Fall Color Week 2021
The entire group poses for a photo in front of the view from the lodge.

Fall Color Week is a painting retreat held by Eric Rhoads, Publisher and CEO of Plein Air Magazine. Referred to as the Publisher’s Invitational, no invitation is required as all are welcome.

This year, Fall Color Week took place for the first time in the Adirondacks, the same area of the country where Eric has held a June event for the past decade. Together, the participating artists stayed at a kid’s camp called Saranac Village, which turned out to be a spectacular location. Not only was it right on the water and had acres and acres of paintable scenery, it also had fabulous rooms and facilities.

Painting the spectacular scenery of the Adirondacks region
Painting retreats - Fall Color Week
Kathie Odom does a rainy morning demo

Every day the group would gather for breakfast and Eric’s morning announcements, which included notes about where they would be painting that day and other special happenings. A box lunch was included for the paint-out sessions, and then everyone would gather together once again for dinner. Evenings included music from fellow participants Rick Wilson, Johnny Williams, Brian Smith, and Buddy Odom.

Painting retreats - Fall Color Week
Jeffery Baumgardner entertains friends in the evening

While the weather was spectacular for most of the week, on one rainy morning, Kathie Odom demonstrated for the group how to create a painting from a photograph. (Kathie is the artist behind the Liliedahl art video workshop “Bold Brushwork.”)

Almost every evening, some of the group painted a portrait of a fellow artist, while others listened to the live music; even Eric sat in and played for a song or two.

Kellee Crosby Mayfield showing her portrait of Joe to Eric; photo courtesy of Elaine Miller
Kellee Crosby Mayfield showing her portrait of Joe to Eric; photo courtesy of Elaine Miller

Ruth Sanderson, a famous illustrator and author, brought scratch boards to Fall Color Week where she taught everyone how to use this fun and unusual substrate.

Art retreats - Fall Color Week
Scratchboard fun in the evening

Of course, the artists spent plenty of time painting the beautiful scenery throughout the Adirondacks. While there, the color was at its peak, with brilliant reds, yellows, and oranges against the spectacular mountains. Included in the landscape were waterfalls and lakes, given everyone the opportunity paint various bodies of water as well.

Painting and art retreats
Painting along the Ausable river

One day the group even visited the Asgaard farm, which was the home and studio of Rockwell Kent. There they toured his recently restored studio in the woods, and attendee Melissa Moffett painted an interior of the studio itself.

Painting and art retreats
Rockwell Kent’s Asgaard farm, a popular painting spot

A number of people were brand new to Streamline Art events, and a surprising amount did their very first plein air painting at Fall Color Week. Many came to learn about plein air painting and understand what the movement was all about. Although workshops aren’t technically part of the event, everyone gleaned information from others, as far as how to deal with setting up, equipment, etc.

At every Fall Color Week, Eric hosts what he calls “Five Minute Talks,” where audience members share anything they’d like that’s related to art. This week included several people talking about how they’ve used art for altruistic endeavors.

One was from an Alaskan artist who created a portrait project that began with her need to find art models for portraits. She was led to a moving experience of painting portraits of teens in alcohol and abuse programs. This evolved to the artist using the portraits to raise about $20,000 for the programs; the buyers could take the original or a copy, or choose a different painting so that the portrait could go to the model him/herself.

In a similarly inspiring Five Minute Talk, another artist shared his 500-hour mural project for a center for survivors of child abuse.

By sharing these stories and so many experiences throughout the week, the group became very close, with everyone making new friends. It was said that overall, it’s almost like a spiritual experience.

Painting and art retreats
Rick Wilson of Indiana, painting the fall Birch trees
Painting and art retreats
Melissa Murphy Stewart at Bog River Falls
Painting and art retreats
Plein air friends Tim Russell (California), Eric Rhoads, and George Kreutz (California)
Painting and art retreats
Kathie Odom shows off her painting from the beach at the camp
Painting and art retreats
Happy painter Christine Erickson (Newmarket, NH) at Heaven Hill farm
Painting and art retreats
1,000 paintings from Fall Color Week
Eric Rhoads, Publisher and CEO, and host of Fall Color Week
Eric Rhoads, Publisher and CEO, and host of Fall Color Week

At the end of Fall Color Week, the dozens of artists said goodbye – or, “see you later,” since many took advantage of the attendee discounts offered for upcoming events. We’ll be seeing them again soon at Realism Live (November 2021), Watercolor Live (January 2022), and even the returning in-person Plein Air Convention and Expo (Santa Fe, May 2022).


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