Connecticut painter Kathy Anderson mostly paints florals, but she prefers to do them outside rather than set up a still life. When she presents at the 2016 Plein Air Convention & Expo (PACE), April 15-19, she’ll be zeroing in on a topic.
“I love spreading the enthusiasm of painting outdoors and painting from life,” says Anderson. “And I love meeting all my friends from all over the world in one place, and that’s what happens at the Plein Air Convention. And I love the energy that comes from Eric [Rhoads, publisher of PleinAir magazine].
Anderson was on the faculty of last year’s PACE, and she enjoyed being there in Monterey, California. This year in Tucson, she’ll approach things differently.
“In some ways I think that it might be better in Tucson,” she says. “People were spread out at different spots, painting in Monterey. They were all fabulous, but the painters were spread out all over. Students could look for flags [to find field painters], and that helped. But I have a feeling it will not be quite like that this year. There are plans to paint at an old Western town, and that will confine people a bit better. It really interests me to go to town and see that. Plus, there’s the desert landscape. I’ve never seen the desert in bloom, so that’s very exciting for me, to see what that’s like.
“Monterey, last year, was my first Plein Air Convention, and I could not believe the things available, all going on at the same time. That was my only complaint — I didn’t want to miss anything. There were great speakers, demos, and places to paint. The convention is great for developing artists, meeting more advanced painters and instructors — that gets the students very excited about painting outside. And with Eric in charge, it’s nice having everything done for you. It is all planned, and it all works out so great. There’s so much camaraderie — that’s the biggest thing.”

Anderson painting a demo at PACE 2015

Last year Anderson pushed through a complete demo, but she thinks it will be more useful to convention-goers if this year she limits her scope a bit. “I think I am going to not set up a still life, but rather will do something much smaller and more specific. Maybe I will tackle just one aspect of flowers,” she says.
The demo may be inside, but it will undoubtedly be from life. Given her druthers, Anderson would paint the flowers right in the garden where they are growing. “You won’t get the transparency of flowers from a photograph, the layers of flowers against each other,” she says. “Sometimes outdoors I’m not even looking at the subject. It’s so confusing when you go out and see this mass of gleams and colors. Being there, immersed in the garden, I just see a flower here and a flower there. I then have to figure out how to convey this feeling.”
Anderson joins dozens of other top-notch artists on the PACE faculty. See the complete list, and more information on the event, here.


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