Five Must-Have Water Colour Plein Air Materials


Cotman Water Colour Set
The French phrase en plein air (“in the open air”) has, over time, become associated with the act of painting outdoors. Through the ages, creative wunderkinds have drawn inspiration from natural settings, including John Constable, who depicted his Suffolk surroundings in search of artistic ‘truth,’ and Impressionists such as Monet, whose investigations of light were revelatory.

As the weather turns warmer and conditions more suitable for your own out-of-doors experimentation, make sure you are fully equipped to transport your practice from the studio to greener – or even more urban – settings. We’ve picked our five must-have materials for plein air water colour artists, each of which will enrich your creative endeavours and make the transition between environments a smooth one. The first in a series, we’ll also present our picks for acrylic and oil colourists in future features, so stay tuned! 


1. Water Colour Markers and

Professional Water Colour Sticks

Two of our newest water colour innovations are among the most portable, convenient options for artists hoping to experiment with their practice. Combining the precision of sketching and drawing with the fluidity of water colour, both are intermixable with our traditional range of water colour products. Before you set off, read some of our top tips about how to get the most out of your Water Colour Sticks.


2. Water Colour Marker Pads

The ideal surface for our Water Colour Markers, these 100% acid-free paper pads are stable, durable and designed to emphasise the colour brilliance of your work with the pigment-rich Markers. 


3. Cotman Water Colour Small Art Box

Housed in an attractive, easy-to-transport box, this water colour set contains a selection of colours, brushes, a palette and other basic accessories to help you paint anywhere, at any time. When inspiration strikes, grab, go forth and create! This Cotman set is also an ideal gift for budding water colourists.

4. Professional Water Colour Lightweight Sketchers' Box – 12 Half Pans

Travelling light is essential when painting en plein air. This lightweight collection of our Professional Water Colour half pans includes a variety of stunning shades for you to mix and apply at your leisure.


5. Tay Table Easel

A sturdy, Beechwood easel with rubber feet for table use. The painting angle can be set at four different angles of recline and folds flat when not in use. Paintings can be clamped to the easel for protection during transportation. The easel folds down to a box shape for ease of transport.

For more on painting en plein air, read artist Glyn Macey's top tips for taking your artistic practice outdoors. And be sure to explore our selection of Sets, where you'll find a selection of portable art kits to take with you wherever you decide to paint, draw, or sketch!