OPS was formed to create opportunities and incentives for artists of like mind to come together and paint ...........En Plein Air



Visit often to read about various topics including plein air tips and exhibition reviews. 

Posts are authored by OPS members and guest artists.

  • April 01, 2016 1:17 PM | Tina Bohlman (Administrator)

    Nancy Tyler our DVD librarian advises we have 2 new DVD's available! 

     Jason Sacran's “Painting the Effects of Late Light”- plein  air painting demo in oil  by Jason Sacran -What do you do when the light keeps changing while you’re painting?  Jason inspires and teaches you to make those critical decisions when facing the changing conditions of nature.  2 disc set, Runtime 177 minutes   ( 10 oz - $ 4) 


    John P. Lasater IV "Painting Into Direct Sunlight”- a plein air painting demo in oil by John P. Lasater IV-  How do you handle staring into the sun? One of many difficult challenges for a plein air painter.   91 minutes runtime    1 disc    (5 oz- $3)

    Go There NOW & check them out!
  • February 22, 2016 7:05 PM | Tina Bohlman (Administrator)

    OPS Master Signature, John Pototschnick recently blogged about the value of the field study.  His experience and wisdom is beyond measure and we're delighted to share this blog post with you.  Below is the 1st paragraph of John's blog post - 

    click on THIS LINK to visit his blog page and read the "rest of the story".....

    "Creating paintings en plein air has been an important part of my fine art career that began in 1982. I had just  left behind a 10-year freelance illustrator career in pursuit of this new dream. While strongly attracted to the landscape, many of my first paintings I was told, looked like illustrations. It was Tony Eubanks, also a former illustrator, that suggested I start painting on location. He said that would erase the illustrator in me pretty quickly. He was correct......

  • August 11, 2015 12:38 PM | Tina Bohlman (Administrator)
    Note:  This post first appeared on Oil Painters of America Blog.  Great article by OPS Signature member RUSTY JONES. You can access Rusty's website & contact information in the OPS Signature Member Directory.

    OPA Blog

    Notan Sketch VS. iPhone 6

    By Rusty Jones on Aug 10, 2015 12:00 am

    “Notan” is a Japanese term referring to exploring the harmony between light and dark. Artists use Notan sketches to explore the composition elements of a scene and the relationship of major shapes. A good Notan drawing simplifies a scene into three values…dark, light and halftone. It also acts as a memory and planning tool that helps the artist focus on essential elements of a scene, draw simple shapes and record important elements should the scene change as weather and sunlight alter a scene.


    I was first introduced to the importance of the Notan sketch in a workshop I took with Skip Whitcomb. Skip starts every painting session with two or three quick sketches of the scene. The process takes him about thirty minutes. As part of the workshop Skip required students to do at least three sketches before starting a painting. Since that time I have come across many artists that rely on the Notan sketch process and for years it has been my practice as well.

    The advantage of a Notan sketch over a camera is the camera records everything in the scene indiscriminately leaving nothing to the imagination. That being said I have come to prefer the camera over the sketch as the smart phone increasingly takes over every aspect of our life. Using the photo app in my iPhone has reduced the time to produce a Notan to a matter minutes rather than a block of time that cuts into painting time.

    I recently took the opportunity to produce a Notan sketch and a Notan photo to decide once and for all what my routine was going to be going forward. Below are my results.

    South of Monterrey on the way to Big Sur is this amazing scene, painted by many. On the day of my painting the fog was rolling in and out all day constantly changing the light. The scene was so captivating it was hard to decide what to leave in and what to take out. It was the perfect time for a Notan sketch so by the time I put brush to canvas most of the major decisions would have already been made.

    Like many plein air painters my “go to” format is the horizontal on a 9″ x 12″ or 12″ x 16″ panel. I also like the long, narrow horizontal format I use frequently in Texas due to the lack of mountains or anything taller than a fence post. My first inclination was the long horizontal as seen in my Notan which took about ten minutes.

    Just for kicks my second sketch was a square format and my third sketch was my usual horizontal.

    The whole process took longer than expected because of the fog that would come in and obscure the distant cliffs that I wanted to include in my painting so all total it took almost forty minutes to get the sketches done.

    Simultaneously when the sun was just like I wanted, I took a single photo with my iPhone and as the fog destroyed my scene, I quickly opened the photo app
    to look at the scene in different formats.

    I first looked at the long, horizontal format, cropped it accordingly and saved the image for future reference.


    Then I cropped the same photo in the more typical horizontal for a 9″ x 12″ painting. Again I saved it for later.


    Then I used the halftone filter to give me a Notan photo of my scene. The whole process took less than ten minutes which is an important consideration when the goal was to produce four paintings this day.


    “On the Way to Big Sur” 9″ x 12″ oi/linen

    When it came time to paint, the fog became unavoidable. In the end I gave in and included it in my painting, but the Notan exercise was well worth the effort.


