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 Artist in Residence Collaborative (ARC)

ARC is a season-long program to improve the skills of member artists. Award winning artist and renown instructor Steve Puttrich was the PAPC Artist in Residence for the 2021-2022 seasons, providing insight and commentary into critical painting processes through weekly 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.

Expand to view 2022's I ❤ Plein Air guest artists and speakers.

This event generously sponsored by: Blick Art Materials .

I Heart 2022 Logo

Your Art Your Journey

Via Zoom March 5, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm CDT

Plein air painting is an art and a journey where each artist creates their own life-style, processes and destination for their art.

I Heart Plein Air 2022 will help you plan and pack for this season and your future. A practical, fun and engaging program, all for $80. You don’t have to be a PAPC member to attend, but members receive a $20 discount!

Conference Highlights

Key Note – Your Art, Your Journey: How to Find Your Artistic Purpose and Voice                    

with Aimee Erickson

One of the winningest plein air painters around, Aimee Erickson has won best in show at Easton Laguna, Olmsted, Carmel, Sonoma, and Pacific Northwest Plein Air competitions. With us through personal stories and examples, she’ll explore how any artist, wherever they are in their personal journey, can develop a purpose, destination and map for themselves and their plein air painting.

Planning Your Art: Strategic Ideas to Plein Air Painting in 2022                                                         

with Steve Puttrich 

2021 PAPC Artist in Residence, Steve Puttrich provides tools to help each artist set a course for this season. What is your Intent for the year? In this session, make a plan, and consider events, locations and subjects to achieve it.  Determine the nitty gritty of the quantity and size of surfaces, frames and other supplies needed. Are you keen on learning basic painting and plein air techniques, deciding what competitions to try, selling off your easel, or getting gallery representation? Consider in this session what to do with your art once it’s off the easel and what you need to do to make that happen. You’ll have time to assess how you will approach the season by printing and using handy PDF note cards.

Improving Your Art: Color Strategy: The Purposeful Palette                                                              

with Richard Laurent

You can paint what you see and document that moment in time much like a photograph. Or you can paint with the intention of imprinting how you experienced the scene and make it your style, your voice. In this session, we’ll explore choosing a palette to communicate your voice and style. Award winning artist and illustrator, Richard Laurent will discuss, through a slide presentation, the intent of the palettes utilized by John Singer Sargent, Claude Monet, Anders Zorn, and George Innes for their plein air work. Each artist follows a different color path and each produces a different emotional effect.

The Journey from Your Easel Part I: Taking the Direct Route to Selling Your Art    

with Mark Cleveland, Carlene Rivera, Errol Jacobson

What happens to your art after it leaves your easel? How do you get someone to buy your art? This panel addresses best strategies and media for marketing yourself and your art; selling off your easel; and using shows and fairs as sales opportunities. The related videos offer practical how-to steps for success. Watch them before and bring your questions to the session.

Related Videos:

  • Effectively Marketing Your Art and Selling From Your Easel, Mark Cleveland
  • Making Connections for Sales at Paint Outs and Competitions, Carleen Rivera
  • Using the Canva App to Make Visuals for Engaging Social Media, Deborah Paige Jackson

The Journey from Your Easel Part II: The Voice of the Customer Galleries, Collectors and other Buyers

with Jason Horejs

Author of Starving to Successful and How to Sell Art: A Systematic Approach to Creating Relationships with Collectors and Closing the Sale, Jason Horejs is also the owner of Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ. In this session, he will share ideas of how to get your work into the hands of collectors through galleries. Related videos provide individual voices of people collecting art including a museum director, an owner of a nationally recognized gallery, a curator for a university collection, and individuals with varying interests and budgets. Each discusses how plein air paintings fit their collection.

Related Videos:

  • Collecting Art: Buying Plein Air Online, A Conversation with Elizabeth Murphy, Chicago, IL
  • Collecting Art: Setting an Annual Budget – Buying One or Many Works, A Conversation with Jose Santillan, Chicago, IL
  • Collecting Art: Buying Multiple Pieces from Few Artists, A Conversation with Barbara Van Driel, Chicago, IL
  • Collecting Art: Why a Plein Air Painting Fits in My Collection, A Conversation with Michelle Strassburger, Chicago, IL
  • Collecting Art: When a Gallery Represents an Artist, a Conversation with Rick Reinert, Reinert Gallery, Charleston, SC
  • Collecting Art: How and Why a Museum Acquires Plein Air, A Conversation with Samantha Micahlski, Director, Cedarburg Art Museum, WI
  • Collecting Art: How a University Develops a Collection – Canice Predergast, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, IL

Different Strokes: How Four Artists Paint One Scene                                                                      

with Joe Gyurcsak, Sarah Hansen, Bernard Dellario, Kathleen Newman

Four artists using different media paint the same scene. Watch the videos prior to the session to observe their approaches using oil, watercolor, gouache, and pastels. During this session join a lively discussion on their processes and what they learned and how you might choose a medium to best capture a scene.

Related Videos:

  • Different Strokes: How Four Artists Paint One Scene Joe Gyurcsak – Oils
  • Different Strokes: How Four Artists Paint One Scene Kathleen Newman – Pastels
  • Different Strokes: How Four Artists Paint One Scene Sarah Hansen – Watercolor
  • Different Strokes: How Four Artists Paint One Scene Bernard Dellario – Gouache

Challenging Yourself in Competitions                                                                                                                 

with Rich Weber, Anna Cherkashina 

For some, plein air painting is like a sport. Competitions can be an effective way to push your skills, get visibility from the art community, win awards, see the world, and make friends. During this session, hear the experiences of three artists on “the circuit.” Rich Weber documented his participation in three of last season’s competitions. He shows us how he decided what to take and how he packed surfaces, frames, supplies and equipment to deal with all weather conditions; talks to organizers and checks out processes; and camps out for each event.

Related Videos:

  • Competitions: Jefferson Plein Air, Jefferson, WI – RL Weber Tour Guide
  • Competitions: Go Paint! Chippewa Valley, Chippewa Valley, WI -RL Weber Tour Guide
  • Competitions: First Brush of Spring, New Harmony, IN – RL Weber Tour Guide

The 2022 PAPC Season: What You Need to Know                                                        

with Mark Cleveland, Barbara Herring, Laurie Kennard, Mary Longe, Deb Popely, Amanda Stenlund, Robin Strand

Where are we painting? What educational programs are scheduled? How are exhibits different this year? Why was I Heart Plein Air 2022 separated from membership? How can you use PAPC social media to further your art goals? Hear all the news for the season here, and get your questions answered.


BECOME A MEMBER to receive a $20 discount.  Register for this event.

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. 

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