Books / Videos

My new book, Outdoor Study to Studio:  Take Your Plein Air Paintings to the Next Level, is now available in both print and Kindle versions from Amazon.  If you're like me, you may sometimes feel your plein air paintings have problems. Well, I've found that the studio is the perfect place to work these out. Rather than try to create a "finished" painting in the field, I'll gather reference material in the way of color studies, drawings and photographs. Since they don't require a commitment to a finished piece, I can take a more relaxed and thus enjoyable approach to the field work. Then, back in the studio, I have the freedom to enlarge my canvas, widen my scope and deepen my thinking. I can create a much more satisfying painting. (You can see one of the book's demonstration paintings at the top of this letter.)

114 full-color pages, with 146 images and 13 demonstrations in oil and pastel.
The book is now available through in both print and Kindle versions. For details and to order, here are the links:

$24.95 print edition of Outdoor Study to Studio
$19.95 Kindle edition of Outdoor Study to Studio

I am happy to announce my three new DVDs for Artists Network TV are now available for pre-order through As you may recall, I spent a week in Cincinnati filming these back in the spring, and I am very excited to see the final product! Here are links to the three videos (my book, Backpacker Painting: Outdoors with Oil & Pastel, is also available through these links as a download.):

The Secret to Oil Painting Wet-into-Wet with Michael Chesley Johnson
The Secret to Oil Painting with Light & Color with Michael Chesley Johnson
The Secret to Pastel Painting En Plein Air with Michael Chesley Johnson
Backpacker Painting: Outdoors with Oil & Pastel

NEWS FLASH! I'm proud to announce that all of my books are now available at Amazon! You can visit my Amazon author site here to buy the books:  Amazon often offers discounted pricing and FREE shipping on my books.

Michael has a number of instructional books and videos available that deal with plein air painting. For a full list, visit the books and videos section of his website.  Below are some selected items.

I'm proud to announce that my book, Through a Painter's Brush:  The American Southwest - Painting in the Four Corners States, is now available as a paperback and also as a PDF download.

I've been at work on this book for the last year.  As with my previous Through a Painter's Brush book (A Year on Campobello Island), I wanted a volume that would be not just a coffee table book or a "how to paint" book.  I wanted a book that would be both a visual treat for the collector and an informational guide for the painter interested in the Southwest landscape.  It's hard to pack all that into one book, and that's why it took so long!  But I'm very happy with the results, and I think you will be, too.

Through a Painter's Brush: The American Southwest features over 100 paintings, 50 photos and illustrations, plus two painting demonstrations.   I've broken the book up into sections by subject - water, canyons, mountains and so on.  Each section is filled with essays on the paintings and the landscape they were created in.  Collectors will enjoy reading the stories behind the paintings.  And for the painter, I talk about my process and how I went about painting them.  Many of the paintings were done en plein air, but I've included several studio pieces as well.

The book is available through  The paperback version is $40 and the download, $20.  If you'd like to preview or order the book, follow the links below.

Through a Painter's Brush: The American Southwest ( $40 paperback)

Through a Painter's Brush: The American Southwest ($20 download Adobe Acrobat Reader PDF)

This is your chance to see the Southwest through my eyes.  I've really enjoyed traveling in and painting that part of the United States.  The beauty of the landscape can change your life - it did mine.

New Online Video Course

Michael has put together a course called Plein Air Essentials.  Designed for the beginning plein air painter, it covers all the basics.  Included is a downloadable textbook plus a series of short but very informative videos that you can watch online as many times as you wish.

For more advanced painters, there is also a pastel supplemental course and an oil supplemental course available, each with a set of videos.

Each course costs $10 or less!  For details:

Backpacker Painting: Outdoors with Oil & Pastel

by Michael Chesley Johnson

"One of the most rewarding ways to paint en plein air is to go out with the least equipment and materials possible. Backpacker Painting, the title of this book, sums it up. If I can squeeze whatever I need into my backpack, then I can paint anywhere my feet can take me.

"But Backpacker Painting isn't just an approach to equipment and materials. It's also an attitude. If you approach the act of painting outdoors with the philosophy of portability, you can practice 'backpacker painting' anywhere. You don't have to hike into the wilderness and brave the bears. You can do it in your front yard.

"There are many situations where you can strip down your gear, both mental and physical. If you can do the job with just a screwdriver and a pair of pliers, why take the whole hardware store with you? This book will show you how to simplify your painting life."

Backpacker Painting includes:
  • Ways to Strip Down Your Gear
  • Michael's Methods
  • Demonstrations in Both Oil & Pastel
  • Tips for Capturing the Landscape Quickly, Easily
  • Pages from Michael's Journals
  • Plus Travel Guide and Special Adventure Sections to Push You to the Next Level as a Painter!
Backpacker Painting has 164 pages filled with 12 demonstrations. 72 paintings and 125 illustrations.  $45 + shipping. (Or, $20 for download.)  To see a preview and to order, click here.

More Art & Painting Blogs | (List Culled Periodically of Non-Posters!)