A highlight of the Plein Air Convention & Expo (PACE) was the ceremony to give Dean Mitchell a Lifetime Achievement award.
“It was a humbling experience to be honored for doing something that I love,” Mitchell says. “I was deeply appreciative of being the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement award from PleinAir magazine as there as so many painters that are deserving. Thank you again for acknowledging my efforts as an American artist and for all of those involved to create such an memorable experience.”
“Midwest Winter,” by Dean Mitchell, watercolor, 20 x 30 in.
Mitchell gave a presentation in which he described his artistic development. He explained that he grew up painting from life because he didn’t have a camera. Mitchell feels that he struggled with technique early on, but life drawing classes made an impact. To this day he relies on drawings and his imagination for content in his paintings — even if photography informs the work as well.
Mitchell chats with fellow attendees after the award ceremony.
The artist makes great use of negative space, and he mentioned in the talk that he is intrigued by the interesting shapes around the subject matter. “Those spaces are just as important as the objects,” he asserted. He draws with a brush, and keeps his focus on shapes.
“Out in the Sticks,” by Dean Mitchell, watercolor, 12 x 10 in.
Eric Rhoads continued the presentation with a video he made on Mitchell’s life and art. The film offered many inspirational moments and statements including, “When you’re not worried about messing up — that’s when the magic happens.” In the end, the packed audience gave Mitchell a standing ovation, which moved him to tears.
Georgia Mansur and Dean Mitchell
“Dean Mitchell’s work has moved and inspired me for many years — his art looks into the very soul of humanity, stirring emotions unspoken but universally shared,” says artist and PACE attendee Georgia Mansur. “His storytelling takes me to a different place — elevating painting to true art. It was such an honor to meet this amazingly talented man and learn he is, as I expected, a genuinely lovely human being.”