The 2nd Annual Plein Air Convention was held in Monterey, CA this year. I missed the first convention last year in Las Vegas, but since Monterey is only 90 minutes from my home, certainly couldn’t miss this one!
I registered for the convention quite awhile ago, but then a month ago they added me to the ‘faculty’ to do an acrylic painting demonstration on the Expo Hall Demo Stage. Although I do most of my finished paintings in oil, I do take acrylics on travel trips, especially international excursions. Plein Air magazine had published an article about it last year, so I decided to just expand on the concept. At any rate, it was quite an honor to be in the same venue with some of the top plein air and traditional artists in the country.
Arriving Wednesday, the convention got off to a great start that afternoon, and didn’t slow down the entire time. It was non-stop lectures, demos, eating, meeting, vendors, and just fun. I won’t go into all the events and demos, as you can find them here, but every demo and lecture was top notch.
There seemed to be so many things going on, it was difficult to pick and choose which to attend. A few that stood out in my mind was James Gurney’s (Dinotopia author) totally entertaining lecture on opening night, where he gave about a semesters’s worth of art lessons in an hour. Also, demos by Gil Dellinger, CS Mundy, were a hoot. Brian Blood gave away his secrets on painting fog, and Ken Auster did a 52×52 inch painting in 90 minutes. The portraits painted by Michelle Dunaway and Jeremy Lipking were amazing.
My demo time slot on Saturday morning was only 45 minutes, but the prior special event went 15 minutes over, so I only had about 35 total minutes. I didn’t get far in the actual demo, but mainly answered lots of questions from the audience. I did finish the painting later in the Expo Hall, so those interested could watch and then see the finished product.
Here are a few pictures during the demo. You can click on any picture to see a larger version (Thanks, Sam for providing the photos!)–
Below is the finished painting–
That afternoon, the entire group went to Asilomar for lunch then painted in the area, mostly on Asilomar Beach. It was quite a ‘trippy’ experience to see hundreds of artists painting together on the same beach! If there were a Guiness World Record category for this, we certainly would hold the record!
A few shots of the crowd–
I was a little tired from standing, painting, and answering dozens of questions most of the morning, so took my chair, semi-relaxed, and did a small 8×10 oil of the beach. It was quite windy, which put a chill in the area, but everyone toughed it out like good plein air artists–
The next day, Sunday morning, many also met along the wharf in Monterey, where in places they stood shoulder to shoulder painting. Here are a few shots of the crowd. The first picture shows James Gurney, author of the Dinotopia books sitting and sketching–
I did another painting of the Monterey Wharf area. Here is me by the easel–
And the painting–
I soon had to head home. April 15 was the next day, and time to finish up the tax returns!
The producer of the show, Eric Rhoads (publisher, Plein Air Magazine) mentioned afterwards they are still looking for a venue next year. I’d recommend going for anyone interested in Plein Air painting. It was absolutely wonderful to meet and talk with some of my art ‘heros’, all of whom were very generous with their time and advice. Hope to see everyone there next year!