Alfresco art: record-breaking outdoor paintathon

Join a record-breaking paintathon in Cornwall. And if you can’t make that, then try one of these great outdoor art events. Grab yourself a brush and an easel and head outside for a bit of art in the open air.

Painting en plein air (a French expression meaning ‘in the open’) has been popular for centuries, but it’s experienced even more of a renaissance in recent years. Pioneered by John Constable in the early 19th century, this method of working – where entire works of art, from preliminary sketches to the finished piece, are created outside – was embraced by the likes of Monet, Renoir and Degas and, later, made widely accessible to artists everywhere by the arrival of paint in portable tubes.

Go out into the great outdoors and find your inner artist at these events across the GWR network.

Plein Air Painting World Record Attempt

Hundreds of artists, including both beginners and professionals, will line up along a mile of the dramatic Cornish coast in an attempt to create a world record for the most people painting a landscape outdoors in the same place at the same time. To join this mass open-air art event – which is being organised by the National Trust, installation artist Anthony Garratt and the famous Newlyn School of Art – register at the old coastguard lookout in Sennen Cove.

Register: Sennen, Cornwall / Sunday 1 September / 10am-12:15pm / £2 entry fee
Getting there: Take the GWR train to Penzance, then a taxi or local bus service to Sennen (8 miles)

Bristol Plein Air Paint Off

Bristol’s inaugural, alfresco art competition is being launched by Cass Art (the UK’s leading supplier of art materials) and Jen Gash (winner of the Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2018). You have five hours to create your masterpiece – with the city centre’s mix of modern, medieval and industrial architecture as your subject – before judging takes place at the end of the day. There are prizes for the best overall painting and young artist, and selected artworks will be put forward for a public exhibition.

Meet: Cass Art, Park Street, Bristol / Sunday 8th September / 10:30am-5pm / £10 entry fee / Open to artists aged 16+
Getting there: Take the GWR train to Bristol Temple Meads

Plein Air Art Workshops

Kensington Gardens, London
Develop your drawing and painting skills during these half-day workshops, using the Italian Gardens at Kensington to create compositions from careful observation. New English Art Club artist, Daniel Shadbolt, will be on hand to offer support and one-to-one tuition.

Meet: The Italian Gardens, Kensington Gardens, London / Wednesday 11th & Wednesday 18th September / 1-4pm / £30 per adult
Getting there: Take the GWR train to London Paddington, then the underground to Lancaster Gate

Bath Paint Out

Hosted by the British Plein Air Painters group, this fun and informal day of open-air art is open to all, regardless of ability or experience. Bath’s picturesque parks and honey-hued historic buildings will provide plenty of inspiration for aspiring artists.

Meet: The Holburne Museum, Bath / Saturday 14th September / 10:30-4pm / Free
Getting there: Take the GWR train to Bath Spa