Class Notes: Painting out in Alamosa

At this time of year, all of my classes go outside to paint en plein air. Not because these dedicated students aspire to plein air genius- but because painting "from life"- should be part of the painters vocabulary; and it's the best way to learn.
Last week our Tuesday night class had just hit the street downtown when the clouds began to throw lightning every which way; a portent of the massive storm activity and drenching rain to come.  I took this one photo of the pub before abandoning the field.

The Thursday class had better weather and we gathered on the shady side of a downtown building for vistas across the street to the County courthouse, a choice of churches with trees and blooming hollyhocks and views of business people, mostly lawyers,  heading to court. We also got a visit from local law enforcement.  I guess the sight of 5 painters on the street looked a little threatening.
Here Judith takes an alternative to painting with a small sketch using water-based crayon-style colors.

 Saturday we met in a local park by the Rio Grande River in Alamosa and above Lara sketches the view of a shaded walkway down a long avenue of cottonwoods. The painting here is my view from the park- looking toward Mt. Blanca.
For students who have only painted with me during the studio season, the idea of dragging it all outside is a little daunting -
but I hope to encourage the idea that "painting from life" - whether in doors or out, is the norm, not the exception. We go out because "real life" resides in the landscape- not in photos.
And, I have yet to hear a student say " I am sorry, I went outside to paint today."