En Plein Air - Painting Checklist

En Plein Air - Painting Checklist

By Danielle Folkerts

What is plein air technique?

En plein air is a French expression that means “in the open air.” It is used by artists to describe the art of outdoor painting, capturing landscapes and views in natural light.

plein air painting kingston ontario

I love finding inspiration in nature and creating outdoors. There is nothing quite like sketching and painting on-site, surrounded by mountains, lakes and forests, or busy streets, historical sites and quaint neighborhoods. Every place I travel to I love to capture my experience through my sketchbook and paintbrush.

Over the past 10 years I've had so many students ask about plein air painting, and I thought it was finally time to share a comprehensive checklist of materials and supplies, so that you can paint outdoors.

You do not need to be off travelling to enjoy plein air painting. You can easily walk down the road and find a spot to perch. Your backyard, a local park, the lake shore, or right downtown. If you find a cozy spot with a great view or interesting feature, then settle in and start painting!

In this blog post I’ll be sharing my Watercolour Materials & Supplies Checklist, but note that you can use oil paints, acrylic paints, gauche, pencil, pencil crayon, pastels… honestly any medium. I’m sharing my personal plein air painting kit, so feel free to take notes, and remember that everyone has different preferences. Use what works best for you!

On-site sketching. Tuscany, Italy @thetravellingartisan

On-site sketching. Tuscany, Italy @thetravellingartisan

Watercolour Materials & Supplies

  • Chair or Stool

  • Masonite Board/Easel

  • View Finder

  • Paint Palette

  • Paint Brushes

  • Water Cup

  • Water Brush

  • Green Tape

  • Watercolour Paper

  • Paper Towels

  • Green Tape

  • Pencil

  • Eraser

  • Paint Bag / Backpack

  • Ruler (optional)

Don’t forget:

  • Water

  • Snacks

  • Sunscreen

  • Sweater

  • Hat

**Masonite Board: when painting with watercolours I tend not to use an easel, because it limits my work to a vertical position. I like working with a smaller board that I can lean, lay down, tip, or rest in my lap. If you prefer an easel, I recommend looking at French Easels. I went to Home Depot and cut down Masonite boards of various sizes. This allows me to work on multiple paintings, and it gives me flexibility with packing and sizing.

danielle folkerts the travelling aritsan


-          Scout out multiple locations. Research and visit the local parks or landmarks in your area. You can search for remote natural landscape, or urban parks - anything goes!

-          Check the weather before you go. Dress appropriately. Bring layers and protect yourself from the sun. You will have to cancel sessions due to weather, but alternatively you can find covered spots to shield you from the weather, like gazebos, covered decks, or barns etc.

-          Be prepared. Make sure you have everything you need before you head out. It makes the process easier and more enjoyable when you have everything you need (especially if you are travelling farther from home).

-          Chase the light. Remember, the time of day affects the light. Lighting is key to a great painting! If you find a location you love, revisit it at different times of day and notice how different the lighting and colours can be.

-          Take a reference photo. If you can’t finish a painting on site, fear not! Take photos and finish it at home.

-          Create thumbnail sketches. You don’t always need to start and finish a painting on-site. Often, I like to create a series of thumbnail quick sketches to capture a variety of compositions, feelings and ideas. I love bringing my sketches back into the studio to inspire future paintings.

-          Find a local plein air group! Creating outdoors with others is very fun. Don’t be afraid to reach out to local groups in you area, and find others who are interested!

plein air kingston ontario canada

Over the next few months I will be coordinating Plein Air Meets Ups in Kingston, Ontario (and surrounding area). They will include a new destination, with a listed date and time. Each session is free, and anyone can drop-in. I only ask that you bring your own set-up and supplies! Join the group today, find out when the next session is, and lets get painting: Join the Facebook Group HERE




By Kingston Accommodation Partners

See the original article here.

Maybe you’ve seen some of Danielle Folkerts’ work gracing window displays along Princess Street, taken one of her immersive workshops or watched her tirelessly hop from one community project to another. Known for her beautiful watercolour workshops and being on the pulse of Kingston’s arts community, Danielle is also the marketing and programming coordinator for the Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning.

