Brad Holt’s Plein Air Blog

If you haven’t had a chance to follow Brad Holt’s wonderful blog, now’s your chance.  His recent post is on painting in the Sedona Plein Air Invitational.

Brad Holt too

He won a few awards, including  the 2016 Image Award, from the Sedona Arts Center. for his painting of Cathedral Butte, shown above. He also sold enough paintings to make the trip well worth his while.  Congratulations, Brad!Brad Holt

Plein Air Painting Know How: “Outdoor Study to Studio”

My copy of “Outdoor Study to Studio” is here and it’s a good read.  I love to paint out, but rarely know what to do with a piece when I get it back into the studio.  After reading Micheal’s Chesley Johnson‘s new book, I’m eager to pull out a few old color studies and my photos and get to work. Get your copy here.


M C Johnson's bookMCJohnson back cover


Tips for new Plein Air Painters from Jeremy Sams

Featured Artist, Jeremy Sams, painting in the water with Art Cocoons!




Jeremy Sams
Tips for New Painters: Part 2 – The Painting Stages Stage One usually begins with lots of excitement as you find a scene that inspires you and you begin to frantically sketch it out on your painting surface.

Stage Two is when you’re blocking in big shapes and color masses…still somewhat excited.

Stage Three is when you have all your shapes and your composition established and you begin the process of turning it into that which inspired you. This is usually when you say to yourself, “What was I thinking???” You battle with all of your insecurities as an artist and wonder if you bit off more than you can chew.

Luckily, Stage Four begins at that point where you actually start to see the big picture coming together…you feel happy again.

Stage five is when you’re done…you’ve narrowed your focus and captured the story with all the final details…you feel great!

Stage 6 occurs when you begin to second guess your decisions and start to overwork the painting. Here’s where we have to be reminded that just because a little of something worked, doesn’t mean that more of it will work better. That’s when we need stage 7.

This is the stage where a friend walks over and kindly pats you on the back with one hand to distract you while the other hand swipes your brushes. Now, you’re really done…and glad someone encouraged you to stop.

It’s a good idea to paint with someone else whenever you can. There’s a couple of benefits to this. First, there is strength in numbers, and you’re safer when you have someone there with you…especially in the urban scene, or when painting a nocturne. Another benefit to painting with someone else, or a group, is that inspiration is easily transferable. It’s as contagious as laughter and lice! Artists can glean so much from one another, whether it’s a fresh perspective in a critique, encouragement to keep going, or just the joy of being around like minded people sharing laughs and experiences.

—Jeremy Sams, Landscape painter, Archdale, NC, 9/8/15

Click here to read more about Jeremy…

If you’re looking for an efficient, economical, and compact solution for carrying wet paintings, you’ll LOVE Art Cocoon Wet Panel Carriers – they go where you go!Enter our contest for a chance to WIN a FREE CASE of Art Cocoon carriers and become a FEATURED ARTIST!

Your images could appear in our e-commerce and print advertising materials, providing new exposure and opportunities!

4 Things to Expect When Painting Outdoors: Tips from Jeremy Sams

Hey Jeremy — why do you paint IN the water?

“When the hot summer sun is blazing down on your shoulders and you’re surrounded by all kinds of rash-inducing foliage, painting IN the water just makes good sense!”

—Jeremy Sams, Landscape painter,
Archdale, NC, 9/28/15

Click here to read more about Jeremy…

1. Expect to be overwhelmed.
One of the biggest struggles is narrowing down my focus to one simple subject. Our tendency is to paint everything we see…the barn, the cow, the fence, the no trespassing sign, the weird tree with the broken limbs, and the cloud that looks like Donald Trump’s bad hair day. I’ve found that by using a view catcher you can isolate a particular view of a scene, and it makes it easier to see a dynamic cropping. Plus, it helps when you’re sketching out your composition.2. Expect to be uncomfortable.
I always advise people to bring bug spray, sunscreen, a light jacket, and an umbrella. There’s nothing more irritating than being unprepared for pestilence and weather when in a perfect scene. Because when you begin to paint you’ll have to swat the mosquitoes as they feed on you…and then, it will begin to rain…the rain will make you cold…you’ll struggle to paint with shivering hands…the sun will come out…you’ll warm up…you’ll get sunburned…and the mosquitoes will continue their lunch. It is a vicious cycle.

3. Expect the light to change.
You may have no more than a couple of hours to capture a particular scene. Large structure shadows will be slower moving while dappled light streaming through the leaves can create fast moving ground shadows. Overcome this painting challenge by finding the shadow patterns and light spots that best serve the painting—and then stick to the plan. Otherwise, you’ll spend all your time adjusting minor matters while the whole concept remains incomplete.

