Water Mixable Oil Plein Air Painting

Lesson Plan, Grades 5-12, Science, Art, Painting


Lesson Plan and Artwork by Joe Culotta

This lesson demonstrates a non-traditional approach to Plein Air (french for “open air”) oil painting by using water-mixable oil paint inside a classroom setting. This approach allows the art teacher to show students how to create an oil painting through traditional color mixing and drying without the use of harsh chemicals or solvents. This is accomplished by using Winsor & Newton Artisan Water-Mixable Oil Colors which appear and perform just like conventional oil colors.


  • Learn the basic techniques of oil painting using non-traditional water-mixable oil colors.
  • Complete Plein Air paintings using water-mixable oils, allowing students to use these paints in any setting without the use of solvents.

Supplies Needed

Winsor & Newton® Artisan Water-Mixable Oil Colors, 1.25 oz, Set of 10
Sax® Genuine Canvas Panels, 9 x 12 in, Pack of 36
Sax® Olympia Pure White Bristle Brush Set of 6


Standard #1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
Standard #3: Refine and complete artistic work.
Standard #7: Perceive and analyze artistic work.
Standard #9: Apply criteria to evaluate artistic work.



Research examples of Plein Air styles of work.


Discuss the various styles and techniques used to create these paintings. Look for various elements such as line, color, shape and form.


Bring in outdoor photos or sketches or plan an outdoor class setting where students can paint on site.


After completion, title and name the painting.


Explain the use of basic art elements executed such as line, color, shape, texture and form.


Display artwork and have students critique each other’s paintings.