This happens to be my first painting done “en plein air” with oil paint. I have done many sketches with watercolor, goache and pencil or charcoal. It proved to be VERY educational for me! My first lesson was to make sure to secure the painting better so I don’t drop it. Because like a piece of bread with peanut butter, it will most certainly fall face down. If you look closely you can still see some dirt in the photo. Ugh…

However there were other lessons. My takeaways are:

Make sure you bring enough colors. I trimmed down my colors to make a lighter load and because with a limited palette you can have a more unified piece in the end. BUT, I still wish I brought a couple more colors. Namely black, I thought I could mix my darks dark enough. I was missing the punch of a true black. A true red. I brought a cadmium red light, which is more like an orange. I missed a crimson.

I could have used a trash bag. Both for my trash and there is always trash on a river bank. I’m a nerd that way.

When painting outside it can be a lot to take in. A view catcher would have helped avoid distractions and aided my composition. They are really simple but I find it helps a lot and you can really make one yourself. But this one is readily available via art stores or amazon.

My plein air oil painting tripod easel was a success. The canvas holder worked great, but I think I need some more massaging on my palette holder/shelf design. The image to the right is my rig. It’s basically a metal tube with slightly larger metal tubes that slide over and clamp down to hold it in place. I will make a post on how I built that.

masterson palette

The palette holder was designed to hold my Masterson Palette which I love because I can leave my paint for an extended time and come back to usable paint. I also based this design on the Leder Easel concept. It’s a shelf that hooks to your tripod. Mine is 2 boards with PVC pipe. Meh, I can improve on it.

The last thing I learned was more variety in brushes, I had all big and only 1 or 2 small brushes. I need some rounds too.

Oh, and small canvasses are a struggle. Go a little bigger.

Now back to cleaning up my painting a bit more before it dries! Getting out there was exciting and invigorating. I can’t wait to go again. From a guy that sits behind a computer all day for work, being outside in nature is a great way to spend a couple hours.

Thanks for reading & the links are affiliate links if you want to throw me a bone buy something. I receive a small commish. 



bridge painting

oil painting plein air tripod