Plein Air painting + my travel art journaling supplies

When I think of plein air painting, I think of the impressionists and my absolute favorite artist in the whole wide world, Claude Monet.


Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge, Claude Monet

Plein air is nothing but the act of painting outdoors. Artists would typically scope out the landscape, find an area of interest, set up their easels and start painting what was in front of their eyes. The colors, quality of light, interplay of shadows, everything was as true to the time of day and season in which they were painting.

Winslow Homer - Artists Sketching in the White Mountains

Artists Sketching in the White Mountains, Winslow Homer

Challenges of plein air painting

Since plein air paintings are done outdoors, there are a couple of challenges involved too. You need to be prepared for the weather, for bugs or leaves falling into your paints, onlookers stopping to watch while you paint, and the biggest – the type of paint you will use. Acrylics are a no-go because they will dry and harden up very quickly. {While Golden does have a range of Open acrylics that are designed for plein air painting, these are not available in India.} Traditionally, plein air painting {which predates the invention of acrylics} was done in oil paints; you can also use watercolours.

Plein air painting in art journals

I’m not a landscape painter, so my idea of plein air painting is to simply head outdoors and play in my art journal. It’s been a fun, learning experience.

The art supplies I carry with me are stripped down to the very basics. Not being able to use my favourite acrylics meant that I had to break out of that comfort zone and embrace different materials. As I became more confident with those, I started mixing supplies and materials when I returned to the studio, resulting in some really interesting looks that I wouldn’t have even thought of trying.

My travel art journal supplies

how to create your own oracle cards

I used these travel art supplies plus a bit of gesso to create my oracle card deck!

Wondering what’s in my travel art journal case? Here ya go!

Inktense pencils

Colorsoft pencils

Water brush

Sketch and wash charcoal pencil

Mechanical pencil and eraser

Permanent black pen

White gel pen

Doesn’t get more minimalistic than that!

Put this lesson to work: Take a trip to the nearest park with an art journal and a few supplies and have some fun creating art!

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I’m an artist and art educator, podcaster, tarot reader, and writer. I share my discoveries along the path to inspire you to live a more creative, soul-centered life. Receive my love letters for more of my musings on life and creativity. P.S. I love Instagram - join me there?


  1. I love Monet because it’s so soothing to see. He’s among the few painters I truly admire and appreciate for the relatable factor. As for that tip to go to the nearest park, I should try that some time. I’ve been so scared of colours and paints for the longest time that I must do something about it.

    • That’s one of the reasons why he’s one of my favorite painters! When I was younger, I used to wish I could live in a Monet painting! And yes, you must try going to the park and painting something. There’s nothing scary about colors and paints!!

  2. I truly admire the way where you give out lessons for each stroke…Brilliantly put 🙂 The thought of painting outside is indeed beautiful as one gets involved with nature and brings out the actual colours

    Launching SIM Organics This April
    *Menaka Bharathi *

    • Thanks Menaka. Yes, if you paint realistically, painting outside in nature is invaluable practice with light and shadow.

  3. Hmm didn’t know this term. Learn so many new things everytime I come here. Monet and Van Gogh are my eternal favorites. I have always dreamt of painting in the outdoors with an easel propped by a gurgling stream beside a little copse! Your outdoor supplies seem perfect to me!

  4. Never knew about Plein Air Painting! It would be so interesting to capture the beauty of nature that’s right in front of you!

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