recipe required — just keep to dry ingredients and combine equal portions of salty, sweet, chewy and crunchy. Here are a few inspirations for each!
Pretzels, crackers, popcorn, sesame sticks
Candy-coated morsels, chocolate chips, marshmallows
Candied ginger and any dried fruits, coconut flakes
Seeds, granola, nuts, wasabi peas, dried cereal, coffee beans
Add sea salt or spices for even more flavor!
If you’re new to plein air and you want to start small, think “fresh breath” and you’re halfway there. Empty an Altoids tin and a packet of Dentyne Ice gum. Put the plastic gum tray inside the tin, and voila! You’ve just created a miniature painting palette and easel.
Bringing Out the Beige
Wear neutral colors when painting outdoors. Sunlight reﬂects oﬀ your clothes onto the canvas, so wearing bright colors can skew your color perception.
Become a more confident plein air painter and find the inspiration to paint out in the open with artists Aaron Schuerr and Richard McKinley in the essential pastel collection: Aaron Schuerr’s Plein Air Pastel Workshop Digital Collection.