encourages the experience of painting the city of Chicago – the Lake, the skyline, the neighborhoods, the grit and the grime, as well as the natural beauty. We paint on-site in the open air, on beautiful days and sometimes in extreme weather. We offer members opportunities to paint, critiques to improve their painting, educational events, exhibits to promote visibility and sales, and general camaraderie among painters.

Paint Outs

Paint Outs are offered on the first three Saturdays of each month, and on the fourth week there is a Friday nocturnal and a Sunday paint out. Often a guest artist is on hand to demo and critique. Everyone is invited to paint.

Membership Benefits

Paint plein air with an encouraging group at all levels of experience. Attend demos and workshops to improve your skills. Participate in exhibits and sell your work. Check out all of the member benefits.

PAPC Year End Exhibit and Sale

December 1st through December 10th.


 Palette and Chisel Academy, 1012 N Dearborn

Join us for the opening reception on December 1st 6-9 pm.

Plein Air – 20 Years of PAPC

Saturday, August 5, 2023 

Washington Square Park and Newberry Library

 Registration opens June 5. Space is limited.



This year our annual education event, I Heart Plein Air, will celebrate the twentieth anniversary of PAPC, and we’re bringing the founding members together for a very full day of painting and learning. In 2003 friends Scott Tallman Powers and Christina Body packed their kits and hit the streets to paint outdoors together. Twenty years later, they’re coming back to the group for I Heart Plein Air to lead workshops, along with two more master artists, Errol Jacobson and watercolor expert Tom Trausch, and then sit down for a panel discussion about the very different paths of their careers. In between the workshops and panel, you’ll enjoy a seated luncheon and colorful topics by two guest lecturers.

See below for the full day’s program and registration options.

Expand to view 2023's I ❤ Plein Air guest artists and speakers.


20 Years of PAPC

LIVE Saturday, August 5, 2023

Registration opens June 5. Space is limited.

Full Day, Members: $150
Full Day, Nonmembers: $175
Afternoon Program Only: $65 (same price for everyone)



Morning Program

8:00 a.m. Check in at the Palette & Chisel, 1012 N. Dearborn St., Chicago

8:30-12:15 Outdoor workshop with Scott Tallman Powers, Christina Body, Errol Jacobson, and Tom Trausch. (Rain option: indoors at the  Palette & Chisel.)

Our four master plein air painters will be set up near each other in the park demonstrating various plein air techniques, such as including people in the landscape, handling water features, and relationships between nature and architecture. They’ll paint for about an hour before you choose your nearby spot to paint through the morning. The artists will circulate to all the participants during the paint out to problem-solve and answer any questions. Watercolorists, take note! Tom is here for you, and he is also an expert in oils. See each artist’s bio and web site below. Upon registration, please indicate if you will be painting in oil or watercolor at the event.

The workshop will be followed by an online crit for registrants only on Wednesday, August 9. 

Afternoon Program

12:30 Check in for afternoon-only participants at the Newberry Library

12:45 Lunch and bar catered by Lula’s Café

1:30 Lecture “Skål, Skagen! Plein Air Nordic Style” by Ginny Voedisch

Seeking reprieve from the stifling pedagogy of Europe’s art academies, artists across the continent and beyond flocked to France in the mid- to late-19th century to paint out of doors and experience the genre-shifting attitude of Realism. Among these intrepid creators was a group of Scandinavian artists drawn from Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Eager to bring these exciting ideas and practices home, this group of like-minded artists chose the Danish town of Skagen to form a colony, where they would apply their learnings to their own artistic heritage and the unique characteristics of the northern landscape. Here, in a tiny town located on a spit of land and beach at the outermost tip of Denmark, they indulged, consorted, argued, and created, producing a body of work that despite its striking beauty remains relatively unknown outside of Scandinavia.


2:30 Lecture “Color Strategy: The Purposeful Palette” by Richard Laurent

Learn to capture the emotional content of what you see in the process of painting from nature. The process of painting en plein air is complex and there are many decisions that will impact your outcome. Yet, there are color strategies derived from studying masters’ palettes including Monet, Van Gogh, Zorn, Innes, and others that provide a key to achieving a successful result. We will look at hue, chroma, and saturation as a means of expressing feeling as well as recording detail accurately. Applying this dynamic in your work reinforces a signature style, builds artistic brand identity, and enhances collectability. It also makes for a more satisfying experience for the artist working en plein air!

3:30 Panel “Framing an Artist’s Life” with Scott Tallman Powers, Christina Body, Errol Jacobson, and Tom Trausch

All four of them are award-winning, seasoned artists, but they all got there in different ways.

4:45 Program ends


Artists & Lecturers

Scott Tallman Powers

Scott began drawing as a child with his father, who was a medical illustrator and fine artist. While watching and learning from him, his love of art began. Scott’s love of diverse cultures is evident in his subject matter, gleaned from his world travels, with the human element at the core of his journey. Training for four years at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, Scott still found time to plein air paint and founded the Plein Air Painters Chicago in 2003. Scott has works in many private collections and in the Wengyuan Museum of Fine Art, China, the Shaoguan Museum of Fine Art, China, and the Academy Museum in Easton, Maryland. His work has received numerous awards and has appeared in many publications including American Artist and Art of the West. Scott has been featured in the Southwest Art Magazine and Western Art Collector, and he has participated in prestigious invitational exhibitions in the United States, China, Israel, and Europe. Scott lives and works in Montana and is represented by Settlers West Galleries in Tucson.  

