Answers to Your Important Questions About the Plein Air Convention.

What is Plein Air Painting?

Plein air is a French term for “outside or outdoors”. The French coined the term plein air painting (technically: painting en’ plein air), which means painting outside in nature.

There is a huge movement of painters participating because it’s fun to paint on location (though it is different than studio painting), fun to paint with others and make friends, and fun to travel to beautiful spots to create paintings. The convention is all about plein air painting, teaching painting, going outside to paint, and offering supplies.

What is included with Registration?

Your registration fee allows you to access every regular convention session, all demonstrations, the expo hall, the daily paint-outs, and all social events, as well as a continental breakfast each morning. You have full access to four stages and can come and go as you please. We do offer an optional pre-convention workshop and a basics course for an additional fee.


What about transportation to painting locations?

We do not provide any transportation. If you are coming to the convention hotel only you will not need a car unless you intend to attend the daily paint-outs around San Diego. In that case you will need to carpool with others or drive yourself to painting locations. We are going out painting each day, and one of the painting locations is right outside the convention center but the others are within about a half hour’s drive. If you absolutely cannot find transportation, we can arrange for you to ride with staff. Just sign up at the transportation desk in the Expo Hall. We encourage car pools so you can get to know others, and because there are always more painters than there are parking spaces.

Hotel parking prices are below, but there is also a public lot across the street from the hotel for $10/day.

0-1 HR $10
1-2 HRS $14
2-3 HRS $18
3-4 HRS $22
4-5 HRS $26
5 + HRS $32
OVERNIGHT RATE         $32


0-2 HRS $14
2-4 HRS $24
4-8 HRS $32
8 + HRS $37
OVERNIGHT RATE         $37


Registration DOES NOT include hotel and all meals

Please note that the hotel has several dining options. Time is limited on our lunch breaks, so get out and get back fast! You’re on your own for all meals other than the continental breakfast each morning during Art Marketing Boot Camp.

Is there a single-day rate to attend?

This event is “one price includes all,” and there is no single-day rate. Unfortunately, we cannot tie up seats that otherwise would be sold.


What is your cancellation policy?

We will refund 50% of the registration fee for cancellation on or after January 25, 2017. No refunds on or after February 25, 2017.

I’m a collector. May I attend?

Of course. Although most of our sessions are geared toward artists, collectors are welcome to attend. There will be some discussions about art history and collecting. Best of all, you can interact with the artists and watch them paint on paint days, and we have an art show where you can buy loads of paintings! Though you must register to attend the convention if you wish to attend sessions, you can visit the art show and the expo hall without a ticket.

I have a gallery. May I attend?

Yes, as a paid registrant. Many galleries have attended to connect with or meet artists,  and to attend the Art Marketing Boot Camp sessions, which are worth the price of admission.

Is Art Marketing Boot Camp Part of the Convention?

Yes, Art Marketing Boot Camp, conducted by publisher Eric Rhoads, is a no-charge bonus for those registered for the convention. The sessions start each morning at 6:30 am and last until 7:45 each morning. Rhoads’ is known for delivering a lot of valuable insights and we recommend taking notes.

How do we travel with easels and paint?

You’ll need a travel case that won’t break when you check it (or ship it) on the airplane. Oil paints are approved by TSA and Homeland Security, BUT you should label the outside of the box to say it contains vegetable oil-based paint (LINSEED) and that it has an approved flash point. Do NOT ship mineral spirits or solvents on the plane. We’ve created a label that you can download and use during your travel right here. You will need to pick up whatever else you need locally, though some vendors in the Expo Hall may be offering samples or sale of mineral spirits.

I’m new to plein air painting and I don’t have any supplies. What should I bring?

If you’re already a painter you know that you cannot easily take your “studio” outside, therefore experienced plein air painters have developed condensed outdoor studios that they can carry in a backpack or roller bag. This consists of a portable easel (there are many types) paints, canvas panels, shade umbrellas, and various tools.

If you’ve never painted, or if you paint but have never plein air painted, we recommend our optional Plein Air Painting for Beginners Course The BASICS OF PLEIN AIR, which is held the full day before the opening of the convention. This course describes the differences in equipment, the paints, and demonstrates various types of painting such as oils, pastels, watercolor, etc. You must be a registered attendee to attend and there is an optional fee. You can register here. http://streamlinepublishing.com/s/product/2017-plein-air-convention-basics-course/

Why Can I Not See The Event Hotel On the Website?

Sadly, in previous years people held hotel rooms and released them at the last minute, which not only prevented others from getting rooms, but opened up rooms the day before the convention when it was too late to sell them. So this year we’re offering the room information once you have registered for the convention. Out intent is to discourage holding rooms, which we end up having to pay for.

