Learn Outdoor Painting with Confidence
4.5 (24 ratings)
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Learn Outdoor Painting with Confidence

Plein Air Painting Made Easy
4.5 (24 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
305 students enrolled
Created by Malcolm Dewey
Last updated 5/2017
Current price: $10 Original price: $25 Discount: 60% off
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  • 2 hours on-demand video
  • 3 Articles
  • 1 Supplemental Resource
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Paint outdoors with confidence
  • Mix color outdoors
  • Assess composition confidently
  • Make outdoor sketches
  • Break free from the studio limitations
View Curriculum
  • The materials required are oils or acrylics, pastels or watercolor
  • Basic colors required are explained
  • A spirit of adventure will help
  • A desire to break out of comfort zones

Plein air painting will dramatically improve your painting. It will also enrich your painting lifestyle as the possibilities of painting outdoors opens up for you. Yet many artists are shy to start outdoor painting. This course is designed to remedy that situation.

Designed for beginners and intermediate artists this course follows a step-by-step approach for quick and easy learning. I will guide you from the studio to outdoor painting so that your confidence develops along with your skills.

The course covers the following: Materials required, color mixing tips, composition, outdoors sketches, painting steps and process methods. You will see how I complete paintings alla prima and see how much fun it can be. Plus learn how to use your outdoor paintings for larger studio paintings.

All that you need for confident outdoor painting is included in this course. There are also handy downloads that you can take with to help guide you.

The best part is that this is a practical course. You can try each step out before moving onto the next lecture. Work at your own pace and enjoy the process.

Who is the target audience?
  • Anyone interested in learning plein air painting
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Curriculum For This Course
28 Lectures
2 Lectures 09:18

What is plein air painting and why is it important? I also look at an overview of how to use outdoor painting, the equipment and what makes a painting plein air.

Preview 07:32

What is plein air all about? This is a fun video giving a little peek into the world of plein air painting. Sit back and watch as I do a quick painting at one of my favorite painting spots.As i hope this video shows plein air is first of all about fun outdoors! This course will show you how to paint outdoors with confidence so that you can enjoy yourself. Your painting will benefit too.

Preview 01:46
Plein Air Materials
2 Lectures 08:18

Download your pdf Plein Air Painting Guide. This video lesson provides a suggested list of materials to make up your plein air painting kit.

Materials Required

This lecture is about how to make a pochade box and transporting your plein air kit. You can convert a basic paint box into an effective pochade box. This saves big bucks and also gives much satisfaction. Later you will probably want to purchase a pochade box from the many available on the market. Keep in mind that light and small pochade boxes are more versatile. The new aluminium types have an advantage over wood, but are more pricey. For now my basic pocahde box does the trick!

Preview 05:42
Composition Basics
1 Lecture 12:15

The basics of composition is always important. I use this lecture with all my courses as a refresher. This lecture provides the most important do's and don'ts plus you can also download a handy infographic to keep with you for composition tips.

Composition Essentials
Painting Process
3 Lectures 05:59

A basic painting process that you can rely on! This is one of the secrets to consistent successful painting outdoors.

Introduction to the Painting Process

This is a step-by-step process that can be easily followed. This method is only a guideline. You can add to the process as you develop your own style. However it is helpful when painting outdoors to have a basic guideline to follow. This simply one thing less to worry about when painting outdoors.

Basic Painting Process

A second demonstration following a similar step-by-step process with a different subject. This simply illustrates that the basic process can work with any subject. This hopefully will give you the confidence to tackle your outdoor painting without too much concern.

Basic Process Demo 2
Plein Air Color Mixing Tips
4 Lectures 17:01

The main points about mixing color outdoors is to be aware of color value, temperature and saturation. Be sure to download your value scale and color wheel.

Introduction: How To Mix Color With Confidence

The benefits of a limited palette of primaries are explained. Plus we look a a few common color mixes that you will use outdoors. Remember to think of color temperature and value relationships at all times.

Color Mixing Tips: Common Mixes

Use grays to get authentic colors in your landscapes. No tube colors necessary except the primaries and white. You will soon be a color mixing expert!

Color Mixing: Grays

This assignment is intended to get you working on something practical. This is an easy way to reinforce the lesson on paint mixing. Talking only goes so far. So take a moment and try mixing colors.

