Outdoor painting

Painting in the open air is in my opinion the best way to draw. This involves making a choice of specific painting material depending on the painting you want to achieve. If you have transportation, it’s easy to leave without compromise by bringing all the painting equipment you need. Namely the essential easel, a canvas or watercolor paper, or any medium of his choice. In terms of paint, tubes of gouache, pots of watercolor, pots of oil paint, but also acrylic or vinyl, the possibilities of painting are numerous. However, when painting outdoors, one should choose quick-drying techniques, such as watercolor or all water-based paints. The oil is very complicated to manage due to its much longer drying time.

peindre à l'extérieur
Painting the skyline of Singapore, a magical moment

Painting in the open air is in my opinion the best way to draw. This involves making a choice of specific painting material depending on the painting you want to achieve. If you have transportation, it’s easy to leave without compromise by bringing all the painting equipment you need. Namely the essential easel, a canvas or watercolor paper, or any medium of his choice. In terms of paint, tubes of gouache, pots of watercolor, pots of oil paint, but also acrylic or vinyl, the possibilities of painting are numerous. However, when painting outdoors, one should choose quick-drying techniques, such as watercolor or all water-based paints. The oil is very complicated to manage due to its much longer drying time.

peindre en plein air
Outdoor painting in London on the River Thames

So the Urban Sketchers meet regularly and when they are together, draw brushes and pencils to indulge in their passion. For my part, I find these artists’ meetings extremely enriching: they allow for incredible encounters and to share a common passion: drawing. This allowed me to do beautiful painting sessions in England, especially in Reunion, Singapore, Sheffield or in London with Urban Sketchers.

Paiting outdoors

But for my part, I rather appreciate the solitude when it comes to drawing. I do need to concentrate to compose my drawing. Observation is an essential element, which is why painting from a pattern is facilitating the exercise. This makes it possible to get closer, to turn around the subject, in order to more easily grasp its details. The photo limits this approach a little more, the vision is a little more truncated by the angle of view.

peindre dehors
Painting on a beach on the Reunion Island

Nevertheless, painting from a photo is quite possible, when there is little choice for reasons of geographical remoteness (painting distant landscapes like the United States for example), or if the subjects no longer exist. for example. This is why when a client wishes to order a painting, photos are a privileged avenue of work to achieve a painting.

In terms of painting materials, when I have little time or want to do a watercolor, I prefer to take only the minimum: namely a sketchbook, a brush and a very small box of watercolor with a cloth. . My paint set acts as a palette. So I paint very discreetly, especially if I want to do work on drawing characters.

peindre à l'extérieur
Equipoment to paint outside

The material reduced to its simplest form, allows you not to waste time getting set up. There are many possibilities: I draw seated at a table, the notebook on my knees or in more extreme cases standing, my sketchbook placed on a low wall. These moments are then fleeting, they are an opportunity to make quick sketches, sessions that I particularly like. These travel diaries do not have a particular stake: they allow me to work quickly, to draw a bit like quick and fleeting writing. It’s a great job composing what will later turn out to be a more polished painting or magazine illustration.

peinture en plein air
Painting in Bali

To tell the truth, most of the works that I do are made from nature. I really like it, it also allows me to have contact with the locals. When people see an artist drawing a particular view, a conversation usually sets in. The tongues are loosened, the people speak and enjoy telling the story of the place munched on. It is then a precious source of exchanges with the curious, tourists and onlookers, who come to inquire about painting techniques.

urban sketcher
Painting with local artists, Reunion Island.

Most of the paintings I paint are available in my online art gallery which I invite you to discover. You can consult my watercolors of Provence for example.

peindre dehors
Royal stables at Chantilly, France

You just have to start to paint outside

No need to wait to go on vacation, painting outdoors is a healthy artistic activity that allows you to practice working on the eyes and the line. On a daily basis, it can be practiced around the house. You just have to clear your mind a little, mentally concentrate a little and above all not be afraid of making mistakes in the construction of your drawing. There is nothing to lose, everything to gain. Like a musician who trains to make his scales with an instrument, the painter and the draftsman need to climb in skill in order to gain confidence and in execution time.

peinture en plein air
Painting on the beach in Corsica

Naturally, important notions of perspective drawing, materials, composition or painting techniques are important to master. But it is by practicing that we get our hands dirty. In my opinion, outdoor painting remains the best art school for teaching artists to practice their passion with pleasure and efficiency.

yves damin
Holidays still an amazing opportunity to paint outdoors, like in Bali, Indonesia.
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