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!