For reservations between June 21-23, please call  877.644.0649.

For reservations between June 21-23, please call 877.644.0649.

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Capture the Scenery of Nemacolin with Plein Air Painting

artist easel out by a lake

Unique opportunities for outdoor adventure and immersive learning abound at Nemacolin. With the weather warming, the grass turning green, the trees bursting forth with life, and the sky showing off its magnificent blues, it’s natural for us to want to get outdoors.

Plein air painting is about getting outside to experience and paint the landscape. Pronounced “plen” and rhyming with “pen, en plein air is a French expression for in the open air.  Nemacolin’s Plein Air Painting Class is a 90-minute experience where a Nemacolin art instructor guides you through creating your own watercolor or oil painting as you take in the abundance of nature. In addition to enjoying the outdoors, it’s a way to paint from direct observation based on what your eye sees in nature.

Pronounced “plen” and rhyming with “pen,” "en plein air" is a French expression for "in the open air."

This is an art class for all levels. Beginning artist?  Learn to paint. You are welcome to join the class; it’s a painting class for beginners. Experienced artist?  Explore Nemacolin’s scenery as you explore your own techniques and composition; it’s a painting class for experienced artists. Considering the class?  Let Art & Gallery Director Amanda Shane answer a few questions for you. Once registered, you’ll speak with your expert instructor regarding the scenery you have in mind, your level of painting experience, and your desired outcomes for the class.

Is this a group class or an individual class?

Art & Gallery Director Amanda Shane: It can be either. It’s perfect for individuals or a couple to get outside and paint the scenic outdoors. Group sessions are often done in a classroom, but a scenic room can be requested, such as The Peak or Reflections.

What are some of the suggested landscapes?  

Art Instructor Samantha Nagy: Many guests request to paint the mountains, which we can do from almost anywhere on the property! Some guests will want a water element in their painting, so we’ll go to one of the many ponds on the property such as the shores of Lake Taylor, to the Panorama Pavilion near Lake PJ, to the outdoor deck at Mulligans near the  9th hole of Mystic Rock, or to the pond nearby The Carousel.

Plein Air Painting Class
Plein Air Painting Class

Can we go to Reflections? Can we paint near the golf courses?

Samantha: Yes! Reflections is my go-to spot, even when I come here just to paint. The mountains are beautiful there with views of neighboring Maryland and West Virginia. Painting a golf course green or favorite hole is encouraged, too.

Plein Air Painting Class
Plein Air Painting Class

Is there an advantage to painting with watercolors versus oils?  

Amanda: One advantage to painting with watercolor is the ability to dry quickly for travel. Fewer supplies are needed for watercolors, and the piece is dry within a short time. Oil takes longer to dry, and we’ll mail the finished pieces to the guest after they dry. Both processes are nice for re-working if you make an error. With watercolors, you simply rewet the paper and try again; with oils, you can continue to work the same area, as it has a slow dry time. Whether you are interested in a watercolor painting class for kids or adults or in an oil painting class, we offer a number of mediums and opportunities to take your art interests to the next level.

When painting, do we begin with a sketch?

Samantha: We start with a blank canvas. Through the class, we’ll walk through the steps that I personally take with plein air painting: We’ll tone the canvas, sketch, block the colors, and then add in all the details. While the hour-and-a-half class might be the extent of our time, it doesn’t mean that the painting must be finished. Many plein air painters view these “in-the-field works” as sketches for larger pieces, or they may simply begin a base layer that will become something more.

Can you share what’s rewarding in the creation of a piece of art with a novice painter or experienced artist through this class?

Samantha: It’s a joy of mine to share in creating with others and getting to share my love of landscape painting, teaching, and Nemacolin through a class. For novice painters, it’s wonderful to see someone do something they may not get to do at home while creating a unique and personalized memory that will last a lifetime. With other artists, I enjoy hearing about their experiences and artistic journey. Some guests haven’t painted in years, and when a class ignites or reignites their joy, it’s a motivating part of my day!

What else would you like to share about what someone can expect to find in this class?

Amanda: Small groups and couples will find the Plein Air Painting Class rewarding. Much like a massage, this experience is customizable: location, a glass of wine, birthday or memorable celebration, do they want food, etc. It’s a casual class that can really lead to something very relaxing and mindful. With it being outside, one truly gets to experience the visual beauty of the Laurel Highlands — and then capture it!

Reserve Your Getaway

To reserve your Plein Air Painting Class or getaway at Nemacolin, please contact a Resort Reservations Specialist at 866.344.6957. If you’ll be joining us for one of the upcoming holidays or happenings and wish to speak with a member of the Experience Team about specific dining, spa, golf, art, or activity reservations, please contact us at 724.780.2156.

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