Florida watercolorist Vladislav Yeliseyev found out quite a while ago that the Plein Air Convention & Expo (PACE) would be held at El Conquistador Resort in Tucson, Arizona, but he still sounds extremely excited about it.
Yeliseyev is a veteran of the area, having painted there before as part of a workshop. “I stayed at the same hotel, and I love it,” he says. “It is really beautiful.”
This will be his first PACE, but Yeliseyev already knows how he will approach it. “I expect to see and talk to a lot of people,” says the artist. “It is more social than anything else; by that, I mean more social than concentrating on my own painting. I will be helping and talking with people — there will be lots of walking!”

Vladislav Yeliseyev at one of his exhibitions

Yeliseyev will paint a demo on the water media stage, and he will serve as a field painter. He says attendees can expect to hear a lot from him about the pencil sketch preceding the painting session. “Correct drawing is the first thing,” says Yeliseyev. “Second, and most important, is the composition. It cannot be lacking. Then third is correct values. The sketch helps eliminate any mistakes in those three areas. The sketch could be as small as half a page — and no bigger than a full page of a small album. It is necessary to do it quickly, so best is a soft graphite pencil — maybe 4B.”

“Storm Is Coming,” by Vladislav Yeliseyev, 2015, watercolor, 30 x 22 in.

He’ll be discussing color mixing and how to organize and highlight the focal point of your painting as well, but one thing Yeliseyev won’t be doing is trying to change people’s style or approach. “I stay away from that,” he says. “It’s easy to ruin somebody’s beginnings and good work. The fact is, you never stop learning. I will notice other people’s work and learn from them. I always look at the different styles of other painters — of all levels.”
When we caught up with Yeliseyev, he was in the middle of a plein air competition in Florida, but they weren’t having Florida weather. “It’s cold; I’m having coffee,” he said. “I’m in a big state park, and it’s pretty rustic. But painting is the main thing, so no problem.” Which could be the motto of plein air painters everywhere: Painting is the main thing, so no problem. Yeliseyev will slide into the Tucson groove just fine.

“Sunken Trawler,” by Vladislav Yeliseyev, watercolor

Yeliseyev will be a field instructor at the Plein Air Convention & Expo (PACE), a five-day gathering of more than 800 plein air painters in a resort featuring artists at the top of the field offering demos, lectures, and instruction. This year’s event will be held April 15-19 at El Conquistador Resort in Tucson. To see the faculty that is lined up for this year’s PACE, and to get more information, go here.


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