"Delicate Dance," by Marla Baggetta

Pastelist Marla Baggetta has a secret she uses every day to put her in the right frame of mind for painting.

Baggetta has a few suggestions for artists, tips that she will flesh out in full when she takes the Pastel Stage at the Plein Air Convention & Expo (PACE) in April in San Diego.

“Plan, but do not be married to your plan,” Baggetta says. “Keep it simple…then keep it simpler. Do not be afraid of that blank paper and the thought that we have to do something great with it. I give myself permission to do really badly every day. There are a lot of things really scarier than pastel painting, so I let myself have a lot of joy with the painting.”

Plein air work has long made sense to Baggetta. “I paint with a few others locally and I find that the strength of pastels is that they are fast,” she says. “I sometimes paint as many as three times more paintings than the oil painters I’m with. You can get a lot of mileage in with pastels. I think that is a huge part of my success, just doing a lot of painting.”

"Gold Abstract," by Marla Baggetta
“Gold Abstract,” by Marla Baggetta

Baggetta says she is very excited about attending her first Plein Air Convention, but she feels compelled to say that her approach to plein air is non-traditional. In fact, her approach is very traditional. From the beginning, artists have used plein air painting as a tool for informing studio pieces. “I think of myself as a collector of information when outdoors painting,” she says. “Sometimes I’m getting a complete piece, but mostly I’m not. I like that about it. Plein air painting gives me a chance to be in nature and really absorb it. I can take that back into the studio and do something more with it.”

by Marla Baggetta
by Marla Baggetta

Like many attendees, Baggetta is excited to be with likeminded folks at PACE. “I am super excited about going because I find that most of my working life is pretty solitary, which is good—I like my own company—but this is an opportunity to connect with other artists, see what others are doing. Just be with other colleagues. I find that artists are some of the best people to be around.”

Baggetta will be teaching at the Plein Air Convention & Expo, which will be held April 24-28 in San Diego, California. Have you seen the list of faculty members that will be instructing participants? It also includes Jeremy Lipking, Quang Ho, James Gurney, Charlie Hunter, and dozens more. The convention is already almost 90% filled. Go here to learn more and to register for PACE.

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