Art Jam 2021 in Palmer Square, Princeton

Art Jam 2021 Poster

When: October 15-30, 2021
Where: 19 Hullfish Street, Palmer Square, Princeton, NJ

A gallery exhibit of art sale featuring national and local artists to benefit local families at risk of, or suffering from homelessness. Visit for more info.

I have 10 small plein air paintings in this exhibit. The exhibition space is in Palmer Square which is a prime spot with very high visibility in Princeton. It’s also for a great cause: helping the homeless in New Jersey. I’ll post an update after the exhibition. There will not be an artist’s reception due to COVID… bummer.

Update: 11/10/21: This exhibition turned out to be very successful for me. On opening night, 4 of my paintings were sold. By the end of the exhibition, I sold a total of 9 paintings! I am very happy because it was for a good cause and it was also good for me as an artist.

Plein Air Plus, a plein air juried exhibition in Long Beach Island

When: September 26, 2021
Where: Long Beach Island Foundation, 120 Long Beach Blvd, Loveladies, NJ 08008

This Sunday is the opening for this plein air competition and exhibition. There are two categories: “classic plein air” and “plein air plus”. The Long Beach Island Foundation (LBIF) gave the artists a two month span (July – September) to create these works; all had to be created on Long Beach Island. I have four, small plein air paintings in the “classic plein air” category. I’ll update this post with my final thoughts and overview of the competition after the opening.

Update 10/11/21: I exhibited four 8″x10″ plein air paintings for this exhibition and won an Honorable Mention for “Sun, Sand and Cellphone”. I’ll post this painting when I get it back from the exhibition as I didn’t have the foresight to photograph it beforehand.

The exhibition was well-attended but many of the artists. LBIF did a great job of hanging the show; the paintings and the exhibition space looked great.

Rutgers Arts: a plein air studio tour and fundraiser

When: October 2-3, 11am-3pm
Where: Rutgers Landscape & Nursery, 1051 US Highway 202, Ringoes, NJ 08551

Celebrate art, music, and community! Stroll the Nursery to meet artists creating on-site, each with work for sale. Blawenburg Bistro will be on hand with drinks and snacks for sale.

The event benefits Fisherman’s Mark, a Lambertville organization providing aid to area residents. Please bring contributions: non-perishable foods, diapers, personal hygiene items, and cleaning supplies.

This is a unique, fun event similar to “Art in Bloom” that happened in the summer. I’ll be plein air painting both days at this beautiful nursery and showing my work along with other artists

Visit or call 800-322-6008 for more info.

Update 10/11/21: This is a beautiful outdoor space to exhibit. It was sunny but hot. The nursery does a great job of setting up temporary walls where the artists can exhibit. The weekend was fun and I got a nice painting from the weekend to no sales… unfortunately. It was fun and I’ll participate in this event in the future.

“From Water” Exhibition at Atelier Rosal

From Water Artist Reception, Friday, August 20th 5-8pm

When: August 17 – September 11
Where: Atelier Rosal, 74 East Cherry Street, Rahway, NJ 07065

With The Rahway River Watershed Association holding their 1st annual Rahway RiverFest in Downtown Rahway, Atelier Rosal has curated works from local artists to expand the narrative and participate in the celebration of The Rahway River.Works by Joe Brown, Rodriguez Colero, Jim Fischer, Trish Gianakkis, Zev Jonas, Erin Karp, Debbie Livingston, Dave McGrath, Eric Miles, Harold Olejarz, and Francisco Silva will be featured.The exhibit will be on display from August 17th through September 11th. Gallery hours are 11-6pm Tuesday through Friday and 11-5pm on Saturday.Refreshments will be served during the reception. For your safety, Atelier Rosal asks that all guests follow CDC protocols and mask up during the event.

I have three plein air paintings in this exhibition. All of them having to do with water.

Update 8/20/2021: The reception was well-attended but not too crowded (which is nice during a pandemic). I was lucky enough to sell “New Hope Vibes” and “Bridge to PA” to the same collector! This is a great space with a two very friendly gallery owners. I exhibited here twice and have sold paintings both times.

Product recommendation: RayMar Wet Painting Carrier for plein air oil painting

Raymar wet painting carrier
The Raymar 8″ x 10″ wet painting carrier

My plein air experiences began with lugging around a heavy, large French easel that tenuously held only one painting on the easel stand. After doing this a couple of times, I decided that I needed a dedicated wet painting carrier that held multiple panels and was lightweight.

