How to paint plein air with watercolors

Crookhaven Heads, early morning plein air painting

Plan your watercolor painting

I start by developing a good design and an idea of how I am going to progress with my painting.  This is achieved during the drawing stage.

Time of Day

Now I try and get my paintings done in the early hours of the day and late in the afternoon.  If I have to paint in the middle of the day I make sure I have some shade to work under either natural or by using an umbrella.

Crookhaven Heads, early morning plein air painting
Crookhaven Heads, early morning plein air painting

Minimise Atmospheric Problems

I try to stay out of the wind. This is not always possible however, especially if you have limited time at a location that you really want to paint. The two Venice paintings here were done in quite a stiff breeze but as it was very late in the day and not too warm I got away with it.

I may also spray my paper lightly with water to give me a little more time before it dries. I have to allow for this in my paint mixes however as the extra water on my paper will further dilute my paint.

Continue to: Watercolor Plein Air Step 3

Author: Joe

Owner and adminstration of the Painting With Watercolors website and forum. I am a professional watercolor artist, though I also use other mediums including pen and ink. I also enjoy playing with computers and the internet so this website is a bit of a hobby of mine.