We asked her to name her top ten favourite things to do in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. 

1. Northside Espresso + Kitchen

281 Princess Street

Northside Espresso’s Avo Smash and a Cappuccino is the brunch of legends! It’s my number one go-to spot. If I could eat there every day, I would! It’s the food, the coffee, the atmosphere, the plants, the Aussie charm, and the amazing service.

2. Scuba-diving

Did you know Kingston and the surrounding area is full of shipwrecks? I’m always going for a dip on the weekends and exploring the Kingston area and history.

Favourite wreck: Wolfe Islander 2. You can find me documenting my scuba adventures at @thetravellingartisanon Instagram! 

3. Bird Watching at Lemoine Point

Lemoine Point is a beautiful conservation area on the water and it’s one of my favourite places to walk around and explore. I always bring a good camera and binoculars to catch squirrels, blue jays, cardinals, snowy owls, snakes, turtles and more! Plus, there are so many pathways, you can always find a new route to take.

4. Kids Creativity Club at the Tett Centre for Creativity & Learning

Kids Creativity Club is a Saturday morning drop-in art program at the Tett. It’s an opportunity for children and their families to experience the arts together. Come in and enjoy a variety of hands-on, creative arts activities with local artists and volunteers, and get inspired!

5. Tett Tuesdays at the Tett Centre

Tett Tuesdays is an opportunity to carve out time for monthly art-making while working alongside aspiring, emerging, and professional artists in the Kingston community. Bring your own projects and art materials, and enjoy creating in a relaxed and casual atmosphere. The best part? It’s free! Make sure you reserve your spot as they fill up quickly.

All art mediums are welcome! Painting, knitting, drawing, collage, printmaking, embroidery, jewellery, sculpture, mixed media — you name it. It’s the perfect place to ask and give constructive feedback, engage in peer support, meet new people, and share knowledge, techniques and ideas!

6. Kingston Glass Studio + Gallery

56 Queen Street

I love shopping for one-of-a-kind goods at the Kingston Glass Studio and Gallery – it’s my favourite gallery in town! They always have the most beautiful collection of ceramics, glass and paintings.

7. The Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market

303 York Street

I love visiting the Memorial Farmers’ Market on Sundays, it’s where I find all my fresh and local produce and baked goods. Plus, it wouldn’t be a proper trip to the market without lunch from the authentic Ukrainian food truck. The cucumber soup and perogies are to die for!  

8. Juniper Cafe

370 King Street West

Juniper Cafe at the Tett Centre is Kingston’s only waterfront café! Their lattes are transcendent and you can’t beat that cozy lakeside setting.

9. The Ferry to Wolfe Island Grill

I love to hop on the ferry and head to the Wolfe Island Grill to sit and relax at the waterfront restaurant. Order the burger with everything on it — I promise it will be one of the best burgers you ever have. Don’t forget to ask for curry sauce with your fries, it’s life changing.

10. Paddling around the city

Grab a kayak and tour the Kingston coastline! The Kingston Military Family Resource Centre has free rentals for CFB Kingston Military members and families, but you can also rent a kayak at Ahoy Rentals. I love going for a paddle! It’s a great way to enjoy an afternoon on the water and it offers a fresh perspective for popular Kingston sights like Fort Henry, Murney Tower, City Hall, and that skyline is breathtaking.

Painting at the Cat Cafe

Painting at the Cat Cafe

I could not anticipate how difficult and hilarious it would be to simply “set up” for a workshop with 10+ cats! If it fits, it truly sits. Oh a piece of paper? Chew. Oh a box that you are trying to unpack? Sit. Oh a glass of paint water? Lick. Oh a jar of paintbrushes? Spill! Oh you’re trying to talk? Let’s whack those toes! It was quite the experience! And we can’t wait to do it again. 

Women in the Workplace Interview

Women in the Workplace Interview

Women in the Workplace Interview

What was the most challenging part of getting to where you are today?

Tell me a bit about what creating and art mean to you. 