I’d like to mention that I’m not getting paid for this recommendation although I wouldn’t be against that. I just think this is a very good, useful product and it could be a good addition to your plein air equipment.

Why use a wet painting panel carrier at all?

  • To carry and store your wet paintings when plein air painting
  • It’s a necessary piece of equipment especially when you’re producing multiple paintings
  • Convenience! It removes the hassle of carrying a wet painting in your hands

Advantages of using the Raymar carrier?

Every company that produces a pochade box most likely makes a wet painting carrier. Sometimes, the panel carrier is incorporated into the pochade box and sometimes it’s an entirely separate item. The problem with both of these options is that they’re heavy. In comes the Raymar wet painting panel carrier. It has 3 slots that can hold six 1/8” painting panels back-to-back (although I only use it for three panels). It’s made of fluted plastic making it lightweight and waterproof.

NOTE: this product holds painting panels not canvases.

As a backpacker, I’m very conscious of how much things weigh and what a drag it is to carry unnecessary weight. This product’s light weight was a big selling point for me. The price depends on the size. I went with the 8” x 10” although they have different size carriers and multi-width carriers. My 8” x 10” set me back $35 (including tax and shipping). This seems a bit pricey for plastic but it’s worth the cost (and convenience) as it’s a very sturdy item.

Inside of Raymar wet painting carrier
Inside of the Raymar wet painting carrier

Above is the Raymar wet painting carrier in action. See the two canvas panels in one slot? It has a velcro closing lid and adjustable strap for easy transport


  1. A dedicated wet painting carrier will simplify your plein air painting process
  2. The Raymar wet painting carrier comes in different sizes (and multi sizes) to hold different size panting panels
  3. The carrier holds up to six panels back-to-back
  4. It’s lightweight and waterproof
  5. More info on the Raymar website at

What do you use to carry your wet paintings when painting plein air?

Thumbnail sketches are the answer to your plein air painting problems

Four gray tonal thumbnail sketches
Four gray tonal thumbnail sketches

Have you ever worked on a plein air painting only to realize that some serious compositional issues existed halfway through the painting? The purpose of this post is to show you how you can use thumbnail sketches to work out these problems before you lay down any paint.

What are the advantages of using thumbnail sketches?

  • To quickly sketch different views of the subject matter
  • To crop a view to make it more visually interesting
  • Thumbnails help establish a strong composition
  • They reduce visual elements to values and shapes thereby making the painting process easier

What’s the process for creating thumbnail sketches?

I start with a 5b or 6b drawing pencil which allows me to get a dark black. I quickly sketch a small box (approximately 2”x3”) that’s proportional to the canvas or panel that I’ll be painting on. I sketch loosely and reduce the subject matter to simple, large shapes and tonal values. I limit my sketching time to 3 or 4 minutes to avoid getting bogged down with any detail. Finally, I use this thumbnail to lay out my painting.

Using this method I can create different thumbnails from different angles giving me options to choose from. Additionally, these sketches help me decide what view will work out best as a painting.

Examples of usage

Please note the four thumbnails on the top of this post. I’ve sketched out a couple of thumbnails to choose from. I think the top two are boring . The bottom two have a better composition with a strong focal point. But the bottom-right one is a better value study and I chose this one to create a painting.

Below you can see the quick thumbnail sketch that I used to begin the painting on the right. Looking back, I should’ve better developed the different values in the thumbnail.

Thumbnail tonal sketch on the left and beginning stage of the plein air painting on the right

How they improve your plein air painting

  • A thumbnail sketch will quickly show if a view is worth painting
  • Give the ability to crop or change elements that won’t work in the painting
  • Help in the painting process by simplifying the view to simple shapes and tonal values
  • You can quickly rework elements to improve the composition


  1. When painting plein air, use thumbnail sketches to quickly lay out your painting
  2. Sketch out approximately 2”x3” boxes that match the proportions of your painting surface
  3. Work out any compositional issues in the thumbnail
  4. Establish tonal values in the thumbnail that can transferred to the painting
  5. Use the thumbnail to lay out your painting

Do you use thumbnail sketches when painting plein air? How do you avoid compositional problems?