Quick Plein Air Oils

I have recently chosen to practice my painting as a musician might warm up by practicing scales. While I have continuously carried a sketchbook with me, I have not spent time to work on my oil painting skills in the same way. I have made a commitment to go out each day and complete a small quick oil painting. My objective is to capture the emotion of a location rather than the details. In order to accomplish capturing emotion of a location I need to simplify and be discerning about what gets put on canvas. If I can capture the initial impression and leave out unnecessary details I will have accomplished my goal.

I hope you will enjoy following me on my journey as I explore and grow as an artist.

This first post will be several of my recent outings.


My quick plein air today was at the John’s Island County Park. It was a chilly day and I sat in the sun as I painted. As I painted the live oak I forgot about the chill in the air.

Johns Island County Park 5" x 7" Oil plein air
Live Oak Oil Johns Island County Park 5″ x 7″ plein air


Today I drove around for a couple hours looking for a new place to paint. My car took me to Good Hope Landing on the Edisto River. This is not one of my small quick paintings. It is an 8 x 24 and I spent a couple hours painting.

Good Hope Landing 8" x 24"

A battered pickup with the bed piled high with old worn tires drove up a few times and left. I think I scared off a potential dumper of tires because the first time they drove up, they backed the pickup into the water. When I was noticed, the driver took off. Two more times they drive up and left immediately.

An old fisherman spent some time casting his rid and patiently waiting for the fish to bite. A young man stopped by to admire my painting. He was enjoying a weekend off from tree work.


The cherry trees and azaleas are in full bloom at Hampton Park in Charleston. Hampton Park is one of my favorites in the area. The gardeners are knowledgeable and take care to tend the gardens. I enjoyed walking through the rose garden. While the climbing roses were the only ones in bloom, their sweet perfume followed me as I searched for a place to paint. I chose to paint a lone tree surrounded be azaleas.

quick Plein Air Cherry Tree 5" x 5"
Cherry Tree 5′ x 5″ Oil


There is a small park at the end of a neighborhood street on James Island. I like to come here and relax. Today was a quiet day and I was able to paint with no distractions.

A short dock extends out over the salt marsh. This afternoon I sat on the bench painting the marsh as the tide was close to high tide. I could hear some birds in the tall grasses, but none came out to greet me.

Salt Marsh Quick plein air  oil painting4" x 6"
Salt Marsh 4″ x 6″ quick Plein air oil painting


I enjoyed sitting at a picnic table at Bears Bluff Fish Hatchery on Wadmalaw Island.

This quick plein air took about 30 minutes as I arrived shortly before closing time. I have not been here before and will return after the flowers are in bloom. I look forward to seeing the pollinating garden in full bloom.


Today I walked the greenway on Johns Island. I walked off the path and down onto a little jetty. I was able to reach it via some boards that had been placed on the muddy path. There I painted about 30 minutes. This painting has been sold.

South Carolina Marsh 5" x 5" plein air oil

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