Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Plein Air Convention - Part Two of Two

Asilomar Beach

On Tuesday, April 14, after attending the 6:30 am Art Marketing Bootcamp and watching numerous demonstrations by several of the fabulous artists I mentioned in Part One, we headed out in the late afternoon to paint Asilomar State Park in Pacific Grove in the beautiful sunshine but with 25-40 mph winds!  The Pacific Ocean is very deep and mighty but with those winds coming in off the shore, it made for a very exhilarating afternoon of painting. "Extreme Painting" is a term that comes to mind because you had to hold down your easel with one hand while tying to apply the paint to your panel with the other hand!

One of the very special aspects about attending this convention is getting together and spending time with the four other artists that I traveled with. We planned and talked about this spectacular trip for almost 9 months.  Another  delight was seeing old friends and instructors from other workshops I have attended in the past and meeting in person and spending time with the dozens upon dozens of Facebook "friends" that I have followed over the past several years.  We met, clicked and spent several days with the very talented pastel artist in this group photo below after we finished lunch on Fishermans Wharf.  His name is Jz  and he has a fascinating story to tell.  He is married and we are all married but we decided to call this photo "Jz and all the married ladies" because of  Beyonce and her single ladies tune!

Another wonderful thing is meeting and talking with artists like Quang Ho.  I was walking thru the vendors booths and came across him in the RayMar booth and asked if he would mind if we snapped a photo.  He is such a gracious and sweet man and his demo on Thursday was spectacular and a joy to watch.

On Wednesday we painted in the late afternoon at Lovers Point just a few miles south of Monterey.  The winds were calm and we had another beautiful day to paint.    On Thursday we drove down to Carmel by the Sea and painted at Carmel Mission Ranch overlooking a pasture leading out the the ocean with dozens of sheep grazing,  That was quite an unexpected scene.  We then drove around the corner where I snapped several photos of Carmel Misson before we headed back to our Portola Hotel  and the convention sight for another art-filled evening. 

The official convention activities concluded on Thursday afternoon but we were scheduled to paint all day Friday on Fishermans Wharf.  That day turned out to be a very special and enjoyable day and I completed four plein air pieces that day.  It is hard to imagine but let me tell you how exciting it was to be on the wharf with several hundred of your closest friends painting the gorgeous views that you saw at every turn.  

At some point on Friday afternoon, all of a sudden all these artists that I follow on Facebook just appeared together and I told Dottie we just had to have a photo taken with them.  They are Becky Joy, Debra Groesser, me, Dottie Leatherwood, Shelby Keefe and Jane Hunt.  Very talented ladies indeed!  Check them out on Facebook to see if you don't agree!

The 4th annual Plein Air Convention was a glorious week spent in the California sunshine with special friends and new-found friends and it will always be such a wonderful memory for me.  Thanks for taking the time to read this blog but I really wanted to put my thoughts together and share some of my memories with you!


Friday, May 8, 2015

Plein Air Convention - Part One of Two

Recently I attended my very first Plein Air Convention in beautiful Monterey CA along with 700-800  other fellow plein air enthusiasts from around the world.  This trip has been in the works since last June when one of my good art buddies suggested we attend.  Our gang of five met three years ago at a workshop in Atlanta and we have since then attended several other workshops in various places in the South but this is the first time we hopped on a plane and flew across country to paint!

Here we are:  Robin Rohwer, Connie Gaertner, Dottie Leatherwood and me getting caught up in the moment and enlisting in the Plein Air Force.  Karen Rose was missing from this photo.  Sorry, Karen!

Karen and I attended a 1 1/2 day pre-convention workshop with  the very entertaining C. W. Mundy.  When I first began painting several years ago I tore a photo of one of his paintings out of a magazine because I thought it was so beautiful.  So when I learned I could study with him, I jumped at the chance since he is cutting way back on his teaching schedule.  I filled pages of my notebook with his nuggets of wisdom and then watched him paint a 16x20 UPSIDE DOWN painting from a recent study he had done of the rocks and crashing waves.  He painted this in 30 minutes and worked another 30 minutes to add more color and details.  It was fascinating to watch!

Plein Air Magazine sponsored this 4th annual Plein Air Convention and it is a VERY well organized event filled with seminars, art discussion and demos by so many plein air and non-plein air artists.  The convention started each morning at 6:30 am for Art Marketing Boot Camp with Lori McNee and Eric Rhoads.  I am NOT A MORNING PERSON but each day I was there along with hundreds of others to learn about social media, blogging and a myriad of others ways to share and market our artwork.  Each day we bounced from one demo stage (with two huge screens so everyone had a birds-eye view of the palette and painting of the guest artist) to another to watch Bryan Mark Taylor, Roger Dale Brown, Lori Putnam, Jason Sacran, John Lasater, Brian Blood, Lem Chmiel, Carolyn Anderson, Susan Blackwood, Debra Joy Groesser, Bill Davidson and Quang Ho.  And these were just the demos that I watched!  

Many other stages were filled with pastel and watercolor artists.  And this was just during the daytime hours!  In between sessions we would wander out into the vendor booths where every art supplier you could imagine was giving away samples and selling their wonderful toys/wares!    Each day the convention would break at 4 pm so we could hit the beaches and other sites to plein air paint for 2-3 hours then return to our wonderful hotel to drop off our gear to get ready to attend the nighttime sessions watching young Russian painters doing portraits from live models to painting nocturnes along the wharf to listening to critique sessions by C.W. Mundy and Carolyn Anderson and Lori Putnam and Quang Ho.

The daily schedule was exhausting but so much fun!  We ran on adrenaline most of the time but since everyone was there for the same reason-to learn more about this passion we all have-we went from one session to another with eagerness.  

I hope you will come back for Part Two!