Painting Plein Air

impressionism, landscape, Monterey, outside, Pacific, Painting, plein air, rocks, seascape, shore, sketch, sketching, Watercolor, waves
plein-air style
I will be never tired painting plein-air style as long as I am able to go outside and withstand surprises of the Nature. Painting outdoors has its own charm and challenges; yet, still it is very enjoyable and the artworks have a special feeling to them. You cannot wait for too long painting under the open. The weather changes constantly, especially if you are at the ocean shore, like example above. It is my recent painting of one of my favorite places on Earth, Monterey Pacific Ocean shore. I’ve painted there many times and each time it comes out differently. The painting of Monterey above is free, though I “blocked” it in the ink lines to give it illustration kind feeling, e.g. I’ve illustrated the scene in the fast brush strokes with watercolor first and then “locked” the picture by adding rigid lines to amplify the stiffness of the rocks and power of the ocean.

Another plain air painting of Monterey shore is more impressionistic style as any of my outdoor paintings of Monterey:
Pacific Ocean shore impressionistic artwork

Here, I didn’t want to add the ink. The weather was so hot that it dried watercolor quite fast so the edges of each brush stroke were defined enough without any additions.

In comparison, the next plein-air painting of Monterey shore strives pretty much on energetic ink lines, the watercolors here are secondary. This free-style painting of Pacific Ocean shore is more a sketch than a complete painting, but it does have certain charm and spontaneity to it:

Pacific Ocean plein-air painting

Yes, each plein air painting tells a story of that specific day, but it also speaks for the mood of the artist. As an example, here is my recent plein-air landscape artwork of the calm sunny day from this week. The Spring is taking over, the grass is bright green, and many trees are opening their blossoms. A simple, yet informative landscape that illustrates a coming of a new season:

pond trees flowers Spring in California
My friend took panoramic photo of the area where we were painting that day, and I got into the picture by chance or intentionally. I don’t know. But this photograph shows so well the power of a fresh air and the creating artist, The Observer, who, during the plein-air painting trip, merges with the Nature!


 Cheers from

Small Town In The Mountains – Watercolor Pencils – Step By Step

Brentwood, California, landscape, lesson, Mountain Diablo, mountains, outside, plein air, sketch, sketching, step by step, step by step painting, town, watercolor pencils
watercolour pencils
I was recently visiting my friend artist in a small town of Brentwood that is hiding between the golf course and just behind a highest point of Bay Area, San Francisco, the famous Mountain Diablo. We went to paint en plain-air style, e.g. we grabbed our art materials and went painting outside. 
The weather was beautiful. Everywhere I turned I’d seen a lovely subject for painting. I’ve chosen to paint a scene with a small town in the golf course hills with a huge mountain behind. My choice of the materials this time were watercolor pencils (I’ve previously wrote an article about watercolor pencils HERE ) . 

I’ve sketched the drawing with a simple pencil first, and then started applying my watercolor pencils. That was the part that was actually accomplished outside:
The trick with watercolor pencils is that you have to know what colors to mix and predict what outcome will be at the time you put  water on the paper. I intentionally was drawing with a limited pallet. Out of my 72 watercolor pencils that I have in the box, I’ve picked only 16 to go plein-air painting.
Here is the first stage of the drawing/future painting:
After, I got home the main work had begun. 
I’ve added more pencils in depth, then highlighted the drawing with ink:
Then, I grabbed a softest Kolinsky Sable brush Number 11 and dipped it in a clear water. First areas that were “watered” were large ones, the sky and the grass below. Then I started adding some water to the smaller details such buildings and trees:
Right away I’ve noticed that in some areas the wash of water made the colors too bright, in others the colors were simply “washed” away. But the good part, that with watercolor pencils you can always reapply the colors with one important warning though: the paper should be bone dry before you add more colors. 

After several times of re-applying the pencils and rejuvenating them with water (clear water on the soft brush), the painting was completed and now it is ready to see the World!! 🙂
watercolour pencils step by step
Cheers from