Why do I create ART?

Plein Air painting on Canyon Rd, Santa Fe

Last week when it was cold and windy here in Dallas, I was visiting and painting in New Mexico…Santa Fe, to be exact. I was joined by 1000 other artists at the Plein Air Convention. We painted all around the area but I ventured off to some other areas. A little bit more about that in a minute.

I create ART because it’s who I am…but I also create ART because I like to share…I like to capture the imagination…I like to see you smile and feel good when you experience one of my works. ART is my job and I am fortunate that I love my job but ART is also my life!

I was recently asked “why do you want to paint “PLEIN AIR” when you are a studio artist”? Good question, simply answer…I love to paint. But even more important, as an artist, I am always reaching to better my craft. I may have been painting for the vast majority of my life however, everyday I learn something new about ART. Painting outdoors is not an easy task. Lugging your equipment up and down hillsides, finding that special spot that moves you, setting up and then, in my case this week, having a big gust of wind knock your easel and painting into the dirt. I was lucky, though, because if the wind had gone the other direction, my easel (called a pochade) would have ended its life in the gorge irretrievable.

I love being outdoors seeing God’s beautiful creation and lucky me that now day’s we have iphones to capture these beautiful scenes, so that I can paint indoors in my studio with no bugs or snakes and with heating and air-conditioning! But one thing studio painting does not have that Plein Air painting does…a community of other artists all painting and inspiring one another at the same place. We experience mother nature with the same kind spirit and soulful mind.

While at the convention in Santa Fe (we actually stayed about 20 minutes north of there at Buffalo Thunder), I was fortunate to meet up with some notable national oil painters, Kevin MacPherson, Bill Davidson, Dave Santillanes, Jim Wodark (he just won $15,000 from the Plein Air Magazine competition), and several others on the main stage doing demo’s. I also caught up with one of my mentors from 20 years ago, Tom Lynch. He is still one of my “hero’s”.

It was a great trip with memorable experiences!

Jim Wodack & Milessa

Tom Lynch & Milessa

Milessa painting at El Rancho Golondrinas

Dave Santillanes, wife & Milessa

Milessa at White Rock, New Mexico


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