I’ll be honest with you. I wasn’t planning on writing my own recap of the Plein Air Convention — my first — but after so many memorable moments, it seems unfair that I wouldn’t share some of my favorites with you, especially if you were unable to join us this year. And for those who did make it — we probably met in person, either at the registration desk, the art gallery booth, or even on the dance club floor on the last night!
I knew to expect long days and lots of work, but I had no idea how much FUN this week would be. Even our entire staff had an absolute blast; the volunteers were amazing, and I’m happy to say that I came home with several newly-made friends after meeting almost every attendee in some way throughout the week.
Here is my “PACE in a nutshell” recap for you, including very public events and some behind-the-scenes fun, along with a few snapshots for your enjoyment.
Early in the mornings, Plein Air Publisher Eric Rhoads led an art marketing discussion in which he gave advice based on his years of experience, and answered audience questions. Here’s some of what he shared:
Q: Should artists have a logo and a tagline?
A: Yes, and a legible signature! He told us that “if your signature isn’t clear, you’re throwing away a marketing opportunity.”
As a Plein Air staff member, I quickly learned that while at PACE, it’s important to be flexible and to go with the flow. So when I was asked to introduce and/or thank our faculty on stage, I cleared my throat, straightened my shirt, and grabbed the closest microphone. Bill Davidson was one of the artists I provided the “outro” for, and so after I turned the mic off, I snapped this photo (above) of him getting stage rushed after his painting demonstration.
The “Santa Fe Sweep”
Of course, it wasn’t all work and no play — when I had a free morning, I grabbed my colleague, Jaime, for a quick outing to see Old Town. On the shuttle from the hotel, we met Roarke, whose husband was attending a workshop. The three of us did a quick walking tour of the town, shopped (Jaime reassured me that I was “supporting the local economy” when I splurged on a pair of shoes that I knew I’d never find back home), and even enjoyed a delicious brunch at a shared table with others.
As I write the first draft of this very blog post, I’m about 37,000 feet in the air with a view of endless clouds. Even though I’m very much looking forward to getting back home to my husband and our sons, dogs, and chickens, I’m also excited about next year. I hope to see you there!
Yours in art,
1/17/20 update: The next Plein Air Convention is in Westminster, Colorado, near Denver. You can take a pre-convention workshop with Thomas Schaller or Scott Christensen. Book soon because as of this update, there are only 115 PACE tickets left! Visit pleinairconvention.com now to reserve your spot at the world’s largest plein air gathering.