Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Plein Air Workshop in Blue Ridge Georgia October 2015

'Autumn Lace'               8x10           plein air pastel               ©Karen Margulis
click here to purchase $125
Imagine driving  on peaceful country road. It winds it's way slowly alongside the river. You can smell the freshly mown hay and hear the gentle sounds of the river. As you round each bend the views get better. Soon you arrive. It is time to get settled in and take a deep breath of the sweet country air.

Imagine staying in this spot for three days. Painting. Learning. Laughing. Imagine being surrounded by other passionate artists. Artists of all abilities. Artists who just want to become better artists and who share the same passions as you. 

Come join us this October. Marsha Hamby Savage and I will be teaming up to teach a 3 day plein air workshop in Blue Ridge Georgia. The workshop will be held October 2,3,4. Friday , Saturday and Sunday. Marsha has a wonderful rustic cabin on the river where we will paint. We will also paint in some other wonderful spots....we know the secret spots!

Down a country road

I had my first plein air workshop experiences with Marsha and she taught me well! Now it is time to give back and work together pooling our teaching strengths and experience. You benefit from two great instructors!

Intrigued?  Let us know you are interested. The workshop is filling quickly and there are only a few spots left in the cabin. The cost of the 3 day workshop is $350 with cabin lodging or $300 without lodging. There are plenty of places to stay in the area. rent a cabin with friends and come join us!

To ask questions send us an email: Karen  Marsha
To register: visit our workshop page. You can use Paypal for your deposit or send us a check. Please email us so we can send you a contract and recommended supply list.

Plein air painting in Blue Ridge before the flowers are mowed down!

Marsha leading a group to a cool painting spot

Friday, May 8, 2015

Reflections on this Year's Texas 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

Thursday, May 7, 2015

'The Path on the Left'             6x6             plein air pastel           ©Karen Margulis
purchase this painting here $65
 It has to be compact and light. Everything has to fit in my backpack. Over the years I have continuously downsized my plein air set up. I remember the days of dragging a rolling cart filled to the top with painting supplies. Set up took forever. I could never find what I wanted in the cart full of unnecessary stuff.  It was discouraging and plein air wasn't something I enjoyed.

Until I downsized! Now I have several different downsized plein air set-ups. I keep them always ready. The type of painting situation helps me decide which set up to bring.  Today I will share my Compact Travel Light Set Up.

'Blue Ridge Memories'          6x6       $65
Travel Light Kit: Heilman double sketchbook pastel box, Heilman easel attachment,  Oben AT3400 tripod

Everything fits in my Orvis backpack with room to spare. I will always carry this on the plane. I have room for extra travel needs such as my toiletries and iPad mini.  I use an Oben AT3400 tripod which folds up to 16". It will fit in the backpack but sometimes I put it in my checked bag if I want extra room in the backpack.

Heidi checks out my set-up. Here you can see the inside of the Orvis backpack. I love this pack because it sits so well without flopping over. I used it to weigh down my tripod using a mini bungee cord. It also has plenty of outside pockets.

This is all of my gear. I am using a Heilman double sketchbook pastel box. I put the metal ease attachment into a small stuff sack to keep it protected. I have my backing board with bankers clips. This is actually a hard plastic board which will hold paper. It is called an Artworks Book from Easel Butler.  I have a pouch for baby wipes, a zippered pouch for miscellaneous supplies such as tape, watercolor set, alcohol, fixative. I also have 2 black portfolio folders by Itoya. I use these to store my paper and the finished paintings.

Here is the Heilman box open. I have an assortment of Terry Ludwig pastels on the left and Girault pastels on the right. I do vary the selection depending on my location.  I don't preselect my pastels before I start painting since my palette is already limited!

Here is the entire set up. I was asked about the stability of this set up. I did notice some shaking but I am a fairly aggressive plein air painter so I did hold onto the board to steady it some. If I was a kind and gentle painter it wouldn't be as noticeable. It really didn't bother me. I am trading size and weight for complete stability and to me it is well worth it!

Next week I am taking this set up with me to teach a plein air workshop in Dripping Springs Texas. This will be the ultimate test so I will report back with my thoughts.

If you'd like to see this set up in action watch my plein air demo video on YouTube click HERE


Heilman Designs
Easel Butler Artworks Book
Itoya Original Art Portfolios