Outdoor landscape painting is not only a fun, creative, inexpensive daytime date idea, but it’s a great activity to do with kids.
Before we headed to Kentucky a couple of weeks ago I mentioned to Mike that I’d love to take the kids outdoors and paint landscapes. I’ve been wanting to do this for the longest time, and thankfully he loves to paint (he has an art room in his house). One day when it wasn’t too hot, he whipped up a few art easels out of scrap wood. We bought canvasses and paint trays, then raided his art room for paintbrushes, acrylic paint, and containers for washing brushes.
This activity is a great way to get kids to be more creative and outdoors. Take them to the same spot with each passing season to capture how much the view changes.
This is also a fantastic date idea. Mike mentioned our idea to his son, and he jumped at the opportunity to make that a future date idea.
Outdoor landscape painting on canvas
Supplies needed for painting landscapes outdoors
- Art easels
- Acrylic paint
- Paintbrushes (assorted sizes)
- Containers for washing brushes
- 2 large bottles – 1 for fresh water, and 1 for disposing of paint water
- Sunscreen and bug spray
- Cell phone or tablet (I’ll explain below)
Handmade tabletop wood art easels
Let’s start with the really basic art easels that Mike whipped up. He already had one but made 3 more that would fold down. These three took about 2 hours to make (that included time spent figuring out the best way to go about it).
Note: If you are going with the tabletop art easels, make sure there are picnic benches at the location you’ll be painting at, or take a fold-up picnic table with you.
This is the one he had already made:
As you can see, it just requires four pieces of scrap wood, a screw to secure the angled board to the block, and wood glue to attach the other pieces to the base.
These ones for the twins’ and I fold down so we were able to bring them home on the plane in our suitcase.
Again, just four pieces of wood, a couple of screws to secure the legs, and a third longer screw with washer and nut allowing that middle leg to fold down to make transporting the easels so much easier.
Landscape painting ideas for beginners
We did our landscape paintings at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest in Kentucky. It was the perfect weather for it. We found a quiet spot by one of the ponds that had picnic tables and bathrooms not too far away, and it was only a short walk from the car.
The reason I mentioned taking a cell phone or tablet with you, is that you might spot the most beautiful bird, a duck, a frog, or turtle. Snap a photo of it before it moves, that way you can still paint it in after you’ve finished your background.
Most of all though, just have fun with this. It’s fascinating to see just how differently people see and paint the exact same landscape right in front of them. And, Mike was able to give me a few tips on how to separate the bristles on the brush to make the trees, so I got to learn something new too.
This was the view Mike and I could see from where we were sitting. It’s crazy just how different our paintings turned out.
This is the perfect activity if you are looking for a fun, creative, inexpensive, outdoor date day idea for an anniversary, a first date, or just because you want to try something new.
Tip: If you decide you want to paint watercolor landscapes instead of acrylic, make sure to get canvases specifically for watercolor paints. We plan on doing this next time.
Get out there and be creative!
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