Cost Per Person
July 5-6, 2023: Capture the iconic views of Glacier National Park through brushstroke, while honing in on creativity and observation skills. This course will explore the significance of preparation, composition, color blocking, and detail. Through preparation, we will discuss how to be comfortable going out in the field to paint. We will also go over how to choose the right scene to paint when the world is so vast. Come learn how to capture the lights and darks of a scene that is constantly changing. By the end of the course, everyone will have a completed piece of art, representing their time in the Crown of the Continent.
Plein Air Acrylics | 2-Day Educational Program
Hike Overview Continued
Instructor: Elizabeth Mordensky
Capture the iconic views of Glacier National Park through brushstroke, while honing in on creativity and observation skills. This course will explore the significance of preparation, composition, color blocking, and detail. Through preparation, we will discuss how to be comfortable going out in the field to paint. We will also go over how to choose the right scene to paint when the world is so vast. Come learn how to capture the lights and darks of a scene that is constantly changing. By the end of the course, everyone will have a completed piece of art, representing their time in the Crown of the Continent.
Meeting Place: Glacier Institute Field Camp
Itinerary: (subject to change due to trail closures and weather)
Day 1: We will meet at Field Camp at 7 a.m. for coffee and introductions. The group will then go over the basics of acrylic painting, discussing preparation, composition, color blocking, and detail. The group will practice sketching and preparing their canvas for paint. We will walk around Field Camp and begin to discuss how to pick a scene to paint. We will then travel further into the park to enjoy painting some of Glacier’s iconic views. On this day we will be working small, allowing everyone to practice the skills that we have been talking about. There will be time to independently paint and time to gather as a group and discuss challenges and successes. The group will return to Field Camp for dinner at 6 p.m. After dinner the group will observe the scenery at dusk, and discuss the changes in lighting and how to accurately capture these changes.
Day 2: Breakfast will be served at 6 a.m. The group will depart Field Camp at 7 a.m. and head to the shores of Lake McDonald to continue to put their new skills to work! We will talk again about choosing compositions, and then let everyone spread out and independently paint. I will walk around and help everyone individually and we will also gather as a group to discuss our challenges and successes. We will eat sack lunches by the lake. Once everyone has completed their paintings, we will have a showing to observe each participant’s work. Depending on time, the group will drive to Sacred Dancing Cascade to discuss the art of capturing moving water in painting. The group will return to Field Camp and the class will conclude at 4 p.m.
Food: The following meals are included: Lunch on Day 1 through lunch on Day 2.
Accommodations: One night of lodging is included with the course fee. Our student cabins are basic, hostel-style cabins with 5 single beds, bedside lights, and electrical outlets. Students should be prepared to share a cabin with up to 4 other people, cabins are separated by gender. Couples may be paired up in the event there is ample space. We provide a bottom sheet for your bed as well as a pillow and pillow case, but please bring a warm sleeping bag. Be sure to bring a flashlight or headlamp for night trips to the bathroom.
Park Entrance Fees: Participants are responsible for purchasing their park entry passes prior to the course. These can be purchased online at:
- Easel: Any easel or way to hold your painting surface that you are comfortable bringing out into the field. If you prefer to paint flat, portable TV dinner stands are an easy option. If you would rather sit on the ground, bring a drop cloth of some sort so you don’t risk getting paint on the ground.
- Painting Surface: Three small canvases or canvas boards (think between 5×7 and 8×10) to practice our skills on the first day. One slightly larger canvas (nothing bigger than 16×20) for the Lake McDonald painting on day 2.
- Acrylic Paints: Any brand will do! Feel free to bring whatever colors you like, but here is what I recommend:
- Cerulean Blue
- Raw Umber
- Titanium White
- Raw Sienna
- Hookers Green
- And then your favorite Yellow and Red.
- Paint Brushes: Any brand will do! I do not believe that the brush makes the artist, but I do recommend bringing a variety, including a few general shapes a. A flat brush at least 1” wide – Natural or Synthetic is Fine
- A stencil brush or a round brush with a fairly flat head and stiff bristles. Around ½” is a good size and it will usually be natural bristles.
- A variety of smaller brushes- Look up the Princeton Brush Set 9153 for an example of a good range of sizes and shapes.
- Optional- A fan brush with stiff bristles can be a good tool for creating trees.
- Two Water Containers- One for clean water one for dirty water. Both must be sealable- we don’t want to be dumping dirty paint water in our beautiful National Parks!
- Paper Towel or Rag- to wipe brushes on
- Layered clothing and sun protection- This is an outdoor course in Montana. We should be prepared for any temperature.
- A sketch book or loose paper and pencil- for drawing thumbnail sketches. 9. A pack- or some way to comfortably carry all your materials
- A portable chair or stool
- A pizza box or something to carry your painting in- acrylics dry quickly but you may want something to transport your drying painting.
Physical Requirements: We will take leisurely strolls around Field Camp, and along the shores of Lake McDonald. We may walk over loose rocks along the shore. There will be less than 100 feet of elevation changes.
What to Expect On Your Plein Air Acrylics | 2-Day Painting Course
We will learn to capture the views of Glacier through painting. We will take leisurely strolls around Field Camp, and along the shores of Lake McDonald. We may walk over loose rocks along the shore. There will be less than 100 feet of elevation changes.
- This program meets at Glacier Institute Field Camp, West Glacier
- Instructor: Elizabeth Mordensky
- The program will begin 7 a.m. on day 1 and ends at 4 p.m. on the final day. Please arrive 15 minutes early.
- Hiking distance covers less than 1 miles with less than 100 feet elevation change.
- On-site parking available.
- There is a maximum number of 13 hikers per trip.
- This program has a minimum guest count of 3 people. In the unlikely case we don’t reach that number, you will be notified prior to the event.
What to Bring
Please remember that weather in NW Montana during all seasons can change quickly from warm and sunny to freezing at any time of the year. We recommend checking the weather prior to your trip. Please also check your course information sheet for specific gear requirements in addition to those listed below.
- Lightweight hiking boots or a sturdy pair of hiking shoes
- 2 liter sized water bottle or Camelback
- Day Pack with plastic bag liner or cover
- Waterproof rain jacket and pants
- Sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellant & lip balm
- Camera (optional)
- Trekking poles, if you like to use them for hiking (optional)
- Binoculars (optional)
- Field Notebook notes and sketches