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.
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 & 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.