All new work at ARTrium Show



Party on Friday January 13,  4 - 7 pm

Two designers, two painters, Coni Grant and Judith Greenwood  
come together at the ARTrium Gallery in Alamosa for a Winter show.

Save the Date:
We invite you to the reception for this show on January 13th
at SLV Health Regional Medical Center 
in the 2nd floor ARTrium Gallery,
106 Blanca Ave., Alamosa CO 

This show hangs through the end of February
The ARTrium is open every day. 
20% of all sales goes to the SLVH Foundation.


Postcard art: "Zoom Zoom"  in acrylic, by Coni Grant (left)
"Neighborhood Watch"  in acrylic & ink, by Judith Greenwood (right)

Ten Years in the BLACK!

This month marks the 10 year anniversary of my PleinView Painting Studio here in Alamosa and 10 years of running this small business as a totally self supporting entity.  Whoo hoo!
That means rent, vehicles, travel, advertising/promotion, fees, taxes-licensing-insurance, education, supplies, inventory - and everything else that comes with life as a small business owner.
It's not for the faint of heart.
I am so grateful, to God first - who gladly carries ALL,  and to my family who live every day with the sacrifices, and the fun that comes with the mix of family and business ownership.
Also, for my life here in Alamosa where I enjoy the benefits and encouragement of the best art community in the world -

and that includes all the students who have painted with me through the years - in season and out since 1996 -You inspire me to continue learning and growing and showing up - Thank You.
Finally, to the Buyers,
- you float the ship - THANK YOU! -   Keep buying art. To all,  a very blessed Holiday Season and a great New Year!


Class NOtes: Elemental Thinking

After a beautiful plein air season, classes are now back in the studio which  always gives us opportunity to try some new things and go in some new directions.
As a working professional,  I think artistic growth and evolution is essential. The willingness the learn and change is hallmark to our field - all with the idea of pushing the work beyond itself to a new place.  This might even involve re- inventing yourself. . . . .

These thoughts seep down from my head- into my class sessions and my painters know that when I start thinking about something - everyone in class will have to start thinking about it.
    Something that is always on my mind is - how to bring new ideas to my work.
Currently, I have a class of about 12 painters, all with pretty advanced skills. What a luxury for me!  So, we have purposed to spend this last painting session of the year looking at the design elements of line and shape and applying them to "other" painting styles.
 Not so that we can become like THAT artist- but so we can gain insight into ideas and methods that will broaden our own work. Or maybe it's a case of saying "What would happen if I do THAT?".
And maybe- it will be fun!
The top piece appears to be an homage to the American expressionist & pop artist Jasper Johns - but started out simply as a plan to express letters or numbers by the design elements of line and shape - with the idea of PAINT being the subject.
Applying a design element to imagery is a good way of changing the focus of a painting.
Another way is to think of PAINT as the subject in order to get your brain away from the"imagery" in order to create a stronger sense of the abstract.

The bottom piece is done in, what we might characterize as an "impressionistic" style - which is essentially lines and dabs of color laid down next to each other in individual strokes. For this one we used a piece of landscape reference but followed a strict formula of stroke next to stroke.
PAINT is very much the subject as lines of paint go down next to lines of paint to create imagery;
it's not as obvious here - but it IS elemental: line and shape.


Power of the SMall

We have a saying around our house "he small". . . .
- or she, or it - and tho' we speak with a sympathetic note,
the phrase suggests both - condition and camouflaged strength.
Small painting, big impact.
I painted this piece in the last plein air evening class of the summer;  quick notes in late light,
of a large cottonwood.
The power of the NOTAN and the energy of rapid strokes belie the small size.
He small. . . . .
"Raking Light",  6"x 8" - SOLD in Manitou Springs


Toys Toys Toys

We had a great time last week with our special guests Carl and Sarah Judson - just what we needed to bring enthusiasm and zing to our Fall plein air season. Carl gave a informative talk and visual presentation about plein air painting through history - but the best part was a thoughtful take on painters who did not follow the beaten path.  Ha! The rebels- they are our favorites.
It was encouraging and fun for everyone and
we all got Guerrilla Painter Viewers (very handy), paint samples- who doesn't love that? Free stuff!  
After some discussion and some snacks we all went out to the Guerrilla Van to see Carl's work - and for the REAL fun:
shopping out of the Guerrilla Van. It was almost as good buying at the ice cream truck- 
and just about that crazy 
as 17 painter/kids
stormed the van.
I suddenly had a vision of Carl Judson in a Santa suit. . . . . .

