Plein-Air Painting in 2020

Every year the locations and time vary each time and are decided a few days before
the plein-air session and will be announced on the calendar page of this website

Most likely, there will be no plein-air dates this year


Thank you for joining us at our Plein Air sessions in 2019!
It was fun and we had great participation by our members every time!

Plein-Air Painting in 2019
May - August 2019

Sat   Jun  15       1pm -3pm    Plein Air Painting in Boston
Sat   Jun 29        1pm - 3pm    Plein Air Painting in Boston

Sat    Jul 13        Time: TBD    Plein Air Painting in Gloucester,
                                            North Shore

Sat    Aug 3        Time: TBD    Plein Air Painting in Quincy,
                                            South Shore

Fri     Aug 30       2pm-6pm     Navy Shipyard, Charlestown/Boston
                                             with demo by Norris Strawbridge

This was our schedule of Plein-Air Painting
in Newton in 2018
May - July 2018

         Sat  May 12        1pm - 3pm    Plein Air Painting in Newton

Sat  May 19       10am -2pm     PAINT-OUT (see here)            

Sun   May 27      2pm - 4pm    Plein Air Painting in Newton

Wed   May 30      9am-11am    Plein-Air Painting in Newton

Sat    Jun  9       1pm - 3pm    Plein-Air Painting in Newton

Thu   Jun 14      2pm - 4pm     Plein-Air Painting in Newton

Sat    Jun  24      1pm - 3pm    Plein-Air Painting in Newton

Thu   Jun  28      1pm - 3pm     Plein-Air Painting in Newton

Wed    Jul 11      9am - 11am   Plein-Air Painting in Newton

Thu    Jul 19      10am - noon   Plein-Air Painting in Newton

All weather permitting

Plein Air Painting


One of our goals is to paint outside as a group as much as possible so that we can …  We are always in the process of finding locations for group painting.

To see the current list of our painting locations click on this link: here

Plein Air is a term derived from the French phrase en plein air, which literally means 'in the open air'. It's a familiar concept today, but in the late 1800s when the Impressionists ventured out of their studios into nature to investigate and capture the effects of sunlight and different times of days on a subject, it was quite revolutionary.

A Brief History of Plein Air Painting 

The French phrase "en plein air" means "in the open air" and at the end of the 19th century painting "en plein air" was almost unheard of. The art world of Europe was dominated by the salons and academies and painting methods, materials and subject matter were taught and practiced according to tried and true formulas.

Enter an English painter John Constable. His radical idea was to forget formulas, find the truth in nature and trust your own vision. He created sketches outdoors and then returned to the studio to work them up into full size paintings. Around the same time in the small village of Barbizon, outside Paris, another group of painters, including Francois Millet and Gustave Coubert, began creating field sketches focusing on peasant life and the natural world. This stood in direct contrast to the established art world which demanded subject matter based on antiquity, classical mythology and Biblical scenes. This group known as the Barbizon School were called "realists" by their comtemporaries.

From these roots came a full scale artistic revolution in France in the mid 19th century. Fueled by the new science of optics which had uncovered how the eye actually, physically, registers color, a new style of painting was born. Impressionism. Another new development also spurred this movement on, the invention of metal tubes that could be loaded with paint and taken outdoors. Artist like Edouard Manet, Claude Monet and Auguste Renoir took their easels and new tubes of paint outdoors. They quickly realized that it was not form the eye perceived but LIGHT on a form, and light could be conveyed by color!

So impressionism and consequently plein air painting became about capturing the light and colors of a particular place. Subject matter would be dictated by the weather and the seasons. This new style of painting crossed the Atlantic and landed at the art colony in Old Lyme Connecticut under the leadership of Childe Hassam and other American Impressionists like Willard Metcalf, Matilda Browne and William Chadwick.

Over time other locations with a particularly beautiful quality of light also became artist colonies for plein air painting, Cape Cod, Cos Cob, Rockport. Today the American southwest, Santa Fe and Scottsdale, New England's "Newton" and places like Provance and Tuscany are also centers of modern plein air painting.