My Plein Air painting adventure began in 2012.  I credit my first support to two plein air pals I stumbled upon in Arches National Park. Camped in Moab, for what became an auspicious time and place, I wandered into the Park and suddenly began to see vehicles and painters pulled to the side of the narrow roads. Really. People literally painting while hugging the slender shoulders of the road. With campers, busses and bicyclists whizzing by.

That day I met Dan and Sara along the main road, enjoyed their adventurous work and received two invitations to join in the fun. I vowed to see them next year, at Plein Air Moab, the following October. As with most journeys that begin with jumping off the cliff, I went home and started figuring out how to start to paint. First stop, online catalogs. Video instruction.

Along the way I learned about the Escalante Plein Air event, and decided if I was going to throw myself into the deep end of the pool, a tiny town with few witnesses was a perfect fit! And cleverly ahead of the Moab event by two weeks. No stranger to sudden full immersion, I began with acrylics, outdoors. Being solvent and fume averse, and willing to make a mess, outdoors made sense. I began.

Actually, I couldn’t believe my good luck. Here were people making art, out in the elements. Not whining. Dressed for camping and painting. Friendly. Beyond that. Welcoming and encouraging. I wanted into that tribe! Painting skills seemed almost secondary to ‘love of place’. And support of community. Excellent!

Eventually I moved from acrylics (low humidity, glaring Southwestern sun, blowing sand and ‘as the artist intended’ insects) to oils. Finding paint with no VOCs, and a solvent to match, I could paint indoors or out, drying my works inside the RV or the studio.

I found abundant subject matter without having to hike and haul my gear up and over hills and through bushes. Painting locations with the plein air trinity (shade, parking, bathrooms) presented themselves with small reconnaissance effort on my part. And, hey, I was learning. Shapes, value, perspective. I didn’t have to add bashing about to practice that!

And so, “Not Far From The Car”.

Join me. I’m going out to paint. It’s an amazing day.


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