I attended the Plein Air Magazine’s Plein Air Convention 2016 in Tuscon AZ from April 14-19.
The fifth day Bob, Sue & I opted to miss out on the convention all together and go to the Saguaro National Park, west side or Tucson Mountain side and plein air paint.
Bob at Saguaro National Park
We were lucky as it was fee free week to celebrate the NPS centennial. In the morning we painted at a picnic area that had lovely vistas and only a couple other visitors. After lunch the winds picked up and we headed over to the visitor’s center where we knew there was a sheltered and shaded spot. We were behind the area where all the people were and only a couple people wandered politely by. We got some nice little paintings done that day. On our way home we drove by the spot where the convention folks were scheduled to go – Old Tucson – and the lot was filled with hundreds of cars. It gave me a claustrophobic feeling just seeing that. Glad we went else where. Our day was capped off by the car getting a flat. We pulled off I-19S and luckily we had cell service. I called AAA and we were informed of a 90 minute wait. Lucky for us the Border Patrol stopped and the K9 officer kindly changed our tire for us. Nice guy, of course its because he had a black lab!
The last day, Sue and Jack had to leave. But I stayed and instead of going to the convention, I went to the Saguaro National Park again. But this time I went to the east side, Rincon Mountain park. Allen dropped me off to go do some bicycle things and I painted for about 4 1/2 hours, getting 2 studies done.
Saguaro National Park west painting
The only ones who came near me and bothered me were the gnats. Plenty of them! But the views and plant life was gorgeous, with plants flowering and birds and bees busy.
I attended several sessions at the convention but found them to be geared for first time Plein Air painters. I was disappointed that the label “workshop” was given to the lectures and demonstrations. And the paint-outs were supposed to be run so there would be circulating faculty available to assist. Of the 3 I attended, I only saw 2 faculty available. And there were hundreds of people painting at each one. Next year I’ll use my education budget and take actual workshops with only 15 or less people in them. But I did have fun with my artist pals and did some good paintings. When life hands you lemons, make a margarita!
I attended the Plein Air Magazine’s Plein Air Convention 2016 in Tuscon AZ from April 14-19. The following blog is about the third and fourth days.
The third day we had a paint-out on the grounds of the resort where the convention was held. I was painting with about 200 other people around me. Yikes! It was close and somewhat of a mad house. I managed to get a piece done but struggled with it.
My Plein Air set up at Catalina State Park
Catalina State Park Saguaro painting.
The fourth day we painted at Catalina State Park and I decided to go up a wash, being curious and it wanting to spread out. It was about 0.2 mile from the parking lot. I never saw anyone else for about 2 hours, although I did hear a couple people just over the little ridge I was under. After the first painting, Sue & Bob showed up, with Sue’s husband Jack assisting in schlepping stuff plus busy photographing away. The 3 of us painters got another painting done as the sun was setting. It was lovely! But we didn’t see anyone until we got to the beginning of the park and there were several hundred people all crammed near their cars in a big parking lot, painting or packing up. I just didn’t understand why they weren’t curious about the park and head out with their plein air gear to paint. And I never did see any faculty who were supposed to be making the rounds to help us. I even posted my little sign requesting a faculty stop. Maybe I’m just on the road less traveled?
Jack, Bob & Sue at Catalina State Park
Bob & Sue at Catalina State Park
I attended the Plein Air Magazine’s Plein Air Convention 2016 in Tuscon, AZ from April 14-19. I knew this would be a big effort for me as I don’t do well in crowds or cities and this was both! Fortunately the 900 attendees and 100+ “faculty” were almost all artists. And my BFF, Sue, was with me. Sue’s husband, Jack, and my partner Allen, came with us to Tuscon and an artist friend of Sue’s joined us at the Convention. Jack & Allen were on their own and had to find their own trouble!
The first day was a workshop with Matt Smith, a well know Plein Air painter. He lectured in the morning and did a demo in the afternoon. As he was scheduled to do another demo the next morning (day two) for the workshop, my artist pals, Sue & Bob and I decided we would skip it and just go paint. We had hoped that the workshop we paid for would actually be a workshop and not a lecture with 250+ people crammed into a hall watching Matt on a wide screen display that didn’t even show anywhere near the right colors and values.