How do you manage stress? 

Upcoming Workshops at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen's University


I'm thrilled to announce I am kicking the new year off with the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen's University. I'll be instructing and facilitating a range of creative programs for kid's, youth and families this winter + spring! I invite you to join + share the word! Read more below. 


Saturdays, 3 February–10 March, 11 am–12:30 pm

Fee: $130, $100 members. Materials included.

Danielle Folkerts teaches a medley of visual art forms in Saturday morning sessions for 6-12 year-olds. Classes are process-focused, exploring materials and methods in paintings, drawing, sculpture, and printmaking. Kaleidoscope offers foundational art skills while promoting self-expression, confidence and problem-solving.

Danielle Folkerts is a modern painter, textile artist, and art educator living in Kingston, Ontario. After graduating from the Alberta of College Art + Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting, Danielle has spent her time travelling the globe, creating art, attending artist residencies, and developing and instructing creative workshops. 

Artist + Educator: Danielle Folkerts

Artist + Educator: Danielle Folkerts

Photographed by: Andrew Darling

Photographed by: Andrew Darling

The Agnes is committed to making arts programming accessible to children and youth in our communities. Our bursaries allow opportunity for participation in art classes and camps based on financial need. This program is made possible by the Iva Speers Fund for Art Education. 


agnes queensu


Crash Studio
Thursdays, 3 to 5 pm
15 February–26 April 2018

Shaped by teens, Crash Studio brings forth a collision of creative minds who find common ground through art making. Responding to the visual culture in the galleries and to social issues faced by teens, Crash Studio is a platform for self-expression across art media. This free, drop-in program is facilitated by local artists, and is made possible by the generosity of our members and donors.

agnes art classes danielle folkerts


Log Cabin Quilt Square
Sunday 18 February 2018, 2–4 pm

Drop-in to the Andre Biéler studio, with Danielle Folkerts, for a creative project inspired by our exhibition Log Cabin: A Canadian Quilt. Families explore the rich history of log cabin quilts through colour, texture and materials while working together to create a quilt square of their own. This program is free, register online to reserve your spot. Indicate the number of family members coming in the notes section on the “Place Order” page.  


Josephine Green Botsford,  Barn Raising Log Cabin , early 20th century, cotton. Gift of Paul Fritz, Arts ’61, 2015 (Q15-001.05) Photo: Bernard Clark

Josephine Green Botsford, Barn Raising Log Cabin, early 20th century, cotton. Gift of Paul Fritz, Arts ’61, 2015 (Q15-001.05) Photo: Bernard Clark

The Log Cabin quilt is as distinctive in design as it is in versatility. Strips of fabric, or “logs,” are stitched around a square “hearth” to form a block, or “cabin.” Depending on how logs are pieced and blocks arranged, a Log Cabin can take varied forms, such as Barn Raising, Straight Furrow, Sunshine and Shadow, and Pineapple. In the nineteenth century, the Log Cabin quilt pattern was described as “Canadian patchwork,” evoking the colonial homestead. Log Cabin quilts, however, have broad cultural presence—as a nexus of trade networks, artistic exchange, community building and contemporary expression. Featuring quilts from the Heritage Quilt Collection at the Agnes, along with special historical and contemporary works from other collections, this exhibition reveals the many ways in which a Log Cabin can tell a story and embody meaning within regional, national and global contexts.

Curated by Alicia Boutilier, with the assistance of Sheilagh Quaile, as part of an Art History practicum course.

agnes queens

Queen's University
36 University Avenue
Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Weave & Go Kit

Weave & Go Kit

The Travelling Artisan Weave & Go Kit!This kit was designed for makers on the go. We have busy lives, and it's important to carve out time for art making. I've put together a comprehensive tool package for you to get started on your weaving journey. Kit's are laser cut in Kingston, Ontario. This starter kit is perfect for making small wall hangings, coasters, decorations, small cushions, you name it. It makes a great gift for yourself, or a friend!

