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  • Writer's pictureSarah Yee

What is Plein Air Painting?

Plein Air painting is the practice of painting and drawing in the landscape rather than inside in a studio or home. En Plein Air is a French expression that roughly translates to "in the open air". I absolutely love painting Plein Air as it has forced me to work faster and looser so that I can quickly capture my surrounding environment. I also have to make use with limited supplies as I need to carry everything I need with me.


A sketchbook is being held up in front of a beach scene in Kiama, NSW. the same scene has been painted in the sketchbook
Plein Air painting in Kiama


I started regularly painting outside a few years ago and have changed my technique over time. I originally started with just some watercolours in a sketchbook but I now also use gouache on top of the watercolours as I find it far more flexible and vibrant. I never sketch out the painting with a pencil, I just start straight away with a quick wash of watercolour blocking out the different shapes I can see in the landscape. I have noticed that I only tend to paint scenes with water in them; such as beaches, creeks and lakes. I have a goal of painting all the beaches in the Shoalhaven 100 Beach Challenge and have made good progress so far. This blog will be a record of my painting journey and also some reviews on the beaches themselves, such as accessibility, amenities and highlights


 An opened set of watercolours is lying on a towel on white sand at a sunny beach.
Watercolour set sitting in the sand

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