Shaunie Briggs was an incredibly generous coordinator who did a lot for us artists. She made sure the word got out locally. Her business as well as her own self is very well-appreciated in the community for good reason. She even cooked the artists an awesome dinner on the opening night of the reception! The problem with having an event in such an out-of-the-way area is that you just aren't going to get enough big-spender patrons to come out your way unless you have really well-known artists participating in the event. Because it was a locally-focused, non-juried event without any prizes, it was tough to attract real collectors to the event. It is in a really scenic area with a lot of great places to paint. I would participate again but probably wouldn't spend the entire week out there.
CONS - Somewhat Bad Lighting (gallery), Relatively Isolated Area, Lack of Big-Spender Patrons, Low Opening Night Sales
A few things I believe could be improved. Since the event does not host the artists, there is no real reason to give such a short deadline. I believe the art could be even better with a few more than the 2.5 days given to create our paintings. There should be an indoor component to the reception sometime during the exhibition. The weather in Northern California in May is so unpredictable that if the outdoor exhibition takes place during a rainstorm, the results could be disasterous for sales. Even though there are some big-ticket patrons, the silent auction thing I think drops the potential for more big sales. There are always a couple of paintings that end up in bidding wars, but I think more people would sell more paintings without it. I would absolutely come back to this event, even with some big issues I have with it. The competitive aspect of it pushes you to do your absolute best within the tough constraints, and it's always amazing to see what other painters do, and that is worth it to me.
PROS - Some of the most beautiful scenery in Northern California, Potential to attract big-ticket patrons, High quality of artists motivates you to do your best, prestigious reputation
CONS - Rushed feeling(not enough days) creates pressure to paint, Small Exhibition Space, Unpredictable weather(possibly sabotages outdoor event), Impersonal staff makes no effort to connect to artists.
PROS - Extremely Generous Hosts, Lots of Parties, Potential to Attract Wealthy Patrons, Well-Organized, Dedication to Improvement from the Organization, Well-Attended Receptions, Close Proximity to Many Parks/Views, Cute Town Location, Almost everyone sold something.
CONS - Places to paint are spread out from each other, Relatively low amount of sales, Almost no big sales.
PROS - Variety of subject matter, interesting buildings and local historical landmarks, easy-to-navigate area, good hosts and organizers, supportive community, fun people,
CONS - Lack of Natural Beauty in the Locale, relative disorganization/lack of communication, Lack of big-ticket sales.
PROS - Gorgeous Scenery, Great Camraderie Between Artists, Well-Organized, Paintings Are Well-Displayed In A Gallery,
CONS - Event Planner-Chosen Places To Paint Are Hit-Or-Miss, Low Amount of Sales
•I am hoping to go more outside of my area next year to participate in events that are new to me and in areas that I have been wanting to paint more. In my research and through different avenues, I have compiled a list of my own that's sort of a “wishlist” of events. Some of these I hope to take part in next year. I would love to do an event in the Wyoming/Idaho area, The Rockies, and the Southwest. I would also like to try an East Coast event as well. Here is a list you can use as reference for your own research:
Crested Butte Invitational (Early-Mid June)
Easels in Frederick (Mid-June)
Plein Air Richmond (Mid-June)
Telluride Plein Air Festival (Late June-Early July)
Art in the Greens, Cashiers, NC (Mid July)
Driggs Digs Plein Air (Late July)
Door County Plein Air Invitational (Late July)
Prairies To Peaks: Wyoming (Early August)
Plein Air Rockies - Estes Park (Mid-August)
Grand Canyon Plein Air on the Rim (Early September)
North Tahoe Plein Air (Mid-September)
Everett Ruess Days - Escalante Utah (Late September)
Moab Plein Air (Utah) (Early October)
San Luis Obispo (Early October)
Sedona Plein Air (Late October)
Zion Plein Air Invitational (Early November)
Keep in mind some of these are invitational as well, so they come with their own set of application processes.
Search on my blog for the “plein air event yearly review” tag to find my reviews from past years.
Drawings For Sale
Prints For Sale