Artist Joe Paquet not only presented the opening address at the convention, which challenged us as artists to find our own voice in the art world, but he stopped to offer advice to me (and others) while we were out painting on Sunday along the wharf. Just another reason I love this convention experience!

Me and my friend Cynthia Morris during one of the breaks at the main stage.

People often ask me the reasons I do things as an artist. This convention, because it is new and ground breaking in the world of plein air painting, is one of the things that people are curious about. Critics say “how can it be plein air if you are inside watching people paint all the time?” Well, for one thing, we are not inside all the time. We spent two days outside painting and you could either set up and paint alongside your favorite artists or you could wander around (like I do) and watch and photograph and more importantly, learn from these professionals. They are all more than willing to answer questions or help out if you need help, and I experienced that multiple times during my two conventions. The egos (if there are any) are checked at the door and there is no way to really tell (unless you know) who is an artist who gets thousands for their paintings or an artist who is just starting out. You can literally stand in the hallway and chat about art and painting with the artists on the faculty as well as those convention attendees from all over the world. It is the common thread of passion that holds this group together and makes it the fabulous experience it is for everyone.

Another aspect that some people miss about plein air painting is that the demos inside help the convention attendees to “get inside the head” of the artist as they share their processes and painting habits with the crowd. Many plein air artists use their paintings done on location as “notes” or “sketches” to use in the studio for a larger painting as reference, much like a student uses notes in class to write a paper later. This indoor time is an invaluable part of the convention and combined with the outdoor time, makes this an excellent learning and sharing environment for everyone there.

Now for more photos! I LOVE seeing old friends and past workshop instructors at this event. Below are just some of the artists that I made sure to chat with while there.

It is always fun to see some of my previous workshop instructors at the convention, especially those like Scott who have made such a big impact on my painting journey thus far!

I love talking with Camille Przewodek at this event. She always has words of wisdom for me and I enjoy her positive attitude and advice toward my growth as an artist.

Paul Kratter is one of the artists I contacted early on in my quest to paint again as an adult. He has been an inspiration for years now for me and it is a highlight of my trip to see him at this event!

The days painting outside were just spectacular at this convention! The weather was perfect both days and everyone was excited to get out and paint! Below are some of my photos that I took that will tell you more about how 750 people can paint together on location and what a thrill it is to experience this as an aritst!

I really enjoyed watching artist and friend, Gene Costanza, paint along the beach on Saturday. He is one of my favorite artists and to be able to watch him paint was one of the highlights of my trip!

John Crump masterfully painting the water at the wharf paint out. I love watching this guy paint!

Artist John Cosby painting along the wharf the last paint out day. He also explained what he was doing and answered questions as he painted.

One of my favorite artists at the convention, Paul Kratter. I have followed Paul’s work for years and he has been one of those people who inspires me in so many ways. Plus, he is just a nice guy all around too!

Ned Mueller stopped to help a convention attendee put people in her landscape. Again, the impromptu teaching that went on here is one of the coolest things you will ever see and experience.

Kathleen Dunphy painted on the beach and spent the entire time instructing those who stopped to watch by explaining her process and what she was thinking as she was painting. This is one of the things I love about this convention – not only do you get the “planned” instruction on stage and in the demos, but the impromptu instruction by the faculty and other artists there is invaluable and priceless.

Scott Christensen painted along the road next to the beach in his “back of the car setup” as I like to call it. It was really cool to watch this painting develop during the afternoon on the beach.

Artists everywhere you look along the beach painting!

Lori Putnam and two other convention artists paint alongside each other at the beach.

Bryan Mark Taylor beginning his first painting of the day along the path on the first paint out day.

Ken Auster painting along the path at the beach.

Shelby Keefe painting along the wharf.

And, just so you don’t think I spent ALL my time talking and taking photos at the convention, I am including a couple of my plein air sketches done in sunny California! I learned a lot by painting in their beautiful light and as many of you know, I love the struggle of painting water and learn more about it each time I do it!

Marina painting of mine painted the last day of the convention when the group painted together there.

Detail shot of one of my wharf area paintings completed the day the group painted there together.

