Plein Air Concepts and Strategies for Better Painting

Ste. Chapelle
The Owyhees

When: Sat. June 27 and Sun. June 28: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Where: Gallery Fifty-Five, 311 E. Lake St., McCall, ID 83638
Price: $200
Class Size: Limited to 12 students
Instructor: Lupe Galván

Explore compositional strategies and design for consistent plein air painting.

Course Objectives:
– Explore compositional strategies set forth by Edgar Payne.
– Explore the importance of designing your picture.
– Are you a front lit or back lit painter?  Decide and explore.
– Learn the big 3: background, middle ground and foreground.
– Explore the use of simple tools to create consistent paintings.
– Learn methods for applying paint – tiling, blocking in, focusing on large shapes.
– Learn to make simple value scales.
– Learn to use thumbnails and sketchbooks for painting.

The class will be two days, 9am-4pm, with a break for lunch from 12noon-1pm. Critiques at 4pm until finished. We will be taking field trips, so be prepared for outdoor painting.

We will explore strategies for painting from life, sketches, color studies, and photographs, and find why our paintings may lack consistency between life and photo sources. We’ll learn how to make a value scale and how to properly use it. We’ll then use these strategies in the field, car pooling to locations in or close to McCall.

Supply List:
Drawing Materials: Sketchbook, pencils, erasers, ruler.
Painting Materials: A painting palette and any of the following: canvas panels, boards, stretched canvas, canvas, paper. Oil paint (or casein or gouache for painting on paper): Bring whatever colors you already have and, if you don’t have any, buy the following:
Option 1: Titanium White, Cad Lemon, Cad Yellow, Cad Orange, Yellow Ochre, Cad Red Light, Alizarin Permanent, Transparent Oxide Red, Burnt Umber, Cobalt Blue, Cerulean Blue, Ultramarine, (Optional Chromium Green or Viridian.)
Option two: Titanium White,  Cad Yellow light, Raw Sienna or Yellow Ochre, Cad Red Light, Cad Red Medium, Cad Orange, Cobalt Blue, Cerulean Blue, Ultramarine Deep.
Brushes: Any oil painting brushes either synthetic or bristle are fine. We can discuss brushes in class.
Cleaner/Thinner: A small container with Gamsol only please for oil paints, no turpentine or hardware grade mineral spirits. A small container of water for water-based paints. Be prepared to take your brushes home for a thorough cleaning at the end of each day. There will be limited options for clean-up.
Plein Air Set-Up: A basic set up for painting plein air that holds your supplies, palette and substrate. For a commercial lightweight solution, look for a pochade box (ex. A French easel will also work. You can make your own pochade box from a wooden cigar box. Examples are online or available from the instructor after registration.

You can bring a camera to take pictures with or photos to paint from. A tablet is also good to paint from provided the screen is large enough.

About the Instructor: Lupe Galván grew up in rural Idaho among the farm lands of the Snake River valley. Lupe earned a BFA in Illustration from Boise State in 2006 and an MFA from The New York Academy of Art in 2009. He has taught drawing and painting at Boise State University, Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona, Neumann University and  Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia, and Southern Oregon University in Ashland. He will be teaching painting at Boise State again this coming fall.

He uses his strong drawing and painting skills to make sensitive and probing portrait, figurative and landscape work. Much of his landscape art addresses his experiences of Topophilia – a term coined by Yi Fu Tuan, PhD – which deals with the study of man in his environment. Simply put, Topophilia is the love of the land.

Click here to reserve your spot. Questions? Email us at