"After the Rain" (16x16)
Just got back from a week of painting at Sonoma Plein Air. This is a great event, except it's not really a competition like most of the other plein air shows that offer awards and prize money -- the only award at SPA is the "Artists Choice" award which has no monetary value -- just minor prestige and a bullet on your resume. The main thing is getting the chance to paint the landscape from life and hope you produce something a collector just can't live without... Still, the competition is there, only it's to out-paint yourself (which a true artists integrity would dictate anyway).
Doing these shows is kind of like being on the PGA tour...if your lucky and get juried in, you load up your clubs, er...I mean painting gear, make arrangements for housing, etc. and hit the road where you catch up with some of the same artists you saw at the last event. Another benefit in Sonoma is the high quality accommodations; when they put you up for the week, it's not in Junior's vacated bunk bed. These folks really know how to pamper their guests -- I was treated to the plush guest house of a very gracious host, overlooking their full sized tennis courts and personal putting green.
Of course it was hardly R&R time lugging a French easel around 12 hours a day, but I did sleep like Jed Clampett every night... The only downer came about half way thru the day of the show at the end of the week when it started raining... that may have kept some of the crowds away, but I still managed to sell a few pieces so all in all it was a great time -- I even got to see my brother and his family who drove up from OC to meet me there (thanks again guys, that was great!).
"Sonoma Valley Sunrise" (9x12)
I do miss the California landscape I grew up in though -- the eucalyptus and sycamore trees, the rolling, oak-covered hills and sunshine -- but this time even the rain was a benefit as it produced some really nice cloud formations...
Next is my solo show "Off Key, On Point" opening up at Bonner David Galleries in Scottsdale next week -- they've already pre-sold several pieces down there so maybe I can upgrade my hotel room (but I think I'll leave my brushes at home for this one)...