Simplify Outdoor Landscape Painting with Lori McNee

Visit beautiful Sun Valley, Idaho with a fun two-day outdoor landscape painting workshop. Kneeland Gallery presents, "Simplify Outdoor Landscape Painting with Lori McNee."

Sun Valley is the perfect setting for outdoor landscape painting (aka. plein air painting). Voted North America's #1 Resort Three Years in a Row, Sun Valley is also home to Lori McNee!

Reserve your spot! Call Kneeland Gallery >>> (208)726-5512

Hosted by Kneeland Gallery, this year's workshop will be sponsored by Royal Talens North America! Since 1899, royal Talens has been known for quality fine art brands such as Cobra, Amsterdam, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Bruynzeel, and more.


Lori's workshop on July 31-August 1 sets the stage for Kneeland Gallery's annual plein air paint-out and exhibition on August 2-4, where nationally acclaimed artists gather and paint. It's a perfect opportunity to watch top artists in the field and sharpen your painting skills.

Lori McNee painting in Sun Valley with Cobra Oil Paints. Lori is a Royal Talens Ambassador Artist.

The Details:

  • Sponsored by Royal Talens North America!
  • We will be painting beautiful Rocky Mountain landscapes in nearby locations.
  • We will visit Lori's Ketchum/Sun Valley home studio!
  • We will visit Kneeland Gallery to view and discuss the new plein-air paintings by Nationally renowned artists!
  • Discover Lori's simple approach to painting the landscape using a limited palette.
  • $325 per person
  • Open to ALL LEVELS
  • For oil painters and gouache painters.
  • More details coming soon!


Reserve your spot! Call Kneeland Gallery to SIGN UP>>> (208)726-5512

View from Bald Mountain, Sun Valley!
A moody day up Trailcreek in Sun Valley


Three Tips to Paint Like a French Impressionist

Modern-day French Impressionist, Valerie Collymore grew up in the south of France, so honoring the traditions of the 19th-century French Impressionists comes easily.

Valerie grew up experiencing and painting some of the same landscapes and seascapes that inspired Renoir, Monet, Cezanne, and Van Gogh.

Today Valerie expresses her artistic sensations through the use of color and movement by using texture, exciting edges and dynamic brushstrokes, and palette knife markings. 

Following in the French Impressionists' footsteps, Valerie places great emphasis on capturing the light of a scene during a fleeting moment in time.

Here are Valerie's 3 Tips to Paint Like a French Impressionist:


  • Start with a very basic limited palette of 4 colors consisting of red, yellow, blue, green, and white.
  • A limited palette will help you to control color harmonies within the painting.
  • Spend extra time mixing up various color mixes and many paint piles.
  • This will help you find and visualize beautiful combinations of colors before you start to paint.
  • As your color mixing skills improve you can add extra colors as needed. But use these extra colors sparingly to provide powerful pops of color in the midst of dull but harmonious neutrals.


  • For that impressionistic feeling, strive for a layered and textural style of painting.
  • Allow the initial exploratory layers of the underpainting to show through between the brushstrokes of the more skilled last layers.
  • Grab generous amounts of paint from those premixed paint piles and "lay it down and leave it the heck alone!”


  • Develop your visual memory of the scene. Keep in mind the moment in time that originally struck your interest.
  • Don't be afraid to use reference images to help you with the painting.
  • Use your imagination for the remaining percentage of the painting process.


Artist/Author: Valerie Collymore is a professional painter and passionate art coach. She is the founder and director of the Collymore Oil Painters Atelier. Valerie combines research, organizational, and public speaking skills from her former medical profession to share well-crafted presentations and oil painting demos with members of the atelier. Check out Valerie's popular online course, "Paint Like A French Impressionist in 40 Lessons."


2023 Plein Air Painting Workshop in Athens and Greek Islands with Lori McNee

Have you dreamed of traveling to Greece? Well, your dreams can come true! Escape with Lori McNee for a plein air painting workshop to historic and magnificent Athens and Hydra (Greek Islands) for a very special Paint Europe Trip , October 8-14, 2023.

Join me (Lori McNee) on a 5 Star, plein air painting workshop adventure hosted by my friend Tom Harter of Walk Europe/Paint Europe - specialty tours with concierge service.

