Go Big or Go Home! Extreme Plein Aire Painting with David Nielsen

Painting outdoors has its own set of challenges. Finding a great view is one thing, but working with the elements and not fighting them can be a different set of challenges. What would happen if you decided to take plein aire to the next level with a very large canvas or board? In correspondence with the Leighton exhibition Natural Energy (August 8 - September 20), David Nielsen ASA will host a “Go Big or Go Home” workshop / party at the Leighton Centre on August 22, demonstrating very large plein aire landscape of the Rocky Mountain vista. It’s gestural! It’s a workout! It’s liberating! It’s fun!

Supply List:


Nielsen is not concerned whether you use oil or acrylic, pencil or pastels. Please use a medium you are familiar with and have a good supply of. The larger the surface you use, the more paint you will need. It really depends on your process. Our focus is how your process translates to a larger format in the outdoors. What do you have to do differently? What do you do already that translates easily? Nielsen who has taught for over 20 years believes in embracing the "working without a net" spirit of plein aire landscape. He works with a basic palette. Generally, Nielsen “draws” his image directly on to his Venetian Red tinted canvas, usually using a jar of Ultramarine Blue and Alizarin Crimson thinned with turpentine.
Because this is a workshop dealing with scale, you may need more paint and brushes should be larger. What size do you want to work with? 40”x48” or larger is a great starting point. You may use a board or canvas…just make sure it will fit inside your vehicle. Most trucks and SUV can handle 40” across. Can your easel handle the weight of what you are undertaking? Having tie-downs never hurts! Nielsen has been known to literally lean his huge canvasses against his vehicle. So working from the parking lot hill at the Leighton Centre may be necessary.


Supply list at a glance…..


• Large pre-gesso canvas or board ready to be painted
• Container for water to clean brushes
• Large paint palette
• Weather appropriate clothes
• Lunch and bottled water
• Variety of painting supplies, whether they be oil or acrylic, pencil or pastels in large quantities to cover a large painting surface.
• Large paint brushes
• Optional: Easel large enough to hold your large canvas / board. Please keep in mind that the location you will be painting might be windy the day of the workshop.