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Improve Your Painting Skills With An Adventure!

By Brian Sutton

Painting Friends!

If you want to take a giant leap in your painting skills, Karen Saunders and I have found a surefire method to drastically bump up yours skills in just a handful of days while having the time of your life.

No kidding here. It works.

It isn't easy, but it's effective.

It's a bit of an investment, but its worth every penny.

Painting outside is the key to improving your skills in a hurry!

Karen and I just returned from Colorado, where we attended this year's Plein Air Convention and Expo - five fun-filled, magical days of intense painting with 80 of the finest plein air artists in the world.

Five days of immersive painting will enable you to have giant leaps of skill development, will develop a network of dedicated painting friends and will leave you delighted.

And Karen and I want you to join us in 2024 as an Art Party group!

What is plein air painting? Check out this blog post to get the details if you are unfamiliar. Basically, it's painting outdoors from real life subjects. You'll probably need some painting supplies and gear, so check my blog here about basics that will set you up for success.

Most artists paint outside, or en plein air (French for painting outdoors), to soak in nature, to view nature as it is (photos distort reality- See our Youtube channel for upcoming videos on photos versus real life) and to improve their painting skills in a hurry.

I believe that the more you paint outside as an artist the quicker your skills improve and the easier painting becomes. And, honestly, it's just more fun to be outside rather than be stuck in a room in a studio!

Get out and breathe the open air. You'll feel better overall by doing so.

My first experience with attending the convention was 2022 in New Mexico. What an eye opener to what I've been missing my whole painting life! I made a ton of friends, saw and attempted (badly, ha ha) to paint some beautiful scenery and left with the feeling that my art has taken a shift in a new, more fun-filled direction.

While I attended New Mexico's convention by myself, I was not going to Colorado without Karen this year. The adventure we had in Colorado together far exceeded our expectations. The crew that runs the PACE convention is top notch, and the community they have built among artists is overwhelmingly positive, supportive and helpful.

We attended lectures and painting classes each morning and early afternoon and then spent the afternoons and evenings painting out on location with 750 of our closest painting friends. It was truly delightful. Famed painting instructors were on hand to assist every step of the way and many, including publisher Eric Rhoads, painted right along side us.

All of you know I love the palette knife! I was super delighted to attend a session by palette knife painter Michelle Byrne who dazzled me with her knife skills. I immediately ran out that afternoon to do a palette knife painting with my new knowledge. Incredible! Watch Michelle work her demonstration a bit. She is just now popping in some final details with a brush after completing the bulk of the work with a knife. Beautiful!

It wasn't all work, work, work!

The entire convention is set up as a party, with dancing, prizes vendor giveaways. It is ridiculously fun from 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. You will never be bored!

And Karen even stopped by the Winsor and Newton booth to chat with her favorite art instructor, the incredibly gifted Jane Hunt (

Full disclosure: Karen cried. Awwwwww.

But she recovered nicely for a shot with Jane, who Karen says transformed the way she paints.

We are bringing back with us true refinements in our techniques that we can't wait to share with you, and most of those gains came from our paintings we did after our classroom time.

We painted in El Dorado Canyon State Park:

In the city of Golden:

In Boulder:

At Garden of the Gods:

And an all-day painting adventure to Rocky Mountain National Park to wrap the week in Painting Heaven:

Karen even sold a painting to other attendees! I can't understate to you the significance of this sale. Not only was she compensated handsomely for the work, but this sale in this venue elevated her professional status pretty significantly. I'm hoping to see Karen up on stage in a couple of years teaching at the convention! Great job, Karen!

The skies we photographed during five days have given us enough material to paint for a year or more!:

We have 752 reference photos from which to work - most stunningly composed and ready to paint as is! Jealous? Please be and let that envy serve as motivation to join us in May 2024 for the next convention. Details below.

These conventions are the painting experience of a lifetime and we are so happy to go to them not just for the intense fun and learning, but also because we know we bring that newly found inspiration and knowledge back to share with you. It keeps us fresh and growing!

Want to join us next year? Please do! The next Plein Air Convention and Expo will be in the Smoky Mountains!!!!

Follow the link below for all the information on next year's convention: (We do NOT receive any money for your attendance. This is just an honest desire to share what we feel would be the painting experience of your lifetime!)

We had the time of our lives. We hope to see you painting with us next year!

(P.S. We will start showing you what we painted as soon as the studio photos are ready. Some of the shots are future classes that will be on the schedule or on video!)


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