Plein Air Landscape Painting in Oils (Part 1)

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Plein air landscape painting in oilsPlein air landscape painting in oils can be a lot of fun. I’ve been making oil paintings outdoors since I was a teenager.

Even today, I love getting out in nature to paint.  I find most of my inspiring subjects come straight from the great outdoors. If you haven’t taken your oil paints and palette on the road and out  into the wild, you don’t know what you’re missing. Being able to paint directly from life is one of the greatest treasures there is.

In the video below, I show you my traveling setup of oil paints.  I’m using Windsor Newton’s Winton Series, which is their student grade. I find the student grades great for doing outdoor quick color sketching and for just having some fun.

As you see in the video, I use filbert brushes.  I use sizes No. 2, No. 4, No. 6, No. 8, and number No. 10.  I also have a No. 12 handy if I’m painting on a larger canvas.  But usually the 2 through 10 works most of the time for the small to medium size canvases.

Also, you can see my color palette.  I use 11 colors, which is considered a limited color palette.  Basically, my color palette consists of a warm and a cool version of each primary, one or two secondaries, a couple of earth tones, and a white.

Here are the colors in my palette:

1) Titanium white
2) Cerulean blue
3) Ultramarine blue
4) Alizarin crimson
5) Cadmium red light
6) Lemon yellow
7) Cadmium yellow light
8) Yellow orchre
9) Burnt umber
10) Cadmium orange
11) Dixoaine purple

In the video, you can see that I have set up all my tools and canvas directly in front of the subject that I plan on painting.  I’m using a pre-stretched 22” x 28” cotton canvas.

A lot of times when I’m working on larger landscapes, I like to paint on paper. I prime the paper first with two or three layers of good quality gesso.  It’s then ready to paint on just like a canvas.  Working on paper is less expensive than canvas.

But I also like the feel of canvas and still paint on it on a regular basis.  I usually buy my canvas already stretched and primed.

So that’s it for the setup part of the painting and part one of the video. Please read and watch part two of this series to see how the painting actually develops. See you then.

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