4 Simple Rules For Plein Air Art

Plein Air art is the practice of painting or sketching outdoors in nature. Originating from the French words for "Open Air", it's the process of creating a piece of artwork entirely outdoors. Famous of its use by the Group of Seven, it is still an old practice that is now Renaissance revival! I'm new to Plein Air, but once I started a few months ago I knew I was hooked! Here's what I've learned about Plein Air since I started...

I've always loved hiking, it's one of my favourite hobbies and I find it incredibly inspiring for my artistic practices. To incorporate more creativity into my hiking I've decided to bring along some art supplies for the adventure. 

So, to start off my journey into plein air, I've decided to start small and focus on a more mobile form of art. Here are best art supplies that you should bring to get started on sketching outdoors in nature.


  1. Start small: It doesn't need to be flashy, just bring a sketchbook and pencils. The more you carry, the heavier your pack will be! Also, bringing paints in a hiking pack can get messy if you've never done it before. Start with a few simple materials and make your way into larger and more complex art supplies once you get more experience.
  2. Plan for all weather: A sketchbook that is soaking wet won't be very useful! As much as you hope for sunshine and blue skies in the mountains, it won't always be that way. I recommend bringing along a drybag or some other waterproof carrying case for your art supplies... just in case.
  3. Be ready to sit: Even though you'll work out a sweat climbing up a mountain, or walking into your desired location -- you'll get cold almost immediately once you sit down and start working! Bring some gloves, a toque, and warm layers. If your fingers are cold then your art might look a bit more abstract that you'd intended!
  4. Bring your camera: What if you don't finish? What if you find another beautiful view on your hike back to the car? Don't be afraid to stop and snap a photo. It'll be worth its weight in gold once you're back at home and are craving some outdoor inspiration!


There you have it! These tips and tricks will help you get started on your journey to plein air art! Also, here's my shameless plug: I took a pretty neat photo on my plein air hike in the Canadian Rockies -- check it out on my Instagram page! Let me know what you think by leaving a comment or sending me a dm on my Instagram page! xxoo