Florida’s Forgotten Coast Plein Air Paintout 2013

View of Apalachicola, FL, from the bridge

View of Apalachicola, FL, from the bridge

This was my second year to attend this wonderful paint out in the Forgotten Coast area of Florida. Many of my artist friends do not take advantage of opportunities like going to a plein air event as an observer. This is an invitational event – meaning to those artists out there as one which you have to be invited to by the organizers in order to participate. Me and my friends jokingly call ourselves the “un-invited” artists (although I am fervently trying to come up with a better term for us…artist stalkers, art groupies…somehow none of those terms have the positive connotation we would like!). But the benefits of attending one of these events as an observer AND an artist is unbelievable and more of you artists out there should do it!

First, we get to watch demos by some artists that we may or may not be familiar with their work. There are planned demos during this event and also those unexpected ones (driving down the road and just seeing an artist painting, pulling over, and really having a great time watching them paint!). And, let me also point out here, these are FREE opportunities. As a seasoned workshop attendee (okay, you should probably call me “obsessed workshop attendee”!) this is a bonus since usually seeing an artist of the calibur they have at this event demo at a workshop cost $$$s). Also, there are parties and evening events that you can go to with drinks and food (most for no cost, some for minimal cost) and mingle and meet and chat with the artists and locals from the area. And did I mention the fabulous places you get to paint yourself? My friends and I always rent a house together, get up daily and paint and also watch the participating artists paint, and enjoy ourselves eating great seafood while in the area! You can’t beat that for an art trip! The following photos will hopefully show you some of my reasons for encouraging my art friends to go to some plein air events as an “uninvited” artist so that you can develop your own plein air skills, meet some other artists, and also HAVE FUN! These two trips have enriched my life in many ways and led to some great friendships and continued others that I will always cherish.

My Quick Draw painting. I painted alongside "invited" artists Greg LaRock, Hodges Soileau, and Luke Buck. And when I say "alongside" I mean right by them - under one of those little picnic table shelters since it was raining cats and dogs during the two hour event!

My Quick Draw painting. I painted alongside participating artists Greg LaRock, Hodges Soileau, and Luke Buck. And when I say “alongside” I mean right by them – under one of those little picnic table shelters since it was raining cats and dogs during the two hour event!

Friend Ken DeWaard received an award for his Quick Draw painting of another artist painting!

Friend Ken DeWaard received an award for his Quick Draw painting of another artist painting!

Some of the artists letting off steam after the rainy Quick Draw event dancing to the music! Did I say we have fun at these things?

Some of the artists letting off steam after the rainy Quick Draw event dancing to the music! Did I say we have fun at these things?

These two, Joe Taylor and Natalie Shoaf, along with many volunteers, make this event a special one for all artists and art patrons. Plus, they are just fun people to be around and always make my trip there very special!

These two, Joe Taylor and Natalie Shoaf, along with many volunteers, make this event a special one for all artists and art patrons. Plus, they are just fun people to be around and always make my trip there very special!

People gather on the St. George Island beach to watch artist Nancy Mertz create one of her fabulous pastel paintings of the lighthouse there.

People gather on the St. George Island beach to watch artist Nancy Mertz create one of her fabulous pastel paintings of the lighthouse there.

Artist Greg LaRock and his demo along the streets of Port St. Joe.

Artist Greg LaRock and his demo along the streets of Port St. Joe.

We got up before dawn one morning to catch the sunrise at Eastpoint. Really amazing place to watch this and we enjoyed painting this fabulous site together!

We got up before dawn one morning to catch the sunrise at Eastpoint. Really amazing place to watch this and we enjoyed painting this fabulous site together!

One of my many paintings from my time there. I painted this on a beautiful afternoon along the dock at Apalach. Not quite finished here but really enjoyed my quiet time painting in this spot.

One of my many paintings from my time there. I painted this on a beautiful afternoon along the dock at Apalach. Not quite finished here but really enjoyed my quiet time painting in this spot.

I know I mentioned the delicious seafood you can eat in this area - all fresh off the boats! Here we are dining at The Owl Cafe with other Memphis area friends who came to the event! Fun times!

I know I mentioned the delicious seafood you can eat in this area – all fresh off the boats! Here we are dining at The Owl Cafe with other Memphis area friends who came to the event! Fun times!

Demo by artist Jim Richards at the marina in Mexico Beach.

Demo by artist Jim Richards at the marina in Mexico Beach.

Nocturne painting by artist Katie Dobson Cundiff. This nocturne event had drinks and food for those attending to enjoy while watching the artists paint!

Nocturne painting by artist Katie Dobson Cundiff. This nocturne event had drinks and food for those attending to enjoy while watching the artists paint!

Another one of my paintings during the event. There are TONS of cute little cottages and homes in the area and all just are screaming to be painted!

Another one of my paintings during the event. There are TONS of cute little cottages and homes in the area and all just are screaming to be painted!

We passed this sign each day on St. George Island, so I just had to stop once and take a photo!

We passed this sign each day on St. George Island, so I just had to stop once and take a photo!

Artist Ken DeWaard painting the old theater in Port St. Joe. Yes, you are noticing a theme here - he is one of my favorite artists at the event and I love watching him paint!

Artist Ken DeWaard painting the old theater in Port St. Joe. Yes, you are noticing a theme here – he is one of my favorite artists at the event and I love watching him paint!

Another one of my favorite things at the event - hanging out with the other Tennessee artists! Pictured here (left to right) Betty Wentworth, Dawn Whitelaw, Me, Lori Putnam, and Judy Nocifora. We are enjoying our time at the Friday night Cocktail Party with music, food, drink, and friends!

