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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Reflections on a Plein Air Workshop

'A Special Part of Texas'                 9x12                pastel            ©Karen Margulis
It was everything I imagined it would be and much more. I have always wanted to see the Texas Hill Country during the Bluebonnet season so when my friend Marsha Young invited me out to do a plein air workshop I couldn't resist. Marsha has a wonderful gallery in Dripping Springs Texas, Butterfly Gallery. She hosted the group and planned our plein air locations. She also arranged for our lunches each day. Her hard work and perfect weather ensured the workshop was a great success.

I was excited to meet my group of 12 artists. Many traveled to the workshop. Some from as far away as Minnesota! It was a great group which always makes a workshop fun. We painted hard and laughed and ate and hopefully learned a lot as well. I know that I was impressed with everyone's work!

'Texas Spring'          6x8        pastel

Marsha had selected some great painting locations for the workshop. On the first day we painted in the studio. It was a good opportunity to demo and share my usual working techniques and plein air tips. It was a practice session and we were ready to paint the next morning at the wonderful Mt. Gainor Inn.  Here is a quick video  from our day at the Inn:

Our second plein air day began at Charro Ranch Park in Dripping Springs. This was a great place for some intimate landscape vignettes of trees and wildflowers. My paintings in this post are demos from this location.

We had lunch reservations at the famous Salt Lick restaurant and spent the afternoon painting in the gardens. Here is a quick story which sums up the wonder of this whole experience....Just as we were finishing our feedback session at the end of the day a man strolled up to the group and stopped. I was a bit worried that we had overstayed our welcome and were about to be shown the gate. But I was wrong. It was the owner of the Salt Lick. He wanted to thank us for painting on the property. He shared his story and his dream for artists to come paint. He welcomed us back anytime as well as extended an invitation to paint on their other local properties. It was Texas hospitality at it's finest!

I know I will be back again some day!

Demo at Charro Ranch Park


Mary Lou Epperson said...

Hi Karen, I'm an oil painter & former pastelist who's been "re-bitten" by the pastel bug, partly because of your inspiring work. Thanks for your generosity in sharing what you've learned along the way. Your plein air rig is almost irresistable...

robertsloan2art said...

Karen, the first painting in this one is one of your all time best! These are so fantastic and the workshop looks like it was so much fun. I liked the little video of your group! Loved seeing the place and everyone painting. Their kits were fascinating too! Great to know I'm not the only one who sits while painting.

Rebecca Drake said...

I can only imagine what beauty awaited you in Texas. I've eaten at the restaurant you mentioned - quite a place! Glad you had the opportunity to be there in April - that is the month when Texas is highlighted by wildflowers.

Sharon Cullen said...

This is a lovely painting. When I first began plein air painting, I thought it meant I needed to use the landscape in front of me, as is! I didn't realize I could move a tree or add a better background. I have learned so much since then. But I do have a question regarding your gear. It looks li,e you have a bag of wet wipes around your tripod. Where did you get this?

Karen said...

Thank you all for the comments!! Much appreciated!
Sharon, I got the baby wipe neoprene holder at Baby's R Us. It has a velcro strap to put around my tripod. I love it and bought two in case they stop making them!