The item most popular?
the Guerrilla 6x8 Thumbox
with carrying case -
I think we bought out
his entire supply.

So, this is the challenge:
bring your box to class
every week. You will get better with it the more you use it
and it just may change your life,
at least your painting life.

Ahh - the places we'll go!


August 25th - Special Guest, Carl Judson

August 25th - Special Guest,  Carl Judson, AKA Guerrilla Painter; the traveling plein air guru and THE Judson behind the famous Judson’s Art Outfitters - supply/lifestyle catalog for all things PLEIN AIR.
If you click on the link above for Carl Judson, then click Track my Tour - you can see where he has been in his travels - visiting artists like: Shaun Horne, Carl Ortman, Josh Been, Peggy Immel, - me - to name a few.
I have known about Carl for years, by reputation, but met him in person when I painted at the Sedona Plein Air Festival - and invited him to come through Alamosa to visit with the San Luis Valley Painters.
In his travels around the world, Carl talks to groups, of any size - about the Plein Air Life, and his personal take on 30 years of plein air painting. He is an enthusiast and encourager to anyone interested in pushing themselves to paint in the great outdoors.
Carl will be our special guest on Thursday, August 25th, 9am to noon.
This will be the first week of our next painting session which will be all plein air.  Class schedules will also be given out so painters will know where to meet in the following weeks.
It should be a fun morning for painters of all pursuasions - and open to all; there is no drop-in fee.
I think we will all be inspired.


The Last of our Class plein air evenings

 As much as I hate to say it, summer is winding down here in Colorado. We felt it last week when we painted outside on Tuesday evening. Last week our summer evening plein air class met for the final time. At right are my pieces, both 6"x 8" - painted on black panels.
We have had a summer of beautiful evenings. I am so grateful.

The Fall Class Session starts on Tuesday Evening August 23rd at 6:30pm- and will be all studio. Meet at the Alamosa Family Recreation Center.
The Thursday Morning Class starts on August 25th at 9am. The first week only, will be at the Rec Center and our special speaker will be Carl Judson. Painting locations and schedules will also be given out at that time so everyone know where we will be painting outside each week. This will be a great chance to be out painting en plein air into the magical Autumn.


Sunup - Sundown, Up Close

This is a closer view of most of the work from the Sunup-Sundown Plein Air Event in Taos.
Susan McCullough's work is on the top row, Peggy Immel is in the  middle and my work is on the bottom row.
I actually started my first piece about 5:45am - in order to get in the little crescent moon that hung over Casa Benavides, at the top of Kit Carson Road, in Taos.
Click on  any of the photos to see them larger.


Sun-up to Sun-down - 43 Paintings Later

We did it. Yippee!!
Starting on Friday morning, July 29, artists Coni Grant, Susan McCullough and Peggy Immel were out on Kit Carson Rd. in Taos - about 5:45 to catch the very first rays of the sun- and a beautiful little crescent moon that hung over the distinctive adobes of Taos.
After that it was a painting an hour until dark. That means up to 15 plein air pieces in one day, from each painter - created one right after the other.
At the top are all of our finished pieces - taking in the entire stretch of Kit Carson Road.
Below, Sue paints at the Couse Museum. Later in the day each of us had to take cover from a crazy and violent rain storm but we painted on - under what ever cover we could find.
At one point in the afternoon two local musicians filled the sidewalk with great music.
In the end - a job well done; and YES it was a  marathon.
Special "THANK"s to Peggy Immel and to Steve Immel, and to Rob Wilder of Wilder Nightingale Gallery.

The unframed, 6" x 8" pieces are on sale at
Wilder Nightingale Fine Art Gallery,  on Kit Carson Road in Taos, NM.

Sun-up to Sun-down - Plein Air Event in Taos

Friday, July 29, artists Coni Grant, Susan McCullough and Peggy Immel will paint one painting every hour from dawn to dark along the famous Kit Carson Road in Toas.
That means up to 15 plein air pieces in one day, from each painter - created one right after the other.
It will be a marathon, for sure.

The unframed, 6" x 8" pieces will be on sale at Wilder Nightingale Fine Art on Kit Carson - immediately on Friday -
and all day on Saturday, July 30th.  The artist's will also be in
Wilder Nightingale Fine Art Gallery,  all day on Saturday.

