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!




Pictured here with (left to right) Becky Joy, Eric Rhodes, Me, Dawn Whitelaw on the last day of the event. Everyone was all smiles after the fun and inspirational week!

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the First Plein Air Convention in Las Vegas in April. To summarize, it was an experience to remember for a plein air artist! To be at an event that focuses on something that is so important to my art world was just fabulous! I met so many other artists that I admired and saw demos and heard lectures that inspired me to strive for things I never thought possible in my art career. Rather than write a long, detailed recap, I have decided to share some of my favorite photos from the trip. Also, if you would like to watch, I created a slideshow video that is about 10 minutes long that shows my whole week summarized in photos set to zippy music! The link to that is Plein Air Convention Video Recap by Denise Rose. Clyde Aspevig lecture- truly a highlight of the entire convention. His lecture was one of the most inspirational moments of the entire event and a treat to everyone there. Eric Rhoads, Chairman and CEO of Streamline Publishing (left) and Steve Doherty, Editor of Plein Air Magazine - Both organizers of this event Ken Auster was fantastic doing his super large demo onstage! Scott Christensen spoke about his beginnings into an art career and did a demo from a previous plein air study Matt Smith did a demo from a previous plein air study along with a photograph of the scene. It is a common way that plein air artists use their studies back in the studio. There were even duo-demos like this one with Master artists Camille Przewodek and Ned Mueller. I met many artists who I admire who were participants in the Convention, like Marc Hanson (left) and Paul Kratter (right). It was also great to see some "old" friends at the convention too! Pictured here with Deb Groesser (left) and Becky Joy (right). It was also great to see the America's Great Paint-out organizers, Joe Taylor (left) and Natalie Shoaf (right) from Florida's Forgotten Coast! Artists were painting everywhere on the two onsite painting days around Red Rocks Canyon. There were over 500 artists in attendance! I enjoyed seeing the many different styles of painting, mediums, equipment, and just meeting everyone! I loved hanging out with my two favorite artists and teachers from Tennessee, Dawn Whitelaw (left) and Lori Putnam (right)! Next year's convention will be held in California and I plan to attend!




"Sunset on the Marsh"
8" x 10" oil on canvas panel

I wondered yesterday how long I had been blogging and remembered it was right about now last year when I "took the plunge" and started a blog. It turns out TODAY is the one year anniversary of the "birth" of my blog! Yay! I don't know why that is so exciting other than it is something I started that I actually stuck with, which isn't always the case with things I begin! However, I love to read other blogs and learn so much from other artists "out there" that share their painting journeys with all of us "out here," so I feel the need to do the same. Not that I have tons of knowledge that others do not, but I just feel the need to give back and hopefully bring a little bit of encouragement and information to someone who reads these posts. 

I also have "met" so many more nice artists and received so much encouragement through this blog. That is the main reason I keep doing it. No, I don't post everyday. And I don't even have a posting schedule like some of you. I am not a daily painter, but I really admire those who are and support them through my encouraging words on their blogs, and through my purchases of their art. My studio wall and office wall is lined with beautiful art I have purchased and I plan to continue to add to that in the coming years. 

The painting above is a plein air piece that I did in Apalachicola, FL this past October in a workshop with Lori Putnam. As I have mentioned before, I will begin a mentoring program with her next week, and I am so excited about being able to concentrate on certain goals I have for myself in relation to my art. I will certainly share my progress with you all along the way!

And let me once more send out sincere thanks to all of you who offer encouragement and advice and kind words to me through this blog. Happy Blog-aversary to Meeeeeeeee!!!!! (I wonder if this occasion calls for cake??)




"Beach Cottages 1"
9" x 12" oil on linen panel

Whew! October was a month of travel and fun workshops for me! Against the advice of most artists, I signed up for 3 workshops in the same month. I love to paint plein air, and in the South, October is a fabulous month for that because of the milder weather. Plus, all of these workshops were with people that I have always wanted to study with and it was just convenient for me to go the places they were going to be. And also contrary to what most artists say, I am not AT ALL confused or messed up or whatever from the three different teachers and their varied painting styles. Unlike most people, I go to workshops for several reasons. One, is to meet other artists and chat and visit during the week about something we all love - painting and art. Another reason is just to visit different places. And then, of course, to learn. I love learning about things and especially about painting. I don't go to workshops to totally change the way I paint or think about painting. I always come away from a workshop with something I can carry over into my own journey, whether it is a small tip about supplies, brushstrokes, other techniques, colors, or some idea or theory that I have heard explained a thousand times before that finally "makes sense" to me after another instructor says it their way. Anyway, I am not recommending that anyone do what I did, because it was physically exhausting (haha!) but mentally fun and I wouldn't trade anything for my month of October 2011!

Lori's workshop in beautiful Apalachicola, FL, was sponsored by the Apalachicola School of Art, which is a wonderful organization that is just getting started holding workshops in this quaint little town. They are working on a website currently but you can find some information if you Google the name. They have held a plein air event there for the last several years, and we were able to see some of the fabulous artwork from some of these events hanging in the school.

Not only did I meet some fun people here that also took the workshop, but I had a blast painting the shrimp boats, marshes, and the other sites here. It is really a plein air painter's dream here with all the choices in painting subjects, and I hope to return here maybe for the plein air event next May to watch all of the artists that are there painting. I can also recommend taking workshops from this school. They are really welcoming and the whole town is accepting of art and artists, so look them up and see what they have to offer if you are interested in workshops at all. They are just getting started so keep an eye out on the growing schedule. 

