Betsy Payne Cook, PPSCC

Step Outside: A Plein Air Painting Workshop

This workshop is suitable for beginner to veteran artists that are looking to develop their plein air skills to create a sense of place within your setting.

June 6th

Saturday 9am-5pm (set up from 9am - 10am)

Lancaster Community Center

695 Main Street

Lancaster, MA 01523
United States

Cost: $160 Members, $200 Non-members

Please note sign-ups are open the 1st 2 weeks to CMPS members only. 

You can join from the Join CMPS tab above.

For questions, or to sign up email

Please put "Cook Workshop" in the subject line. 

“Painting outdoors is an exhilarating experience, and this workshop is ideal for artists who want to take the challenge of stepping outdoors to paint! Whether you are a novice or an experienced painter, the opportunity to paint together outdoors is rewarding. I notice that my time plein air painting makes a difference to how I approach pastel painting when I am in my studio. There really is nothing like plein air painting to develop your observation skills!”

The workshop will begin with presentation of equipment used for plein air painting, including tips and hacks that are useful when painting outdoors. Artists will complete preliminary sketches that focus on value and designing with contrasting elements. Through demonstration, Betsy will share pointers for setting up on location, narrowing the field of vision and ways to enhance the compositional structures and colors in the landscape. Goals will include developing sketching and planning routines, simplifying shapes, selecting color based on value, and how to limit details; and most of all making the scene your own!. Artists will receive plenty of easel time with individual feedback and coaching.
If weather is inclement, we will paint indoors and follow the same goals with photo references.

Supply list – Pack efficiently!
-sketchbook & drawing materials ( include a soft graphite pencil, thin and wide tip sharpie markers )

-sanded pastel papers in white and light tones, at least four at 5x7. I suggest you bring varied formats and sizes. examples - 8x8, 8x10,10x10,6x12 ,9x12, 12x12, 7x14, 11x14, 12 x 16 (don’t have to bring all of these!)

-easel board such as foam core board to secure your painting. I use black foam core as it does not reflect the light when outdoors, I bring 2 clipped together to make a secure packet with my finished painting inside.

-pastels ( hard and soft) in a range of values from light to dark ( include a selection of neutrals and vibrant colors),
-rubbing alcohol and a small container, 1” flat and/ or fan watercolor brushes,

-dust catcher ( folded newspaper or cardboard does the trick),

-heavy duty clip and a couple of bungies to hold things steady

-viewfinder ( I will show you a quick way to make your own , or purchase ViewCatcher or Picture Perfect Viewfinder)

-easel ( happy to help if you need suggestions)

And bug repellent, plenty to drink, sunscreen and a hat with a brim! Optional but useful items are a camp chair to use during the demo or when you take a break and an artist’s umbrella to keep you and your painting out of the sun!

Feel free to contact me with any questions: