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Perfect Mediums For Making Art In The Great Outdoors

by Jennifer Dawson, freelance contributor

Getting outdoors and spending time in nature is a healthy, enjoyable pursuit, whether you are running, hiking or painting. Drawing landscapes as you see them right before you or honing in on a single flower that is still growing provides an opportunity to relax and feed your creative craving. It can also give you the time to slow down from the regular speed of life and notice the beauty in the details as well as the struggle between preservation and development.

Considerations when drawing

Going outside to draw might seem daunting at first but once you’ve overcome that initial fear, you will find that the benefits far outweigh any prior worries. If you are undertaking drawing as a new hobby, consider starting with a sketchpad and pencil and perhaps learn to draw a poppy. Mastering some basic techniques of drawing along with some simple and easily portable materials will help to boost confidence and give you an idea of what kind of style inspires you. Developing your eye for what makes a good composition along with your use of perspective, color, lighting, and shadow are skills to hone over time that will enhance your ability. The end result need not be perfection, whether you are a new, budding artist or a more experienced painter. Instead, you should focus on your purpose for drawing and painting, with it being a creative outlet and emotionally restorative activity. 

Mediums for painting outdoors

Finding mediums that you enjoy using will take some experimentation, trial and error. There is a huge variety of options depending on your style and the desired end result, although factoring in convenience when transporting and using outdoors may be a consideration. Pencils, pens, charcoals, and pastels all offer dry options. Alternatively, popular mediums that many artists choose when painting outdoors include watercolors and oils.

Cindy Baron, an artist known for her work with watercolor and oils of landscapes of the west and coastal shorelines, states that she enjoys each medium for its different advantages. She explains how watercolors are ideal mediums since they are experimental and spontaneous when it comes to painting nature. For instance, using watercolor means that you can easily blend colors.  On the other hand, oils allow you to wipe it off and start again. Therefore, oils are useful if you want to make touch-ups or are working under time restrictions.

Combining your passion for painting with being outdoors, among nature in the fresh air, is an excellent way to relax, keep yourself mentally active and emotionally recharge. Considering what materials and mediums to take out with you will depend on what you enjoy working with and how convenient it will be to carry everything you need. For those starting out, do not be disheartened by unexpected final results but instead, revel in the moment and enjoy the inspiration of your surroundings.

Young people ages 4 – 18 have the opportunity to exhibit their art at the Environmental Nature Center’s Spring Faire on May 6, 2018. Art must explore one or more California ecosystems, and may include plants, animals, and people! Many thanks to our sponsors, Newport Beach RotaryMesa Water District, Art Supply Warehouse, and Saddleback College Fashion Design and Merchandising. Deadline to apply is April 29, so hurry! More info HERE.

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