Plein Air Painting-Top 4 Beginner Plein Air MISTAKES To Avoid In 2022

terry ouimet plein air painting telluride co

Written ByTerry Ouimet

Plein Air Oil Painter, specializing in mountain landscapes


January 10, 2022


Hey there PAINTERS!


Want to know the top four mistakes to avoid for beginner plein air landscape painters going into 2022?

Mistake #1   A Bad Drawing

A bad drawing equals a bad painting. By a bad drawing I don’t mean that you failed to draw the scene out exactly as it looks with charcoal or pencil. I mean  that you likely messed up on one of the “Four P’s.

Pieces. Placement. Proportion. Perspective. Many painters will hurry through the drawing stage or skip it all together. Some may think that it’s not really necessary or they just want to get right into painting. The problem with that is, you WILL see the drawing in the final painting. And, if you mess the drawing up, no amount of flashy brush strokes or color will rescue your bad painting. 

For more in depth information on this method click the link below and watch a free unlisted YouTube video and it also gives you access to our newsletter with tips and techniques for plein air painting.

terry ouimet plein air painting

Four P’s Of The Drawing Stage


Mistake #2   A Poor Value Structure

Almost every beginner plein air painter I’ve worked with complains that their paintings lack depth. What they say exactly is “Why do my paintings look so flat?” 

If you look closely, all beautiful paintings have at least three easily identifiable, distinct, and differing pieces of value. I call them Structural Values or Foundational Values. You may have heard the saying, “Values do all the heavy lifting and color gets the credit.” 

Values are just how dark or light a spot in your painting is. But, they are so important because they create light, space, form, and depth in a way that color just cannot. 

So, you want to strive to have three to five larger pieces in your paintings that have differing values. Preferrably your darkest values will be in the foreground and your lightest values in the background. 

I like to imagine “Atmospheric windows coming down from the sky to the ground in three different planes; foreground, middleground, and background. Start with the end in mind and envision the vision painting with differing values in all three planes, dark to light. This method of achieving the illusion of depth through dark and light values  is also called atmospheric perspective. 

So, look at your last painting. How can you improve on drawing and values to make more beautiful paitnings going forward? 

If you want to learn about the other top two mistakes and see me do a plein air landscape tutorial in the mountains of Colorado talking about how to improve our paintings in 2022, click the YouTube link below and if you liked the video and learned something,  please drop me a comment, subscribe or hit the like button. 

Learning Plein Air YouTube Channel

Plein Air Painting- Top 4 Beginner Plein Air Mistakes To Avoid in 2022

I hope these tips will help you create more beautiful landscape oil paintings.

If you would like to watch my YouTube videos plein air painting in the gorgeous mountains of Colorado, click here below.

Learning Plein Air YouTube channel

Learning Plein air YouTube Channel

Consider subscribing to the channel if you want to join our rapidly growing community of beginner plein air oil painters, we would love to have you!


I’ll see you up in the mountains.

Terry Ouimet


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