Class Notes on Summer Plein Air

 We are enjoying one of our most beautiful summers here in Alamosa, Colorado and tho' I paint- out all year around - there is something very special in these few short weeks when all my classes go out -
into the brief, but beautiful summer.

Last Tuesday evening at the marsh in Alamosa we faced Mt. Blanca with our backs to the setting sun, but the sky was a continual light show of color and drama- all reflected in the marsh that surrounded us. Blanca lit up with evening alpenglow and, finally the full moon rose up - huge and really glorious.
It was awesome and I think everyone went home feeling grateful to have been there!
If you have been thinking of getting out to paint en plein air this summer- catch us on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 to 9:30pm,
or on Thursday Mornings from 9am to noon.
Our schedule is always posted here on the blog with directions to the painting location.
Snatch a few days, or evenings of Summer as they fly by; You won't regret it.


The Tuesday Night Plein Air Show

Colorado summer means fabulous sunsets. In Painting Class last Tuesday evening we enjoyed an especially stunning progression from afternoon to night.
After painting on the river we stood around until 10 - just enjoying the beautiful evening.
If you opted to stay home - you REALLY missed it.
The paintings here are my take on the last 2 weeks of class and the photo shows painters waiting for the setting sun to break through the clouds after a brief shower.

A couple of Tips for painting sunsets:
     >The BEST color in a sunset happens AFTER the 'sun-ball' has dropped below the horizon. So- while the sun is high, use the time to lay in a simple foreground and by the time the sun drops - the landscape part of the painting should be DONE - or at least roughed-in. 
     >Good cloud shapes make good sunset drama. During the winter we practice sunsets in class but there is no substitute for actually observing the movement of clouds to anticipate how cloud shapes will develop in the great outdoors.
In one evening a hundred sunsets can pass by - you only have to paint ONE.
     >Don't let early evening weather discourage you. The BEST sunsets come after a rain and clouds are what make it.
Our summer Plein Air Class has learned that rain at 6:30pm can lead to an evening of beautiful sunsets at 7:30.  Patience is key. 


PLein Air TOYS from Josh Been

Last Friday, my daughter and I had a chance to stop in Salida Colorado and visit Virtuosity Gallery, the working studio of Joshua Been - noted Colorado painter.
I love visiting Josh and sending my students up to Salida to see an awesome painter, working every day to make it happen.
When he is not traveling, Josh is in the gallery painting, engaging customers - and everyone is a friend.
I enjoy seeing what is on the easel and swapping plein air stories; and both of my kids think he's the bomb.
 Josh is always thinking out beyond his own easel, designing and creating products for plein air painters that really perform.
He would not let me leave with out toys to try out - " the last terps jar you will ever own";
and a trash bag that tells it like it is -"Toxic Waste".
Thanks Josh.  I will put them both to the test.
Visit Josh Been on-line or at his Virtuosity Gallery,  in Salida, Colorado.


Plein Air Classes

So what is Plein Air? - and what's the big deal?
It is "being there" - painting in the landscape as weather and "life" moves and morphs, and changes all around you. It can be a painter's greatest challenge and greatest joy - and it just does not get any better than plein air painting in Colorado.
At this time of year my classes head outside to catch precious moments of summer en plein air. These days will fly by and before they do I want to enjoy as much time as possible painting OUT, and encouraging my students to do the same.
On any day, we can have brilliant skies and torrential rain, and on any evening summer sunsets that last late into the evening.

Join us this summer starting Tuesday Evening, June 21st, 6:30 - 9:30pm;
and Thursday Morning, June 23rd, 9am to noon.
Every student will receive personal instruction.

Register for this 8 week painting session at Alamosa Family Recreation Center- 587-2105,  or contact me through my website at www.ConiGrant.com.
The first week we will be meet at the Alamosa Family Recreation Center  and I will have painting schedules so everyone knows where to meet- in and around Alamosa in the following weeks.
If you are passing thru Alamosa in your travels- we welcome drop-in painters who would like to paint with a group, on either Tuesday evening or Thursday morning. This requires a small drop-in Fee.


2016 Santa Fe Plein Air Festival

. . . And I am going to be there;
all week - painting the 'Enchanted Landscape' -
actually, all over New Mexico,  with about 40 other juried artists - painting en plein air.  We will be in Santa Fe, along the High Road,
at Ghost Ranch, Abiquii and Chimayo - these great spots are all on the agenda.
The show will feature almost 100 plein air landscapes painted during the week and awards will also be given.
I hope you will join us Thursday evening, June 9th,  5-7 pm
at   InArt Gallery,  219 Delgado Street
for the Opening Reception of this show - in beautiful Santa Fe.

