Plein Air Series: Talk and Workshop Connecting With Local Landscapes

This summer step out of your studio to become a Plein Air Artist, striving to capture the moment and the incomparable experience of 'being there', in the great outdoors. Through the En Plein Air Workshop Series, the Leighton Art Centre invites beginner and practicing artists to come and practice with a variety of mediums and techniques. Join us for our first workshop of the series for a talk on the history of Plein Air landscape practices and a Plein Air drawing workshop with our invited instructor, Isabel Porto.

Please note that you may register for the talk only OR the talk and the workshop.


In her talk, Isabel Porto will be discussing the ways that the Plein Air aesthetic, which is the practice of making art outdoors, has created a distinctive way of looking at and framing our surroundings over the course of history. Through unexpected views and by grasping ephemeral moments, Plein Air artists constantly remind viewers of the need to be “present” to experiences. This long tradition became internationally widespread during the 17th century in Italy and then, again, in 19th century France. During the talk, you will be introduced to the major historical artistic events and artists who turned their attention to Plein Air landscape practice, including Nicolas Poussin, Claude Lorrain, Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes, Thomas Jones, John Constable, Théodore Rousseau, Claude Monet, and Paul Cézanne.


The talk will be followed by the opportunity to experience the Plein Air process with an outdoor drawing workshop that will take place on the Leighton Art Centre property. Isabel Porto will invite you to warm-up by drawing on a window called the Walking Window through which you will begin considering the different views of the landscape that you may wish to draw. During this drawing exercise, you will be encouraged to tune in to the fleeting changes and characteristics in the landscape include the ways light and wind changes the shapes of clouds and trees. After using the Walking Window, you will be invited to use your sketchbook and materials to create drawings that expresses your experience of the Foothill Landscape.

WEATHER: In case of rain, activities will be performed inside the museum or one of the art studios of the Leighton Art Centre.

SUPPLIES: Supplies for the workshop are not included in the fee.

Please bring drawing supplies that you are comfortable working with or already own. This include any or all of the following:

  • Sketch book or individual drawing paper sheets with clip board
  • Graphite pencils ( e.g., 4H, 2H, HB, 2B, 4B, 6B, woodless graphite pencils, and/or a Jet Black extra smooth 14420);
  • A blending stump
  • A sharpener
  • An eraser of your choice (e.g, white plastic eraser and/or kneaded eraser).


Tickets for the Talk only: $10
Tickets for the Talk & Workshop: $50

Did you know that as a member of the Leighton Art Centre, you can get 10% off the registration of our workshops? Visit our website by clicking here to find out more about our memberships.


Isabel Porto is a Canadian artist originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Her MFA thesis (U of C, 2014), Perceptual Drawing: A Perspective of Experience, gave Isabel the possibility to intensify her study of perceptions in relation to everyday environments. She has recently become interested in the practice of Plein Air, and taught a summer course on this topic at U of C in 2016. For ten years now, she has been developing art projects that involve site-specific locations and the participation of local communities. Her work has been exhibited in Calgary, Edmonton, and Brazil.