Painting outdoors is one of the best things that help an artist grow for it trains us to simplify and edit to capture the essence of a scene. Painting outdoors in beautiful locations away from home expands our palette, and challenges us by painting something new. I had the opportunity this month to paint in 2 spectacular locations, Big Sky Montana, and Taos, New Mexico. 

PART 1 -Big Sky, Montana – Just the Girls

It’s so nice to have an artist friend with a condo in Montana! Big Sky is ideal for painting grand vistas, glorious mountains and an overabundance of pines. My fellow pastelist, Lisa Gleim, organized this plein air trip, inviting me and 4 other artists, Donna Biggee, Fran Milner, Leah Henry and Pat Gray to stay and paint for the week in her 2nd home. 

at Bozeman airport…minus Fran, who’s taking the pic
selfie with a Costco pot pie for dinner

Arriving in Bozeman, MT from Atlanta, we loaded up the rented Suburban with 6 people’s luggage and art supplies and food for the week from Costco with literally no room to spare! 

6 women plus 6 women’s luggage in a SUV….there’s Fran!!

I must admit, I am a fair weather painter. I like warmth and sunshine. Unfortunately, the beginning of our week was cold (in the 40’s), overcast, with off and on rain showers. Not the best when working with pastels. But I am a trooper, wearing my long underwear, layered sweaters and jacket, we made do. We did have to paint indoors one day because of the rain. Luckily, the weather broke after the 3rd day and sunny skies appeared. 

So much to see, so much to paint! Here is a selection of my paintings. 

Morning Aspens 9 x 12 pastel
painting Aspens
Painting the mountain
Wet morning so painting under a tent in the back of a restaurant. How nice of them to let us use it!
View of us painting, the rain had just stopped.
A River Runs Through It 9 x 12 pastel
Big Sky
Of course, I had to paint a big sky in Big Sky!

touching up paintings inside since it’s pouring outside
Plein Air Pals –
Tree Study


Took a drive up to Yellowstone. Met up with this big guy on the way in!

He was just strolling right in front of our car.

Waiting for Ol’ Faithful to pop

The area is just amazingly beautiful! Hanging out with friends, painting, drinking lots of wine and having great conversations, well it just doesn’t get any better than that!

A full days work
Happy Hour!
View on the way into Yellowstone
Enjoying painting in sunshine!

We had such a blast and would have loved to stay longer!

Read about my next plein air trip to Taos, New Mexico here:

http://www.nancynowak.com/2019/10/23/plein-air-tripping-part-2/

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