Welcome! Anyone with a desire to paint outside may join us each Saturday morning. We are a painting group, but welcome folks using other mediums. If you are new to plein air painting we’ve compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions that may be useful.

To get started, show up at the designated meeting point. If you see someone wearing a black hat with the PAPC logo on it, introduce yourself. There is no formal check in. Choose a location in the vicinity of our meeting point to paint, then go for it. Be mindful to clean up after yourself and dispose of your chemicals and paints responsibly (take them home). Meet back at the designated meeting point at Noon-ish for critique.

Is this a class?

No, this is not a class. We are group of artists (amateur and professional) who paint outside. There are many skill and experience levels within the group. All are welcome. If you need help with something specific when painting, feel free to ask anyone – they’re usually more than happy to help. Respect their time, they have to finish their painting too. We hold a critique at the end of each session.

Do I have to participate in the critique?
No. You may simply show-and-tell about your work and ask for it not to be critiqued. But why not get some pointers from great painters and new ones alike? There is also the quid pro quo – if you comment on someone’s work – you should offer them the same opportunity to praise your work.

What should I bring?

A field easel if you have one. If not, bring whatever you can paint or draw on. One member started painting by bringing an old music stand and coffee table to rest her work on. Bring paints, canvas boards or paper and your paints or pencils.
If Summer: It’s helpful to bring bug spray, sunscreen, and a visor or hat.
If Winter, bring an extra pair of gloves, disposable hand warmers (Hot Hands available at Walgreens) and wear the warmest clothes you can get on – especially boots. The thick insulated boots with removable felt liners (ice fishing boots) work best.

Are there bathrooms available during the paint outs?
We try to paint in public places where public restrooms are nearby. You may want to scout out a restroom before you begin painting so you know how far away it is (Starbucks, coffee shop, etc).

What if I have can’t make the exact times you paint?

You are welcome to begin painting earlier than our 8:30am time as well as finish before or after 12PM. Keep in mind that we informally meet as a group at Noon to have a critique.

Do I have to commit to the group?
No. There is no commitment. You are welcome to join us as little or as often as you like.

Can I show my paintings in your art shows?
Yes. Anyone who has painted with the Plein Air Painters of Chicago during one of our Saturday paint-outs are eligible to participate in our showings. There are some formal requirements (registration, nominal hanging fees and volunteering) that will be announced closer to show dates.

Is the work for sale?
It’s up to the artist. You can sell your work at any time – off of the easel, in a frame, etc. There are no eligibility requirements for selling – it’s a personal choice. However, if you decide to show your work at our shows, we kindly ask that you price them. A small percentage will go to the Palette and Chisel (where we show our work).

A Brief Introduction to the PAPC
Formed in 2003 by painter, Scott Tallman Powers, the Plein Air Painters of Chicago is a free, voluntary, informal association of artists who paint together on Saturday mornings in the Chicago area.

Our membership consists of those who paint with us, whether every weekend or only occasionally--the goal being to encourage and promote the art and practice of plein air painting, or painting in the open air, from nature. On a lovely spring day we have had as many as thirty painters join us. More typically we muster a dozen or so, even in winter.

Each week we convene at a location in or around Chicago to paint. Location information is distributed via our website at www.papchicago.com. What keeps us coming back is the excitement of painting from the living landscape. Creating an image in the moment. It is the same excitement that has fired generations of painters before us--and will be sure to do so long after us.

One key aspect of the Saturday morning painting sessions is the group critique, held after every morning's painting session. It is through these informal group critiques that we grow as artists, learning solutions to problems such as composition, perspective, color, and value. We find that while some of us may have more experience than others, everyone is able to add something of value to the group.

We exhibit our work in a group show at least once a year at the Palette and Chisel in Chicago. We feel that it is important to exhibit our work as a group from time to time; we take pride in the group and what we have accomplished together.

While many members of the PAPC are members of the Palette and Chisel, one need not be a member there to paint with us on Saturday mornings. Since painting out-of-doors is in itself a daunting proposition, we do not want to raise more barriers to the practice of this art. In fact we have found that encouraging all who want to try their hand at plein air painting has been an excellent way to stimulate interest in the Palette and Chisel and the classes offered there.

Written by Beck Anstee
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