Another Sweet Chance to Win an Art Cocoon

Pleir air artists, get ready to win these useful wet panel carriers! They protect your painting and everything around it. Our 2017 Summer Plein Air Contest will run from June 15th to July 15th.  You can enter up to three paintings for a chance to win one. Winners are determined by popular vote.  I painted this strawberry field last week during  our annual visit to Whittaker’s Berry Farm in Ida, Michigan.  Even with my two year old twins along, I had was able to finish a quick study and we picked ten pounds of berries.  My oldest daughter and her friend were very helpful, and so was my Art Cocoon.  I taped in my canvas panel when I loaded up my kit in the car.  I used a table top easel and sat on the straw right next to the berries.  They smelled lovely and the weather was absolute perfection.  The kids had fun picking (and eating) strawberries and fell fast asleep on ride home.
I didn’t unpack my kit when we arrived home, because I was wiped out after unloading the littles and the berries.  Around two am, I woke up and started worrying that I might have loaded the art cocoon in the car with the painting facing down.  I ran out to check and sure enough I had. However, my masking tape held up so my painting was still intact. I put the lid back on, banded it securely in place and set it painting side down in my studio. Then I went right back to sleep.


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!

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




Jeremy Sams
“I used to not worry too much about carrying around wet paintings. I’d snicker a little at all the oil painters trying to be so careful not to end up wearing their buttery colors from their fresh plein air paintings. As for me, I’d just toss mine in the back of the car, and if it landed on its face, it was ok. I’m an acrylic painter. I could get away with that…well, could get away with that…not so much anymore. With experience, and lots of wasted dried up paint, I found the slow drying acrylics to be much friendlier to my plein air adventures. With this friendly new medium, however, I had to think twice before tossing my painting around. So, I found myself researching wet panel carriers.”There’s a whole market of different styles of wet panel carriers out there. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to test out one of these. It’s called the “Art Cocoon”, a panel carrier designed to cocoon around your wet painting. It was designed by an artist for an artist and is made of a high quality, very stiff and durable cardboard. Your standard sized panel fits into the cocoon and is held in place by a few small strips of tape on the back of the panel. Then, the lid (another cardboard panel with matching space for your panel size) sandwiches your fixed panel. A large rubber band goes around the whole set-up, keeping it sealed. Now, your painting is cocooned.
I wanted to test just how tough this little thing was, so I strapped it to my kayak and headed up the New River in Ashe Co., NC. Luckily, my cocoon came with a sealable bag…which was good for the wet kayak trip, and just my luck…rain! I was pleased when I took the cocoon out and the only thing wet was the outside of the bag! Also, the tie down straps on the kayak didn’t affect its solid exterior, which was pleasing.

“One other thing I noticed and was pleased with, was that even though I had the cocoon in wet weather (although under an umbrella, and sealed when traveling) I didn’t notice any type of adverse effects on the cardboard material. However, I might not have had the same experience had I dropped the panel in the river. But I don’t know…maybe I’ll try that next time and see how well it floats…but only if it’s a bad painting.”

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

Click here to read more about Jeremy…

We’d like you to meet Jeremy Sams

Art Cocoon presents… from the woodland waters of North Carolina…
20 time plein air award winner…featured plein air artist… Jeremy Sams!!!
As a representational artist who works in acrylics, my primary goal is to capture on canvas the wonder and awe of God’s creation along with the scene’s emotional impact. In order to achieve this, it is of utmost importance for me to spend time studying and painting the particular scene on location, en plein air: to experience the sounds, the smells, the cool breeze or the humid air, and the movements of wind and shadows. All of these elements play a role in the emotional reaction we may have to a particular place.
Click here to read more…
“Finding Shelter”, 24″ x 30″ acrylic
This is a studio painting painted from a plein air painting that took 2nd place in the Burnsville Plein Air Competition this past May in Burnsville, NC. It’s a view looking up toward Celo Mountain during a typical summer storm. It has never failed to rain on me while painting in this area.
“Through the Woods at Renolda”, 10″ x 8″ acrylic
Reynolda Village in Winston Salem, NC is a favorite spot of mine in the spring and early summer. This day was spent studying the effects of light on the tree and path with the boat house through the trees.