Richmond, Kentucky
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Richmond, KY 40475
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What Is Plein Air Painting? March 2, 2020

Richmond, Madison
What Is Plein Air Painting?, Richmond, Kentucky

For centuries, artists have been painting landscapes with a variety of techniques and paints that grab your attention and pull you into the foreground. One of the most popular techniques for outdoor features is the Plein air painting technique. However, not many people realize this is a way for artists to gather inspiration, create a masterpiece, and practice one of the most difficult techniques of painting in any outdoor venue.

History of Plein Air Painting

The term “Plein air” is a French expression that means “in the open air.” It’s also been closely linked to the paintings and philosophy of Claude Monat and the French Impressionists of his time. Monet famously rejected the traditional way of painting landscapes and developed a technique that took him beyond the four walls of his studio. He observed natural light throughout the day, taking in the scenes around him while outdoors. 

outdoor-venue-kyMonet took his work outdoors, observing and painting an entire scene in one sitting as the natural light bounced off his subjects. The inspiration and observations he found while observing different outdoor venues led to some of the most famous and stunning landscape paintings that artists and fans still recognize around the world.

Practicing Plein Air Painting

To practice Plein air painting, the right tools and supplies are necessary. Thanks to portable box easels and paint tubs, you, too, can practice painting in the open air. Visit a site several times, at different points in the day, to see where the natural light bounces off and is at its most brilliant. Start with a quick sketch of your surroundings so you can focus on the natural form of colors that will bring your scene to life.

If you’re looking for motivation or inspiration, select an outdoor venue with variations of light and different subjects, such as ponds, barns, statues, or floral patches. Find other artists in your area and set out on a Plein air painting excursion or sign up for a workshop that gets you out of your studio and into the natural world. Practice observing natural forms, shapes, colors, and light before you begin painting. If you need to, snap some pictures so you can continue your work indoors once the sun goes down.


If you’re looking for an inspiring outdoor venue for Plein air painting, check out Jordan Hill Farm in Richmond, KY. With 85 acres of lush green hills, cozy log cabin designs, private ponds, and streams, you’re sure to find any landscape to create a stunning painting. They also host romantic weddings and couples or families that are looking for outdoor adventures in the rolling hills of Kentucky. If you’re ready to explore the great outdoors and the Jordan Hill Farm property, call (859) 623-0807 or visit them online for more information.

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