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Plein Air Landscape Painting: A Step-by-Step Approach

Updated: Jun 13

View the event here:

1. Site Selection

Choosing the right scene is crucial. Look beyond mere beauty—consider how it translates into a compelling painting. Claremont Village offers a rich tapestry of architecture, colors, and energy. Imagine capturing its essence on your canvas.


2. Viewfinder and Thumbnail Sketch

Use a viewfinder to isolate your scene. Create a thumbnail sketch to work out the design and values. This step sets the foundation for your painting. Remember, time is of the essence!


3. Underpainting or Block-In

Within the first 30 minutes, transpose your sketch onto the canvas. Create an underpainting that fixes shadow patterns and establishes the design. This snapshot ensures consistency in lighting.


4. Chasing the Light

Avoid “chasing the light” after the initial underpainting. Shadows change rapidly, especially on sunny days. Capture the moment—the play of light and shadow—before it shifts.


5. Adjust Shape Relationships and Add Detail

With the foundation set, take your time to refine shape relationships. Add details where needed. Claremont Village’s unique features—the bustling streets, quaint corners, and vibrant colors—await your brushstrokes.

Plein Air Essentials

  • Equipment: Invest in a lightweight plein air easel, a pochade box, and quality paints. An umbrella provides sun protection.

  • Colors: Limit your palette to essential colors. Focus on capturing mood and atmosphere.

  • Composition: Seek interesting compositions. Large shapes matter—block them in early.

  • Time Management: Remember the 30-minute rule for the initial underpainting.

  • Adaptability: Be prepared for changing weather and light conditions.

Celebrating “Easel in the Village”

As over 20 plein air artists gather in Claremont Village on June 1st, they’ll breathe life into the streets. Their easels will dot the sidewalks, capturing the village’s spirit. Later, during the Claremont ArtWalk, the Ahmad Shariff Art Gallery will showcase these plein air masterpieces. Each stroke will tell a story—a snapshot of Claremont’s soul.


Join us as we embrace the plein air spirit of adventure, celebrate creativity, and let Claremont Village inspire your art!

Note: The event details are fictional, created for the purpose of this blog. Please adapt them to your actual event.


Let’s immerse ourselves in the captivating world of plein air landscape painting, celebrating the upcoming “Easel in the Village” event on Saturday June 1st. As over 20 plein air artists gather in Claremont Village from 12 pm to 4 pm, they’ll set up their easels amidst the vibrant streets. Inspired by the village’s unique architecture, colors, and energy, they’ll capture the essence of Claremont directly on canvas. Later, during the Claremont ArtWalk (6 pm to 9 pm), the Ahmad Shariff Art Gallery will proudly display these freshly painted plein air masterpieces. Each stroke will tell a story—a snapshot of Claremont’s soul. This collaborative celebration bridges art and community, connecting us through shared experiences and visual narratives. So mark your calendars, embrace the plein air spirit, and join us for Easel in the Village—an ode to creativity, nature, and the vibrant heart of Claremont.


Check out some examples of landscape art by our artists: Shores of Solitude and Guiding Light.

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