“Brook Nightfall, Proverbs 16:30,” by Thomas Kegler, oil, 9 x 12 in.

Perhaps, on some level, attending the Plein Air Convention & Expo (PACE) is dangerous. You may come home permanently changed.

“The best aspect of participating in an event such as PACE is the exposure to many artists, styles, and approaches,” says faculty member Thomas Kegler, of New York. “The energy of the group is contagious.”

“Woodland Pool,” by Thomas Kegler, oil on linen, 12 x 12 in.
“Woodland Pool,” by Thomas Kegler, oil on linen, 12 x 12 in.

It’s true that many participants feel like PACE gives them inspiration that lasts for months, and knowledge that lasts for years. What does Kegler most want to instill in attendees?

“Trout Stream at Dusk, Psalms 25:9,” by Thomas Kegler, oil, 9 x 12 in.
“Trout Stream at Dusk, Psalms 25:9,” by Thomas Kegler, oil, 9 x 12 in.

“My thought to incoming participants is that plein air painting is a journey,” he says. “There are no shortcuts to becoming confident and efficient. Slow down and really begin to look. Then you can begin to ‘see.’ Then ask yourself what you are seeing and why. The goal is understanding, not copying.”

“After the Storm at Dawn, Ephesians 5:26,” by Thomas Kegler, oil on linen, 16 x 20 in.
“After the Storm at Dawn, Ephesians 5:26,” by Thomas Kegler, oil on linen, 16 x 20 in.

Kegler is a schoolteacher, so he approaches art instruction from a slightly different perspective. “There is no one way for an art instructor to best impact a student, due to varied learning styles,” he asserts. “I have found instructing using a variety of methods helps the student to retain concepts and techniques. Lecture, discussion, demonstration, and practice all help in planting the seed of inquiry and love of learning.”

“Moonrise Over Lake, Hunter, NY,” by Thomas Kegler, oil on linen, 12 x 18 in.
“Moonrise Over Lake, Hunter, NY,” by Thomas Kegler, oil on linen, 12 x 18 in.

Like many painters, Kegler doesn’t necessarily see plein air work as the final result. “A successful painting has a balance of a captivating subject, an insightful concept, a strong composition, a confident technique, and an emotional evocation,” Kegler says. “These aspects may not necessarily be evident in the final plein air work, but may come about in a future studio painting inspired by the field painting”

“Midnight, Proverbs 1:33,” by Thomas Kegler, oil on linen, 8 x 10 in.
“Midnight, Proverbs 1:33,” by Thomas Kegler, oil on linen, 8 x 10 in.

Kegler is excited to attend PACE — and to see a new part of the country. “I have never painted in San Diego before, but I am excited to visit and paint alongside some kindred spirits,” says the artist.

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