Sabino Canyon, a typical scene outside of Tucson. Photo by Dave Bezaire

The 2016 Plein Air Convention & Expo (PACE) is already half full, and the 2015 event only concluded 12 days ago. Satisfied attendees are the main reason for high demand, but the amenities offered at PACE’s new home may be making a difference, too. One PACE attendee is already planning a four-month plein air painting trip around the 2016 event. 

Susi Havens-Bezaire and her husband, Dave, are using the 2016 Plein Air Convention & Expo as the kickoff to a more than four-month plein air painting trek that will go from the cactus-studded Sonoran desert to Denali National Park in Alaska. They already have three other couples interested in the trip, and they hope that many other artists join them in a caravan.

“If you don’t have a camper or RV, bring some tents,” says Susi. The artist is no stranger to travel. She and her husband have been around the world, working with nonprofits and painting. They went on a similar odyssey in 2013, going from Tucson (their winter home) to Alaska, with stops along the West Coast. The 2016 edition of the painting trip will focus on the Rocky Mountains, particularly those in Canada. See the itinerary for their 2013 trip here to get a sense for their modus operandi. Susi urges anyone interested in painting with her along the way in 2016 to contact her.

PACE 2016 will be hosted by Tucson, Arizona’s Hilton El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort & Spa, and the event is scheduled for April 15-19. Event organizers have negotiated with the resort so that painters attending PACE will receive many perks with their enrollment, including free parking, free shuttle service to a shopping and dining district, a waived $20-per-night resort fee, use of the fitness facilities and classes, and a free hour each day per room in each of these activities: tennis court usage, driving range, and putting green. They negotiated for two hours of mountain bike usage per day per room as well, plus 15 percent off massage treatments. WiFi is free in all guest rooms.

Convention veterans have come to expect a top-notch faculty every year, and PACE 2016 will not disappoint. Already on board for the convention are Bill Anton, Matt Smith, Curt Walters, Kathryn Stats, George Strickland, Jove Wang, and William Schneider. 

For more information on PACE 2016, keep checking the Plein Air Convention & Expo website. As additional details are solidified, they will be posted over the coming weeks. 


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