Welcome back to your Plein Air Convention & Expo highlights! Yesterday was so filled with activities that it’s difficult to narrow it all down for a single newsletter. One of the major events of the day was our trip to Santuario de Chimayó, a National Historic Landmark, for the first paint-out.
Upon arrival, we strolled past a serene creek nestled under a glowing New Mexico hillside. Painters spread out all over the property, capturing unique subjects and scenes from every angle. One painter I spoke with said it was her first time doing plein air; she focused on her sketch to begin with, applying concepts she had learned throughout the day.
Backing up to the morning hours at PACE, we began bright and early with breakfast and Eric’s first Art Marketing Bootcamp session of the week, during which he gave us principles and strategies for living as a professional artist. “Selling is nothing more than a transfer of confidence,” he said while explaining how artists should think of the sales side.
Recently back from a trip to Sicily, Lori Putnam gave an educational and down-to-earth presentation and demo. She reminded us that putting in the experience of painting en plein air will make it easier to paint from a reference photo when you need to. For her demo, she painted the shadow side of a lighter colored building. Her tip: Keep your shadows or the lights connected throughout your painting.
On the main stage, Lori’s demo was followed by a live recording of Eric’s Plein Air Podcast, where he welcomed legends David Leffel and Sherrie McGraw. David and Sherrie talked about their lifetime of art – learning, teaching, and living it. Some of the points discussed were how David effectively increased the price of his paintings, abstract vs abstract realism, and passion: “If you do [art] because you love it,” Sherrie said, “you’ll be able to get through all the difficulties.”
Mark Shasha came in for an impromptu lesson of painting a lighthouse scene, explaining how you can identify what might be wrong with your painting so you can fix it. He advised that you must be mindful of the light direction and have consistent shadows throughout your scene.
Carl Bretzke started with a presentation detailing what happens at sunset, then demonstrated a sequence for completing a plein air sunset painting. Later that evening, we joined Carl outside for a sunset paint-out for a chance to try it ourselves.
More Favorite Moments:
On the pastel stage, Brenda Boylan shared her 10-point tips for painting on-site in the city.
The demo encompassed the challenges and solutions for a cityscape, with what to look for and avoid as well as simple tools and techniques for creating a vibrant city scene.
Creating a painting from a sketch is rewarding, enjoyable, and — at least according to Charlie Hunter, a notorious prevaricator — far easier than working from a photograph to create an artwork. He explained how in his demo.
The chaotic moving objects that are part of a cityscape are next to impossible to capture without understanding the different components, like cars, figures, trees, etc. To help understand this subject, Richie N. Vios led a watercolor session on “How to Paint a Cityscape with Moving Objects.”
Kathie Odom calls herself a “Nostalgic Impressionist” as a way of identifying the subjects and style of painting that interest her most. In her demo, she addressed the practice of using oils to remember and record the ever-changing landscape.
PleinAir Salon finalist Aaron Schuerr demonstrated a bold and direct approach to painting the landscape in pastel.
Poppy Balser shared her observations on painting water from her years of painting on the seashores of the Bay of Fundy, where the water never stops moving.
Master pastelist Jill Stefani Wagner demonstrated helpful tips that will allow you to more quickly capture that elusive warm light just before sunset.
In Joseph Gyurcsak‘s session, he revealed important techniques and approaches for capturing light effects.
Michele Byrne uses a combination of brush and palette knife techniques; she demonstrated how to add figures to your work in a loose, impressionistic style showing movement and excitement.
Master artist Albert Handell demonstrated his techniques for painting his favorite subject — trees. We saw how Albert works from dark to light, from the center of interest out, and his unique use of different colors of similar values.
With Spike Ress, we learned how to take our indoor experience outside on location for the best possible watercolor painting experience.
Michael Chesley Johnson shared tips to help your studio painting end up just as exciting and fresh as the original reference.
Ryan Jensen’s mission was to keep the audience engaged by going back and forth between two paintings while showing the importance of the tactical pause — letting your Impressionism breathe and not letting yourself get too close to your work. He highlighted the importance of values and of the focal point in each painting and shared his techniques to emphasize the “power of pop.”