As we head into the holiday season and a bright new year, I want to introduce myself, to those who don't know me, and fill you in on my vision for the future of Arizona Plein Air Painters and the plan to help us get there.
I was born in Arizona and grew up with the desert crunching beneath my feet. I made friends with caress-able little horny toads. I built forts, and even a "nature church," (sans candles), under the indigenous mesquite trees back in the desert behind my parents yard in Kearny. In the wild, mesquite tree branches touch the ground making lacy, shaded caves for javelina and little children. My best friend, Mary Ann, and I often sat in our tree church feeling the love of God or the Universe beaming through the holes in the branches, dappling our bodies with warmth and light. God was happy and so were we.
I tell you this, because as often as I dream of moving to Vermont in the summer, Arizona is sacred to me. It is home. From the canyon lands in the north to the Sonoita Valley in the south, (an area Legends of the Fall writer Jim Harrison called "preposterously beautiful”), lies an extremely diverse and wondrous land. A land supporting many cultures and an unimaginable abundance of wildlife and beauty. Arizona is not just all about the iconic Sedona, the giant Saguaro, and the sublime canyons. While these are iconic for a reason, and yearn to be painted endlessly, it’s important we don’t ignore the rest of what Arizona has to offer its people and visitors. Especially, it’s artists.
In order to see all we can see and allow Arizona to be all it can be, in our eyes and on our canvases, we need to experience it and truly see it. All of it. With this in mind, I’ve created a simple system for choosing plein air sites. For now, as the majority of our members are currently in the Phoenix Metro Area, there are two categories, the Valley and the State. I’ve divided each into four quarters.
Valley Paint Outs
The dividing lines in the valley are I-17 and I-10. Each quarter radiates out to the bounds of civilization and a bit beyond. Paint outs will be scheduled in alternating quarters in order to diversify the plein air experience in the valley and surrounding areas and give members a chance to have paint outs in their vicinity. I encourage everyone, who is able, to take advantage of all the different paint out events, wherever they are, not just those in their area.
After the holidays, these local events will be held regularly on Saturday, usually in the morning. I would appreciate volunteers to act as hosts for scheduled paint outs on the occasions I may not be able to attend. One in each quarter would be nice. If you're interested, drop me a line here.
In the summer, we’ll decrease the frequency of valley paint outs to once or twice a month and, on occasion, we’ll head north, depending on how the wind blows. Plein air painters must be flexible.
Statewide Paint Outs
Statewide paint outs will work the same way as the Valley paint outs, but with, at least, one multi-day paint out per quarter in alternating quarters of the state. Weather will be the major determinant on where we go and when and will include fall leafing and winter snow paint outs thrown in for good measure.
You are responsible for your own travel, food, and lodging for these events. Cookouts, unless otherwise noted, will be bring your own food or potluck type affairs. I’m already salivating at the thought of cooking and eating and socializing en plein air.
You can find information on upcoming paint outs on our website calendar and under "Events" on our Facebook group page.
The Year Ahead
Holding these paint out events is one of our major goals for 2018. The others are:
- Creating a Nonprofit Corporation - This is in the works and should be finalized in January.
- Obtaining tax-exempt status as a 501.C.3 - This will be done once we have incorporated and as soon as the funds are available through dues.
- Holding our annual members only juried show.
- Maintaining our website.
- Having fun, making good friends and great paintings.
Here’s hoping your holidays are merry and you brushes are always wet.
See you in the pictures!