A picture of a Plein-Air painting.

What is Plein-Air Map?

Plein Air Map is a worldwide map of plein air painting locations that anyone can contribute to. It is also an information resource for plein air painters. Members of the site upload geolocation-enabled photos of good plein air painting locations. The saves the info and adds it to a map. The artist can add notes and comments to the location, as well as upload images of their artwork created at or based on the location. 

Plein Air Map is also a way for the public to discover the painters working in different geographic areas. 

What is Plein Air painting? 

Plein air painting comes from the French phrase "en plein air" which means "open (in full) air." This refers to the act of creating a painting outdoors and capturing painting what the artists sees at the location. This is in contrast to creating a painting in a studio or away from the original location. Traditionally the aim of the artist in painting on location is to capture the visual look and feel of the particular location. 

Why Join Plein Air Map?

Plein Air Map is a great way to share the locations you've painted and your pleain air paintings. It is also a unique way to show off your art. You can share the great spots near to you or where you travel, and you can share the artwork you create inspired by those locations. 


Plein Air Map came into being when site founder, Ben Rathbone, began to paint outdoors. He quickly realized that one of the most time consuming parts of painting outdoors was the process of finding and picking a place to actually paint. He would get excited to paint outside, gather up materials, get out there, only to spend hours driving, cycling, or walking around trying to decide on the ideal place to paint.

When he was not painting outdoors, he would come upon good locations to paint, and take a photo with his smartphone. The photos would have geographic location information encoded in the image files. Soon he had a big collection of photos of places to paint, but wanted a way to tag them, comment on them, and associate paintings with them, not to mention share them with his friends. 

Having worked as a web developer for many years, he knew there had to be a technological solution to this problem. Soon the idea of Plein Air Map came around. He also soon realized it could be a wonderful way for artists to share both locations and their artwork. He also realized it would be a very fun to see more than one artist artistically interpret the same location. 

How do I Join? 

Click here to join. Please note that accounts need to be approved by the site administrator.  

See the Latest Spots added to the Site

See the latest Artwork added to the Site

Read the Blog

Subscribe to the Plein Air Map mailing list

* indicates required