In Texas, one lively plein air group had a Christmas party that looked like a lot of fun. And everyone went home with a new piece of art.

Lead Image: Randy Saffle reports that this painting by Rusty Jones was stolen from him.

The Outdoor Painters Society held a Christmas lunch and a painting swap in the Dallas area that fueled quite a bit of conversation online and off. “This event is everyone’s favorite of the year with fun, food, and camaraderie,” says Randy Saffle, the vice president of the OPS. “Members bring an 8”-x-10” painting (unframed) wrapped in plain brown paper. After lunch, the fun begins when we start the ‘Chinese Gift Game’ with the unidentified paintings. We draw numbers out of a hat from one to whatever. The artist with #1 picks a painting from the stack and unwraps it.

The members of the Outdoor Painters Society at their Christmas lunch
The members of the Outdoor Painters Society at their Christmas lunch
A painting for swap by John Cook
A painting for swap by John Cook

“Then the fun begins. The next person can ‘steal’ that painting or open another. A painting can be traded two more times before it is out of the game and belongs to that person. The trading leads to some spirited exchanges that sometimes includes pleading and begging. This year one artist even reminded everyone that the painting she opened was from an artist with the same name as her deceased mother! Even that didn’t work and the painting was ripped from her hands anyway, but it did provide a big laugh. The party and exchange has been a longtime traditional activity, and dozens of OPS members have quite a collection of originals as a result of participating in this game over the years. This year 28 paintings were swapped and found new homes.”

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