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Plein Air Painting Workshop with Jeffery Sparks

June 1 @ 9:00 am - 4:00 pm


Plein Air Painting Workshop


From Jeffery Sparks:

My plein air painting workshops are an opportunity for painters of all skill levels to immerse themselves in an easy outdoor environment. These workshops focus on balancing the development of technical skills with the aspects of painting that will help you grow as an artist and lead you to higher, more developed levels of being an artist and creator.

This is an opportunity for growth for you as a painter because plein air painting is also a lesson in paying attention to the moment you’re in. That can be a frustrating lesson if you are struggling with the technical aspects and skills needed to accurately express what you want through you work. For this reason, in my workshops, I seek to meet painters where they are in the strengths and struggles of their practice and help get them to their next level as artists.


What to Expect

When we meet, we’ll introduce ourselves and cover some basic ideas of plain air painting.


At this meeting we’ll also go over your goals for the workshop. I think it’s important to set some kind of intention for the time you’ll be working so that we can focus on that rather than meander around with too many objectives. So, for example, some students want to understand color better, others would rather improve their understanding of composition, or simplification. It’s important to figure that out first so when you start your work, you can operate without pressure or impediment and give yourself the best chance to get as much out of the time as possible.





Whether you paint with oils, acrylics, watercolors, or pastel, the palette of color you choose is personal, with that said your palette is either going to be a tremendous help or a frustrating hindrance. I will show you how to maximize your palette so that it not only provides the colors you need but becomes like an assistant to you while you paint.


Titanium White

Cadmium Lemon Yellow (or a similar primary yellow)

Yellow Ochre

Cadmium Red Light (or a similar primary red)

Alizarin Crimson

Ultramarine Blue (or a similar primary blue)


*The brand of paint is up to you, and for a workshop, student grade (studio) paint is fine and cost effective. For pastels, a full spectrum of soft pastels and paper with a grit will be important.

**Feel free to bring other convenience colors of your choice.



Brush preference is very subjective so use what you feel the most comfortable with. If you’re comfortable with your current brushes, feel free to use them at our workshop. That said, be sure to include at least one quite large brush (#10 or #12)–even if you’re working in pastels!



Outdoors, for paint, I use a sealable plastic container that holds wax-surfaced palette sheets. You can find both the ream of these sheets and the container at Hobby Lobby. However, I often tape these sheets to a piece of wood or even some thick cardboard around 11×17 inches in size. Bring the palette you are comfortable with if you have one, or just a piece of wood or cardboard and I can supply the palette sheets for this workshop.



I prefer to paint on rigid surfaces, most often I use a gessoed wood panel, or canvas glued to wood. You might prefer stretched canvas, that’s great too. For this workshop, you want to have larger (not smaller) canvases, 12×12 or 12×16  is the smallest you will want to bring, and I have found 12×12, 12×16 and 16×20 strike a good balance. Bring a couple of these sizes with you.



For oil paint, odorless mineral spirits. For acrylic and watercolor, have a good supply of water. For all mediums, you usually want to have a cup/jar for cleaning and one for use in painting.



Plein air and portability go hand-in-hand, but this is a completely personal preference. In this workshop, if you don’t have a plein air easel, the Carriage Factory has a limited supply of easel setups that can be moved outdoors for this workshop. I use a French Easel, bulky and heavy as they are, but there are many more lightweight solutions.


Other Items

Gamsol Odorless Mineral Spirits (oil, pastel)

Plastic bag/s for trash

Paper Towels

Palette Knife

Spackling Knife (straight edged, 3” is a good size)

Plastic gift card, hotel room card, etc. (be sure there is no value on them)

Sketchbook or sheets of paper, ruler, pencil/pen.


June 1
9:00 am - 4:00 pm


Carriage Factory Art Gallery
128 E. 6th Street
Newton, KS 67114 United States
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