Plein Air Convention - photo by Cherie Dawn Haas
My favorite moments included connecting with others during our many paint-out sessions, and being in the presence of hundreds of artists doing what they love.

When we attend an immersive event (like the Plein Air Convention & Expo [PACE]) with likeminded people, it changes us. We’re recharged, newly inspired, and our cup is full. When we – meaning hundreds of artists from all over the world – join together, we have endless “aha moments.”

I reached out to some of our friends who attended PACE this year (in person and online), and asked them to share their favorite memories from the event. Keep reading to see pics and hear about what we all experienced – including a surprise guest appearance that’s guaranteed to make you smile.

1. Sweet, spontaneous moments like this one when Jim Wodark arm-wrestled Callie Santillanes. ~Jeff Eickhoff

Jim Wodark with our special guest, Callie Santillanes, the daughter of Dave Santillanes - Plein Air Convention
Jim Wodark with our special guest, Callie Santillanes, the daughter of Dave Santillanes; Dave gave an Opening Ceremony presentation during the Plein Air Convention

2. I never knew that Kevin Macpherson was not only a great artist, but a stand up comedian! I laughed so hard! ~ Laurie Bonn

3-4. I loved those crazy tall puppets walking onstage at the beginning of PACE. I thought “these are some crazy, fun artists!” ~ Oakes Art, who added that painting at Ghost Ranch was another highlight.

Mojigangas of Vincent Van Gogh and Frida Khalo
Mojigangas of Vincent Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo
painting at Ghost Ranch
Oakes Art said another favorite memory was painting at Ghost Ranch, which was “so beautiful.”

5-6. I think my two highlights were attending Kevin Macpherson’s pre-convention workshop (I agree about his stand-up stuff!) and meeting Haidee-Jo! Her ironing board response to F-I-L was stellar! ~ Teri Gardner Robus

7. I had so many wonderful moments but one of my highlights is definitely when I was on stage and told the story about my father-in-law and his ‘ironing board’ comment and how everyone cheered. ~ Haidee-Jo Summers

8-9. One of my favorite moments was meeting a fellow artist from Oregon. We discovered that we both learned to paint in oils at age 11, read every horse book in the library, and created paintings of our “dream horses.” It was fun to meet so many artists from all around the country. Also, painting at Ghost Ranch was a euphoric experience! I painted there 8 years ago, and it was thrilling to be in that spirit-filled place! ~ Sherry Houpt

Sherry Houpt with a new friend
Sherry Houpt with a new friend
Plein Air Convention - Ghost Ranch
Houpt at Ghost Ranch during the paint-out

10. A highlight for a lot of us was Eric’s introduction of Albert Handell for Albert’s Main Stage demo. Eric told his story of Albert inviting him to dance at his studio, and the team put on Texas swing music and Eric got Albert to dance. Then they brought on artist Kathy Anderson, who had just finished presenting, and Albert led her through the rest of the song! Now that was a demo – of authentically fun camaraderie among senior artists! ~ Lyn Canham

Eric Rhoads and Albert Handell providing an extra demo - how to dance!
Eric Rhoads and Albert Handell providing an extra demo – how to dance!

11. ALL of them! ~ Lori Putnam

12. Every moment was good but [I was] amazed with so many artists painting out together, and then I spotted this guy on top of a mountain catching the light!!! ~ Elizabeth Carol Keith

From one of the several paint-outs at PACE
From one of the several paint-outs at PACE

13. Being a newbie with plein air painting, my most memorable moments at the paint outs are the times of looking around at all the other painters and the feeling of pride and humbleness to be a part of such an amazing group of people. ~ Thomas Brown

14. I loved meeting so many artists. Tons of learning experiences. ~ Jacqueline Marx

15. Ronna Katz shared this snapshot of Aaron Schuerr welcoming Callie to the Plein Air Convention stage with him.
15. Ronna Katz shared this snapshot of Aaron Schuerr welcoming Callie to the Plein Air Convention stage with him.

16. For us it was when Mike spun the[prize] wheel and won the trip to New Zealand on the final spin of the whole event!!!! ~ PACE team

Plein Air Convention
17-19. Suzanne Syvertson stopped for a selfie with Michele Byrne, who had her easel set up near the Plein Air Convention art gallery. She said some of her faves were the “Opening plein air artists battle and the hopping closing party.”

20. My favorite moment? Having a precious 6-year-old come up on stage after the Plein Air Wars asking for my autograph and delivering a picture she drew for me. ~ Natasha Isenhour

Natasha Isenhour with Callie at Plein Air Convention
Natasha Isenhour with Callie

21. After having attended five Plein Air Conventions, this was my favorite. ~ Sherry Lutz Wooley

PACE Santa Fe Plaza paint out Rick Woods
22. Rick Woods said his favorite moment was hearing an onlooker at one of the Plein Air Convention paint-outs say, “I want to buy it. What’s your price?”

23. [Winning] The GOLDEN TICKET* 👏👏👏 I’m so excited to have won! Another goodie…Kevin McPherson remembered my name even after I kept changing seats at the pre-convention! ~ Wendy Zachu
*Editor’s Note: The Golden Ticket was a free ticket to next year’s PACE in Denver!

24. It all was so much fun! The relationships are the best part of the event. This is where you can talk about art and everyone there understands what you are talking about. (Sorry hubby, but it’s true.) ~ Brenda Boylan

25. I would have to say that Brenda Boylan’s demo was one of the highlights of the convention! [She] had me laughing out loud with sexual double-entendres and jokes about [her] husband. [She is] a hoot and showed that we can’t take ourselves seriously and to not forget to have fun! ~ Carolyn Martinez Romer

26. Attending the convention and painting with my daughter was a wonderful experience! ~ Pepi Zeek McNair

27. Seeing friends that had hibernated the last two years…; the renewed sense of community; the pure happiness of being together again. ~ Louise Sackett

I can honestly say that behind the scenes, many of us on the PACE staff were saying how this was one of the best conventions so far – they get better every year and everyone I spoke with is pumped about coming back for the 10th Annual PACE, which will be in the Denver area. Tickets are limited – register for the Plein Air Convention here soon so that next time, you’ll be sharing your favorite moments with us!

Related Article by Cherie Dawn Haas > Until We Meet Again


  1. I was painting the layer cake like mesa at ghost ranch and couldn’t get the yellow layer to stay in the shadow. Richard Gallegos told me to layer the complement blue over it . It worked without changing the hue to a dull brown. I went home and triaged (Dawn Whitelaw’s term!) a half a dozen other paintings with the same advice.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here