The masters had it right – there’s no reason to be stuck inside a studio all day when nature and fresh air await outside! Plein Air, which translates to “open air”, was a key component of the French impressionist movement, with everyone from Claude Monet to Pierre August Renoire getting in – or out! – on the action. In more recent times, artists like Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, and Georgia O’Keefe produced cherished works of art working in the great outdoors. Interestingly, it was the invention of tubed paint and boxed easels that made outdoor painting possible. Prior to that, artists needed to be inside to grind and mix their paints.
The benefit of painting out of doors, other than being out of doors, is the natural light that allows an artist to paint things just as the eye sees them. Students painting outside are able to capture highlights and shadows as well as the objects in their scene.
Our Plein Air lesson plan provides step-by-step instructions for selecting a location, creating a plein air painting and providing discussion prompts for a roundtable on the merits of painting outside.
Download a complete lesson plan for this project, including images, step-by-step directions, and a materials list, today.
For Grades 3-12