We will be traveling from Athens to Hydra (Greek Islands) for a spectacular plein air painting and cultural trip of a lifetime! As a result, this will be another bucket-list trip for me! Read on to discover more...

"There are places on Earth where God has reached down from Heaven and touched in a special way, places where you feel like you're standing in the palm of His hand. When you find it, you know it, your soul knows it." - Michael Traveler, author of MIRACLE ROAD

Why Hydra? Here are some compelling reasons...

  • Hydra has always been the artists' muse of the Greek Islands. A magnet for artists with a picturesque harbor, hillside mansions and sparkling seas, Hydra boasts a relaxed artsy vibe.
  • Known as the Pearl of the Aegean Sea, Hydra is favored for its marvelous pebbled beaches with crystalline waters and spectacular sunsets.
  • In Hydra, dolphins and seals come to play in its waters without fear and visitors experience kindness, generosity and hospitality.
  • There are hiking routes across the island where wildflowers bloom and orange trees grow in abundance.
  • Cosmopolitan and chic, Hydra has managed to preserve its traditional flair as its original architecture. The picturesque port is dotted with lavish, pastel-hued mansions that date back to the late 18th century.
  • Hydra is known for its marvelous pebbled beaches with crystalline waters and the sunsets are spectacular to watch.
  • Everything you need is within walking distance. But, should you decide to venture a bit further, the island’s mules, donkeys and horses are the favored mode of transportation. There are over 1000 donkeys on Hydra! Visitors can ride the donkeys from the port and through the cobbled lanes which are home to the revered Aegean type street cats.

Hydra is famous!

  • Many Hollywood movies have been filmed in Hydra. When asked, Sophia Loren praised Hydra as “one of the most beautiful places in the world.” 
  • Hydra mesmerized Jackie Kennedy and has been a favorite playground to the likes of Aristotle Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Sophia Loren, Princess Di, The Beatles, Eric Clapton and The Rolling Stones, to name a few.


7 Days / 6 Nights

October 8 - 14, 2023

From $4,725

($4,725 – Early-Bird Discount - Save $250 by signing up and full payment before January 30, 2023)

Hydra, Greece

The Itinerary Cliff Notes:

*There will be an optional pre-tour guide tour of the Acropolis on Sunday for anyone arriving to Athens early.


  • Our Grecian plein air painting workshop adventure starts with two nights (Sunday & Monday) in an oasis luxury hotel in Athens in the historical heart of the city. On Sunday evening we will enjoy a welcome dinner with our fellow workshop participants.
  • Monday will be a full day spent painting in Athens where we will paint Athens archeological landscapes and neighborhood scenes. The morning will start with a painting demo and then group plein air painting in The Agora archeological site with the Temple of Hephaestus. Then, in the late-afternoon I will lead a “golden hour” painting session in Athens’ historical and colorful Plaka neighborhood, with its labyrinthine streets and Neo-Classical architecture.


  • On Tuesday morning we will take a 1-1/2 hr jet-foil ride from Athens' port to the Greek Island of Hydra, one of the prettiest spots in Greece. We will check into our luxury hotel and then paint in Hydra on Tuesday afternoon. We will be staying in at a luxury boutique hotel and painting each day at different locations.


  • On Wednesday, Thursday & Friday we will paint the island's whitewashed houses and churches, ancient stone windmills, and stunning coastline scenes.
  • ​There will be personal free time for added individual painting, shopping in village boutiques, going for a horseback ride, swimming in the Aegean Sea, taking a Greek cooking class or relaxing at outdoor cafes.
  • Optional before breakfast group pleasure walks are organized for travelers who want some morning exercise before starting their vacation day.

*The trip includes many extras including a welcome reception with Greek wines and hors d'oeuvres, Greek wine tasting session, and a farewell gala dinner with traditional Greek cuisine and wines.

($4,725 – Early-Bird Discount - Save $250 by signing up and full payment before January 30, 2023)

Athens, Greece

​Each day we'll feed our creative souls. There will be plein air painting sessions in a variety of beautiful locations with demos and individual instruction as well as free-time to explore offered each day.

  • Open to painters of all levels - beginners to professionals.
  • ​Non-painter friends and spouses of artists are invited to join the trip at a reduced cost.
  • Oil, gouache and watercolor are welcome! Sketchbook journal artists are welcome too. (I will be painting and demoing in solvent-free oils and gouache).
  • Don't forget to bring your camera!