Madera Canyon painting
The second day we went to Madera Canyon, near where we all were staying in Green Valley. We had a good time doing a nice Plein Air painting. After lunch we went to St. Xavier (San Ah-Vear) mission on the St. Xavier reservation and despite the howling 30mph+ winds, managing to get a painting in. My baseball hat blew off my head, even being anchored on by my ponytail! Bob had to bungie his tripod and easel to a post and Sue said the wind kept vibrating her canvas. She had a hard time getting the paint in the right spot.
Sue & Bob at St. Xavier mission
St Xavier painting
Sue & I did go to the convention for the opening ceremony that evening as Dean Mitchell was given an award and we like his work. So we thought it would be good to go see him. So did 1000 other people. We enjoyed the cocktail party afterwards and browsing through the expo hall, getting some free stuff to try out. The vendors were super nice and helpful. In fact some of them had more information to share than the speakers at the sessions.
This little oil has a lot in it. 9″ x 12″
I finished this Post Surgery Painting #3 and feel really good about it. I went to a bigger size canvas – 9″ x 12″ – because tiny was so limiting (see Post Surgery Painting #2). My subject matter was so busy that a small format would do it no justice. Even this size is too small, but I can always do a bigger one later on.
Again I worked on remembering all the info that I have learned about landscape paintings. I keep hearing all the tips and advice from artists who’s workshops I have taken. Especially Dave Santillanes! He had great advice for us when he was teaching us this past summer. I also keep hearing my friend, Sue McKelvy, and her great teaching and advice she’s given me over the years.
This painting is from a photo taken by Sue in Monument Valley. It was such a lovely vista that I wanted to paint it. The only thing that would have made it better was to be there in person with my easel all set up and ready to go.
I think this little painting turned out well. My shoulder and arm are not as sore as from #2 and I was able to keep on with my day. I’m getting ready for the Plein Air Convention 2016 in Tuscon and feel I’ll have the stamina to paint a bit each day. Until then…..!
Tiny painting from a photo take by my friend, Sue McKelvy. 5″ x 7″
I attempted to paint again, about 10 weeks after my shoulder surgery. The first painting (See Post Surgery Painting, April 6, 2016) I did turned out well so I thought I’d give it another go. This time I used an image my friend, Sue McKelvy, had taken on a trip she and her husband took to Monument Valley. They rode their horses around (with a guide) for over a week and took lots of great images home. I liked the juniper tree and the angle of the slope it is growing on.
I used a very tiny canvas, 5″ x 7″, as I didn’t want to go too big and tire out my shoulder and arm. I did feel a bit constrained by the small size but it was a good exercise. I practiced remembering composition, value and color techniques. I was afraid the things that had become second nature to me were lost in the fuzzy recesses of my brain. But those artistic skills are still there, whew!
After I did this painting, my arm was so tired and my shoulder was aching. I had to do nothing for the next day and recuperate. But I’m glad I did it and won’t stop now!!!
Earlier this year I had a shoulder surgery to repair a torn biceps tendon as well as my rotator cuff. Ever since mid-January, I’ve been unable to do much in the studio. To be honest, I’ve been unable to do much of anything for a couple months after surgery. After recuperating and starting physical therapy, I’ve been able to do a lot more. I finally got into the studio this week and was able to do a little oil painting.
This is a monochromatic value study of Mt Lamborn, near my house.
For my first exercise back into things, I did a small value painting (also called monochromatic painting). I thought it was a good idea to revisit the things I’ve learned to get my muscle memory to come back. I can’t say it was easy because it was difficult to hold the brush and also hold my arm up for any length of time. I had a nerve block in my neck to help with pain control and one of the side effects is some nerve damage. Which can be overcome as the nerves are busy re-routing themselves. Every day I feel a bit more control is returning to my fingers and hand. My wrist still feels like I sprained it similar to when you slip and fall ice skating. My arm muscles are protesting and I know I still am not supposed to use them very much.
Next week I am going to the Plein Air Magazine’s Plein Air Convention in Tuscon with my artist friend, Susan McKelvy. I feel strong enough to participate in several days of plein air painting and workshops with some of the leading painters around. I am just not sure my skills are back up to par with where they were before my surgery. I’ll report back……