Is There Any Activity at Night?

The  hotel lobby and pool areas always have a lot of people hanging out, often till the wee hours. It’s the place to be and one of the reasons you want to stay on campus so you don’t miss the fun. Plus the early mornings make it hard to drive in, especially with San Diego traffic. We also have evening sessions, which are after dinner and often go till ten or eleven pm, and there are often night time (Nocturne) painting sessions.

Your Schedule is Hectic, Do I Have to Attend Everything?

We have found that some people cannot get enough, so they want to be busy from morning to late night. We aim to please, so we have early morning marketing sessions, then educational sessions most of the day, then we go painting together, and then we have some evening sessions. Then, of course, the bar after, if you wish. Take it at your own pace (excuse the pun). Only you know what pace you can keep up. If you want to opt out for a nap or a break, we’re ok with that.

How can I possibly see demos if there are 900+ people?

People are used to workshops where they can see things upclose, yet even with 15 people, someone cannot see properly. Be solved that with close up cameras and big screen video. When I say big, I mean really really big.

The convention ballroom has GIANT HIGH-DEFINITION VIDEO SCREENS showing what the video cameras picks up (a closeup of the painting surface and sometimes the palette). You’ll be able to see better than you normally can, and if you can find a seat up close, we you can do that too. Each of our four stages has a big screen and cameras.

Can I get any personal attention from the faculty?

Absolutely. When we go painting we ask our field painters or field mentors to look for people wanting help or critiques. They are easy to spot… bright hat, big sign and a flag. You can set up next to them or you’ll see them roving around to help. And we give you a bright pink card. When you see one, WAVE THEM DOWN and they will work with you individually.

What do you have for watercolor painters?

We have a WATER MEDIA TRACK (watercolor and other water-based media) with some of the top water media artists in the world. This has a dedicated classroom and big-screen viewing for about 200 water media painters, and sessions will run the full length of the convention (after opening night). You will fully be a part of the entire convention and can come and go to all other sessions at the convention and have full access to the Expo Hall. You are part of the convention, you just have your own track.


What do you have for pastel painters?

We have a PASTEL TRACK with some of the top pastel artists in the world. This has a dedicated classroom and big-screen viewing for about 200 pastel painters, and sessions will run the full length of the convention (after opening night). You will fully be a part of the entire convention and can come and go to all other sessions at the convention and have full access to the Expo Hall. You are part of the convention, you just have your own track.


What is the demo stage?

We have FOUR stages. Main stage is where all the keynotes and speakers and main presentations will be, plus the oil demos. The DEMO STAGE is a forth stage, which accommodates additional painting demonstrations.

I’m intimidated. I don’t know anyone, and it seems like an awfully big crowd.

The convention may have a lot of attendees but it feels small. f you don’t have any friends there, you soon will. Everyone gets acquainted easily through the various networking events including an OPENING ORIENTATION that matches up people with new friends so you can have dinner or lunch groups to get acquainted. People who have attended knowing no one have told us they made new friends. We’ve also been told by people attending who were worried about the convention’s size that they could see well, it did not feel crowded, and, in fact, they felt like part of a giant family of their tribe.

I’m intimidated because I’m not as good as the painters there.

Actually, painters of ALL LEVELS are welcome and attending. There are lots of painters, at every stage from beginner, moderate, intermediate and highly accomplished. As one pro said last year to a beginner, “We were all beginners, we all struggled to learn, we all had to practice, and we used to be intimidated too. You are with family. No one will judge you here.” You will be very comfortable. We’ve had dozens of people who had never painted before, and many more who had painted, but never en plein air. We made them all feel comfortable. They are not judged. Some bought their easels and paints at the convention and painted for the first time. We highly recommend the Basics Course, which will help you feel more secure.

Tell me about the Art Show.

We have a show of ATTENDEE and FACULTY paintings. When you register, you have the option to rent a display easel. Paintings will be available for purchase and the show will be promoted to the general public. If your painting sells you can put another on your easel, and there is a possibility you can underwrite some or all of your cost to attend.


What professional painters will be there?

Keep an eye on the agenda and the speakers page; this always changes rapidly as we add new people. We will have onstage demos and panels, plus many brilliant painters in the field doing on-location demos, including some of the top painters in the world.

Will there be critiques?

You are welcome to ask any faculty member for a critique, especially the days we are out painting. All have been asked to participate, though it is up to the individual painter. We will also have formal critique sessions in the evenings, which are chosen on a draw.

Do I have to pay for each workshop?