Christina Body

Christina Body is known for her unusual viewpoints and vibrant scenes of Chicago’s urban landscape. Christina’s award-winning paintings have earned her invitation and participation in prestigious national juried exhibitions, national plein air painting competitions, museum exhibitions, and scholarships. Her work is in numerous private and corporate collections, including Northwestern Memorial Hospital Corporate Collection and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Christina was a featured artist in Plein Air magazine, an ‘Artist to Watch’ in Southwest Art magazine, a featured artist in LA Art Guide, and was featured in American Artist magazine. She was the recipient of Plein Air magazine’s Award of Excellence at Plein Air Richmond. She has had the honor to hang her paintings in the White House during the Obama administration. She is represented locally by the Hinsdale Gallery and Water Street Gallery, as well as Stone Soup Gallery in Florida.


Errol Jacobson

When he began painting, Errol was also a retail businessman. He founded a company making functional art and one in residential real estate. He never stopped painting while he worked,  joining PAPC in 2006. Errol Jacobson is now a full-time artist with a studio in the Bucktown neighborhood.  His paintings are known for their atmospheric quality, movement, abstract realism, and varied paint applications. His subjects are primarily Chicago urban scenes that feature the beauty of common and often overlooked obscure views of the city. Errol has been painting for over 45 years and has received numerous awards, including the top honors twice at the prestigious Palette and Chisel Gold Medal Show in Chicago.  His works are included in private collections throughout the world, and he is represented by Reinert Fine Art Gallery in Charleston, South Carolina. Errol is a member of the Oil Painters of America, American Impressionist Society, and our very own Plein Air Painters Chicago.  He is an artist member, instructor, and board member at the Palette and Chisel Fine Arts Academy in Chicago.


Tom Trausch

Tom Trausch has been a professional artist nearly his entire working life; a career that has allowed him to travel, paint and teach all over the world, along with his wife who is also an artist. Light and color drive his paintings – in both watercolor and oil. The energy created by these two forces are always supported with strong elements of design. More than 1,400 of Tom’s paintings are in private, corporate, and public collections including the Parker Pen Co., the Elmhurst Museum, Smith-Barney, Morgan Stanley, Burlington Northern R.R., Ms. Oprah Winfrey, and Northern Trust Bank. He has exhibited with the Oil Painters of America and is a Master Signature Member of the Transparent Watercolor Society of America. Tom and his wife, Gale, work out of their studio in Woodstock, Illinois. Tom is an active plein air instructor around the suburbs of Chicago. See his summer class schedule on his web site.



Ginny holds a bachelor’s degree in art history from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in art history, theory, and criticism from the School of the Art Institute. Ginny enjoyed a 20-year-long career in communications at the Art Institute and continued her association with the museum as an adjunct lecturer for the Museum Education Department. She has lectured and published writings on a wide range of 19th- and 20th-century art movements, although her specific area of expertise is German art. An aspiring visual artist as well, she tries to squeeze in time in the studio while balancing full-time employment as a copywriter for Crate & Barrel.





Richard Laurent

Richard Laurent was born in Denver and graduated from the Institute of Design at IIT. He was creative director at Encyclopaedia Britannica Educational Corporation, an editorial cartoonist at the Chicago Sun-Times, and an animation director for a number of companies, including Disney bootcamp in Orlando. As a professional artist, Richard has exhibited in numerous national juried exhibitions since 2004, including Oil Painters of America and Door County Plein Air Festival, and he works out of his studio in Chicago’s Fine Arts Building. He is co-producer of and a participating artist in The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions (www.breakingcriminaltraditions.com), a social justice fine-art initiative that exhibits nation-wide, including a presentation at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

BECOME A MEMBER to save $25 on this event. register for this event.

PAPC Artist in Residence Collaborative (ARC)

ARC is the PAPC program to improve the skills of member artists. Award winning artist and renown instructor Steve Puttrich was the first PAPC Artist in Residence providing insight and commentary into critical painting processes through blog posts and reviews. Available to members only through the Member Portal.

Plein Air

PAPC’s Annual Educational Program for Members 

Experts and award-winning guest artists give demonstrations, answer questions, share tips and hacks on equipment, offer strategy and tactics for everything from how to improve your paintings to how to increase sales. Learn about the PAPC’s upcoming paint out locations, guest artist visits, and special member-only events, as well as what we’re doing to make the season a success behind the scenes. Whether a seasoned painter or new to the field, you’ll leave eager for the painting season to begin. Become a Member to register for this live event and to gain access to video recordings of past programs.

Events & Exhibits

Throughout the year – View the Events Calendar 

PAPC hosts a variety of events and exhibits throughout the year. Members are invited to participate in painting competitions and exhibits at various locations throughout Chicago, including their Annual Members Exhibit. Accomplished guest artists provide  critiques of member work (virtually or in-person). Lectures, discussion groups, and workshops are regularly offered. 

A Big THANK YOU to our Guest Artists!

Become a Member

Join the Plein Air Painters Chicago today and receive all of the wonderful membership benefits.

Only $50 a year.
$35 for students with I.D. & current enrollment.