Monday, October 31, 2011

Apalachicola, FL with Lori Putnam

"Beach Cottages 1"
9" x 12" oil on linen panel

Whew! October was a month of travel and fun workshops for me! Against the advice of most artists, I signed up for 3 workshops in the same month. I love to paint plein air, and in the South, October is a fabulous month for that because of the milder weather. Plus, all of these workshops were with people that I have always wanted to study with and it was just convenient for me to go the places they were going to be. And also contrary to what most artists say, I am not AT ALL confused or messed up or whatever from the three different teachers and their varied painting styles. Unlike most people, I go to workshops for several reasons. One, is to meet other artists and chat and visit during the week about something we all love - painting and art. Another reason is just to visit different places. And then, of course, to learn. I love learning about things and especially about painting. I don't go to workshops to totally change the way I paint or think about painting. I always come away from a workshop with something I can carry over into my own journey, whether it is a small tip about supplies, brushstrokes, other techniques, colors, or some idea or theory that I have heard explained a thousand times before that finally "makes sense" to me after another instructor says it their way. Anyway, I am not recommending that anyone do what I did, because it was physically exhausting (haha!) but mentally fun and I wouldn't trade anything for my month of October 2011!

Lori's workshop in beautiful Apalachicola, FL, was sponsored by the Apalachicola School of Art, which is a wonderful organization that is just getting started holding workshops in this quaint little town. They are working on a website currently but you can find some information if you Google the name. They have held a plein air event there for the last several years, and we were able to see some of the fabulous artwork from some of these events hanging in the school.

Not only did I meet some fun people here that also took the workshop, but I had a blast painting the shrimp boats, marshes, and the other sites here. It is really a plein air painter's dream here with all the choices in painting subjects, and I hope to return here maybe for the plein air event next May to watch all of the artists that are there painting. I can also recommend taking workshops from this school. They are really welcoming and the whole town is accepting of art and artists, so look them up and see what they have to offer if you are interested in workshops at all. They are just getting started so keep an eye out on the growing schedule. 

As you may remember, I am starting a mentoring program with Lori in 2012, so I am taking any workshop I can with her now so that she will be familiar with my painting and what I need to work on as we begin the mentoring in January. As with the first workshop I did with Lori, she was again a wonderfully patient and giving teacher and I felt so inspired and encouraged by watching her demo and also by her advice at my easel. Below is a photo of her teaching before her demo the first day. 

We painted in several places in the area, including a morning in the studio because of the high winds and light rain on the final day. The painting you see above at the top of this post was on the beach one beautiful and sunny morning. Below is a photo of my set up and the painting after I was finished. Of course, the light had changed by then but you can get an idea of the beautiful place I was standing while painting.

Stay tuned this week for another fabulous workshop review about my next October workshop, Dee Beard Dean. Maybe I should do this for a job? Anyone want to hire me to take workshops and write reviews? Plein Air Magazine maybe? Now THAT would be a dream job!

And, I just couldn't resist a little Photoshop editing of the photo below! You will probably have to click on it and enlarge to see the "hazard" well. We painted one day after lunch on the side of a road with beautiful marshes on either side and really high winds! We shielded ourselves with our cars and our equipment and setup was truly tested. After we painted, Lori also did a demo in that spot. As I sat with my new friends and watched, I kept imaging "critters" climbing out of the water which was just a few feet away from us. Needless to say, this is not a "real" photo but one I am deeming "The Hazards of Plein Air Painting" just for fun! I know all of you plein air painters out there can think of other hazards from your past plein air experiences.


  1. Lucky you and wonderful painting! Whirlwind of fun and great workshops! Enjoyed the writeup and look forward to reading about Dee Beard Dean also. Love the photos of Lori- you will love the mentoring!

  2. This painting is wonderful Denise. I have seen lots of wonderful growth in your work. You are going to soar being mentored by Lori. So excited for you!