Painting En Plein Air: Embracing Nature’s Canvas in Ireland

Ireland, with its emerald landscapes and rugged coastlines, is a paradise for plein air artists. The term “en plein air,” French for “in the open air,” describes the act of painting outdoors, capturing landscapes and life in natural light. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the world of plein air painting in Ireland, offering insights, tips, and resources to help you embark on this artistic journey.

The Irish Landscape: A Plein Air Painter’s Dream

Ireland’s diverse landscapes provide an endless array of subjects for plein air painters. From the Cliffs of Moher to the serene beauty of the Ring of Kerry, every region offers unique scenes. The ever-changing Irish weather also plays a role, casting dramatic light and shadows that can transform a landscape in moments, challenging artists to capture fleeting moments.

Getting Started: Equipment and Preparation

Before you start, it’s essential to have the right equipment. A portable easel, high-quality paints (be it watercolor, oil, or acrylic), brushes, a palette, and a sturdy canvas or sketchbook are your basic tools. It’s also wise to have a comfortable, lightweight chair and weather-appropriate clothing.

Choosing Your Location

In Ireland, you’re spoilt for choice. The Wild Atlantic Way is a fantastic starting point, offering stunning coastal scenes. For urban landscapes, Dublin’s Georgian architecture and Galway’s vibrant streets provide excellent subjects. National parks like Killarney and Connemara are ideal for capturing unspoiled natural beauty.

Techniques and Approaches

Plein air painting is about capturing the essence of a scene quickly. It often involves looser, more impressionistic styles. Start with a quick sketch to lay out your composition, then block in your major colors and shapes. Refine details as time and light allow. For tutorials and tips, the Virtual Art Academy offers excellent online resources.

Overcoming Challenges

The primary challenge in plein air painting is the changing light and weather. It’s about adapting and making quick decisions. Additionally, painting in public spaces can attract attention, so be prepared for onlookers and engage with them – it’s a chance to share your art and possibly gain new followers or even customers.

Joining the Community

Ireland has a thriving plein air community. Groups that offer support, organize events, and host plein air painting festivals. Participating in these events is a great way to meet fellow artists, share experiences, and learn new techniques.

Documenting and Sharing Your Work

Sharing your work on social media is a great way to gain exposure. Use hashtags like #PleinAirIreland, #IrishArt, #LandscapePainting, and #OutdoorPainting to reach a wider audience. Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are popular among artists. Also, consider creating a blog or website to showcase your work more professionally.

Selling Your Art

Irish Artmart is an excellent platform for selling your plein air paintings. By creating a profile, you can reach a broad audience of art enthusiasts. Additionally, local galleries, art fairs, and online marketplaces Irish Artmart are fantastic venues for selling your work.

Learning and Growing

Continuous learning is vital in plein air painting. Attend workshops and courses – many of which can be found through local art schools or online platforms like Skillshare. Reading books and watching tutorial videos also helps. A must-read is “Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting” by John F. Carlson, a timeless resource for plein air painters.


Plein air painting in Ireland is more than an artistic endeavor; it’s an immersive experience that connects you with the raw beauty of nature. It’s about capturing a moment in time, embracing the challenges, and sharing your unique perspective of Ireland’s landscapes. Whether you’re a seasoned artist or a beginner, the journey of plein air painting is endlessly rewarding.

Follow us on social media @IrishArtmart . For more information, tips, and stories, visit Irish Artmart.

Remember, every painting starts with a single stroke. Grab your easel, step outside, and let Ireland’s beauty inspire your next masterpiece!

For collaborations, art features, or inquiries, please contact us at in**@ir**********.ie. Stay connected with the Irish art scene by subscribing to our newsletter and following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article  do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Irish Artmart.

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