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Resources for the Outdoor Artist

For the last six years, we have invited artists to join us in a province-wide movement to create in our great outdoors. Rain or shine, the Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge has been a great success and a tremendous amount of fun.

Click here for a recap of the 6th annual #OPUSOPC, May 7, 2017!

The event day is done, but the Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge is not over. We hope you continue to challenge yourself for the rest of this spring and summer… and beyond! Take your creativity out into your community and keep the creative adventure going. To keep the ideas and inspiration percolating, check out these great resources for creating outdoors:

Opus Plein Air Articles

Packing for Plein Air Success: an Interview with 8 BC-based Plein Air Artists on What to Pack for your Outdoor Art Adventures.

Planing Your Day: Tips and Tricks for Exploring Outdoors


Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge 2012
335 artists participated in our first ever Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge, held at Opus locations across BC on Saturday, April 21, 2012. This video was filmed on location at and around the Granville Island, Vancouver location of Opus Art Supplies.
Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge 2012 Video Link
Oil Techniques: Painting en Plein Air with Sheree Jones
What makes your heart skip a beat and say, "I have to paint this!"? Every painter is searching for the magic — that special something that compels you to bring a subject to life with a brush and canvas.
Sheree Jones Video Link
You're Invited to the 2017 Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge!
The province of BC was glowing with brilliant colours as artists brought their art-making out of the studio and into the sunshine to participate in the Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge on Sunday, May 7th, 2017.
OPC2017 Video Link
Art in the Garden
We visited the home of David and Aubin van Berckel, owners of Opus Art Supplies, during a 4–day summer camp they held in the backyard of their Bowen Island home. Local children were invited into this lush landscape to explore their own creative gifts, learning about Monet, van Gogh, Klimt and Picasso.
Art in the Garden Video Link
Painting with Gouache en Plein Air feat. Bryan Coombes
Watch as watermedia takes flight! Go on a trip with Bryan Coombes, as he captures seaplanes in Vancouver's Coal Harbour.
Bryan Coombes Video Link
Urban Sketching Techniques with Lori Sokoluk
Discover how Lori captures the essence of the scene using expressive lines, her methods for mixing different shades of green, how she creates darks and shadows using the colours she's already mixed - all while staying focused on what initially drew her to the location!
Lori Sokoluk Video Link
Urban Sketching Techniques with Don Colley
Add new mark-making techniques to your repertoire with the addition of your digits - your fingers, that is! Using a fountain pen and Faber-Castell Pitt Pens, Don Colley shares a few quick ways to add texture to your next sketch in our video Urban Sketching Techniques.
Don Colley Video Link
Drawn Out: 365 Days of Drawing
In planes, trains, and automobiles, visual artist Michael Markowsky traverses the landscape to find new and interesting locations in which to create. This constant change of scenery is all done in the pursuit of challenging his artistic process to gain new insights and ways of working.
Michael Markowsky Video Link
Exploring New Territory with Sarah Clement
In August 2015, Sarah embarked on an adventure. Along with 9 other artists, she traveled with The Canadian Wilderness Residency, a residency designed to bring artists of different disciplines together in a wilderness setting. Their goal? To explore new perspectives surrounding their Canadian identity and their own personal artistic expression.
Sarah Clement Video Link
You're Invited to the 2016 Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge!
We'd like to send out a huge THANK YOU to the 1300+ artists of all ages and skill levels who challenged themselves to capture the beauty of nature, urban life, and their imaginations artistic spirit in our 5th Annual Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge, held at our six Opus locations across BC on Sunday, May 15th, 2016.
OPC2016 Video Link
Blythe Scott: Mixed Media Artist
Victoria mixed media artist, Blythe Scott's, artwork depicts the wonder, beauty, and emotional essence of the places she has been. Blythe is drawn to the textures of the urban landscape, frequently scaling rocky hills and parking garages to get a birds eye view of the landscapes she wishes to portray.
Blythe Scott Video Link
By All Means Create with Michael King
Plein air oil painter Michael King joins our By All Means Create with … series as the ninth artist to share how he overcomes his creative blocks. Drawing from his personal approach to painting, Michael has developed a four step process for assessing his paintings while working under tight time constraints due to the the unpredictability of the elements.
Michael King Video Link
The Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge returns! #OPC2015
949 artists participated in our 4th annual Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge, held at all 6 Opus locations across BC on Sunday, May 10th, 2015.
Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge 2015 Video Link
Field Studies: Painting en Plein Air
Gaye Adams is an oil painter who loves painting out on location en plein air. She uses the experience of the day to further evolve herself as an artist and believes the best way to grow as a painter is to paint outdoors. Join Gaye as she takes you out on location, sharing her approach to preparing for painting in the great outdoors!
Field Studies: Painting en Plein Air
Working with Watermedia Outdoors
featuring Alison Woodward
Alison Woodward from Opus Downtown Vancouver tries her hand at painting outdoors for the first time! Watch some observations she made about her experience.
Working with Media Outdoors Video Link
You're Invited to OPC 2014
Let's get this whole province painting! The Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge Returns! As the artists featured in this video express, working outdoors offers wonderful opportunities for creative growth and engaging with your community, all while enjoying the beauty of your surroundings.
OPC 2014 Video Link
Painting with Golden OPEN Acrylics
featuring Bob McMurray
Watch FCA (Federation of Canadian Artists) signature member Bob McMurray explain his process of working with OPEN acrylics on location and back in studio.
Painting with Golden OPEN Acrylics Video Link
Drawing from Inspiration featuring
Mark Illing, Sean Karemaker & Jon Shaw
Featuring three Vancouver-based artists with different styles, this video explores how similar tools and inspiration can result in different works of art.
Drawing from Inspiration Video Link
A Conversation with my Canvas
featuring Murray Philips
Murray shares his techniques for creating in the great outdoors and reveals how tuning into the rhythm of the wild can dramatically affect your artwork.
A Conversation with my Canvas Video Link
Fearless Nature
featuring Marilyn Hunt
BC artist Marilyn Hunt’s creative expression focuses on the small, often unnoticed details of nature. Her quest in exploring new products is to create bold textured surfaces that best represent the message from nature she wishes to convey.
Fearless Nature Video Link
Painting En Plein Air
featuring Maria Josenhans
Local artist Maria Josenhans spoke with Opus about what painting en plein air does for her and her art. Watch and get inspired to go outside and see what the great outdoors can do for your work!
Painting En Plein Air Video Link
Garibaldi Sketchbox Easel & Winsor & Newton Bristol Easels (Sketch and Watercolour) Travel Easels explained by Nicoli Moir from Opus Langley
Nicoli Moir highlights the features and benefits of some of our favourite Travel Easels in 2 quick and informative videos.
Travel Easels Video Links
The Fundamentals of Plein Air Painting
from Shaw TV’s “Go! Okanagan”
Artist Kit Bell joins Doug Brown of Shaw TV’s “Go! Okanagan” at Opus Kelowna to walk him through the fundamentals of painting outdoors in preparation for the 2013 Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge.
The Fundamentals of Plein Air Painting Video Link

