Sunday, April 15, 2012

Plein Air Convention & Expo - End

We were up early this morning to head out to Bonnie Springs, about 10 miles west of Las Vegas.  Although the Bonnie Springs paintout was advertised as "optional," I do believe nearly the entire convention showed up to paint!  What brought everyone out was the superb weather - plenty of sun and a mild breeze.

Bonnie Springs Ranch was originally built in 1843 as a stopover for wagon trains heading to California along the Old Spanish Trail.  Today, it's a tourist attraction that looks like an old movie set, complete with Wild West storefronts, boardwalks and pistol-toting denizens.  I half-expected James Arness to pop out from the shadows.  I opted to paint outside the town, with the Bonnie Springs Motel-Resort sign in the distance by the cottonwoods.  (Once we get settled at our place near Zion National Park, I'll take some photos of the pieces I painted and post them here.)  It was interesting to see what scenes the other painters picked.  I'd say about half set up outside the western town, and the others inside.

Late in the morning, Eric Rhoads announced it was time for a group photo shoot.  At one point, we were all talking about having our easels with us, but when we realized how many of us there were and that we'd never fit in the lens, we gave up that idea.  You can see how many of there are in the photo below.  Is it possible this is the largest gathering of plein air painters ever?

This has been a great convention.  Over the weekend, I ran into a lot of old friends and folks I've met over the years:  Anne Laddon, Kim Lordier, Margi Lucena, Anita Louise West, Scott Prior, Brad Holt, Ed Terpening, Jeanne Mackenzie, Paul Kratter, Scott Gellatly...the list goes on, and I apologize if I've omitted anyone!  If you're reading this, it was wonderful to see you again.  I must say that plein air painting sets up some enduring friendships.  Some friends I see only once a year at plein air festivals - and sometimes the interval is even longer than that.  But, it's always like we'd only seen each other yesterday.

Scott Prior

Ken Auster

Margi Lucena, Anita Louise West, Trina and Me

So now we're on our way to Springdale and Zion National Park for a painting retreat with some friends.  Along the way today, we stopped at the Virgin River for a hike.  Here's a taste of what's to come this week.


Liz Kenyon said...

This is too cool. Thank you for doing this!
Liz Kenyon

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

Thanks, Liz!

Jo said...

Yes, thanks for sharing your trip, fun and knowledge.

Lynne said...

I was there a week prior and also thought the Bonnie Springs place was very cool. Check out the Plein air Artist Retreat Sept 21 - 23, 2012 in Lincoln WA at under Art Stuff. It's as fabulous an area without the extreme heat. It's a huge bang for your buck! See you there. You can also find this event at under Events.