Monday, October 29, 2018

After the Grand Canyon Plein Air Painting Workshop

Painting at Desert View

Trina and I just returned from a fantastic week at Grand Canyon National Park where I taught a plein air painting workshop for the Grand Canyon Conservancy Field Institute.  The week just prior to the workshop, rain and snow blew through the area, so I was a little concerned about how our week would be.  But, true to form, the Southwest's famous sunny skies swept back in.  On our first day, a few clouds lingered among the temples and buttes, but that gave us an opportunity to take great reference photos along with our paintings.  After that, the clouds vanished, and we enjoyed above-normal temperatures for the rest of the week.  Also, as it was mating season for the elk, the canyon echoed with their bugling—and we saw plenty of them browsing by the roadside.  ("Elk jams" are a frequent occurrence in the Park, as tourists stop to snap pictures.)

Each day started off with a short lecture on plein air painting principles, in which I focused on the special challenges presented by the Canyon.  After that, we loaded into our van and drove off to the day's destination.  On location, I first demonstrated—again, taking into consideration the Canyon's unique issues—followed by students painting.  We took lunch as the opportunity presented itself, often enjoying a meal under the shade of a piƱon tree on a lichen-covered boulder. At the end of the day, we headed back to the studio, where we looked at the day's work and I made suggestions for improvement. 

I truly enjoyed sharing some of my favorite spots with the group.  Participants came from California, Oklahoma, Texas, Illinois, Arizona and New Mexico.  For some of them, it was the first time seeing the Canyon, and I think they were pleased with their efforts.  I certainly was.

I'm happy to announce that I'll be teaching this workshop again next year, October 23-26, 2019.  Registration starts soon.  GCC members can sign up as early as November 6; non-members will need to wait until November 12.   $550 GCC members; $575 non-members.  For full details, visit

Here are some of my demonstration paintings (available for sale):

Coconino 9x12 oil

Over the Edge 9x12 oil

Under the Watchtower 9x12 oil
And now some photos from the week:

Painting the Misty Canyon
(Photo by Terri Attridge)

Critique Session

Little Bighorn Sheep

One of my Demonstrations

A Day's Work, Lined up for Critiques

Another of my Demonstrations

Our Happy Group!

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