Fire up your computer, pull up a chair, and you’ll have the best seat in the house for three days of plein air painting instruction from 24 instructors who are members of Plein Air Painters of Utah (PAPU). The three-day event is enrolling students now and will go live January 21-23, 2021.
Live? you ask. How can that be? PAPU member Tom Howard says instructors have come up with a helpful hybrid of video demos and live narration with opportunities for students to ask questions. It’s a format Howard recently used for a presentation to the Utah Watercolor Society. Students and instructor are together on Zoom, watching together a previously produced video as the instructor narrates what the students are seeing. Students may either ask questions out loud or type them into a chat page for the instructor to answer after the video.
PAPU began planning this event when it became clear last summer that their annual live plein air event, usually held in Midway in September, could not be held due to Covid 19. The Midway program has been popular, attracting more than 100 participants. PAPU members began talking about video options, but, Howard admits, “Some of us are technically challenged.” Then Bryan Mark Taylor suggested partnering with Sentient Academy, an online art school he founded with Keith Haung.
This fall, instructors began making videos of their plein air painting demos, or whatever they wanted to teach (there are some lessons that aren’t plein air). They helped each other with the technology as needed, then gave the video files to Sentient for production. Sentient will host the Zoom sessions and handle promotion, registration, and follow-up with registered students.
Students have two choices – a $300 (early bird) package of live (Zoom) sessions for three days, including later online access to any sessions they may have missed or want to watch again; or a $100 package of online access to all of the videos after the event.
While physically attending a live painting workshop is an ideal way to learn, Zoom has its advantages, too. Instead of students jockeying for position around the instructor for the best vantage point, all students have the same best view of the instructor and the painting. The instructor doesn’t have to talk and paint at the same time but can explain more clearly what they’ve already painted. And, with Zoom instruction, which is recorded, the student can watch it again and again, to catch what they might have missed the first time.
Most of the demos are 30-90 minutes long. Each day ends with two-hour demos. Sessions cover a variety of topics and media, including watercolor, oils, oil portrait, cityscape, snowscape, value relationships, barn scenes, Procreate (a digital painting tool), drawing, and more.
Instructors include some of the plein air rock stars of Utah, including Bryan Mark Taylor, Kathryn Stats, Steve Stauffer, Rob Adamson, David Dean, Kimball Warren, David Koch, Tom Howard, John Hughes, Roland Lee, Natalie Shupe, Rett Ashby, Scott Bevan, Susan Gallacher, Susette Gertsch, Josh Clare, Steve McGinty, Steve Heward, George Handrahan, Michael Malm, Becky Hartvigsen, and Rick Graham.
For a complete look at the three-day program and to register, go to http://pleinairutahlive.sentientacademy.com.
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