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Plein-air practice

Part 1 How to paint in an urban environment. Rodney Kingston begins a three-part series to inspire you to sketch and paint outdoors


The equipment you will need

Try Rodney’s four-step confidence-building exercise

Paint a bus with minimal brushstrokes


On many weekday mornings between March and October my alarm is set for 4.45am. I get ready quickly, leave the house with a backpack full of art equipment and head to the train station. I arrive at Waterloo not long after 6am and within minutes I find a location perfect for plein-air painting. I set up my equipment, paint a scene, pack down and get to the office of my day job by 8.30am.

In January 2017 I had a strong desire to spend more time painting. I’d spend hours thinking about and talking about it, but my level of productivity was nowhere near where I’d have liked it to be, because of the demands of daily life. One evening I watched a YouTube video of artist ‘Tom Hughes’ Thoughts on Painting’ series. He spoke about starting out as a plein-air painter and the passion he had and commitment to improve. At one point during the video he showed examples of his first efforts and compared it with his current work. My jaw dropped! I couldn’t believe how much his work had developed in a relatively short time. His advice to improve as an artist was to get out there and paint.

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About Leisure Painter

Welcome to the Summer issue of Leisure Painter, where we aim to cover all your favourite media and subjects . In this month's issue you will find all the help you'll need for drawing or painting landscapes, flowers, animals, harbour scenes, seascapes, weather effects and more in watercolour, acrylics, oils, pastels and drawing media. Learn how to find the perfect view when sketching outdoors and find confidence-boosting tips for painting in public when you venture out this year. From how to make marks in graphite and reproduce textures in nature to three important considerations when painting from photographs, enjoy your month of painting with Leisure Painter