Three-Day Artist Workshop with April Knox: “Plein Air Painting at Pioneer Park”

Tuesday-Thursday, June 20, 21, and 22, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. in Pioneer Park
$220 for non-members or $200 for current FAA members

April Knox is offering a three-day plein air oil painting workshop which will include lectures, hand-outs, demonstrations, and individual instruction on the process and approach to painting outdoors. The workshop will take place on location outside in Pioneer Park. The class will meet from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. each day. All levels of experience are welcome! (No experience required).

April Knox is an award-winning artist and has over 15 years of experience in plein-air painting. April lives in Fairbanks and is known for her landscape paintings that capture daily life throughout the seasons in and around the Interior. April’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Indiana State Museum, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Central Insurance Company, and many private collections. She has exhibited in juried exhibitions, including Oil Painters of America, Salon International, Hoosier Salon, and Indiana Heritage Arts. Currently, her work can be found at 2 Street Gallery, Roaming Root Cellar, and the Bear Gallery Gift Shop, as well as Castle Gallery in Ft. Wayne, IN, or on her website.

April will demonstrate and teach her approach to plein air painting, focusing on values, composition, shapes, and color. Participants will come away with the tools to paint outdoors confidently. Participants will receive constructive critiques during the workshop to improve their skills. Participants will provide their own art supplies and meals. A comprehensive list of recommended supplies can be found below. There will be a maximum of eight (8) participants to ensure quality individual instruction.

What you can expect to learn:

  • Using tools for outdoor painting
  • Creating an outdoor painting from start to finish
  • Creating strong composition
  • Identifying and simplifying values for “value underpainting”
  • Understanding atmospheric perspective for painting
  • Observe and paint changing and reflecting light
  • Mixing colors from a limited palette for specific needs

What is Plein Air?
“En plein air” is a French expression meaning “in the open air” and refers to the act of painting outdoors with the artist’s subject in full view. Plein air artists capture the spirit and essence of a landscape or subject by incorporating natural light, color and movement into their works.

During this three-day workshop, participants will paint 3-6 works outside in or around Pioneer Park. Supplies are NOT included in the workshop. Participants will need to plan accordingly to be outside for the majority of each day. Participants are also required to bring their own plein air supplies. A comprehensive list of required supplies can be found below, along with suggested supplies and items.

If you have any questions about the workshop, registration, or your membership status, contact FAA Visual Arts Coordinator Olivia at 907-251-8386 ext. 3 or

Required Supplies: (participants are responsible for providing their own supplies)
Most supplies can be found at Michaels or similar large retail stores in the Fairbanks area. If participants order supplies online, they are responsible for doing so with enough time to receive them before the workshop. Fairbanks Arts does not endorse or guarantee the quality of any of the products listed below.

  • Plein air easel (April has 4 easels that participants can borrow on a first-come, first-served basis upon workshop signup.  You will be notified if you were one of the first ones to be able to borrow an easel.  If not notified, you must bring your own.)
  • Six (6) various-sized canvases or panels (2-3 8”x10”, 2-3 9”x12”, and 1-2 11”x14”)
  • Oil paint (Student grade paints are fine for this workshop. Michaels typically carries Winsor, Newton Winton, and Gamblin 1980). Colors recommended by April: Titanium White, Ultramarine Blue, Alizarin crimson, Cadmium Red, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Cadmium Lemon Yellow, Prussian Blue, and Yellow Ochre. Feel free to add or omit colors at your own preference.
  • Brushes of various sizes (Student-grade brushes are fine for the workshop.) 
  • Flats or Filberts 
  • One of each sized brush: 2, 4, and 6
  • One rigger or liner brush
  • Solvent of choice (April uses turpentine) 
  • Palette cup to hold solvent ( or a small jar with lid) 
  • Two (2) palette knives with rounded tips (One small and One larger,
  • Paper towels
  • One (1) small sketchbook (any size)

Additional optional supplies:

  • Wet paint carrier ( Participants can choose any method to transport their wet paintings at the end of each day.
  • Viewfinder ( Participants are welcome to share the ones April has during the workshop if they don’t wish to purchase their own.

Other Needed Items: Remember, this workshop is primarily outside all three days. Participants are responsible for anticipating all their personal needs during the workshop.

  • Sunscreen
  • Drinking water
  • Camp chair
  • Bug spray
  • Hat with brim
  • Appropriate clothing for the weather
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Food (snacks and lunch) No food is provided during the workshop; however, there is an hour lunch break each day, and participants may use that time however they choose. There will be a microwave and refrigerator available for lunch storage and heating.

Please note if you have any questions about the supply list, April is happy to help! You can contact her at 907-347-1217.

Basic Class Schedule
Day One (Wednesday, June 20): Painting Historic Structures in Pioneer Park
9:00-9:30 Introduction (in the Bear Gallery)
9:30-10:30 Classroom Instruction (in the Bear Gallery)
10:30-12:00 Paint Outside
12:00-1:00 Lunch Break
1:00-4:00 Paint Outside

Day Two (Thursday, June 21): Painting Water
9:00-10:00 Classroom instruction (in the Bear Gallery)
10:00-12:00 Paint Outside (near water)
12:00-1:00 Lunch Break
1:00-4:00 Paint Outside (start a new painting)

Day Three (Friday, June 22): Choose Your Own Subject
9:00-10:00 Classroom instruction (in the Bear Gallery)
10:00-2:00 Paint Outside (No set lunch break, but please take a break when needed anytime after 10 a.m. and before 2 p.m.)
2:00-4:00 Critique Session (location TBD outside in Pioneer Park)

A detailed class schedule will be shared at the start of the workshop. If you have any questions related to the schedule, contact Fairbanks Arts at 907-251-8386 or email!

Participants may cancel with a refund up until Tuesday, June 6th at 6 p.m. After 6 p.m. on June 6th, any cancellations or no-shows will NOT be refunded.

April Knox will give an artist talk on Wednesday, June 7 at 7 p.m. titled: “April’s Journey in Brushstrokes from Indiana to Alaska” in the Bear Gallery.
This free artist talk will cover the changing landscapes throughout April’s development as an artist, focusing on what inspired, shaped and molded her style into the landscape painting seen today.

Capturing Everyday Beauty with Paint by April Knox is on view June 2-24, Monday–Saturday, from 12–6 p.m. in the Bear Gallery. Read more about the exhibition here.