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Plein Air Painting - San Francisco

  • Flax Art and Design 2 Marina Boulevard, Landmark Building D San Francisco, CA, 94123 United States (map)

Plein Air

Plein Air painting, outdoor painting, resulted in the innovation of portable box easels and premixed paint in tubes. It became a major component in 19th century Impressionism and was practiced by artists like Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

Our Plein Air classes are designed to bring you the full outdoor painting experience. It is the perfect excuse to grab a few friends, slather on sunscreen and drink in some of the best views the Bay Area has to offer. You will get settled in front of one of our iconic wooden easels and relax with an afternoon of light guided instruction, soothing bay breezes, and painted bliss. Follow along as one of our instructors breaks down a scene into easy-to-follow steps, or turn your easel to the view of your choice and go rogue.


Beyond Canvas is happy to collaborate with Flax Art and Design on our new workshop series.  In this workshop, you will learn to take your 3D surroundings and make them into your very own 2D work of art. There is no experience necessary in this all level class. In our new series, you will get to keep your very own Paint Kits to continue creating beautiful works of art on your own after the class. 



Our San Francisco Plein Air Painting Experience starts at Fort Mason Center. From here we navigate to some of the best views in the city. All viewpoints are .1 miles from our meeting location, Flax Art and Design, where you will pick up your paint kits and meet your instructor. Check out our San Francisco Calendar for upcoming classes. Painting options include (and are not limited to): Golden Gate Bridge, Meadow Park, Alcatraz, downtown San Francisco, old Fort Mason Firehouse, twisted cypress overlooking the bay, Fort Mason architecture, sailboats in the harbor, and more.




 These San Francisco views are packed with history!  Our starting point, Fort Mason, was a former US Army post for nearly a century. The buildings and piers were built to warehouse army supplies in 1912.  Today Fort Mason is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is a National Historic Landmark District with over 49 buildings over 1,200 acres.  Alcatraz Island, another view, was a federal prison that housed America's most dangerous felons during its operation from 1934 to 1963. And the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge, which is the most photographed bridge in the world. Come paint these views and many more!


Art And Culture In The Area

San Francisco has a long history of art from music to painting and performance. Fort Mason is now a nonprofit Center for Arts & Culture (FMCAC) FMCAC hosts evolving artistic programs and has over 1.2 million visitors each year. This includes theater and dance performances, art installations, as well as educational and cultural classes (like Plein Air workshops wth Beyond Canvas and Flax Art and Design).  You can also find many arts and craft shows, artist pop-ups, and at times - grab a bite from 'Off the Grid! You can also find art exhibited all throughout San Francisco parks. Recent instillations include sculptures by Mark di Suvero in Crissy Field and Ai Weiwei's work on Alcatraz.

Materials And Logistics

Both meeting location and materials for our Plein Air workshops start at Flax Art and Design in Fort Mason Center, located 2 Marina Blvd, Landmark Building D.  Your  RSVP covers materials to borrow from Beyond Canvas, and instruction from your teachers. Paint Kits are also included in the RSVP, provided by  Flax Art and Design, and are yours to keep! You will pick up your Paint kits and easels the day of your workshop and meet your instructor just outside the Flax store.  Please arrive 15 minutes early at Flax to pick up all your materials and meet your instructor!  

Paint sets come in 2 grades: Basic and Pro. Basic kits are composed of brushes, Amsterdam acrylic paint set, palate, ruler and canvas board that can be easy transported or packed into your bag. Pro sets are upgraded to professional quality paint tubes (Golden) and a larger stretched canvas. These kits are yours to keep and continue to use after the workshop!  Kits range from $37.50-$89.75, and includes easel rental. Find our more about your kits HERE.


North Bay By Public Transit take bus 4 into San Francisco to bus 28, 43, or 47.  By car take US-101 S to Girard Rd in San Francisco. Take exit 437. Marina Blvd toward Presidio. Take Marina Blvd to Landmark Building D, 2 Marina Drive 

East Bay By public transit takeTake BART to bus # 30, 30x, 41, 43, or by car take  I-80 W, The Embarcadero and Bay St. to Buchanan St. in San Francisco

Upon arriving at Flax, head inside to pick up your Plein Air kits and easel from the front desk, and meet with your teacher just outside the door. From here you will walk to your view for the day together! 


There is a metered parking lot at Fort Mason Center.

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Earlier Event: September 4
Plein Air Painting - San Francisco
Later Event: September 11
Plein Air Painting - San Francisco