4. Expect panhandlers, con-artists,  spectators.
I usually park as near to my location as possible. If I’m only painting, I’ll leave my valuables locked up in my vehicle. It’s common to have pan-handlers approach. Here’s how I handle them: If they ask for money, I kindly ask them their name, first. Then, I say, “Sir/Maam, I’m sorry, I don’t have any money on me to hand out, but what do you need?” You can detect a con-artist from a person in actual need by asking specific questions. If they say, “I need food”, I’ll tell them to come back when I’m finished and I’ll go buy you some food (assuming I have the funds available). Those who have legitimate needs will be patient and accept whatever I purchase for them when I’m done. This approach may not be for everyone, so let your conscience be your guide. Just remember, don’t leave your painting gear unattended, and it’s good to have a painting buddy with you!

About spectators, I personally see their presence as a good thing, because they may be buyers, so have business cards to hand them. Also, it never fails that when you have established your shapes and composition, your spectators arrive. They usually give you that confused look as they glance at the subject matter, and then to your painting, and ask, “So, are you one of them thar’ abstract painters?” I use this opportunity to explain the benefits of my plein air process. Kindness goes a long way and just being friendly may get you a sale.

If you’re looking for an efficient, economical, and compact solution for carrying wet paintings, you’ll LOVE Art Cocoon Wet Panel Carriers – they go where you go!Enter our contest for a chance to WIN a FREE CASE of Art Cocoon carriers and become a FEATURED ARTIST!

Your images could appear in our e-commerce and print advertising materials, providing new exposure and opportunities!

Encouraging young people to experience art! by Gloria Chadwick

With so many schools cutting back on art and music programs it isn’t surprising to find some children may have the desire to paint but not the resources or opportunity. Offering youth classes through various community organizations and museums now that plein air has become very popular can be rewarding for both the teacher and student.An idea for artists working with young people is to suggest that students working in oil use an Art Cocoon to lessen their frustration and fear of damaging their work. Young painters can get frustrated carrying all their paints and supplies to a class and then fuss about how to transfer the painting back home. Starting with a small panel snug in the Art Cocoon can eliminate some of that anxiety and give them the security of having their learning project safe from damage.See below for what Gloria has been up to this summer!

Learn more about Gloria Chadwick >>>

“Hills of Dehesa”
6″ x 8″, oil on canvas, 2015
Gloria Chadwick

Angelica works in her parents’ store… when she’s not performing store chores or serving customers, she can be found painting. She doesn’t use an easel and sets the Art Cocoon on the register or on her lap and paints away!

“It worked very nicely and I LOVE it! The Art Cocoon is very helpful as it helps me have a better storage place for the wet panel. It is not bulky, pretty much can fit anywhere and it is very portable! And I am still thinking on how to decorate the Cocoon, such as put designs on it, and I plan to use it for my art classes. Thank you very much :)”
~ Angelica –  Art Student

Nick can typically be found on the baseball or soccer fields but he’s always open to try something new! Preferring to be outside than inside, the plein air event in New Hampshire was perfect for him.

A Note from the Talented Tina Bohlman

TINA AT BIG BEND RIO GRANDE 2014We were thrilled to receive an email from Tina Bohlman!

“I don’t remember the exact year, but about 3-4 years ago, I received 3 each of the small and large as an Honorable Mention award in the Paint Historic Waxahachie plein air event. It’s a really great product. Every time I participate in an event or just a paint out gathering, artists always ask & I show them how “cool” the carriers are & give them the website. I give frequent painting demonstrations and always have my plein air gear, which includes MyArtCocoon! I have no idea how many of these I’ve “sold” for you, but I’m guessing quite a few.

Attached are some photos of my paintings on location inside the cocoon, plus a couple with me in the photo…the one showing me sketching has a fresh sheet of Arches Oil Paper in the cocoon on my easel. I paint on the new Arches Oil Paper and it’s a perfect match for the cocoon; I trim the paper to fit inside the 11×14 then place the 9×12 or 8×10 insert on that if I want to paint smaller. Same goes for carved out 12×16 – trim paper to fit & put inserts over if I want to paint smaller.”RIO GRANDEIMG_2321TINA - SKETCHING AT BIG BEND (contraband movie set)

Tina is a signature member of the following groups:
Outdoor Painters Society
Women Artists Of The West
Contemporary Fine Art International
Artists Of Texas
International Plein Air Painters

Check out her wonderful plein air work: