Painting on Location

There is nothing quite like painting on location. If you have never tried it then be brave and have a go.

Working out doors to paint is exciting! You will find there is a freshness to your work. There is no time to be too fussy. Artists find what suits them best. It is very much a case of having a go and learning from the experience of painting on location.

Working on Location Tips

Be organised....

  • plan where you want to paint
  • start with a simple landscape scene
  • take the minimum equipment you need


  • Are you going to stand and do various twenty minute paintings?
  • Would you be more comfortable seated?
  • Can you carry a foldable stool or chair?
  • How about sitting on the ground? The choice will change your viewpoint.

Keep it simple....

  • A small watercolour palette and a couple of brushes.
  • A light-weight stay-wet palette and some acrylics.
  • Charcoal or pastels.

Think it through....

Consider the size of your paper... Somewhere between A4 and A3 should allow you too include some detail; not get too fussy; or struggle with a huge paper pad or board.

Using a watercolour block is a good idea. It gives you a firm support and you have more then one piece of paper.

Do you want to work at an easel? More to carry but if you intend to work for several hours it could be most comfortable.

Decide if you mind being watched or having your work looked at. A busy harbour/beachscene could be a lovely subject but you will be a fascination to many.

Quieter locations may be easier but be safe - get a friend to come along.

Whatever the Weather?

Windy Day

A windy day challenges but the joy of capturing windswept trees or waves crashing onto a pebble beach is most exhilarating and rewarding.

You will need to...

  • Work boldly and quickly.
  • Remember the sky will change rapidly.
  • Remember your paints will dry quickly.

A Hot Sunny Day

Tremendous colours, bold shadows and good quality light. These are the advantages of working on a sunny day.

You will need to...

  • Remember working in bright sunlight can be very dazzling.
  • The paints dry very quickly.
  • You can get very hot, drink plenty, use a sunhat and sun cream.

Enjoy the warmth on your back.

Consider if it is the sunlight and heat, with exciting colours and striking shadows that makes medittereanean landscape paintings so alive and uplifting.

Wet or Windy Days

Never say no but watercolours will obviously not work in the rain.

You will need to:

  • Allow for long drying time.
  • Work quickly.
  • Wrap up warm.
  • Only take essential art materials with you.

Don't be put off, consider the adventure of capturing mist in the early morning. Subtle colours of marshes on a damp autumn day.

....Give painting on location a try - be patient - don't be hard on yourself - keep - it simple - enjoy it!

To consider more about painting on location - learn a little about colorist painting

Another artist's thoughts on Plein Air Painting To learn about other views on Plein Air Painting, please follow this link.