As you may remember, I am starting a mentoring program with Lori in 2012, so I am taking any workshop I can with her now so that she will be familiar with my painting and what I need to work on as we begin the mentoring in January. As with the first workshop I did with Lori, she was again a wonderfully patient and giving teacher and I felt so inspired and encouraged by watching her demo and also by her advice at my easel. Below is a photo of her teaching before her demo the first day. 

We painted in several places in the area, including a morning in the studio because of the high winds and light rain on the final day. The painting you see above at the top of this post was on the beach one beautiful and sunny morning. Below is a photo of my set up and the painting after I was finished. Of course, the light had changed by then but you can get an idea of the beautiful place I was standing while painting.

Stay tuned this week for another fabulous workshop review about my next October workshop, Dee Beard Dean. Maybe I should do this for a job? Anyone want to hire me to take workshops and write reviews? Plein Air Magazine maybe? Now THAT would be a dream job!

And, I just couldn't resist a little Photoshop editing of the photo below! You will probably have to click on it and enlarge to see the "hazard" well. We painted one day after lunch on the side of a road with beautiful marshes on either side and really high winds! We shielded ourselves with our cars and our equipment and setup was truly tested. After we painted, Lori also did a demo in that spot. As I sat with my new friends and watched, I kept imaging "critters" climbing out of the water which was just a few feet away from us. Needless to say, this is not a "real" photo but one I am deeming "The Hazards of Plein Air Painting" just for fun! I know all of you plein air painters out there can think of other hazards from your past plein air experiences.




This past weekend, I participated in a painting trip with 5 other artists from the Nashville area. I belong to a group there called The Chestnut Group  (follow link to see some FABULOUS work from the members and read about this wonderful organization) and although this was not an official group trip, all of the artists are also members of this wonderful group of artists. The participants of this trip above are (from left) me (yes I was blinking when the camera took the photo!), Claudia Williams, Cynthia Crook, Roger Dale Brown, Beverly Ford Evans, and Cathleen Windham.

We stayed in a cabin there with this beautiful stream right out the back door! Needless to say, there were many painting opportunities all around us and we took advantage of that and painted for three days. I came home with several studies I plan to enlarge back in the studio this winter. Below is one of my almost finished pieces from the trip. I hadn't gotten to the red truck peeking out of the door to the barn when it was time to move on! We had such a blast loading up in Roger's truck and laughing all the way to the next painting stop. It is truly one of the things I love most about this painting journey I am on - meeting new people who all enjoy and understand the love of art and painting!

I always love seeing other artists post their work in the place they painted it when doing plein air work, so I remembered to take one of my own this time!

I have also posted some other photos from the trip on my Facebook art page Smoky Six Trip Photos, so take a look there for more inspiring photos of the beautiful state of Tennessee!  I am off tomorrow to paint in a workshop with the fabulous Lori Putnam on Florida's Forgotten Coast (Apalachicola) so look for more painting fun next week!




(Click on image to enlarge)

Well, this is the last post for my workshop that I will do. I hope you have gotten something out of them! I really like reading reviews and information about workshops that I sign up for before I sign up for them on other people's sites and blogs. It usually is a tool in helping me decide if I am ready at that particular point in my journey for that instructor, or if I will benefit from that particular type of instruction or painting. That is why I have spent the last few posts in showing a bit of what I did at this workshop so if you ever have a chance to take one from Jennifer, you will see kind of what to expect. 

This is another study I did on the fourth day of the workshop. As you can see, I forgot to take the reference photo when I started my sketch and the light had already changed by the time I got out my camera! If you paint outside at all in the sunlight, you know just how this is! I quickly got my sketch down with my values (did a thumbnail sketch with markers in my sketchbook instead of the painted value study) so it didn't matter to me if the light changed or not. I was going with what I first sketched out in my thumbnail sketch. As you can also see, I used that "artistic license" again to change a few things about the composition. Left out an umbrella, the car in the background, and just included less detail than I saw in the actual view. I really tried to concentrate on the values and getting the right colors for the values I had drawn off in my thumbnail sketch. And again, not a finished painting, but something I may decide to use as a study for a larger studio painting in the future. I now have enough information to do that with my thumbnail sketch, color study, and the photo I took while there!




"Grandma's Cottage"
8x10 oil on canvas panel

This is a house in the beautiful town of Franklin, Tennessee, just outside of Nashville. It is a plein air piece done in a workshop setting last fall with artist Anne Blair Brown. I have taken two workshops with Anne and enjoyed each one so much! She is a wonderful artist and has some good information to share about painting with others. I am not sure who lives there, but I like to think my grandmother does so I can go visit in this charming little cottage!




I have many other hobbies and things that I love to do besides paint. Some have come and gone (and I still have the "stuff" to prove it!) but scrapbooking is one that remains. I have a great group of friends in my "Scrapbooking Club" that meet once a month to visit, share, eat, and hopefully record some of those memories for our families! Although I now have moved on from "paper" scrapbooking to digital only, I still meet with them and now bring my laptop to scrap on!

On this particular day, we were meeting at one of the member's farms which they just built and is a working hay farm. I brought my plein air supplies and set up and painted their home there while everyone else worked on their scrapbooks. My friend loved it and gave it to her husband for Christmas. I loved painting all the angles and the pretty red color of the house. Although I just intended it to be a "sketch" and not a "finished" painting, it turned out okay and was so fun to do!