Plein Air Painting Oils & Acrylics

with Steve Hessler


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June 4, 2022


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Materials Fee (Paid at the Beginning of Class)


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Class Description

All levels from advanced beginners to experienced are welcome. Our session begins at 10:00 AM on Saturday, June 4, 2022 and ends at 3:00 PM. We will gather for about an hour in a studio at the Floyd Center for the Arts to discuss the stages in the development of an outdoor painting from selection of subject matter through composition, sketching, blocking in and completion. Topics such as color mixing, perspective, values and edges will be covered. From there we will move outside to a nearby location to begin our paintings. Bring snacks or a lunch and a water bottle.

Instructor will offer individual feedback if desired.

If rain occurs, we will move to a covered location at the Center for the Arts where the class can practice their “rainy day painting skills”.

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Materials List

GENERAL: Try to avoid carrying too much gear. Some people prefer a pochade box on a tripod with paint in a backpack. Other may be more comfortable with a field easel.

PAINTS: Bring what you are accustomed to using. Some people limit themselves to three primaries (blue, red and yellow) plus white. Other may bring additional colors for convenience to reduce time spent mixing.

THINNER: Gamsol or Sansodor mineral spirits for thinning paint and clean up. Water for acrylic painters.

Note for acrylic painters: Acrylics dry fast outdoors especially if it is windy. Bring a mister and/or use a retardant to slow drying time.

MEDIUMS: A Liquin-type gel medium or similar.

BRUSHES: Bring what you are comfortable with.

PANELS: Smaller panels (8X10, 9X12, 11X14) are generally recommended for one-session plein air painting. Acrylic gesso primed and oil primed canvas and linen panels are readily available.

PALETTE KNIVES: I have one palette knife for laying in telephone lines, to soften edges and for cleanup.


• Cell phone with camera

• Viewfinder –purchased or cardboard with a 3X4 opening

• Sketchpad with pencil for making thumbnail sketches

• Stool, maybe

• Umbrella, maybe, maybe not. It’s windy in Floyd.

• Paper towels and a plastic grocery store bag for trash

• Hat

• Sunblock/insect repellant

• Water bottle

• Snack


Guide to Landscape Painting by John Carlson

Oils, Pure and Simple by Trevor Chamberlain

Composition of Outdoor Painting by Edgar Payne

Minimum Age

18 and older, or with special permissiomn

About the Instructor

Steve Hessler paints representational landscapes in traditional oils. Much of his work is painted "plein air", although he also paints from photographs in his studio. "As a self-taught artist, what appeals to me about outdoor painting is the opportunity to create quick, uncomplicated images of places about which I have strong feelings". Such places include the Carrboro Mill Village in North Carolina where he lived before moving to Floyd in 2021, and the Atlantic coast, especially Core Sound and the Chesapeake Bay with their abundance of working boats. He hopes that his paintings will increase our appreciation for traditional ways of life and encourage the preservation of historic dwellings and vessels. Attendance at workshops led by such well-known American artists as Tim Bell, John Poon, and Larry Moore has sharpened Hessler's eye and emboldened him to simply stop and paint when an image grabs him by the throat. "This is always how it is... you'll be walking or driving along and a scene will catch your eye... sometimes it si only a glimpse... but it will be right compositionally and tonally." Steve Hessler's work has been exhibited in galleries in Chapel Hill, Durham, Wilmington, Burlington, Greensboro, Carrboro, Raleigh, and Morehead City, North Carolina and in Wilmington, Delaware and Old Lyme, Connecticut. He is a past member of the American Society of Marine Artists and the Salmagundi Club. Steve knows that, "When we go outside to paint, we are overwhelmed with information. I will describe my step by step strategy for developing a plein air painting which emphasizes composition, simplification and focusing on the main point of interest."

Class Registration and Cancellation Policy

Advance Registration Required.

Registration: Class registrations are confirmed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Cancellation/Refund: The Floyd Center for the Arts will conduct classes for which an adequate number of students are registered. Class status is determined 1 week before the first date of the class, unless otherwise noted. Acceptance of payment does not guarantee that a class will run. If the Center must cancel a scheduled class, students who registered for such classes will be given the opportunity to transfer their payments to another course or receive a full refund of their tuition payment.

Student Withdrawals: Students withdrawing from a class before the cancellation period has ended, (one week prior to the start of class, unless otherwise noted) can receive a full refund or may transfer their payments to another class of their choice. Students who withdraw after the cancellation period has closed or after class has started, will not receive a refund.