Assignment 1
Information From Outdoors
3 Lectures 04:32

Before we start painting let us consider the benefit of gathering information outdoors. All this information in the form of sketches, notan value sketches and simply being there to experience the scene all contribute to the final painting.

References from Plein Air

A fun look at the many ways you can gather information outdoors. This is part of the painting process to get the creative ideas flowing. I love the peace and tranquility of this stage. It is like meditation in the fresh air!

Examples of Outdoor References

Time to get some references from the outdoors. Make it simple sketches, watercolor swatches of color and value. Basic stuff from your backyard on the balcony. If you are adventurous try out your local park or beach.

Assignment: Get Outdoor References
Village Lane Demo Painting
5 Lectures 19:13

Nervous about painting outdoors? There is no reason to be, but we all feel a little nervous when starting out. Try starting from your backyard or balcony! There are many ways to build confidence before venturing out into the public.

Introduction to Demonstration

In Part 1 we look at blocking in the main shapes: darkest darks, lightest lights and the mid-value shapes. These are the basic process steps that will form the backbone of all our plein air paintings.

Part 1: Village Lane Demo Painting

Now to develop the shapes further. This stage is to bring emphasis the light with thick juicy oil paint. Remember this is a quick study and not an overworked studio painting. Plein air is often about making studies that teach us about mixing color, observation and painting intuitively.

Part 2: Village Lane Demo Painting

Now to review the painting in its frame.

Painting Critique

Ready to try your plein air painting?

Assignment: Painting
Demonstration: Port Alfred Beachscape
3 Lectures 14:40

In this Section I am painting a beach scene Port Alfred. This is a holiday town in the Eastern Cape with stunning beaches. This demonstration shows how to take advantage of weather changes. The weather was initially cloudy when I started painting, but then bright sunshine broke through onto parts of the beach. I added these patches of light to the scene to contrast with shaded areas for a more interesting painting.

In Part 1 I am establishing the composition and blocking in darks, lights and mid-tones.

PS: Purely as a bit of fun I have added an mp3 download in the resources. This is a recording I made of the sea sounds near to the actual scene in the demo. Play it in your studio to get that "outdoor feel" or simply to relax.

Port Alfred Beach Part 1: Composition & Blocking In

In Part 2 I go on to develop the shapes adding detail by by using smaller brushstrokes and paying close attention to color relationships.

Port Alfred Beach Part 2: Development of Shapes

The finishing touches are added then back to the studio to assess the final result.

Port Alfred Beach Part 3: Finishing Touches & Critique
From Outdoors to Studio Painting
3 Lectures 07:15

An introduction into how we can use the plein air study or sketch for a larger studio work.

From Small to Large Part 1

Preparing the large panel for transposing the plein air painting onto the large panel.

From Small to Large Part 2

The studio painting and a summary of the process.

From Small to Large Part 3
Village Lane: Bonus Lesson
1 Lecture 06:35

This video is about an outdoor painting I did in a village called Port Alfred, South Africa. It was a very windy day, but I found a relatively protected spot alongside a quiet road. There was some puddles in the road from rains the night before. These together with the morning light produced a nice subject. Very simple composition, but potential for color and value contrasts and lots of light and shadow. 

It is a fun lesson with my basic process. I use a few more convenience colors on my palette like yellow ochre and burnt sienna. Hopefully you can see that outdoor painting can be kept simple, spontaneous and fun. Just you and nature having a moment together.

Quick Plein Air Study: Village Lane
1 More Section
About the Instructor
Malcolm Dewey
4.4 Average rating
441 Reviews
10,594 Students
7 Courses
Professional Artist

I am a professional artist with twenty years experience in painting mainly in oil, acrylic and watercolor mediums. I have studied art for most of my life and continue to develop my style of painting. I enjoy teaching art, which has led to me developing courses to help artists seeking to improve their work.

I am also concerned with helping people find their calling to create. This includes using art to release creative blocks, achieve mindfulness and more calm in our lives. Art has great potential to ease the burdens of modern living.

I follow a representational approach to subjects using a painterly or impressionistic style. Plein air painting is a favorite part of my approach to painting. I currently produce paintings for sale to collectors worldwide.