Sharon Blair's Best Practices for Summer Plein Air Artistry

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Sharon Blair's Best Practices for Summer Plein Air Artistry

As we embrace the summer of 2024 as the official "Summer of Plein Air" at The Art Store, it's essential to heed the seasoned advice of Sharon Blair, a renowned artist whose expertise in plein air painting has garnered admiration and acclaim. Whether you're a seasoned painter or a novice venturing into outdoor artistry for the first time, Sharon's tips will ensure your plein air experience is both productive and enjoyable!

1. Be Prepared Before You Go

Preparation is key to a successful plein air outing. Sharon emphasizes the importance of packing essentials that cater to both your comfort and artistic needs:

  • Equipment: Bring a camera for reference photos, bug spray to ward off pesky insects, and a wide brim hat or parasol to shield yourself from the sun.
  • Protection: SPF 50 sunscreen is a must to protect your skin from prolonged exposure.
  • Hydration: Carry ample water for drinking and an extra supply for your paints. A container for holding water is essential for cleaning brushes and diluting paints. Sharon loves the Faber-Castell Clic and Go Water Cup

2. Don't Overdo It

While enthusiasm may tempt you to bring everything but the kitchen sink, Sharon advises a minimalist approach to packing your painting supplies:

  • Paint: Bring enough colors for your palette, but avoid overpacking. Prepare your palette at home to resist the urge to bring unnecessary paints.
  • Brushes: Travel brushes are convenient for outdoor painting. If using regular brushes, ensure they are protected in a sturdy case, especially if hiking to your painting spot!

3. Be Aware of Time and Light

Understanding the dynamics of natural light is crucial in plein air painting:

  • Time Management: Choose your painting location wisely, considering how light and shadows will evolve throughout the day.
  • Reference Photos: Use your smartphone to capture a reference photo that can serve as a visual guide for composition and lighting, both during painting and later in your studio.

4. Have Fun!

Above all, Sharon encourages artists to embrace the joy of plein air painting:

  • Enjoyment: Plein air painting is not just about capturing a scene but immersing yourself in the moment. Relax, take your time, and let the process unfold naturally.
  • No Pressure: Resist the urge to rush. Plein air painting is about experiencing the environment and translating that experience onto canvas with patience and care.

Learn from Sharon Blair at The Art Store

For those eager to delve deeper into the art of plein air painting, Sharon offers painting classes at The Art Store. Her expertise and guidance provide invaluable insights into techniques, composition, and the art of capturing the essence of nature on canvas.

Sharon Blair's best practices reflect a blend of meticulous preparation, artistic insight, and a genuine passion for the outdoors. This summer, whether you're painting a serene landscape or a bustling cityscape, take Sharon's advice to heart and let your creativity flourish under the open sky.


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