Another one of my favorite things at the event – hanging out with the other Tennessee artists! Pictured here (left to right) Betty Wentworth, Dawn Whitelaw, Me, Lori Putnam, and Judy Nocifora. We are enjoying our time at the Friday night Cocktail Party with music, food, drink, and friends!

My last painting of the 10 day event was painted on a cloudy day at the state park on St. George Island.

My last painting of the 10 day event was painted on a cloudy day at the state park on St. George Island.

One of the three paintings I purchased at the event by artist Greg LaRock. So happy to finally meet him in person and watch him paint. Going home with a painting of his was a real treat for me!

One of the three paintings I purchased at the event by artist Greg LaRock. So happy to finally meet him in person and watch him paint. Going home with a painting of his was a real treat for me!

I also fell in love with Tracy Frugoli's painting from the Quick Draw and added it to my collection of art! The colors and brush strokes are just amazing in this painting! Plus, Tracy is an awesome and friendly artist and always makes me smile when watching her paint.

Not a great photo but I also fell in love with Tracy Frugoli’s painting from the Quick Draw and added it to my collection of art! The colors and brush strokes are just amazing in this painting! Plus, Tracy is an awesome and friendly artist and always makes me smile when watching her paint.

And of course, I have a hard time passing up the opportunity to add one of Ken's paintings to my walls!

And of course, I have a hard time passing up the opportunity to add one of Ken’s paintings to my walls!

So, have I convinced you yet that you need to go to this event? I would be happy to answer any questions about it so just shoot me an email. And no, I don’t work for the Florida Department of Tourism, but do like to share things with my fellow artists that I think they would enjoy and benefit from. I can’t speak for other events like this, but I would recommend checking any out that come to your area, even if you are not a participating artist. The benefits gained from attending one are many and I am sure you would have fun too, just like we do at this one!

15 Responses
  • Kathy Cousart on June 4, 2013

    Amazing write up and I so wished to be there with y’all this time! Love all the photos and my favorite of yours is the beach one last day! What fun- love seeing Jim Richards- amazing artist and teacher! Hope to paint with y’all soon!! Take care! Hugs!

    Reply
    • admin on June 4, 2013

      Thanks! We missed you being there but maybe next year! You will love it!

      Reply
  • margene parker on June 4, 2013

    Thanks for sharing your adventure, so glad you are able to do this, and you describe it so well I can feel your happiness, Thanks again.

    Reply
    • admin on June 4, 2013

      You are welcome Margene and I feel very blessed to be able to experience fun things like this and share them with others!

      Reply
  • Linda Allen on June 4, 2013

    Denise, painting with you is always a blessing! Your blog gives inspiration to get on the road to do more painting in more places such as the Florida coast.

    Reply
    • admin on June 5, 2013

      Thanks Linda! I loved painting there as you can tell and I appreciate the kind words!

      Reply
  • Ken DeWaard on June 5, 2013

    Thanks Denise!!! Happy to be in your corner. : ) All you Tennessee gals need to start coming to all the other events as well, it’s lonely and boring without y’all! : )
    Thanks for the kind words!

    Reply
    • admin on June 5, 2013

      There is nothing I would like more, Ken, than to follow you guys around to events and paint and watch you paint! And it is good to hear the the Tennessee ladies keep yall entertained! We certainly enjoy ourselves!

      Reply
  • cathy willson on June 5, 2013

    i want to join you.all next year. i Plein air paint in live oak fl and was so looking forward to coming this year, but business kept me away.

    is there an organization to join for the coming year or club on the coast??

    Reply
    • admin on June 5, 2013

      Hey Cathy, it is a great place and although I am not familiar with where Live Oak is, it is certainly worth the trip over there to paint and watch the participating artists paint too.I don’t know of any organization there other than just keep informed about the event on their website as they announce dates, participating artist, and events scheduled as it gets closer next year. Hope to see you there as I certainly plan to go back if I can!

      Reply
  • Barbara Moody on June 5, 2013

    Thank you for your write up, it tells the story so well. I agree it was an amazing time and I hope to be able to go again. This was my first time and I was there eight days, next time I’ll try my best to be there the entire time, it is just too good to miss. I, too, hope that others in my Elmore County Art Guild in Wetumpka, Alabama will attend. Maybe I’ll meet you in Nashville one day as I plan to attend some of the Nashville Plein-air events in the future. I live in Alabama and have family in Nashville.

    Reply
    • admin on June 5, 2013

      Thanks Barbara! I do think is it a fabulous opportunity for artists and art “enthusiasts” too! I would love to see you sometime in Nashville! I am in Memphis but am in the Nashville area a lot (son goes to school there and I mentor with artist Lori Putnam who lives there) so maybe we will see each other there sometime!

      Reply
  • Shirley Fachilla on June 5, 2013

    Hi Denise,
    What a wonderful blog post. You are a marvelous ambassador for this event. The hosts and the invited artists should love you. It sounds as though you and your gang make this event very special for everyone concerned.

    Reply
    • admin on June 6, 2013

      Thanks so much Shirley for the kind words! I do love this event and plein air in general, and I always love sharing opportunities for other artist friends out there that can enrich their lives. I have learned so much from other artists online on blogs and I just like to “give back.”

      Reply
  • Joan Breckwoldt on June 26, 2013

    Love ALL of YOUR paintings! You did an amazing job, and even when it was raining cats and dogs!! And it looks like you had so much fun, thanks for sharing so much of your fabulous trip. I love that they named a street after you! 🙂

    Reply
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