Painting Plein Air

The workshop is 3 hours long, so Lisa recommends you choose a surface size that you can complete in that time. Anything you’re comfortable with. We suggest a size between 8” x 10” – 20” x 24”.  You are welcome to stay at the gardens if you choose to stay after the class.

Please feel free to work in any medium you are comfortable. If you want to draw or use pastels, you may. If you are painting, bring the solvents you need for whatever medium you’re using. (For watercolor and acrylic, bring water for mixing and washing brushes.)


  • There may be a lot of dew in the morning so choose shoes that are comfortable and are waterproof.
  • Sun hat, sun block and or a light umbrella that attaches to your easel.
  • Plenty of drinking water. We will have some bottles as well!
  • That said , potty johns are available at the garden.


  • Hand wipes 
  • Disposable/surgical gloves if you use them while painting.
  • Paper Towels, heavy cloth type is better Lisa uses not quilted VIVA brand 
  • Note Book, Camera, if you’d like to photograph your muse for later touch ups. Not necessary.
  • Small trash bag (Please bring out everything your brought in including solvents and paint water. We love to be invited back. :0))
  • Collapsible stool, if you would like to sit close to the ground. Great for watercolor or drawing.
  • Travel easel if you prefer to stand. Lisa uses a french easel.
  • Jars and cups with lids for wet media.


  • A medium size flat surface. A pad of paper sheet palettes are perfect for outdoors painting. Consider a bag you can put your palettes in at the end so you can take them out to be disposed of or cleaned at home. (Lisa uses a Masterson Sta-Wet palette. You can find these are Blick or Jerry’s Artarama. It has to be prepared ahead of time)


It is best to use artist grade and never student grade paints. Some recommended brands are Sennelier, Holbein, Winsor & Newton, Amsterdam (Royal Talons).

These are some of Lisa’s favorite acrylic paint colors to work with:

  • Yellow Ocher
  • Light Yellow Cadmium
  • Med or Dark Yellow Cadmium
  • Light Orange Cadmium
  • Orange Cadmium
  • Quinacridone Magenta
  • Dioxazine Purple
  • Cadmium Red dark
  • Cadmium Red light
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Chrome Oxide Green
  • Permanent Green Light
  • Sap Green
  • Phthalo Blue
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Titanium White

Oil Painting:

  • Make sure to have jars with lids, as nothing can be disposed of at Presby. We need to respect the garden, so do not get solvents in the flower beds please J
  • A medium container of the finest artist grade odorless paint thinner. Such as Odorless Turpenoid.
  • A small jar of LIQUIN Original (Winsor Newton). We will use this mixed with Odorless Turpenoid as our painting medium.                    


An assortment of fine quality BRISTLES. FILBERTS or FLATS (Lisa uses both). 

  • Filberts – ranging from #1-4
  • Flats– ranging from #2-4 
  • Rounds – nice to have a #1 or #2
  • Feel free to bring a palette knife.


  • The George (Montclair)
  • The Wilshire Grand Hotel (West Orange)
  • Fairfield Executive Inn (Fairfield)

Fun things to do while in Montclair:

  • Visit the Montclair Art Museum 
  • There are many wonderful restaurants and cafes in Upper Montclair. If you are a fan of donuts, check out the Montclair Bread Company for some very exceptional baked goods.
  • Visit the Van Vleck House & Gardens 
  • If you haven’t had enough fresh air, go for a walk in Eagle Rock Reservation which features a beautiful view of the NYC skyline.