Sunday, January 20, 2013

Go Plein Air Painting with a Group

I sometimes get asked about painting alone in the field and safety.  I do it all the time and feel safe doing so.  I usually go to well-traveled areas, don't go too far from the car, carry a cell phone and always tell someone where I'm going.  (I was a good Boy Scout.)  There are dangers, of course, that one can't anticipate, but you learn to roll with the punches.

If you're concerned about painting outdoors alone, you should consider joining a group for plein air painting or form one.  If you're allergic to bees and get stung, someone can run to your car for your EpiPen.  If you twist your ankle, someone can help you to your car or stay with you until help arrives.  Or, if you fear loneliness more than the Great Outdoors, you'll have someone to talk to.

Recently, I started a "meetup" group for plein air painting in the Sedona and Verde Valley area.  I thought it might be nice to join some other like-minded people and paint with them once in awhile.  But because I don't want to be the organizer every time, I configured the group so any member can schedule a paintout.  This is great, by the way, for people who may only be visiting from elsewhere for a short time; if they don't see a paintout during their time here, they can schedule one themselves. has many other nice features - you can print out a roster of attendees, add maps and photos to give members an idea of what the area is like, and it's easy for members to RSVP or to change their RSVP.  It does cost something to start a group, but for now, I've covered the cost.  Later, I may charge a small membership fee.

My group had their first paintout yesterday.  Although we had a small turnout, the group is in its infancy, and I'm sure it'll expand.  If you're in the area, feel free to join the group and signup.  Click here for the link.

I've included some photos of the day plus a couple of paintings I did from our location.  We did have bees, by the way.

West of the Canyon, 9x12, oil/panel

Into the Canyon, 12x9, oil/panel


Dianne said...

Great idea and great results. Plein air groups are a wonderful thing, I'm fortunate to be in an area where there is more than one. When I chicken out of a paint-out, I can make up for it with another.
The great thing is the company. We don't always talk, but we are there, within sight, and with all those minds, we find interesting places to paint or draw.

violetta said...

Ok, now I have no excuses left, my flier has gone out this week, to 2 local art shops and 2 other local spots. Your blog, is just the nudge I need right now. I love painting alone in nature, but I am one who does get scared, my first option is a lovely mastiff cross dog who won't however, sit quietly while I paint, but I also love when artists get togethor and non talking, share. Thank you again, Michael, wish I was there.

Michael Chesley Johnson, Artist / Writer said...

Thanks, Dianne and Violetta. Violetta - go get 'em!

Scott Ruthven said...

I really like the " Into the Canyon " piece Michael. The highlights shimmer without being overdone and the aerial perspective keeps this challenging composition from being flat.

BTW, I would love to stay at your place in Sedona and paint for a few months...too bad I have so many other things to attend to here in Colorado. ;-(


Michael Chesley Johnson, Artist / Writer said...

Thanks, Scott! Maybe next time!