Paint Out and Plein air Show In Taos

Last week the Plein Air Painters of Colorado met for their annual Spring paint out in Taos. This event kicks off the non-snowy part of the plein air season. David Montgomery, Susan McCullough and I met up with Peg Immel and some of the best plein air painters from Colorado, New Mexico and beyond.  It is a time to stretch a few color muscles and paint with friends from all over. Taos is blooming like crazy, and wonderful in the Spring- if you don't have allergies.

We always have a good time but it is also serious business otherwise we would not be out at dawn and still at it long after sunset. By the end of the week everyone is a little crispy at the edges.
Sunburned and as wound up as we were tired, we capped off the week by attending the opening of the 16th Annual Colorado Plein Air Painters Exhibition on Saturday night at Wilder Nightingale Fine Art in Taos. Usually held in Denver it is one of the biggest events of my year and I was excited to have 3 pieces juried in.
That show will hang at Wilder Nightingale on Kit Carson Rd., until May 24th and very worth seeing if you can go in person. The show is viewable online as well; click this link 16th Annual PAAC Show.

Looking For Myself

Trees and flowers are blooming everywhere and while Taos can be magical, blooming trees, lilacs, and field poppies challenge my skills in the Spring.
Growing up in California, I associated Spring with the beach, and maybe a replacement pair of shorts for ones worn all winter. In CA where things bloom year around,  I took flowers very much for granted; not anymore, but I don't paint them if a broader view is available. This year, instead of avoiding what was everywhere I chose to paint a few blossoms.
At the top is a piece done here in Alamosa about a week before heading to Taos. The scene was a complex mix of 2 blooming trees, shadows and directional lighting. Obviously, I don't really strive for a realistic take on things but am looking for my own stylization of the subject matter.  The lower painting is my version of a side lit lilac bush in Taos - with a more of a realistic spin.
In general, I am looking, striving, trying to find an abstraction that will communicate the essence of the view- but in my "voice".  Every painter paints with a certain voice - some without even knowing, some intentional, some naive or untrained-  and others actively trying to "sound" just like someone else. Pleasing and personal abstractions of landscape elements can be very elusive- like notes of music traveling on a breeze.
I am always looking for a way to communicate that looks like "me" or "sounds" like me;
the "voice" I want to put out there.
These pieces will never see the light of day, but serve as exercises for that purpose; and I only see myself in one of them.
It may not be my final answer, but it's a few more notes in a tune I am always wanting to catch.