Looking back, I had no idea what I was getting into at my first Plein Air Convention & Expo (PACE). The fun, energy, and excitement generated by a group that size, all engaged in a shared passion, is impossible to imagine; you just have to experience it.
More than the thrill, however, the camaraderie between the participants — faculty and attendees alike — provided some of the most memorable moments for me. I saw people help one another find their way around the convention space; offer rides to paint-out locations; and share materials, time, and advice as they engaged in their collective endeavors. But surprisingly, it didn’t end there. The sense of support and fellowship fostered at the convention extended well beyond the last day of activities via social media (see some of the PACE highlights from last year here).
For many painters, the day-to-day pursuit of our passion can be a solitary one. But to grow as an artist, it’s essential to get feedback and to learn from others who have been where we are. For all of the (at best) silly and (at worst) destructive things distributed on social media, it’s also a great place to share information and support one another’s efforts.
When we can’t physically be with other artists or ask a question of a fellow plein air painter in person, we can often find what we’re looking for in places like the Plein Air Convention Facebook group, which remains active all year long. There, participants share work produced at the last event, pose questions and offer advice, and make plans for the next PACE. PleinAir Magazine also has a number of active social media sites, where artists, collectors, and enthusiasts can draw inspiration, ideas, and painting advice.
Meeting with like-minded individuals in these virtual spaces can provide the boost you need to get out and paint on a particular day or spark the aha moment that leads to an important creative breakthrough. You might even discover the work of an artist whose paintings you’ve never seen before, but might like to add to your collection.
Plein Air Magazine, April / May 2019 Table of Contents: