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.
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.
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!