    Below is another example of sketch versus photo Notan.

    I'm a sucker for old farm houses and this one is a favorite. I quickly produced two Notan sketches. The long horizontal. The standard format. Then I created Notan photos. The long horizontal The standard format. The halftone Notan.


    The painting.

    “Historical” 12″ x 16″ oil/linen

    There is something that makes me feel more “artistic” drawing Notan sketches before beginning a painting. But at the end of the day, for me at least, its all about evaluating the scene for composition and values and the iPhone provides me the quickest means to an end while also providing me a permanent record. In less than ten minutes I can produce several Notan photos with complete halftone evaluations of my scene and I think it gives me a clearer understanding before I begin to paint.

    The post Notan Sketch VS. iPhone 6 appeared first on Oil Painters Of America Blog.

  • July 26, 2015 2:51 PM | Tina Bohlman (Administrator)

    NOTE:  The following is an in-depth "conversation" between two of OPS'  top signature members, John Pototschnick and John Cook.......read on; you're really going to enjoy this!!


    "I’ve been a fan of John Cook’s work since the 1970′s when we were both working as freelance illustrators in Dallas. He excelled then and he excels now, as a fine artist; may I say, “fine, fine artist?”

    What makes Cook’s work so incredibly appealing to me is that it comes across as being created by one who is absolutely fearless. He does things with a brush and palette knife that I can only achieve in my dreams. What I need to define and explain, he is able to suggest with just a few strokes of the brush. His work is powerful and emotionally charged. Fellow artists love his work for they recognize his amazing talent and his ability to apply paint in such an attractive manner.

    His work is just exciting and inspiring when seen firsthand. I often ask myself, “How does he do that?” Yet, if you were to meet Mr. Cook, you would surely be asking someone, “Is this THE John Cook, the guy that paints all those colorful, bold, amazing paintings?” Your question of course would be justified, for the public John Cook is quiet, low key, and reserved…and that’s what I find so intriguing about him. I’ve just got to know what the deal is with him…so I asked him.

    You’ll love this interview and his amazing work. Photos showing the progressive steps of a painting will blow you away."

    Here’s Johnny! 

    CLICK HERE FOR THE INTERVIEW  complete with photos...

  • June 17, 2015 2:30 PM | Deleted user

    We are a group of painters primarily in the Bay Area from Clear Lake to Galveston and beyond. Though, we "have paint and will travel". Please feel free to join us at anytime for an "outing" when posted. For information just go to www.Meetup.com/BayAreaPleinAirPainters. Any questions or suggestions you can contact me at sl.pinkerton@sbcglobal.net. We will try to find some cool and dry areas soon. 




  • April 09, 2015 4:41 PM | Margaret Griffith

    Houston member, Margaret Griffith, is hosting a workshop on Mt. Desert Island the week of August 31, 2015.  Come paint Acadia National Park with Maine artist, Philip Frey.  Arrive on Sunday the 30th., attend the 3 day workshop, and then stay a few extra days to paint on your own with fellow painters.  2 spots left to stay in Margaret's home overlooking the Cranberry Islands and Atlantic Ocean.

    Contact Margaret at mhgriffithartist@gmail.com

    Check out workshop details on Philip Frey's website

  • January 20, 2015 1:37 PM | Tina Bohlman (Administrator)

    The workshop is full for Phil Starke's workshop!  But it may not be too late! There is almost always a last minute cancellation due to an unplanned emergency.  Go to the Events page on this website & register today!

  • December 06, 2014 8:14 PM | Tina Bohlman (Administrator)

    Announcement!  Outdoor Painters Society member and Pastel Hall of Fame artist, Albert Handell is named to the faculty of the 4th Annual Plein Air Convention & Expo in Monterrey, California April 13 - 17, 2015. The event is sponsored by Plein Air magazine. Handell will be demonstrating his technique at the convention as well as working with painters in the field. Congratulations Albert!

  • December 04, 2014 3:52 PM | Tina Bohlman (Administrator)

    Thanks to Randy Saffle, we now have 6 new DVD's in our library.  One is a replacement set for the popular "Painterly Approach" with our own Bob Rohm.  The original DVD set was played and played and played until it was "played out"!

    These new instructional discs are now in the library - sign in with your ID and password then click on Members Content.  In the drop-down menu, select DVD library & scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the new additions.


    By the way, if anyone has a DVD they would like to donate to our library, please let us know

    Thanks & Enjoy! 

  • November 26, 2014 12:14 PM | Tina Bohlman (Administrator)

    With the holiday season ramping up to full speed ahead, be sure and mark your calendars for these dates:


    Associates Online Show - Deadline November 30, 2014

    Holiday Dinner & Painting Swap - Register by December 10, 2014

    Plein Air Southwest 2015 - Deadline January 5, 2015


    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


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