What is Plein Air Painting?

Have you ever painted outdoors? Then you’ve practiced plein air painting. It’s full name, en plein air, means “in the open air,” and it’s essentially the act of painting while outside (or, in the open air). Read on to find out more:

The history of en plein airWhat is Plein Air Painting

People have been painting outside for generations. In fact, some of the very first paintings were painted outside. However, the term en plein air wasn’t coined until the 1800s when painting outdoors became truly popular. This is due to a lot of reasons, the main ones being an expanding middle class, and the increasing relevance of particular art movements such as the Barbizon school, the Hudson River School, and the Impressionists. Additionally, with the invention of metal paint tubes in the mid-19th century, painting materials were cheaper and easier to acquire than they were in years past, making painting a much more accessible hobby to more and more people.

Notable plein air painters

Many famous painters throughout history are considered plein air painters. They include the following:

  • Claude Monet
  • Georgia O’Keeffe
  • Pierre-August Renoir
  • Alfred Sisley

The Impressionists, the Barbizon school, and the Hudson River School were also highly involved in plein air painting because they believed in emphasizing natural light in their paintings.

Plein air painting in the modern day

Plein air painting is experiencing a bit of a renaissance in the modern day. Increasingly, artists of all levels are getting together for excursions and/or workshops dedicated to the craft. From cities to farms, buildings to landscapes, modern plein air painters are realizing how enjoyable it is to sit and capture the outside world.

If you’re interested in experiencing the joys of painting outdoors, then be sure to check out the plein air workshops available at Creative Ventures Gallery. Have further questions about plein air painting? Then give us a call at 603-672-2500.