This past week I was able to join Michael Chesley Johnson's Plein Air workshop. As I mentioned last year, Michael runs Mentoring Workshops in Sedona where he provides lodging, lessons and an artistic environment for his students. I was able to join them as a day-student. He had two other students, Merrill from Shutebury,Ma. and Randy fron San Diego. Merrill worked in pastel and Randy and I worked in oils.
On the first morning we meet at Michael's house where he introduces the students to all aspects of painting outdoors, including dealing with the elements, equipment and approach. The most important thing, whether you are just looking for future references or going for a finished product, is to relax and have fun.
The first morning we went to the creek by Cathedral Rock, which you may have seen in previous posts. Michael did a quick demo looking down the creek away from the rock formations. After that we spread out around the area and worked for a few hours. I worked on a similar scene looking down the creek while Merrill and Randy tackled Cathedral Rock. They both did a good job capturing the colors and structure of the formation. I'll post my results when I finish it.
The next day, Michael did a critique of the previous day's work in his kitchen. Very cozy. Then we went to a spot high above Cathedral Rock called the landing area. Michael did a quick demo and then we all found a spot out of the wind to work on our own masterpieces.
On the third day, we met at the library and packed everything into the Jeep for a day of painting and a bit of off-roading. I took the group out to the Diamondback Gulch area as there are some good views of the many of the well known formations, but from the reverse side. After painting for a few hours near the old cattle ramp, we took off on a ride through the gulches. If you remember my post from the first time I took this trail, I'll just say that it comes much easier now. I know the trail and I know what my Jeep can do. I think everyone had a good time and I look forward to taking another group on a ride.