No. One price covers all educational events during the convention. We do have two optional pre-convention workshops, which do require a separate payment.


How can I cover my expenses?

First check with your accountant, but you may be able to write off the expense of attending a convention for professional improvement. Also, we have arranged for payment plans, which will expire the closer we get to the convention. And if you sell a painting at the show, it might cover some or all of your expenses. But consider this an investment in your career and your painting ability. You will see improvement.

Is anyone coming from outside the U.S.A.?

Yes! We have had from painters in faraway places like New Zealand, Mexico, Canada, Ireland, France, Australia, Europe, China, and Saudi Arabia who have attended and make this a truly international affair!


Will there be collectors or galleries present?

You can bet on it. Though this is an event for painters, this kind of event is bound to attract some curious collectors and gallery professionals.

Will there be an exhibit hall?

Absolutely. We’ve invited suppliers, vendors, workshop promoters, framers, and others to show their wares in our Expo Hall — we have a giant hall with more vendors than ever. Most vendors offer special deals. You’ll be able to buy paint, brushes, frames, books, easels, supplies, and many other items. Our exhibit hall and the number of vendors is larger than ever.

I’ve never been to a convention. What can I expect?

Think of this as the ultimate gathering of plein air painters (and many other kinds of painters). It’s a place to meet other painters, see the various products, and to learn and expand your ability as an artist. You will arrive, pick up your badge at our registration table, and then have free time, depending on when you arrive. You can attend our new attendee orientation, then attend the opening ceremonies and then the opening cocktail reception and spend a couple of hours meeting other painters (and new friends).

Once our sessions begin, you’ll go to the main stage or the stage of your choice, where you can pick a seat and watch what happens onstage. There will be big-screen video so you can see well no matter where you sit. Demos, panels, and speakers will be onstage and you’ll get loads of opportunities to see the best painters in the world at work.

I’m a painter but not a plein air painter.

We have figurative artists on the agenda, and there are often people inside the convention center painting still life and portraits. Many figurative painters have found that plein air painting is an important discipline because it teaches color, form, and light.

What is the attire?

Very casual. We want you to be comfortable, plus you’ll be painting, so it’s OK to wear paint clothes. The building will have AC on, so it may get cool in the main ballroom.

Is there convention merchandise for sale?

We have lots of new items in our PleinAir Store. Hats, shirt, patches, books, and some special discounts on DVDs.

What about painting in and around the hotel?

As always, you’ll find people wanting to paint others while inside. First, know that if there is any damage or spillage, you will be personally responsible to the hotel, so you’ll want a dropcloth. Also, we don’t recommend painting in your room — but if you do, the hotel will hold you responsible for any damage.

Can I show my paintings?

Sure. Bring ’em along and show them to whomever you wish. Some may bring paintings into the hotel after paint days. But you should sign up for our Art Showcase so you can show and sell your paintings.

What will I need in the meetings (demonstrations and lectures)?

You may wish to bring a notepad to take notes or a camera to take pictures. Video is prohibited.

What about the video and audio recording?

Video and audio recording are prohibited. We have many videos for sale at the store from many instructors.

What’s the best airport to fly in to?

San Diego airport is closest. You may wish to fly to Orange County and drive

Tell Me About the Pre-Convention Quang Ho Workshop

We’ve asked Quang to come in, share his secrets on creating paintings and compositions for a one and a half day event. This will include demonstrations and lectures. This particular workshop is for viewing and does not allow for personal painting during the event.

Special Information for Attendees

What to bring to the convention?



Unless you are driving, the TSA will not allow solvent in carry on or in checked baggage. Solvent will be available at the event from Gamblin at their booth. They will also collect and recycle the used solvent. Bring a vessel to store it in once there.

Items you can bring that must be checked in and not for carry on:

Items that you can carry on

Take only what you will actually use and is relevant to the medium that you work in to keep from having to pay for extra weight and having to lug it around. If flying it is best to check-in your art gear and supplies. Attach the label to your baggage containing art materials that is supplied here to alert the TSA of the contents.

What is Plein Air Wars

Like the game shows in reality TV, this show will pit painters against painters, paint will be flying, and artists will try to produce the best painting (judged by the audience) under difficult conditions, non dominant hand and obtuse colors. It’s on the opening night and going to be fun.

Is there a Closing Party?

Yes, and the theme will be a “60’s Beach Party” so bring your best Hawaiian shirt or skirt. Plan to cut loose and dance to the oldies. You’ve worked hard all week and deserve some additional fun.

What Are Specialty Sessions?

We have evening sessions helping you master something very specific, like painting the sea, or painting the rocks in a stream. These are open to all convention attendees.

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