Breathe It All In - Lululemon Installation

Breathe It All In - Lululemon Installation

For Lululemon Kingston I created a vibrant, intricate, and clean art install. The painting itself consists of thousands of expressive brushstrokes, blooming out in a stunning translucent color gradient. I hope this installation captures your attention from afar, inviting you closer, to appreciate the small details and take a look at what’s inside. One of my favourite elements of this installation if how much it changes from the inside and the outside, depending on the time of day, it's mesmerizing....



I'd like to personally invite you to check out a curated collection of my artwork at Crave Coffee House! The show is currently up and runs for the next several months. I couldn't be happier to have my work up at one of my favourite cafes in Kingston. Just ask them, I probably pay their rent in m&m cookies and cappuccinos every week. Do I have a problem? Probably....

Pineapple Paint Workshop

Pineapple Paint Workshop

A HUGE thank you to everyone who came out for the event! Thank you for putting your trust in me, and the painting process. You guys kept me laughing all night, and I'm thrilled you learned how to "embrace the ugly phase" of acrylic painting. Here's a look at the workshop...

Travel Vancouver Island

Travel Vancouver Island

I was so beyond excited to head out west again with my other half! This summer has truly been a whirlwind. We drove out to Vancouver Island, stopped in Victoria and Nanaimo, and slowly made our way up and through the island all the way to Campbell River and Strathcona Park. We visited friends along the way, jumped in the water every single day, enjoyed a multi-day kayaking trip, and made some pretty incredible memories. Vancouver Island never ceases to be one of my favourite destinations, and a place I look forward to going time and time again.

Vancouver Island Summer 2015

Vancouver Island Summer 2015

It all transpired rather rapidly, one minute I was welcoming Andy home from being on course, the next we were packing our bags and waking up at 5 am to hit the road. With a lengthy drive under our belts! Spotting orcas on the ferry ride over started the trip off with a bang. Vancouver Island is one of our favourite places, its home. 

Modern Watercolour Workshops | Spring 2017

Modern Watercolour Workshops | Spring 2017

With that all said, it's been brewing in the background for quite some time now, and I've been excited to have finally launched my first adult watercolour workshops at The Kingston Collective! I've taken all of my favourite techniques, broad experience and product knowledge and complied it together to create a comprehensive beginners class. This spring I hosted 2 SOLD OUT Modern Watercolour Workshops, and boy did we have fun. I'm always blown away to see so many different personalities and talents shine bright through painting. That is simply the magic of painting.

Kid's are Fearless | Floral Workshop

Kid's are Fearless | Floral Workshop

Kid's are fearless. Yes they can get nervous, aren't sure of themselves, or may be a bit timid towards art, but at the end of the day, when you put a brush in one of their hands, they will paint. They will blow you away with their raw creativity, because they just go with it. I may have blabbered on for a few minutes about the project, but they'll take it with a grain of salt, and have fun with it. And isn't that what art-making is all about?

Vernon Artist Residency

Vernon Artist Residency

Vernon, BC is a darling city nestled in the Okanagan.  I was fortunate enough to return to one of my favourite spots for a month+ long artist residency with the Caetani Cultural Centre. A week in and I was amazed at what I could accomplish working in the studio full time. A lot can happen when you step away, and really focus on creating...

Craft Show Checklist // Market Day Musts

Craft Show Checklist // Market Day Musts

So you are a maker/artist/creative entrepreneur and you've just signed up for your very first creative market? Maybe it's not your first rodeo, but your second or third, or maybe you are seasoned pro. Regardless, our Market Day Musts List looks quite similar!  Today I'm sharing with you a helpful checklist for you to cross-off the next time you are prepping for an upcoming event. I always find creating a list keeps me focused, organized, and less frazzled leading up to any event.

Wine + Wildflower Paint Night Out! | August 2016

Wine + Wildflower Paint Night Out! | August 2016

As always, each class I am so inspired by my students. At the end of class every painting is so unique and speaks to you each of you as a budding artist. The Wildflower image in particular was more difficult due to its abstract nature... We all started somewhere, and it truly just takes the patience and the willingness to give yourself time and a space to create...