Plein Air Oil Painting Workshop

Wow. It’s been awhile… the kids have returned to school, the Clothesline Festival is behind me. I am beginning to be able to focus again. Most of the tomatoes from the potager have been harvested and made into sauce, salsa, pico de gallo and gazpacho. My freezer is stacked full for a delicious reminder of summer 2011.

Junebug and Poppa visited Linwood Gardens this spring for the Tree Peony Festival wherein they found out the gardens were open throughout the summer season for artist’s workshops. Guess what I got for my birthday??? Yay. A weekend workshop in Plein Air painting! Such a treat… on so many levels.

Stay tuned for more info on Linwood Gardens. Hoping to post a Fabulous Friday Find on that this Friday. You won’t want to miss it. A hidden gem.

Jean Stephens taught the workshop. I had visited her website and seen her work before the workshop and thought that her style/vision was just what I needed to help me get over my block in oil painting. Jean’s demonstration Saturday morning was so informative and helpful.

Saturday morning demonstration. Jean does a quick value sketch of her subject (left) then creates a monocromatic  underpainting on her canvas.

 A limited palette with warm and cool primaries (left). The sky value goes in first then Jean builds the painting out into the foreground based on her original value sketch.

I am not an experienced oil painter and I have never painted in the plein air style before (painting in plain air). It was marvelous. I was inspired by the beauty of the gardens and challenged to use that lovely french easel that I had sitting around in the studio. Jean was so professional in her set up. I am a messy painter. Its the only time I have ever painted in oils and NOT been covered in paint when I was done. Her “house keeping” made me feel so organized (not an easy feat)!

Bringing out the values/hues in the middle and foregrounds (left). At the end of the day we put up our work and had a lovely critique.

Our lesson on atmospheric perspective was a turning point for me. You will see. Some of you know how I love to paint the view from my studio. Now… I get it. Just wait and see.

It was such a treat to talk art, technique and social media with other artists. The weekend encouraged me to get involved again with my local art community. I was so impressed with Jean’s demonstrations and her open, giving style of teaching.

Sunday morning demonstration on painting trees… a good thing to learn when painting landscapes!

I have a few changes to make to the paintings that I worked on there. Perhaps I will post them when I feel like they are done. Until then I may be showing up with my french easel all over town!

For more information on Jean Stephens artwork and classes please visit her website. Also, if you are in the Rochester, NY area be sure to visit Jean’s upcoming show at The Arts & Cultural Council October 12th – November 3rd. Her work is amazing!




Hi, I’m Michelle. I am an artist/designer specializing in unique topiary themed art for the Home & Gardener. I live on a farm in Upstate New York with my husband, two children and a small petting zoo of other family members. #shapeyoursweetestlife



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