En Plein Air

“En plein air” is a French phrase meaning “in the open air”, a mode of outdoor painting made popular by French impressionists like Monet.

We encourage all members to give outdoor art a try. Nothing hones your powers of observation like drawing or painting from the real thing.

It’s not just a matter of seeing. Being outdoors is a total sensual experience. It can add an expressiveness to your art that can’t be conjured in a studio setting. Wind in your face, sun on your back, smell of the sea, squawking of gulls …

Fast shifting light compels speed and spontaneity. Reality moves. No time to overwork things.

See you at the next location!

Monet, Manet, Sisley, Renoir, Van Gogh and others went outside to paint for one simple reason – it looks different outside.  Mike Svob

Plein Air Group

Over summer Peninsula Arts has been running plein air (outdoor) painting sessions in conjunction with U3A (University of the Third Age), Mornington. These sessions have now concluded but we are hoping to resume a plein air art program during 2022.

Plein air essentials

Your plein air kit can be as simple as a sketchpad and pencil, or you can really give passersby something to wonder at!  A portable folding chair is a popular accessory. A lightweight easel or table may be useful, depending which media you are using. Don’t forget your hat, water, snacks and sunscreen! And being Melbourne, bring a jacket just in case.

Plein air setup - easel, umbrella, painting, canvas, bags

Graphite pencils, ink pens or charcoal work well for monochrome sketching. Fast drying watercolour or acrylic inks can add an evocative touch of colour. Oils can look stunning though slow drying may make transporting your masterpiece trickier. Acrylic paints dry faster, but sometimes too quickly on a warm day. Trial and error will teach you the optimum media and working techniques for you. Your fellow plein air painters can offer lots of valuable tips.

Your plein air studies can be finished artworks in their own right, or form an invaluable reference for more refined studio work.