​Each day provides beautiful settings for a week filled of joyous plein air painting! We will be painting daily. You will take home your paintings along with many treasured memories of a fabulous Greece painting holiday & creative adventure.

What's Included:

  • Daily demonstrations by Lori McNee.
  • Daily sketching and painting sessions with Lori McNee.
  • Six nights in personally-selected premiere/luxury 5-star hotels.
  • Daily hotel buffet breakfasts.
  • Welcome Reception – with Greek wines and hor d'oeuvres hosted by Lori McNee and Paint Europe.
  • Retsina Wine Tasting Session hosted by Paint Europe.
  • Cocktail Hour Soirees – enjoy before dinner gatherings with local Greek wines hosted by Paint Europe.
  • Gala Farewell Dinner – with Greek cuisine and wines hosted by Paint Europe.
  • Castle/fort/palace and villa/garden entrance fees for all group activities.
  • Optional Morning Pleasure Walks - before breakfast group pleasure walks.
  • Villa/garden/museum entrance fees for all group activities.
  • Ground transportation for all group activities, including inter-Greece ferry transportation, and local water taxis.

individual painting, shopping in village boutiques, going for a horseback ride, swimming in the Aegean Sea, taking a Greek cooking class or relaxing at outdoor cafes.


Hydra, Greece

​Trip Cost:
Premiere/Luxury 5-Star Hotels
$4,725 – Early-Bird Discount - Save $250 by signing up and full payment before January 30, 2023
$4,975 – 7 days / 6 nights per person in double occupancy shared hotel room. Tour cost does not include airfare.
$1,250 – Added cost for single room accommodation option (limited availability).

Arrival & Departure City:
Athens, Greece

Trip Hosts:
Lori McNee, Artist & Instructor - More About Lori
Tom Harter, WalkEurope President - More About Tom

Money Saving Tip To Create Texture On Canvas

Over the years, I've preferred smooth oil painting surfaces. But lately, I am having fun with this money-saving tip to create texture on canvas.

The following technique will also work well for acrylic painters!

©2022 Lori McNee "One the Move" 24x30, oil on canvas

I used to enjoy painting on a smooth substrate like fine linen or a sanded birch panel. That way, I was able to build up and create my own brushwork and effects without being influenced by the grain or texture of the substrate.

This technique was especially pleasing for my traditional still life paintings. But I tired of the precise painting process.

©2020 Lori McNee "Metamorphosis" 48x24, oil & gold leaf on canvas

So over the past 10 years, I have branched out and experimented with some mixed media including encaustic painting. What I have learned has really influenced my recent oil paintings. I discovered how to create texture!

There are many ways to create texture to your canvas. For both oil and acrylic painters, texture can be made using a lot of paint and mediums to create impasto effects. But, oil and acrylic paint is expensive.

So I have discovered a money-saving shortcut to quickly create texture on canvas BEFORE I begin to use expensive paint. I use acrylic Super Heavy Gesso! (I prefer Liquitex and shared an Amazon link).

In the Instagram Reel below you will see how I apply the Super Heavy Gesso to create texture on canvas. It’s super easy! ;-)

Here’s how I prep and add extra texture on my canvas...

First, I have a clear vision of the finished piece in mind so I can better control the texture.

For example, the canvas in the following video will have chickens in summer grasses with lots of dandelions as the subject matter. So I wanted to create some interesting texture that will compliment those elements.

Keeping this concept in mind, I kept the heaviest texture at the base of the 24x48 canvas where the foreground grasses will be.

This texture will add interest to my painting PLUS it will save me a lot of time and oil paint!

EXTRA TIP: Instead of gesso, I sometimes use joint compound underneath regular gesso which adds even more interesting texture to an oil or acrylic painting. I did this with encaustic painting and it is great!

But this technique works best on a stable substrate such as a wood panel. Stretched linen and canvas are too flexible and any movement will crack the joint compound.

It's fun to explore and try new things! Take a look at the short video to see how I create texture on my canvas.

I hope this post inspires you.


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Mixing Believable Greens with Water Mixable Oils

Green colors are perceived more easily by the human eye. Some scientists believe this is an evolutionary trait handed down from our ape ancestors.

This may may also explain why most humans find green to be a soothing color.

