Earlier this month PleinAir magazine publisher Eric Rhoads and about 60 artists gathered in Acadia National Parks’ Schoodic Point for a solid week of painting in a retreat called Fall Color Week. In the event’s third, and probably last, year in Maine, Rhoads’ intent was to expose painters to a painting experience that allowed them to get away from their day-to-day responsibilities while concentrating on continuous painting.
“Lobstars,” as Rhoads affectionately calls the attendees, gathered each morning and evening for breakfast and dinners, making sack lunches so they could paint all day. Rhoads hosted the event, making announcements about painting locations and other information at each meal. Painting took place all day every day, in some locations as a group, while at other times people visited painting locations on their own. Evenings were occupied with portrait painting and with music provided by musician/painter Rick Wilson, giving “campers” an opportunity to sing along. Evenings were filled with fun and laughter.
“The scenery in the area is vast, and the leaves were glowing at their peak with rich reds, pinks, golds, and yellows, and blueberry blogs provided fields of red,” said Rhoads. Painters had substantial variety, with ocean scenes of waves crashing on rocks, quaint harbors and small towns, lobster boats, lighthouses, and stunning vistas. Most painters produced two paintings a day, while some produced as many as five each day.
On closing night, following a fresh lobster dinner, the group brought paintings in to be viewed by all with several hundred on display.
“After this much painting, everyone really saw vast improvements in their work because they could get out all day every day and not have to do anything but paint,” said Rhoads. “The side benefit is that everyone made new and deep friendships.” Most painters stayed in shared apartments, which allowed people additional chances to get close. “These events are magical because of how much fun they are and how close people become. We all hated to see it end.”
After three years in Maine, Rhoads announced that a new location would soon be revealed for a new version of Fall Color Week for next fall. Rhoads also does an annual event in the Adirondacks each June, as well as exotic painters’ trips, with an upcoming trip to Cuba and another to Africa. “You do the best events,” said guest Carolyn Caradine of Malibu, California. “We have more fun at these painters; retreats than anything other than the Plein Air Convention, which is a totally different feel. I love how close we all become and how we look forward to returning for a week of fun each year.”
This article was featured in PleinAir Today, a weekly e-newsletter from PleinAir magazine. To start receiving PleinAir Today for free, click here.