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.