Success in Creede

Beautiful weather in Creede and
artists gathered in the street Sunday morning with high hopes - myself included.
By 2 pm the Quick Draw was over and the auction begun. These folks from Nebraska purchased my painting of North Clear Creek Falls for their mountain home.
It is always a pleasure.

Thanks to Steve and Marta Quiller, and the good people of Creede, Colorado who do so much to make this a really great party - for artists and buyers.


Taste of Creede Memorial Day Sunday

In Colorado we live for the summer,  and it all starts this weekend with
Taste of Creede.

Historic and iconic - Creede is one of Colorado's most colorful high country destinations and the Taste of Creede  on Memorial Day weekend features Silver Chef Competition, live music, vendors, and the  National Small Print Show opening and reception at Creede Repertory Theatre on Saturday at 4pm.  All well worth the beautiful drive into the mountains.

On Sunday,   Stephen Quiller (internationally known artist and writer) hosts the main attraction - Artist's Quick Draw- Sunday at 1 pm where top artists from several states gather to paint fast and furious - for 1 hour.  Sharing the space with models and on lookers, there is always a lot of jostling, elbow throwing and general good fun - for artists, as well as viewers.
The auction immediately following,  gives viewers the chance to bid on work done by top artists.

Have a great holiday - hope to see you in the mountains.


Looking Ahead

Summer is JUST around the corner- or should I say - just around the next snow storm. We have had a couple of "nice" days here in the high country but I KNOW there is at least one snow still out there because my irises are just beginning to bloom.  Sigh. . . . .
Painting students are getting restless for the great outdoors and all my classes will go OUTside at the end of June - Yay!
Join us on Tuesday Evening, June 21st,  and- or
Thursday Morning 
June 23rd at the Alamosa Family Rec Center. Call 719-589-2107 to register for 8 weeks of plein air painting.

In the meantime- I am looking ahead to my summer - starting with Taste of Creede -Memorial Day Weekend, May 28 & 29.
Artists gather from all around the country to join world renown painter - Stephen Quiller in historic Creede, CO. Sunday's main event is the Artist's Quick Draw at 1pm - with a live auction immediately following.  Last year my buyer came all the way from Westminster, CO to be at this party.

2016 Santa Fe Plein Air Festival is next in June, and Susan McCullough and I will paint for a week in New Mexico with plein air painters from all over.  This is a juried event - so the show should be awesome and will open Thursday, June 9th at 5pm
InArt Gallery, 219 Delgado St in Santa Fe, NM.

Sun UP to Sun DOWN- Plein air Painting in Taos, NM
All day painting on July 29 and All day Show on July 30th at Wilder Nightingale Fine Art.
This special event will feature Myself, Susan McCullough, and Peggy Immel,  all painting from dawn to dusk, on Kit Carson Road in front of Wilder Nightingale Fine Art in Taos, NM. Come on Friday to watch, come back for the show on Saturday. All work will be for sale.

Summer Workshops
I will be teaching 2 one-Day Workshops this summer:
Wednesday, August 17th at the Art Center in Estes Park, CO.  
Call 970-586-5882
Friday, August 19th at Fare Bella Gallery in Manitou Springs, CO  
Call 720-226- 4315

Classes and workshops are a good way to inspire your painting and make the most of the summer season.  Get OUT there!  -  and I hope to see you at one of these events.


Colors of the West - Landscapes We Love

The Tracy Miller Gallery presents
Colors of the West - Landscapes We Love
Opening - Sat., May 7th,  4-7pm
Western Landscape show that pays homage to our beautiful and diverse Western Landscape. 
All new work by Coni Grant;
 this group show will also feature the work of
Rose Collins, Ray-Mel Cornelius, Greg Dye, Sushe Felix, Tracy Felix,
Randy Honerlah, Buffalo Kaplinski, Deb Komitor,
Laura Reilly and Peggy Trigg.
 16 Ruxton Avenue, Manitou Springs, CO 80829  
Call: 719-650-0827


A Visit from the Guerrilla Painter

Last week I got a call from Carl Judson, AKA Guerrilla Painter; the traveling plein air guru and THE Judson behind the famous Judson’s Art Outfitters - supply/lifestyle catalog for all things PLEIN AIR.
If you click on the link above for Carl Judson, then click Track my Tour - you can see where he has been in his travels - visiting artists like: Shaun Horne, Carl Ortman, Peggy Immel, - me - to name a few.

