I borrowed this phrase from the recently deceased Canadian painter Robert Genn who believed that there is only so much we can learn about how to paint from the many fine instructors and resources available today. The true learning comes from going off on our own and just doing it - Go to your room!

I have had the good fortune to take instruction from outstanding artists in Canada and the USA. I continue to work on my own development ( Going to MY room!) . I share, through this blog and workshops, what I have learned and what others have shared with me.

I created this blog primarily for those attending my workshops to keep in touch and to further share as we grow together. If others are interested in following that would be great.

Enjoy the journey.

Monday 27 February 2012

Preparing for plein air - Workshop

Completed my first Preparing for Plein air Workshop on the weekend. Had a great group of enthusiastic plein air wana-bes

To fully enjoy painting on location you need to have a reasonable level of painting skills before you try to tackle the challenges of plein air.  But even with those basic skills plein air is intimidating. So the focus was on planning. Making choices of what to include or eliminate, establishing horizon lines and playing with space division - fore mid and background. All this and more can most easily be learned with pencil and pad.

 I think most would advance by sketching on location - making various interpretations of the scene, making a final selection of their composition of choice, taking photos - then returning to the studio to apply the paint under more controlled conditions until they felt comfortable and confident and were properly equipped to complete paintings on location. 

As for me, I am spending more and more time simply sketching on location - working to improve my eye  and my compositions. 

It was a fun weekend. I enjoy the enthusiasm of a group of  artists working together and being challenged with new ideas. 

My thanks to Island Arts Magazine for organizing the workshop. 


  1. Brian, such terrific results, as always, on your classes...
    All the BEST!

  2. What great advice Brian. So many times when painting plein air artists are in a hurry to get something on canvas and are so in sensory overload they forget to plan a composition ...thumbnail sketches so important.


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