One of my plein air paintings that I did at the wharf the day we were all out painting together there.

And last, but not least, a few photos of the gorgeous scenery we experienced along the way during the convention. If you have not visited this area, put it on your list of to-dos for the future! You won’t be sorry!

I hope you have enjoyed my review of the Second Annual Plein Air Convention! I would be happy to answer any questions you have about this event if you are considering attending in the future. At this time of this blog post, next year’s details have not been announced but should be soon!




My third workshop in October was a five day workshop called "Color Bootcamp" with the fabulous artist, Camille Przewodek. I first must say that it was a different kind of workshop from any other that I have done before. Camille is a Colorist and paints in tradition of the Cape Cod School, and trained with Henry Hensche. Her workshop was about LEARNING about color and this method of painting and seeing the effect of light on color, and not about making finished paintings, studying composition, values, or any other of the many aspects of good art. All of the work we produced that week was like note-taking - not finished paintings. We worked exclusively with a palette knife, which was different for most of the artists there. The reason for this was so that we could get clean color mixes and not using a brush where remnants of the previous color can remain.

Needless to say, there was a lot of moaning and groaning initially from those of us (me included!) that were not used to using the palette knife exclusively on a painting. However, we all quickly learned how to make it work, and continued on. Camille is an excellent teacher and knew that immersing us in this method first off and immediately was the best way for us to learn and understand. In my head, I called it "trail by fire," but soon realized that it was working. She does some very valuable things in her workshop, such as have us all walk around and see each other's progress so that we can learn from not only our successes and mistakes, but also those of others in the class. And we did this very often during the day and not just at the end of the week, like a workshop critique in other workshops I have taken. I felt this was very informative and helped me see so many things more clearly.

We spent the first two days working with blocks in the sunlight (and on gray days when we had cloud cover). Then we spend the next two days on location painting buildings outside, and the landscape also. We painted one day at the beautiful location that you see above. As you view this painting, please remember it is not a finished painting and only a block in using the techniques that Camille teaches. She believes, as do many others out there, that you must have many starts in order to begin to understand this method and how to represent the effect of light on colors. The final day we spent painting models that were hired to sit for us. I have not done much work before with live models so that was a great experience for me.

I also loved having her husband, Dale Axelrod, there too helping with the workshop. Dale and his ever present timer (to tell us when to start and stop on the studies) was so helpful and I really enjoyed the banter between the two during the week. He kept us all organized and moving right along! Also, Camille has a wonderful sense of humor (not understood by all) and gift of knowledge that was so refreshing and I thoroughly enjoyed my week with her.

I also met a great group of women from Louisiana that came together to paint and had two of my art friends from Arkansas there also in the workshop. We all stayed at the same hotel and enjoyed hanging out together in the evenings and at breakfast and lunches. We tried not to be too annoying but I am sure that the people at the Madison, MS, Embassy Suites thought there was something wrong with us most of the time! Again, the people I meet at these workshops are one of the main reasons I continue to go. We learn so much from each other and laugh so much that it makes the workshop experience even more fun!

If you have ever wanted to learn more about Henry Hensche and this method of studying color and the effect of light on color in painting with pigments, this is the workshop for you. Not for the faint of heart and not for someone who isn't willing to work hard though. It isn't a vacation where you paint. Camille pushes you to think outside the box and it is a huge undertaking if you are used to painting in a different way.

I am including another one of my studies below of a building across the street from our classroom. Again, it is a beginning STUDY of color and the effect of light on color and NOT a finished painting. You may be able to tell that I used a brush on this one, which was fine, but I went back to the palette knife on the next study because I had found I did indeed get cleaner mixes and applications with it.

At the beginning of this month, Camille had a video released and if this is something you think you might be interested in learning about, I suggest you try the video. Also, she will be featured in the next Plein Air Magazine and so if you receive that magazine, look for an article about her. All in all, it was a wonderful workshop and I feel like I learned a lot and also had fun at the same time! She is truly a modern day Master in this style of painting and I feel fortunate to have spent this small amount of time studying with her!