While I had known about Carl by reputation, we met in person when I painted at the Sedona Plein Air Festival - and hoped that some time in his travels he would come through Alamosa.
Last Thursday we had coffee and a wonderful visit - about all kinds of stuff,  our mutual interest in San Francisco, where I am from and where he also has history,  and we talked about painting - of course,  the nitty gritty of how and why,
and of course - where?
I got to see the inside of his famous Guerrilla Paint Mobile - and could kick my self for not taking photos - BUT Carl is coming back to town  - this summer  - to spend time with the Plein Air Painting Class- and anyone else who is interested. He talks to groups, of any size - about the Plein Air Life, and his personal take on 30 years of plein air painting. He will also come with books, catalogs and all kinds of wonderful Plein Air Supplies.
I am looking forward to it and that date will be posted on this site.

Volleyball Painting

So - what do Volleyball and Oil Painting have to do with each other?
Yeah - -  I don't know either.

I was asked to put together a one-time painting class for the Adams State University Volleyball team.
 Do we need a reason?
We do it because it is fun. These girls were way FUN.
Fresh from practice and weightlifting, the team blew in and immediately engaged with enthusiasm - ah, youth. . .
For me the hardest part was figuring out WHAT to prepare for a one time, disinterested group (not to be confused with -uninterested) and how much real learning should be my goal for them.
Yes! I believe learning can be fun.
In the end, I chose to focus on Design (my favorite thing),
Value, Color and Brushwork- bringing those things together in one painting with no reference or set-up to paint from.
Below are my 4 basic points and what I hoped they would take away - besides their painting.
Design: placement of imagery on the canvas
Value: the light and dark of imagery, that's a little bit of Light Logic
Color:  just WARM and COOL - no color wheel or color theory
Brushwork: using the EDGE of the Brush, and using the FLAT of the brush

This might be reminiscent of a one-time event that involves wine and some paint, where folks pay and walk out with the ubiquitious copy of some one else's painting
. . .  not that there's anything wrong with that. . . .
but as an educator my highest hope is that some real learning will take place - even if it is ONE thing, or ONE "ah ha" moment.
Well, I had an "ah ha" moment - I need to loosen up and get a few more athletes into my painting classes.
Bring on the football team. - Go Grizzlies!


Blessed Easter Happy Spring

This week marked the 1st day of spring - and in class we celebrated with a painting to honor the change of seasons.
Usually, I like to paint from LIFE (still life setup) but this week we contrived the image from our heads and painted in a step-by-step manner focusing on: Perspective, Value, Color Temperature and Brushwork.
See below - the 7-step gray scale that we made in class; (read about it a few posts back) - we used it in this painting and I will refer back to it.

To start the painting we sketched a simple back-lit bowl with eggs inside, - onto a black panel.
If you paint from direct observation a lot this should not be a stretch to create a painting that works - however,  to be on the safe side - I did bring an actual bowl with eggs into class so that students could use it for reference.                                                                   
Using a #8 or #10 Flat brush and the gray scale as a guide, we mixed a dark, cool neutral in the value range of #6 and painted the front of the nest that would not be lit, and the inside of the nest behind the eggs.
Load the Flat brush with paint and make thin, twiggy, individual strokes with the narrow edges of the brush - NOT the flat of the brush. This may not sound hard but it does require disciplined brushwork and is a great way to PRACTICE using just the edges of the brush; 2 edges - 2 juicy strokes, then reload your brush. Pull a few strokes out beyond the edge for interest and to create more interesting negative spaces to paint around later.

Next, I went back to the gray scale and mixed light, warm neutrals in the range of #2-3 and painted more twiggy strokes in the upper left and around the rim of the nest to show that the light is coming from the back, upper left.

The background is 2 variations of a cool color - in the value range of #1-2.  Use the FLAT part of the  brush to paint negatively between the 'twigs'  for depth and the look of light peeking in and around the edges. I purposely made my eggs darker than the background and correct light logic gives them a realistic feel.
 This was fun to paint and would also work well in watercolor or acrylic. Remember - think twiggy, thin brushwork.
Happy Spring!