Green is the most predominant color in nature with its numerous shades and tints. But ironically, mixing believable Greens tend to be the most challenging for landscape artists to mix.

In printing, two colors which make Green are Blue or Cyan plus Yellow, making Green a secondary color. However, when painting the options are endless.

Wikipedia explains it well: Varieties of the color green may differ in huechroma (also called saturation or intensity) or lightness (or value, tone, or brightness), or in two or three of these qualities. Variations in value are also called tints and shades, a tint being a green or other hue mixed with white, a shade being mixed with black.

Here are some interesting facts I learned years ago, The Color Green: How to Use Its Meaning For Art And Design. Lately, I've been exploring my own palette and broadening my color mixing knowledge.

Talented landscape artist, Skip Whitcomb suggested an interesting triad palette (Yellow Ocher, Cad Lemon, Indian Red, Red Rose Quinacridone, Blue Black). I modified the palette a bit because I use Cobra Water-Mixable Oils by Royal Talens.

Using Titanium White, Cadmium Yellow Lemon, Transparent Oxide Red, Madder Lake and Paynes Gray, I came close. (I just realized I forgot to use Yellow Ocher!) PS. You can mix your own Paynes Gray with Ultramarine Blue and Ivory Black.

Look at the beautiful Greens I mixed with this unique palette. Next time, I will add Yellow Ocher to the palette to get even more green variations!

I tested out the new palette on this little 6x8 painting below. Notice the subtle Greens and Grays I was able to mix with the addition of Paynes Gray as my Blue!

Here are some useful articles, Color Mixing: Don't Always Stick To The Rules and check out these helpful COLOR related Articles HERE.

I found this in depth article interesting, What Colors Make Green.

Good luck with you own color mixing!


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An Easy Way to Travel with Wet Oil Paintings

Here's my best fine art tip for traveling with wet oil paintings! 🎨

Paint Tuscany with Lori McNee - Italy Workshop

While teaching a plein air painting workshop in Italy, I discovered a simple way to safely transport and travel with wet oil paintings. I’ve been transporting wet plein air paintings this way ever since.

In fact, I'll use this same technique for transporting wet paintings home from South Africa later this summer.

Here’s how… (but watch the IG Reel below and it will all make sense!)

  1. Cut a wine cork into four penny sized pieces
  2. Add one slice to each corner of the wet painting
  3. Gently place another painting face-down on top of the cork pieces. This should look like a thin sandwich.
  4. Use blue painter’s tape and wrap to secure all four corners of the paintings. Viola!

You can also use those silicone plastic dots, but wine corks seem more romantic to me! 😆

***Place your precious little painting bundle somewhere safe like in your carryon luggage. When you get home you may have to touch up the edges of these gems. But, this tip works great (especially for plane or backpacking travels) and cuts down on the bulk! Also, when traveling I use the lightweight #109 linen panels by Multimedia Artboard. And of course I paint sovent-free with Cobra Oil Paint which makes life and travel so much easier!


PS. I just had a cancelation for my South Africa Painting Safari! And I have a few spaces available for my upcoming Idaho painting retreat. Let me know if you would like to join us. Click Here for more info.


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Charming Oil Paintings on Watercolor Postcards

Recently, on Instagram I shared the unveiling or ‘un-taping’ of my four little 4x6 oil paintings on watercolor postcards.

I have always loved painting miniatures, especially while en plein air! But, it was really fun doing this small studio series.

All were painted with Cobra water-mixable oils on Strathmore watercolor postcards which I found at my local art store. I often paint on oil paper and love it too, but these postcards are so handy!

But, here's a word of caution - when painting with oils you MUST GESSO THE WATERCOLOR POSTCARDS! Otherwise with time, the oil paints will eat through the watercolor paper. The gesso will protect the paper.

It's easy to do. First, use Painter's Tape and carefully tape the edges of the postcards to a larger rigid surface. I just used a canvas panel. Then, paint on two layers of acrylic gesso to protect the 140lb watercolor postcard paper so they are archival. Once the gesso is dry you can paint with oil paints!

The fun part of the process is peeling off the tape to reveal the little oil painting jewels. I also realized I accidentally painted mine upside down on the postcards, haha. Oh well, I wasn't planning on mailing them anyway.

It will all make sense after you watch my Instagram Reel at the end of this post...

