Arizona State Parks "Plein Air"
Paintings Exhibited January 2008

         The Arizona State Parks' 50th Anniversary celebration may be best remembered by the variety of paintings it inspired from artists all across the Grand Canyon State. "Paint-out" events, which challenged artists to complete a finished work in one day throughout 2007, celebrated the red rocks of Sedona, the placid waters of Patagonia Lake, the magnificent timbers of Riordan Mansion... and the lovely gardens here at Boyce Thompson Arboretum.
Editor's Note Join us August 14, 2011, for an informal plein air painters' gathering from 7:00 to 11:00 a.m.

       Visitors to the Arboretum during January, 2008, saw the impressive variety of paintings as Arizona State Parks exhibited award-winning works from the statewide plein air series. On January 5 nearly two dozen artists participated in the afternoon "paint-out" here at the Arboretum, including (from top-to-bottom on this page) Gold Canyon painters Burdell Moody and Hank Reynolds; Mary Anne Verell-Sedillo (shown painting the Drover's Shed); Susan Strom, Lexia Gibson, Jasmine Nahorniak, Barbara Donahue and Cassandra James. For details about future "paint-out" events during 2008 at other state parks, email coordinator Mary Alice Daenzer or call her at 602-542-7119.

     Tempe artist Cindy Carrillo arranged the current exhibition, after making it her personal mission during 2007 to attend most of the plein air events around the state. Her continuing goal is to paint a scene from all 27 state parks before the 50th anniversary celebration is over. Listen to an interview with Cindy Carrillo.
         "As an oil painter, the contrast of those green cottonwood trees against the deep reds and oranges of the volcanic cliffs up above was a challenge for me at the Arboretum. And then, at Dead Horse Ranch State Park, it was the deep purple of Mingus Mountain in the distance and delicate bare trees in front -- I have several large paintings done from that scene. The Arboretum provides so many choices it is hard to choose a spot to paint! My completed piece in this show was painted from a viewpoint looking west from the Demonstration Garden...and I would guess I have completed about 15 pieces this year which were painted on location at various state parks. With the tremendous variety of scenery the parks have to offer, I don't think I will run out of subject matter."

         "And you meet so many amazing artists! At Red Rock State Park one man had been traveling through Arizona on his way to a big art event and heard about our gatherings celebrating the State Parks' 50th Anniversary....he is now putting next year's Arizona paint-outs on his calendar so he can visit again. How cool is that?" said Carrillo.

         "Plein air" is a French term which means painting in person, right in front of your subject, as opposed to an artist working in a studio or from a photograph. Plein air painters prefer to get it down live, exactly the way the sunlight is that day, on the spot -- that's plein air painting! And a paint-out is typically just an organized event where you're inviting artists to come in and work within a timeline, starting with blank canvases, then gathering later to see each other's artwork," said Carrillo.

         Arizona State Parks Education Outreach Coordinator, Mary Alice Daenzer, spearheaded the statewide plein air painting in the parks series. In 2006, Daenzer, Karen Farias, Cindy Carrillo, Mesa Art League President CJ Rider, and painter Barbara Burton brainstormed art-related events to celebrate the State Parks Anniversary.

         "We hoped to attract new guests into the park as well as the usual folks who visit. With these painting events, you get artists from all over Arizona -- even other states -- and other visitors come simply to watch the painters. We also hope the paintings completed this year will continue to inspire viewers who see the art to visit those particular state parks," said Carrillo.

         "Here's something else which the series initiated: a new statewide organization: the Arizona Plein Air Painters and one of the biggest parts of their mission statement is raising awareness of open lands, the land still in existence that we still have. Land that doesn't have model homes on it; maybe awareness can help preserve this. One of the rules the group is really adamant about is to go in, do your painting, and then leave without any sign you were there. Most painters bring along trash bags and pick up anything they find on the ground."
         "It has been so rewarding to see all the different painting groups paint together. Our styles might be diverse and in a variety of mediums, but all having the same vision and love of our natural world. Two artists may be together painting the same scene, yet each work is unique. It really opens my eyes to a scene to see it another way, through another artist's eyes."

        "Arizona Plein Air Painters was formed to unite artists from all corners of the state. The group provides educational opportunities for artists and encourages artists to give back to their communities. The group is actively working with Arizona State Parks, the National Park Service, and the Nature Conservancy to use the arts to raise appreciation of our natural beauty in Arizona," said Carrillo.
         Founding members have announced a February exhibit at the Sedona Art Center, and will schedule numerous shows and painting opportunities for members throughout 2008. Eleven plein air events are scheduled for 2008 at various Arizona State Parks.

      Boyce Thompson Arboretum is located at Highway 60 milepost #223, just three miles west of the town of Superior - a drive of about one hour east of Phoenix or two hours from Tucson (take Oracle Road North to Highway 79 past Florence to Highway 60, then East for another 12 miles). Monthly exhibits may be seen in our Visitor Center gallery daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (summer hours 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. from May-through-August). The Arboretum is an Arizona State Park and daily admission must be paid to enter the Visitor Center where the gallery is found. Admission is $7.50 for adults and $3 for ages 5-12. Annual memberships at the Arboretum begin at $45, and include a year's access, guest passes for your friends and family, along with many other benefits. A membership may be purchased in the gift shop on the day of your visit.

Check out pictures from the 2007 "Paint-Out" event

Review recent gallery shows by ...

Carolyn Gray & Connie Thomas December, 2007
Jean Sullivan November, 2007

Sue Cullumber October, 2007
Adriane Grimaldi September, 2007
Pima College print-making students July-August, 2007
Mesa Arts League June-July, 2007
Fred Charlton May, 2007
Paul Mudersbach March-April, 2007
Linda Kaiser February, 2007
Edith Kreueger-Nye December, 2006 - January, 2007
Cindy Carrillo October-November, 2006
Bob Rice September, 2006
Bud Heiss July-August, 2006
Mesa Arts League June-July, 2006
Sandy Tracey April-May, 2006
CJ Rider March, 2006
Jessica Green February, 2006
Steve Davidson January, 2006
Don & Carole Schupp December, 2005
Carolyn Gray November, 2005
Martha Burgess October, 2005
Boeing Photographers September, 2005
Lightning Lady Susan Strom July/August, 2005
Mesa Arts League June/July, 2005
Jeanette Bronson May, 2005
Tom Stanley April, 2005
Kathy McClure February-March, 2005
Pam Smyth January, 2005
Tina Faust December, 2004