Plein air painting, the art of painting an outdoor scene from life, can be tricky. You not only have to know how to paint but also know how to paint quickly.
Light and clouds are constantly changing minute by minute when you’re outside. It’s so much better to learn when you have role models to look up to, so here’s a list of Plein air artists you should go and follow.
1. Jared Cullum
Jared Cullum is an incredible painter. I first discovered him on YouTube, where he does a better job explaining light, shadow, and colour than anyone else I have ever watched.
He is also an Eisner-nominated graphic novel creator, so if you are interested in graphic novels, he’s a great role model. His comics are done all in watercolour! His recent book Kodi has been warmly received, and the aesthetic of his illustrations is charming. To learn both watercolour and gouache from a master, follow Jared now.
2. Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones is a master artist who paints many tranquil scenes of the northeastern USA. He uses mainly oil, gouache, and casein, so you will see opaque media put to good use by following him.
He uses a limited palette to create unique atmospheric colour; you would never guess how few colours are on his palette from the varied and stunning results he gets. No two of his paintings look the same, so no worries about getting bored with his feed. He deserves your attention ASAP!
Many of you will already know Pedro Loureiro because of his Live Demos with us! His Instagram is worth a visit because of his free-flowing urban sketches. The first two artists I mentioned make tightly rendered paintings, while Pedro employs looser sketches. If you like that style, he’s a great one to watch.
Pedro also paints figures with a light touch and never overworks a single one. He’s well-acquainted with watercolour and how it behaves on the page. To look at some nice and loose sketches that relieve your blank-page fear, follow Pedro.
4. Dina Brodsky
Dina Brodsky is nothing short of amazing. She paints super-realistic scenes of many subjects. My favourite paintings of hers are her little round miniatures. If you are interested in miniature art, you have a lot to learn from following Dina.
As a miniature-focused artist myself, I consider her a worthy role model. She knows what details are necessary to make a drawing realistic without making it look overworked, and that’s such a tricky balance to achieve. All I can say about Dina Brodsky is that you should follow her right now.
Julia Kamenskikh paints these amazing Plein air scenes with oil and gouache, and she’s excellent at painting water. She knows how to get realism into a scene without a lot of overly sharp brushstrokes, so if a slightly impressionistic look is what you’re after, then she’s a good one to emulate.
Some of her posts show her outdoor easel set up, and she goes to various locations to paint. Her speciality is lakes and wetlands at sunset, so you get to see some beautiful sunsets reflected on the water.
6. Tim Oliver
Plein Air Magazine has featured Tim Oliver, so that alone tells you that following him is worth your time. His subject matter is super unique because he focuses on rural scenes of farm and ranch life.
He is a master watercolourist who creates a variety of atmospheric effects with his paintings. He includes a lot of detail but keeps a light touch, so nothing is over-rendered. If you want to see lifelike paintings with loads of detail, follow Tim Oliver!
7. Sarah Burns
Sarah Burns lives in Scotland and paints a variety of landscape subjects! She also paints landscapes from her studio, and her YouTube videos are tremendously helpful to learn how to observe different aspects of an outdoor scene.
Hopefully, this roundup of Plein air painters inspires you! Follow their Instagram pages because it will help you grow as an artist while supporting them too. If you need some extra convincing to take the plunge, check out this awesome article on why you too should start making art outside!