Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Passing Front- Rainy Day at Spring Mountain Ranch- First Annual Plein Air Convention

6"x8" oil on linen mounted on archival panel

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the things you did.  So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor.....Explore. Dream."  -Mark Twain

I'm finally getting around to posting about taking part in the First Annual Plein Air Convention.   So much to cover, but I'm determined to share my favorite insights. It's taken a while to absorb all that I had taken in....and I think I'm still processing this, and will be for some time.  First though, I'd like to thank Eric Rhoads and his staff at Plein Air Magazine for this whole event. This was an opportunity to grow as artists (at whatever level you're at), to network, and gain insights on our own work and others. 

My May edition of  "Cheerfactor" newsletter has more of an overview of  the convention information, and I intend to continue the highlights from here in my blog, until I've said all I can say about it! This month's edition of 'Cheerfactor' has some additional information about Eric's 'Marketing Bootcamp', with links to some helpful information. You can subscribe to my newsletter, here.

The little oil sketch above was painted on the third day of convention, our first opportunity to paint during those days. We were over at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park.  Once owned by Howard Hughes, this ranch is at a higher elevation, and for a painter, has a little bit of everything interesting for subject matter.  I could've stayed a few days here, but in actuality, stayed just a few hours.  A rain storm dropped in over the mountains, the temperature dropped quickly, and the most of us were bitter cold, and frankly not prepared for the weather.  Would you believe we actually saw snow flurries mixed in the rain later that afternoon when we left the ranch. (Okay, in CT we call that a wintry mix!).  

Those who did stick it out for a few extra hours, larger & more finished paintings did have the good sense to pack a greater variety of layers for whatever kind of weather might show up, light weight parkas, wind/rain pants, fingerless mittens. Now I'll keep those things rolled up in my pack - for the last several years I always thought I was prepared, but it just goes to show you, there's always something new to learn. Especially if you are painting in unfamiliar territory/climate. 

Learning New Zealand Style:
On the opening day of convention our first artist was Richard Robinson.  I've included a link to his website, as he offers many instructional videos (and yes, some are free to view). Funny and entertaining, he had us giggling when he talked about painting outdoors, "and suddenly this 'finger of God' comes down in a shaft of light that says, "PAINT THIS" ".  Yes, the answer to our composition. But seriously, his presentation included so many helpful things (remember NOTAN?) If you're an artist, and haven't covered this before, this is the BEST description of this, done by Richard on video.  It will give you the understanding of how to make a much stronger composition for your paintings. Check out this video!


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