I am new at Plein Air events! I just finished doing the Piedmont Plein Air Paint Out — also known as P3 (much easier to type!) It was a wonderful event!!! I felt so taken care of — beautiful hotel, treated with tender loving care, and amazing artists to hang out with — when we weren’t painting! I was humbled and thrilled to get the “Artists’ Choice Award” — voted on by the participating artists. Yay! I also sold three paintings!! Hoping to go back next year!!
The real point of this article though, was to help some other “newbies” who are just starting to participate in plein air events. I’ve only done two so far and I’ve realized I have a lot to learn — not only in my paintings, but in all the other aspects of these events. I even googled “hints for plein air events” to try and get some ideas, but found nothing.
As you can see from the photo above, hint number one is:
Take decent photos of all your paintings!
I was so involved in getting them framed, etc. that all I have are the crude ones you see. Apparently I didn’t anticipate that I’d actually sell some!! So this one is gone and these are the photos I have.
Luckily I brought plenty of canvases and frames, but I know some folks did not, so I would recommend bringing more than you think you’ll need. And throw in a few different sizes. This painting is a size I don’t normally paint in but it was perfect for this design. So hint number 2 is:
Bring more canvases and frames than you think you’ll need.
Part of these events is that you have to frame your wet paintings and have them ready to hang. So if you’re not versed in this skill, I would recommend that you practice before you go. Also prepare a “tool kit” of all you’ll need to frame. So Hint number 3 is:
Know how to frame your pieces and bring a tool kit of everything you need to do that.
You’re under a time restraint in these events. If at all possible arrive early so you have time to preview all your potential sites so you can make a game plan. Plan to bring a cooler so you have plenty of water and snacks while you’re painting. Make sure you’ve brought comfortable painting clothes, with options for all kinds of weather. Hint number 4:
Preparation! Preview! Planning for your comfort while you’re painting!
Part of these events is social time with your potential clients. Make sure you’ve brought adequate business cards and perhaps a bio about yourself. You should attach this information to the back of your paintings so your buyer knows something about you and could contact you in the future for additional work. And be prepared to hobnob with people looking at your work. Ask questions, be friendly, shake hands. You’ll have a name tag provided by the event – WEAR IT!! (I forgot mine a number of times!) Hint Number 5:
Make it easy for potential buyers to know who you are and something about your work!
It’s such a fun opportunity! In your off time there are lots of opportunities to meet other artists and talk shop. I was so overwhelmed at the talent of the P3 event. It was intimidating! But I found that all of them were warm, wonderful people! I feel like I have a whole new group of great friends as a result!
Here are a few of the other pieces I did while I was there.
Hope some of this was helpful! I was pretty nervous going into this last event since I’m so new at them. Hoping some of these hints will help another artist prepare and feel more confident going into one. Happy painting!!!