I have always been drawn to the open air, the beautiful outdoors, and the vastness of natural wonders around me. I am known for taking (literally) hundreds of photographs on a hike and occasionally picking up a pencil or brush to capture the beauty I witness during my adventures. What better place is there to do so than Sedona - and what better time of year than October? The air is crisp, the evenings are cooler and the night sky is clear and expansive. Perhaps that’s why so many artists flock to Sedona this time of year to indulge in the art of plein air painting.
I personally witnessed a couple dozen spectacular artists set up their box easels and canvases to capture a small window in time this past weekend for the Sedona Plein Air Festival’s Main Street Paint Out. Using everything from paint, to pastels, they quickly inspired tourists, artists, and children with their talent. I have to admit, they even inspired me to rush home at the end of the day to dust off my canvas and lay down a fresh coat of paint as well! And nothing beats that first fresh smell of oils on my palette. But better than just paint to a canvas is the amazing experience of painting outdoors.
Artists have been painting outdoors for centuries, but painting ‘en plein air’ (in the open air) only became popular in the mid 19th century when paints in tubes were introduced. Painting outdoors was even easier with the invention of the French Box Easel, too. So, today’s artists trek into the wild or even to backyard views around Sedona to capture the brilliant landscape with similar kits more often. And so should you!
I say everyone, “Take to the hills rocks!” Grab your pencils, pastels, oils, acrylics, cameras or clay and immerse yourself in the beauty of Sedona. Take this time to create, capture and share the beauty of the landscape through your art and craft. You don’t have to be an award winning artist to break out the easel and paints in the open sun. Don’t be afraid to express yourself outdoors among other admirers of beauty. There’s a whole world out there, waiting for you to paint it.
Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.
About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.