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The Plein Air Adventure:

Learn a workable process with which to render a plein air painting on location. Plus, you’ll learn what to look for in choosing a painting location and how to edit down into a workable painting.

Instructor: Gaye Adams
Fine Art Painters
For Stage(s):
For Aspiring and Emerging Artists who are BEGINNERS to plein air painting.
Medium: Oil, Acrylic (oil recommended)

Not sure what stage you are? Visit our How It Works page for details.

Starts on Wednesday, June 7, 2023
June 7 | June 14 | June 21 | June 28
4 sessions, 2 hrs each, weekly
2:00pm – 4:00pm MT


Note: Price in $USD

Out of stock

    Course Description

    IF you have always want to try plein air but felt unsure about how to get started, this is the course for you! I have been a plein air painter for decades, and have been teaching it almost as long. In my experience, plein air is an amazing way to sharpen all of your painting skills: drawing, design, color mixing, etc. and is an adventure and pursuit worthy of your time and efforts in and of itself. It teaches you to see differently, and to make fast, confident, and competent decisions that will inform your studio practice to an amazing degree. In addition, all of my favorite memories in my painting career revolve around my plein air adventures in beautiful locations with painting buddies who have become life long friends. It is my fond hope that you will come to share my passion! This course is designed for folks that are new to plein air, but not new to painting. A working knowledge of how to handle your materials is something you should have under your belt before attempting to learn plein air.

    Session 1 – getting geared up and organized for plein air, followed by in-studio demo of process for plein air and slide show. A discussion of homework to be done by students in between sessions.

    Session 2 – live on location interactive demo (students will be in their home studios)

    Session 3 – live on location interactive demo (students will be in their home studios)

    Session 4 – review of process and critique of plein air works done by students in between live sessions

    Please note that I am an oil painter and all demos will be done in oils.

    I would suggest that students work in oils as well, as it is the most versatile and workable plein air medium. Acrylicists are welcome, but I still encourage the use of oils for plein air.

    Supply List


    • Titanium White
    • Cadmium Yellow light
    • Indian Yellow
    • Yellow Ochre
    • Transparent Red Iron Oxide or Transparent Earth Red
    • Cadmium Red Light
    • Alizaron Crimson
    • Ultramarine Blue
    • Pthalo Blue
    • OPTIONAL: Portland Grey Cool, Portland Grey Warm, Portland Grey Deep


    Bring a variety of sizes and shapes. Here is what I typically use:

    • Size 2,4,6,8,10,12 – note these sizes can vary widely between manufacturers, so rather than looking at the number on the brush just think: small, like 1/8”, up to large, such as 3/4” to 1”
    • Good quality hogs hair or synthetic hogs har
    • A good quality brush costs more, but keeps it’s shape and doesn’t shed bristles
    • My current favourites are Rosemary Ivory Synthetic hog bristles, and Windsor and Newton synthetic hog bristle (Opus generally carries the latter). I find Flats to be the most useful.
    • I would rather you bring fewer brushes, but better quality brushes. A good quality brush will keep it’s shape when wet, and will have some spring to it.


    I like Raymar or Centurion supports for plein air as they are both high quality lightweight panels, and so are ideally suited to plein air. Stretched canvases are too bulky and light can shine through them, so they are not ideal for plein air. Both of the supports are ordered out of country, so to get started you can just purchase panels from Opus, but I would recommend an extra layer (or two) of gesso so the are not too absorbent.

    I work generally two sizes in the field, 8×10” or 6×8” for very fast sketches. As you become more experienced, you may find you want to work larger, but I would start small – it will speed up the process, and you need that on your side.


    A pochade box is ideal as it is designed specifically for painting outdoors. They are an investment, however, and I do not expect you to go out and purchase one if you are not certain you will continue to paint outdoors.

    Another option is a french easel, or a portable easel of another type. Whatever your system, please set it up and try it out very close to home… will give you time to tweak your set up so it is not problematic in the field. Having a system in a back pack or on rollers is best.

    Swinton Art Supplies carries Sienna boxes, I believe. Most students I’ve seen working with them seem pretty happy with them, so that is an option if you are looking to buy a serious plein air set up.

    I have a Strada box, ordered from the states. They are pretty skookum, but also quite expensive. Go to to take a look.

    If you haven’t decided to invest in a good pochade box, a portable easel and a small side table can work in the interim.


    • Blue automotive shop towels (these are lint free, strongest, and most absorbent
    • A plastic grocery bag for soiled towels
    • A leakproof container for solvent if you are an oil painter, for water if you are an acrylicist
    • A VIEWFINDER – these can be purchased at most art supply stores. In lieu of this, simply poke a pencil size hole in a mid value grey pant chip
    • Bring a brimmed hat of some sort, and sun screen
    • Water
    • Wet panel carrier of some sort for oil painters. Even a pizza box will work for this purpose. I use carriers from
    • Portable stool. I find an inexpensive tripod style stool the easiest to use – it is light and compact. Canadian Tire usually carries these. Even if you like to stand while you paint, you may wish to sit if it gets very cold or windy.


    • I use Gamsol to clean my brushes while working in the field. It is worth it to spend a little more and get a solvent that is odorless
    • Walnut oil, galkyd to help your paint flow out if needed
    • Acylicists should bring a polymer glazing liquid and use a stay wet palette

    If you have oils, please use oils instead of acrylics.
    They are much easier to use in the field due to delayed drying time and malleability.

    If you have any questions around the supply list, please email me directly at:

    DOWNLOAD the supply list (PDF)

    Instructor Bio

    Gaye Adams has been a full time working artist for over 30 years. When not in the studio doing larger pieces for her galleries, she enjoys travelling and painting plein air. Out of that has grown her love of teaching plein air workshops in locations worldwide such as Italy, Spain, Croatia, Mexico and the United States. When home in Canada, she loves to paint everything from the rugged outer coastline of BC to the peaks of the Canadian Rockies.

    Her work can be viewed here:
    FB: gayeadamsartwork
    IG: gayeadamsart

    Gallery Representation:
    Canada House Gallery, Banff AB
    Adele Campbell Gallery, Whistler BC

    Artwork by Gaye Adams
    Artwork by Gaye Adams
    Artwork by Gaye Adams
    Artwork by Gaye Adams
    Artwork by Gaye Adams