Choosing the color of a plein air umbrella.2018-02-23T13:24:09-08:00

Choosing the color of a plein air umbrella. The Semi Translucent White Umbrella or the Silver Lined in Black? 

Silver/blk recommended for high altitude

Silver Best Brella with Black Interior

The silver exterior with black interior reflects more UV and is better for plein air painters concerned about skin cancer. I think it also keeps you a bit cooler, but it is harder to see your paint colors. Some artists recommend only a black lined easel umbrella to keep the pupils open wider so that you can see more of the color in the landscape when looking out from under the umbrella; however, it’s harder to judge colors on your palette. If you’re painting in the bright light and heat of the Southwest, or at high altitudes, I’d recommend the silver/black.

The White Semi-Translucent White Best Brella has a white nylon upper canopy that lets in as much light as the Soleil French Easel umbrella or a photo umbrella, but the lower canopy has a double layer of fabric that lets less light show through. You can
see that in the photo to the left. I’ve tested it and the transition from translucent to semi-translucent (where the two canopies meet) does not leave any shadows or change in value on the painting or palette. I think this is because the light refracts (bounces around) so much within the white interior of the umbrella. If you’re painting foggy coastal or dappled light forest scene, I’d recommend the white. The white umbrella provides more light on your palette and painting, which some like. It’s really a matter of personal preference. Pastel painters may find picking the right pastel color easier with a white umbrella. If you find that  when painting with a white umbrella, your paintings turn out too “dark” when viewed indoors, then you should switch to black.

White Best Brella Eliminates Dapples on Painting Without Making It Too Dark The white Best Brella eliminates distracting dappled light. When painting in a forest with dappled light I find the dappled light on my painting very distracting, making it difficult to deal with. If put up my silver umbrella and the shade is so dark, given that I’m already in 90% tree shade, that it was hard to see what I was doing. The white umbrella was the perfect solution. The same is true for cloudy, foggy days, where there is still a lot of reflected light. Ultimately, this is a personal choice. It’s nice to have both colors and use them under certain conditions. You could always buy Kit C which, for an extra $30, includes one of each color. For instance, eyes, even though it’s a cloudy day.




Dappled light on painting

White Best Brella diffuses dappled light

White umbrella eliminated dappled light


No matter which color you choose, having a plein air umbrella will mean you’ll paint outdoors more often.



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