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My Notes from The Plein Air Convention

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My Notes from The Plein Air Convention

I am just returning from the First Annual Plein Air Convention hosted by Plein Air Magazine. The event was held in Las Vegas for 4 days, featuring talks and demonstrations by the best of the best. The atmosphere of the entire event was warm, supportive, highly informative, educational and empowering. I highly recommend that you look into the event next year, it will be held in April in Monterey, CA. I have many artist friends who wanted a report back on the event. There is so much to cover that I decided that I should create a blog. As I go through my notes over the coming days, weeks and months, I will share my impressions. Please keep in mind that a lot of information was given, and I am working from my incomplete notes and drawing on points as I understand them, possibly a few steps away from the reality. (Hey, that's how creative minds work!)

OK. First an overview: Place: Red Rock Resorts & Casino. We began each session for 3 days with a 6:30 am "Marketing Boot Camp". At least 400 people shook themselves out of bed and attended each day. The presenter, Eric Rhoads, covered topics such as defining goals and priorities, working through resistance, concrete steps to create a marketing plan and how to prioritize your time to make the plan work, building a brand, what really drives a sale.... Here are a few jems from those early mornings:

Every day begin by writing a to do list and prioritize the list. Make the A-1 priority of that list something that will bring you closer to your goal. (You are seeing mine right here.....another point emphasized was using social media to advantage...more on that later).

Titles and captions matter. Art speaks to the emotions anyway, give the viewer a little more about the story behind the paintings.

After 1 1/2 hours of Boot Camp, we had at least 2 sessions each morning and 2 to 7 each afternoon. Top painters, art historians, educators gave demonstrations, video clips, lectures, etc. The large ballroom had the presenters in the middle with cameras projecting on two large screens on either side. It was very effective, we could all see as if we were looking right over the shoulder of the demonstration, with other photos, graphics and video clips inserted from time to time. New content was added on the fly: Extreme painting video at a lunch break and a fascinating history lesson of Sennelier Co.

Just outside Summerlin Ballroom, vendors had booths set up with great convention specials on their products. I bought Guerrilla Pochade boxes for Sunnie and I from Judson Art Outfitters, frames from JFM Enterprises and Randy Higbee of, brushes from Rosemary and Co., a panel carrier and a few panels from Ray Mar Art. There were DVD's and books, Sennelier pastels and papers, Rembrandt and Gamblin Paints, Arches papers, the list goes on. Many gave free samples and coupons in our great little Plein Air Tote we received at the beginning. Track your tag and Online Artist Websites had great info for online presence and I will be buying the Value Viewer App for my Android.

All in all, everyone had a great time. One of the sound techs that live in Las Vegas probably gave the best accolades. He said (and I paraphrase) in all the years he had been a sound tech for Las Vegas conventions (double digits, I think something like 20 years) he had never seen an event where each of the presentations were so well attended, the attendees so engaged in the content, the people so nice, and the information was so interesting to himself and the other tech people who knew nothing about painting.

At the end of the event we went out painting. Saturday afternoon was cold and wet, but Sunday was stellar. Stay tuned, I'll add more in the coming weeks.

Happy painting!