Reminiscing: 2019 Plein Air Convention

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It was an honor indeed to be part of the invited faculty, and a featured speaker, at the 2019 Plein Air Convention and Expo held in San Francisco on 24-28 April. (All images courtesy of Streamline Publishing staff. Click to enlarge)

Eric Rhoads invited the faculty to come on stage. I’m in the green shirt.

I was invited because of the recent release of my book, Limited Palette Unlimited Color, and DVD, Create Unlimited Color with a Limited Palette. The event was hosted by PleinAir magazine, a publication of Streamline Publishing.

Approximately 1000 artists attended, about 80 of those being faculty. It was five days of nonstop activity. My one-hour PowerPoint presentation was Friday evening at 9:00 PM before an attentive audience…at least those that could still stay awake after a very long day of demos and painting.

I was delighted to learn that I sold two paintings in the faculty art show, AND my book and DVD quickly sold out at the Plein Air Store. I was told the book and DVD combo were the store’s best sellers. You may order your set HERE.

Something cool I picked up at the Plein Air Store…Value glasses. Red lenses that eliminate color and accurately depict values. You can’t wear them to mix color but for a monochromatic block-in, which I use frequently, they could be helpful.

Each day began at 6:30 AM, in the hotel’s main ballroom, with an Art Marketing Boot Camp led by Eric Rhoads, Chairman and CEO of Streamline Publishing. The music was loud, the energy high, as Eric made every effort to wake up the audience and prepare them for his presentation. Breakfast sandwiches and coffee didn’t hurt either. Boot Camp was followed by Home Room where we were given instructions for the day and the Wheel of Fortune was spun by lucky contestants. My book and DVD were given away twice.

The Wheel of Fortune, with generous prizes.

Lifetime Achievement Awards were given to Albert Handell and Joseph Zbukvic. The opening keynote address was given by Joe Paquet, a deeply thoughtful and heartfelt presentation about Authenticity.

The announcement everyone was waiting for…overall winners of the 2019 Bi-Monthly Plein Air Salon competitions.

Overall winners of the bi-monthly salon competitions for 2019 with Eric Rhoads, Chairman and CEO of Streamline Publications. Left to right: Eric Rhoads, Carl Bretzke, Jane Hunt, Tom Hughes, Lisa Egeli, Dave Santillanes.

There were painting demonstrations almost every hour of the day, typically several at a time in varying locations within the hotel, so the attendees had to carefully pick their favorites. I attended all the Boot Camps and full or partial demonstrations by:  Kathleen Dunphy, Brian Blood, Randy Sexton, Larry Moore, Charlie Hunter, Joe Gyurcsak, and a fabulous talk by Jean Stern about the historic artists of Northern California.

Kathleen Dunphy offered very valuable advice.

Brian Blood works on his demo piece.

The extremely entertaining Larry Moore.

Randy Sexton did a wonderful painting demonstration while continually sharing his thoughts.

Randy Sexton’s painting began with the loosest of block-ins.

Here are some of my takeaways from the convention:

*Eric Rhoads is generous. The staff he has formed around him are the best, most amazing, helpful group of people around.

*Paintings on the shelf don’t make money at any price

*What is my strategy to sell paintings? Instagram, Facebook, Direct Mail, Print Media, Email are not strategies, they are tactics.

*Advertising takes time, money, and repetition.

*Know your audience, attune your message to them. What you say and how your say it are important.

*Ads that don’t get noticed are worthless.

*A big audience is seductive. Focus on your target audience.

*Every post must achieve something. Do posts contribute to developing relationships?

*Post often, at a minimum one-time per day. Research shows the best approach is morning, noon, and night, every day of the week.

*Teach collectors how to view art.

*Adding hashtags to posts are very valuable. Nine is an optimal number.

*How great would your sales be if you still had every customer your ever sold to? Repeat business is a gold mine.

*Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanence.

*The key to success is consistent execution.

*Kathleen Dunphy began her session with a half completed demo and did very little additional work during her presentation, but, her presentation was outstanding because she is a gifted teacher. Following are important takeaways.

*Work on weaknesses until they become your strengths.

*Begin each day with drawing in order to loosen up.

*It’s important to just practice, with no concern to produce something salable.

*Look critically at great art. Define what we like and use that in our work.

*Foundations of every good painting: Design, Values, Color, Edges, Paint Quality, Feel.

*From Chuck Rawle, US distributor for Rosemary brushes…After cleaning your brushes, shape the bristles with a slight amount of vasoline.

Finally…based on my experience at the convention:

*Most entertaining and humorous: Charlie Hunter and Larry Moore

Charlie Hunter, a brilliant artist and entertaining story teller.

Scott W. Prior’s portrait of Charlie Hunter.

*Favorite staffers: Tish De La Bretonne (wrote the promotion copy for my book and DVD); Cherie Haas (editor of the Plein Air Today Newsletter for which I write a monthly article.

Cherie Haas, Editor of Plein Air Today Newsletter (left) and Tish De La Bretonne, Streamline Publishing copywriter.

*Best painting demonstration: Randy Sexton

*Best teacher: Kathleen Dunphy

*Most philosophical: Joe Paquet

*Person of outstanding character: Jason Sacran

*Person everyone would enjoy having to their home for dinner: Joe Gyurcsak


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