A quick guide to enjoyable outdoor painting
With proper preparation your first outdoor painting session will be an enjoyable experience. The following is how I approach my outdoor painting. I hope it will be useful to you should you want to give it a try. I will use acrylic media in my example, but the same ideas work for other media.
MindsetYou’re bringing too much stuff, your canvas is too big and do you really need all those brushes? Claude Monet worked on his outdoor paintings an hour a day for a month. You’re not Monet and you’re not going to be doing that. You’ll be lucky to do two small paintings in a three hour session.
EaselStore bought outdoor painting easels are a real pain. They’re cheap, flimsy and poorly constructed. Mine is always in need of serious repair. Instead, find a garden bench, sit down and lay a small board across your lap.
CanvasWithout looking, I can see your selected canvas is way too big. Scale back to something 5” x 7” or 8” x 6”. You can go to something larger later if you find that you enjoy painting outdoors, but for now it’s important to work quickly. If you only have a larger canvas or pad, divide it into sections and make several smaller paintings on it.
It’s a good idea to put a base layer on your canvas at home ahead of time. Waiting for your base layer to dry while on site takes too long. Siena is a pretty good choice for most landscape painters, but most any color will work. The base layer should be textured and sloppy; otherwise it defeats its purpose of providing filler and visual interest.
BrushesThree brushes should do just fine. And they need to be big. Small brushes will get you too caught up in detail and you’ll never finish. You’ll need a fan brush, a flat chisel brush and a soft round brush. You can sneak a detail brush into your kit, but only if you promise not to use it until the last 15 minutes of a painting. The detail brush is the single biggest cause of frustration and unfinished paintings.
PaintsI only use 5 colors; primary red, primary yellow, dark blue, white & black. You’ll be able to create any color you need from these. The inability to consistently mix the same color is a plus as it will give nice variations in effect across your canvas.
I price my paintings at $25.