Saturday, August 3, 2019

Two Plein Air Painting Workshops in Spectacular Places

A Grand Canyon Sunrise

As many of you know, Grand Canyon is special to me.  I've painted there many, many times, both on my own and as an invited artist at the annual Celebration of Art.  But the Canyon is always in danger.  It is constantly hammered by commercial interests that want to develop it in some way.  (Teddy Roosevelt said, "Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it.")  This plein air workshop is part of my ongoing effort to serve as a "steward of the land," and my hope, as I share with you some of my favorite spots, is to raise awareness of the Canyon's beauty.

Time is running out to sign up for this workshop.  I hope you'll join me.

October 23-26, 2019:  Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

I can't speak enough about the sweeping beauty of Grand Canyon.  From the South Rim, where the workshop is based, you can see stunning vistas of the pastel-colored cliffs of the distant North Rim.  In the morning, as the sun rises, or in the evening, as it sets, the pastel colors give way to a deeper, richer palette.   Buttes and cliffs cast violet shadows across the pink and yellow cliff walls.  The Colorado River peeks out here and there along the bottom, a mile below.  Ravens play overhead, and the occasional condor soars alone over the deeper canyon where thermals help lift it ever higher.  Last year at the workshop, we were treated to a rare sight:  desert bighorn sheep, feeding and napping on a cliff a hundred feet below.

A lot of painters are intimidated by the grandeur of this place.  To be sure, standing on the edge, looking north across ten miles of canyon with ten times that distance stretching out east and west, makes a painter ask:  "Where do I even start?"  After having painted there myself countless times, I've learned how to deal with it to my satisfaction and pleasure, and I will share my approach in this workshop.  Also, as part of the Grand Canyon Conservancy's annual "Celebration of Art" invitiational, I've hunted out and discovered many spots where we can get away from the crowds and have these stunning views all to ourselves.  I'd love to share them with you.

This workshop is very special in that it is authorized by the National Park Service and is sponsored by the Grand Canyon Conservancy's Field Institute.  We'll have access to spots the public can't drive to without a special permit, and better yet, we'll be transported by van to these locations.  The workshop fee also includes free camping at the Canyon, if you like to camp.  If you're not a camper, you have plenty of other lodging options, all the way from the world-class El Tovar hotel to more modest hotels and also private cabins, all right on the rim.

I am honored that this organization has selected me to teach this all-level plein air painting workshop.  I hope you'll join me.  You can find full details at

Here's a little video of the last workshop.  (Can't see the video?  See it on YouTube here - )

November 5-8, 2019:  Sedona, Arizona

Another place special to me is Sedona.  As with Grand Canyon, I've painted there countless times, both privately and also as part of the annual Sedona Plein Air Festival.  Plus, I lived there for ten years!

My favorite time for painting the Southwest is fall.  Not just because the weather is cooler, but because the fall color can be spectacular, especially when seen against Sedona's stunning red rocks.  Having lived and painted in Sedona for ten years, and having participated in the annual Sedona Plein Air Festival invitational for nine years, I know every rock and crevice intimately within 20 miles.

If you've not been to Sedona before, you'll be overwhelmed by the beauty of its natural areas.  Trails wind through juniper and manzanita, with every turn revealing an unexpected vista.  Creeks slide with a whisper beneath smooth-skinned sycamores and rugged cottonwoods.  Although we won't be hiking more than a hundred feet or so from the parking lot, you'll see much that will inspire you.

In this workshop, I'll share my love of the landscape with you as we explore the area's vistas, canyons and creeks—and I'll also share my method for "capturing the moment" quickly and efficiently but without sacrificing mood or magic.  Each day goes from 9 to 1.  After a lecture and critique session in the studio, we'll head to one of my favorite spots where I'll demonstrate, followed by painting time for you.  As always, when our session ends, you can keep on painting—I'll gladly critique what you do the next day—or you can go exploring with friends and family or just on your own.  This all-level plein air painting workshop is a great introduction to painting the Southwest landscape.

There is plenty of lodging in Sedona.  Our studio also offers lodging to students, but the number of spots is very limited, so I urge you to sign up early.  You can find full details at

Here's a little video of some of the workshops I've taught there.  (Can't see the video?  See it on YouTube here - )

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