A plein air painting done over multiple days called "The First Few Moments".

“The First Few Moments” 28”x18” oil on canvas plein air painting. This was painted over a three day period in three sessions, just around sunrise each day. The easel was left in place during the entire process.

Plein Air Painting over Multiple Days

Painting over a period of two or three days takes some planning to really do it right. Nevertheless, if you followed the advice above and still ran out of time, it is an option to come back the next day, weather permitting. For best results, however, plan in advance.

You have found a location and a scene that is just beautiful. It deserves a large canvas. Let’s just say you decide not to paint a small version and then work large in the studio. No, you’ve decided this should really be a large plein air. It’s just too large for a single sitting.

If the weather is promising for the next few days, at a minimum do your foundational work the first day. That is, sketch it out, lay in your large masses, block in as much of your lean colors as possible. Keep it very lean.

There are two ways to do this and they both depend upon your medium:

  1. either use a medium that slows the drying  (such as Gamblin Galkyd Slow Drying Medium) so that your lean paint is still wet the following day, or
  2. use a drying medium  (such as Winsor & Newton Liquin Original) so that your lean is dry the next day.

The following day, set up in the same location. In the case of number 1, no problem, just pick up where you left off. The lean should still be wet. Paint the fat into the lean.

In the case of number 2, gently brush a thin layer Liquin over the canvas with a very soft brush to give the canvas a wet surface. Paint the fat into the Liquin layer.

Continue on to a third day if necessary, adding your final details and making any corrections. The result is a large plein air painting.

A plein air painting done over multiple days called "Early Morning Coffee".

“Early Morning Coffee”, 24”x20” plein air oil on canvas. Painted over a two day period in two sunrise sessions.