PS. If you want to film your art or craft projects, you might like this new light I discovered - the Uniqu Light. It's a simple way to make videos with your cell phone. I was pleased with my first time results!

Check it out here: (BTW, I paid more for mine! :-/ )

I hope you enjoy my Reel and give oil painting on postcards a try!


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Letting Go of Something Important to Achieve a Goal

Sometimes you must be willing to let go of something important in order to achieve a desired goal. This lesson is relatable both in  life and in art.

I have experienced this phenomenon more than once in my life. But, it happened most recently while painting under the tutelage (yet again) of master painter, Michael Workman.

Reference photo

I have been studying with Mike in an ongoing quest to contemporize my paintings.

During a painting session, I chose to use my own longhorn steer photo as a reference for an oil painting exercise. I was really inspired by my own longhorn photo and so the painting process was going smoothly.

I was pleased with my composition and the way I interpreted the foliage. I also took a risk by cropping the horns off top of the canvas.

Much to my surprise, Michael Workman wasn't as pleased with my painting as I was!

Mike explained that my longhorn steer was a pleasant painting, but nothing special. In an effort to help, he asked if he could make a few adjustments and I said yes. He requested a paper towel and with one stroke, half of the longhorn's horn was gone - yikes!

To me it felt very sacrilegious to cut off the longhorn steer's horn, but it really worked! What a valuable reminder! Sometimes we must be willing to let something go in order to achieve a desired goal!

Next, Mike took an old credit card and with a few swipes, he deconstructed my brushwork and simplified the background leaving spontaneous imperfections. Bravo!!

Mike is a fabulous mentor albeit he’s tough. I had to leave my ego aside in order to grow.

What do you think of the changes?

Thanks for stopping by,

Back to Basics Using the Grid Method for Better Painting

Back when I was a young art student, the tedious grid method was drilled into my head - ugh. To me, the Grid Method was a labor intensive process which I happily abandoned nearly 40 years ago!

But, I recently painted again with renowned landscape artist, Michael Workman. Much to my surprise, Michael was still praising the benefits of using the old Grid Method for improved drawing and observational skills. So I decided, "When in Rome." 

I have learned patience over the years, and this time the Grid Method resonated with me. Basically, the Grid Method is easy but it is time consuming.

It involves drawing a grid over your reference photo and then drawing a grid of equal ration onto your canvas, paper, or other substrate. Michael photocopies his images and draws a grid directly on the reference.

However, I prefer to use and app called, Grid! This tools helps you add a grid to your image and is a useful shortcut for me. So far it is working well!

Once the grid is in place it's best to focus on one square at a time and draw and copy your image onto your canvas. I used a pencil, but you can use charcoal or even paint. Work on each square until the entire image has been transferred! You can erase the grid lines or leave them as a trace of your work in progress.

Yes, there are quicker ways to transfer drawings and images using projectors and other transfer processes. But, the Grid Method is rewarding. In fact, my finished painting of two swans, "In Harmony" was just accepted into the 22nd American Impressionist Society National Juried Exhibition!

Here are a few helpful links you might enjoy:

The Grid Method

My Week with Master Landscape Artist, Michael Workman

Grid App

peacock oil painting

The Symbolism of New Beginnings and My Peacock Painting

At first glance, my latest painting depicts a beautiful peacock and some impressionistic lotus flowers.

Upon further examination the view will realize the painting has been executed in an etherial, almost magical manner. Oftentimes my paintings have a deeper meaning...

peacock oil painting with lotus flowers
©2021 Lori McNee, "New Beginnings" 60x48, oil on canvas

For instance, the peacock is a symbol of beauty and has great importance in many cultures. It represents the rays of the sun and the beginning of the new day, thus symbolizing new beginnings and eternal life.

The lotus flower also holds great symbolic weight among many cultures. This delicate flower rises out of the muck and mire and reminds us we can rise above our challenges and circumstances. It represents awakening, potential, self-regeneration and rebirth.

For me, this was the perfect painting subject to start off 2021! It will be the invitation piece for my upcoming March exhibition at Kneeland Gallery in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Below is a quick Instagram Reels which shows some up-close views of me creating, "New Beginnings!" I painted this with my Cobra solvent-free oils by Royal Talens with Princeton Brushes.

I wish you much success and positivity in the new year ahead!



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