– Bob Bahr reporting, Editor PleinAir Today –

The Plein Air Convention & Expo (PACE) wrapped up last week with more presentations, further painting demonstrations, and a lot of dancing at the hoedown.

Lead Image: Warm light on the rocks offered inspiration every day to the 900 painters attending PACE 2016.

David Boyd, Jr., had an interesting perspective on the convention. He attended it, but he also manned a booth in the popular exhibition area. “I did work the booth for Michael Harding’s Artists Oil Colours, and it was busy,” he reports. “On our last day, we spent most of the day taking down the booth. I was actually expecting the last day to be super slow in the Expo, but it wasn’t. It was super busy the entire time. We woke up early every morning and painted before we went into work and then tried to get out and paint every afternoon. My fellow painters and booth workers Leon Holmes and Dario Falzon were on faculty; I was just a tagalong. Even though I was working for Michael Harding, Leon and Dario and I swapped scheduled times so we could see demos that we wanted to see.”

Vladislav Yeliseyev paints a demo for an audience at the Plein Air Convention & Expo.
Vladislav Yeliseyev paints a demo for an audience at the Plein Air Convention & Expo.

Boyd didn’t make it to the hoedown (one would guess that he snuck one more painting in). But the band did attract a big group to the dance floor, with many painters decked out in Western wear. Jane Hunt was one of the painters cutting the rug.

Jim Wodark painting on location in Tucson. Photo by David Thibault
Jim Wodark painting on location in Tucson. Photo by David Thibault

“I’d never been to a hoedown and wasn’t sure what one was, but it ended up being the perfect ending to the week,” Hunt says. “The convention is a really intense experience, and it was a great way to get some of that energy out. It was fun mayhem, with some line dancing, artists jumping on stage, even a conga line. The most fun I’ve had in ages.”

From left, Matt Smith, Tracy Avant, and Curt Walters
From left, Matt Smith, Tracy Avant, and Curt Walters

“The band was phenomenal,” reports Suzie Greer Baker. “It was like a high school dance where all the art nerds were the cool kids and no one was worried about embarrassing themselves — just having fun. Albert Handell and his wife were some of the first on the dance floor. They were classy — the rest of us just sort of flailed enthusiastically. Lori Putnam and Lori McNee stormed the stage and demonstrated their moves too. It was an uplifting time!”

Kathy Anderson
Kathy Anderson

Kaia Thomas would take that a step further.

Albert Handell painting on location at PACE
Albert Handell painting on location at PACE

“It was the trip of a lifetime,” says Kaia Thomas. “I cried, laughed, gawked, learned, made new friends, had incredible dinners waiting each evening thanks to my husband, Luke, and slept very little. There was a sense of real connection at this event. Everyone is there for the intention to learn, appreciate, enjoy, and to translate the beautiful scenery onto a 2D surface. All 900 of us! Good times.”

Attendees could pose in front of an Old West backdrop for photos.
Attendees could pose in front of an Old West backdrop for photos.

Keep up to date on details for PACE 2017 here.

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Editor PleinAir Today, Andrew Webster
Andrew Webster is the Editor of Plein Air Today and works as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.

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