Plein Air Convention & Expo - 2015

Monterey, California

Plein Air Expo 2015 was another awesome experience. As I transition from an engineering based career in high energy physics, into a career in ART – as I should have pursued all along - I find that I am increasingly buoyed by the people I meet. The most influential person and one of my closest friends is B. Eric Rhoads the CEO of Streamline Publishing of Fine Art Connoisseur, Plein Air Magazine, etc. and the man who is personally responsible for launching the outdoor painting movement called Plein Air in America into the mainstream. Being a humble man he would deny this but most everyone in the business of producing or selling high-quality art would agree with me.Eric is a dynamic individual who shares my passion for art and fans the artistic flames of all those around him. He reaches the artistic soul of countless artists and would-be artists through the annual Plein Air Convention and Expo his company puts on. The inspiration he builds within the folks who attend is impressive and is why I tend to share my experiences of artistic growth with him during my transition. This past week I shared (more) stories which he took the liberty of sharing with others during his early morning Art Marketing Boot Camps. He starts by inspiring positive thinking and outlines ways of getting and keeping your focus on the goal. It is clearly how he lives and how most of us navigate our way to the places we truly want to be in life….when we are enlightened enough to do so.I recently reduced the work hours of my engineering job to allow more time for the creation of more and better art. In 25 years of working at the national laboratory I have never known anyone allowed to work only 3 days a week, but I projected positively that this was what I wanted to do – when an opportunity came up in which it would sound appealing to management, I was ready – proposed it and am now working it!

Back row Left to Right: Rodrigo Zaniboni, B. Eric Rhoads, Mitchell Neto, Sergio Lopez, Anton Pavlenko and Ulrich Gleiter Front row: Carole Gray-Weihman, Karl Bostwick, Brenda Boylan and Tonya Zenin - Selfie at Post-Event party adding M.J. Sarmiento and Thomas Jefferson Kitts to the mix later. I am beginning to incorporate all the loves of my life into what I “do”.

I enjoy making wine with friends and the social aspect of sharing these experiences. I recently had my most successful show ever at the Fremont Art Association in January when I was selected to be the “featured artist”. I displayed over 30 paintings in this show and since I make both art and wine, I combined the two and produced labels for the bottles featuring my art. I made the show reception as much fun as possible, with good music, good food, good homemade wine and pointed out that the painting on the bottle was located somewhere in the show. I suggested to visitors they should “try to find it” and I think this inspired folks to really look more closely at the art. Before I knew it, folks were lining up to buy my original works (2 buyers at once is a line right? o)Well, Eric expressed disappointment that I had not shared this with him earlier but I told him he could use it next year. When you are the master of ceremonies, running the convention, folks don’t easily find the time to share stories with you. As the week went on I met many fantastically talented artists and made many new friends. I felt humbled viewing the art of the many modern-day masters that attended. Many were on-staff as faculty to assist during the daily out door painting excursions. Names such as Brian Blood, Lori Putnam, Shelby Keefe, Camille Przewodek and a host of others were present and extremely helpful.The event ended on Friday but I was invited to attend a small post-event party in the publisher’s suite. So I stayed an extra night and went up to find another opportunity to incorporate other things I love in life such as traveling internationally, meeting new people and speaking Brazilian Portuguese. I found a very international crowd there including emerging artists from Brazil such as Rodrigo Zambioni, Raphael Montagnoli and established Brazilian artist (living in New York) and Salmagundi member, Luiz Vilela. Raphael spoke passionately in Portuguese to me about how he is determined to change the face of art in Brazil and gain the respect it deserves. I believe he can do it and many of us are excited to lend our support.I was pleased to find a couple of accomplished artists who were quite intrigued with physics as well – this is a fascinating juxtaposition because I find the folks I work with in the physics community are quite intrigued with my art (and several collect it - yay!). Much to my surprise, being in the middle of these two professions has proven to make my experience more interesting to people on both sides of the fence. The two fellows most interested in laser-driven fusion were local California artist, Karl Bostwick and the super-talented Thomas Jefferson Kitts of Willamette Oregon, whom I enjoyed immensely. I believe they both may be as passionate about wine as I am too - judging from what we managed to put away that evening.Other artists I shared a wonderful evening with included accomplished California artists, Jessie Powell and Carole Gray-Weinham, Oregonian, M.J. Sarmiento, Sergio Lopez, Brenda Boylan, Russian artists, Tonya Zenin, Ulrich Gleiter and Anton Pavlenko. All very outgoing and FUN!Though intimidated by the incredible artistic talent that surrounded me, I am grateful for the exposure to what is truly “spectacular” art. There are many good artists out there and I know I am as good as some - but realize I am also not as good as many.However, in these folks and these newfound friendships I see a clear path forward for becoming one of the best. These people are the best and having ever more increasing opportunities to paint with, and learn from them can only help get me further along the path to also creating “spectacular” art.I am committed to this path - for life!