External Articles

Michael King — Oil Painting Demo: One painting with Many Lessons
Sheree Jones (shereejones.com) — Whistler Plein Air Workshop

Press Coverage 2016:

CHEK6 News —  Opus paint challenge takes art outdoors in Victoria

CBC News —  More than 1,400 artists capture beauty of B.C. in day-long painting competition

Mobile Kelowna Daily Courier —  Artists fill waterfront for timed painting challenge

Langley Advance —  Painters Head Outdoors

Press Coverage 2015:

Vancouver is Awesome —  Gumballs, Paintbrushes and Art Students, Oh My!

Press Coverage 2014:

Plein Air Painting at Opus Kelowna with Shaw TV Okanagan —  Plein Air Painting with Kit Bell

Press Coverage 2012:

Victoria News —  Get Out and Paint the Town
Langley Times —  A Breath of Fresh Air
Kelowna Capital News —  Artists Paint Downtown Kelowna
SNAP Okanagan —  OPUS Outdoor Painting Challenge

Blog Posts 2016:

Cynthia Frenette —  Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge, May 2016

Michael King —  Opus Plein Air Challenge 2016 : Painting & Interviewing Artists

Wendy Oppelt —  Blog Post

Blog Posts 2015:

Peter Loebel —  1st Prize Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge 2015
1st place Adult winner at Opus Victoria

Iryna Kharina —  Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge
(Participated at Opus Downtown Vancouver)

Terri Heal —  Outdoor Painting Challenge 2015
(Participated at Opus Victoria)

Blog Posts 2014:

Michael King —  2014 Opus Outdoor Challenge
On-site Expert at Opus Langley

Enda Bardell —  Jurying at Opus
Juror at Opus Granville Island

Vancouver Atelier —  Opus Plein Air Challenge
1st Place winner at Opus Downtown Vancouver

Anne Lei-Yeung So —  Outside Painting Challenge
(Participated at Opus Victoria)

Alienate in Vancouver —  Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge

Blog Posts 2013:

Dmitry Kashchenko —  Plain-air
1st place winner at Opus North Vancouver

Denise Maxwell —  Opus 2nd Annual Outdoor painting challenge
(Participated at Opus Langley)

Cinnamonsaturday —  Opus Langley Outdoor Painting Challenge
(Participated at Opus Langley)

Sheree Jones —  Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge 2013: North Shore
(Participated at Opus North Vancouver)

Michael King: Plein Air BC —  Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge 2013: Langley
(Participated at Opus Langley)

Steven Kraan — Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge 2013
(Participated at Opus Downtown Vancouver)

Blog Posts 2012:

Pete Sklenar —  Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge
(Participated at Opus Downtown Vancouver)

Robi Smith —  Tug Boats at Crab Park
(Participated at Opus Downtown Vancouver)

Denise Maxwell —  Opus Outdoor Challenge Langley BC
(Participated at Opus Langley)

Michael King —  The Statue
(Participated at Opus Langley)

Darlene Young —  Red Boat
(Participated at Opus Victoria)

Barb Hillier —  Success!
(Participated at Opus Kelowna and was the judge’s choice for first prize; was also interviewed in the Kelowna Capital New article Artists Paint Downtown Kelowna )