Monday, October 17, 2011

Highlights from Burnsville 3 Day Plein Air Workshop

On Thursday September 29 thru Saturday October 1, the Blue Ridge Fine Arts Guild hosted my 3 day plein air workshop in Burnsville, NC.  I had 9 enthusiastic participants who were fired up and ready to paint.  The weather started out beautiful about 75 and sunny.  On day 1 we started off at Sandra Gates studio for a 55 minute talk and then headed for Mountain Farm, our 1st paint spot, near Burnsville.  The Farm specializes in growing Lavender and raising goats.  The location had a wonderful vista of Celo Mountain which is just below Mt. Mitchell. There I did a 1 hour demo and then everyone jumped in to paint. 

Most of us couldn't resist painting at least a piece of the mountain.

Sandra picked up Subways for everyone.  After lunch most students continued working on the 1st painting, as it was one of those days that was most enjoyable and most didn't want to quit.

 Day 2

On Friday we left at 8 am to go straight up Roan Mountain which takes most of an hour.  We all stopped at Bakersville to check the weather as I was concerned about some showers moving in from Tennessee.  Susan showed me a picture on her phone she had taken from her mountain home and it appeared Roan was in the clear.  Also Steve checked the radar on his I-Phone. What would we do without our devices??? Several of the ladies said lets go up even if the weather is a little bad.  Then off we went.

We parked up at the Cloudland  Parking lot on the NC side, which has some real nice restroom facilities.  This is one of my favorite locations in all of North Carolina to paint.  I was glad we got to go up as several of the students had never been.  It started out cloudy and everyone started an overcast scene before lunch.

This is a small 8 x 6 demo during the lunch hour as the sun began to shine.

  Most started on their second painting in the sunshine as occasional cloud would brush our heads - what fun - trying to capture them!

As usual up at Roan the weather is unpredictable; the winds began to increase and clouds rolled in again and I could swear I saw a snowflake!!!

About 4 pm we threw in the towel and headed for the coffee shop in Spruce Pine.

I tell you, a cup of coffee never tasted so good as to come off a cold wind blown mountain and drink coffee with your painting buddies.  As the smartphones began the get the weather updates we saw the weather man's forecast was way off for Saturday.  He was now predicting high winds and a hi of 47 with sprinkles.  We had planned to paint the South Toe River.  I think everyone was happy to switch to the indoor studio under the circumstances.  Sandra Gates was so kind to offer her studio for all of us for the day.

Day 3

On Saturday morning we started at 9 am at Sandra's.  I gave a short talk and explained my process of using my plein air studio to produce larger paintings indoors.  I reminded everyone to spend some time drawing out a detailed plan before starting.  This was a great exercise as most of us had no way to produce a photo image of any value.  So we had to rely on our plein air study and memory.  Some had never done this before, so they got to try it out.  I think most of us learned something in the process.  At 4:30 pm we cleaned up and had a little group exhibit.  I had one of my studies which turned out really well,  So everyone put their name in the hat for a drawing for a give away.  It was a great workshop and again I want to thank everyone who made the sacrifice to attend!  I look forward to next year.

Below is a slideshow video of some of the beautiful scenery and fun we had! 


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  2. Looks like an amazing adventure! Hopefully, I'll be able to join in for future workshops.