cypress knee / good news in the art world


I’m on the Plein air email list put out by Eric Rhodes and I’m getting the info for plein air camps and contests, figure drawing seminars and practice etc. It’s all related to the Plein Air magazine founded by Eric Rhodes. This guy is a genius. I know the email gets sent to hundreds of people, but it seems like he’s talking to me.  Once I got an email headed “Chris, your paintings are good enough.” It was to enter the Plein air mag contest.

I don’t feel like entering. I entered a bunch of times over the years. I saw the winners in the magazine and knew I didn’t stand a chance because all the paintings were fuzzy and mine are sharp.

The first time the plein air week happened in Richmond I entered but didn’t get accepted. I was doing figure drawings back then from the sad stone angels in Hollywood Cemetery. I didn’t know why I didn’t get in. I could only guess.

Those are just a few of the hundreds of reasons why I gave up on spending money on the art world. I go alone to draw in plein air any time. My apathy gives me a feeling of freedom from the art world which I think is corrupt. This is all beside the point.

The money I spent was worth it for plein air camp at the Ghost Ranch. So I’m glad I’m getting the emails because I might go to another event like that. No teachers to follow, no contest, no drama.

Today I was happy to read the email from Streamline. It was addressed to plein air event planners. It talked about how the plein air movement has grown and needs to adapt. The seminar they’re organizing is to plan better  plein air events in the future. Eric said we shouldn’t sacrifice quality for speed. I was happy to read that because I’ve been complaining for years how plein air painters rush rush rush and I don’t want to paint like they do.  He also said that’s one reason why some good artists don’t go to the events.  Did he mean me?

I hope this is a sign of a change in the art world for the better. I could never make it happen. Eric Rhodes could do it.

I wonder if Eric or someone on his staff read my blog. I told my daughter I’m an influencer now. That’s funny because I don’t want anything to do with the real art world. Sarah said that’s the best kind of influencer, the apathetic kind. hahaha She would know, she’s the social media guru.

Yeah, I’m famous. I’ll be dead before the art world figures it out.

The sketch is my plan for a swamp painting. It’s real nice out today and cool. The fall colors look good over there. I might start the painting now instead of waiting for the freeze.  This is my favorite cypress knee from when I was in the swamp last year. I need to transfer this to a larger paper and draw the background trees with Spanish moss on both sides of this knee. I need a big canvas. This sketch will help me figure out what size canvas to buy.

That’s my composition method, find something beautiful, draw it, draw what’s around it.


8 thoughts on “cypress knee / good news in the art world”

  1. Not to burst your bubble but I went to one of Eric’s plein air conventions in New Mexico a few years ago. He has a professional writer who writes all those emails. I was very disappointed in the convention and have never gone again. The speakers who are there to “teach” plein air painting don’t teach outside! They stand on a stage in a climate controlled room. No teaching OUTSIDE how to deal with the elements, the light, the gear, the bugs, the scenery etc etc. Eric’s personality is not what comes across in those emails. I unsubscribed to the barrage of emails. Then when a I didn’t go back for more conventions I started getting robo calls.

    Sorry Chris. Just thought you should know the truth. Maybe it was just me but I didn’t care for the experience and felt it was a big waste of money spent on a convention.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh, very interesting. Thanks for the info. I can see how someone teaching plein air indoors would seem ridiculous. I didn’t hang around inside after the meals to listen to the announcements and people talking. One guy gave a demo but it wasn’t a thing you were really expected to watch unless you were curious about that process.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Chris, plein air these days is big business. Sign up for this; enter that. It’s more like a golf or social club than anything to really do with painting. Take it all with a grain of salt (or two or three). Just keep doing what you’re doing. Go out when you want to; paint where you want. Painting is a personal thing, not really a group activity although sometimes it’s nice to have a friend to share the day.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Everything seems to be about money; about organizing other people’s talents to make money.

    I read the biographies of artists sometimes: how they just went at their work. No Eric. No conventions. No magazines or competitions. Often they were in company with each other. That is it. Of course, ma y had savvy and courageous agents, too…

    It seems to me that you are doing really well if you are doing what you want to do. I hope you keep at it because you enjoy it, progress in it etc.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it’s all about money. I don’t want to pay to join a group when I’m fine going out alone and more free to draw any time any place. The plein air groups only meet once a month as far as I know. oh well, At least my art won’t be corrupted by money. 😉 Thanks, Sarah


  4. Or you could be like me…there is an annual local show called the Garage Sale, and it’s meant for artists who have too much old inventory they would like to unload at “garage sale” prices. I have entered three times and never been accepted. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not bad enough for them. 😂😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

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