Between a Rock and a Wet Place: Keeping Your Art Balance (Online art lesson #62)

PleinAir Magazine’s Paint the Adirondacks Invitational – WOW!

Lillian Kennedy painting an Adirondack waterfall en plein air

Eric Rhoads and his team pulled off an event so inspirational that I will be motivated by it for months to come.

All the amazing people, paintings, and places… all the rare opportunities going on simultaneously…  How does an artist – accustomed to working alone – stay balanced?

How do you sort yourself out in a situation so stimulating?  How do you sit mid-stream with calm focus while life tumbles and flows all around you?  There will always be “reasons” that you can’t do it, but how do you concentrate on the ways that you CAN do it without getting out of balance?

The Flume waterfall, Ausable River, Adirondacks

Looking upstream towards the Flume on the Ausable River

ASSIGNMENT:  Use this photo (or your own) to paint from mid-stream.

As you sit on your imaginary rock, open your heart wide.   You don’t have that long  – so let it be  just you and nature.  It doesn’t matter now what the other painters are painting.  It doesn’t matter that the dorm sheets won’t stay on the bed because the mattress is covered in plastic.  Sit down. Forget about the dog that just scrambled onto your rock and shook it’s wet hair. Get balanced.   Now is your time!  Paint and be happy.  Keep your balance or you’ll end up downstream spitting out water.

In less than six minutes En Plein Air Waterfall Painting shows a start to finish  acrylic painting.  the video was made last year just after returning  from the first Paint the Adirondacks.   Awestruck in the Adirondacks  is a lesson on expanding your comfort zone.

en plein air landscape painting, waterfall in the adirondacks, Lillian Kennedy 9"x12" acrylic

en plein air landscape painting, waterfall in the Adirondacks, Lillian Kennedy 9″x12″ acrylic

There are plenty of rock studios out there – perhaps you’ll join us next year. Go to Publisher’s Invitational if you want to start dreaming about it. You can read about the event in the next issue of PleinAir Magazine.  Get on their mailing list!

Waterfall paintings from different areas for your enjoyment:

Sarah Yeoman painted the waterfalls below during the invitational.  Always friendly, fun, and helpful, she arrived fully equipped and even brought two kayaks for the group to use.  Check her out at:

Sarah Yeoman "Bog River Falls" watercolor on Aquaboard 9x12

Sarah Yeoman “Bog River Falls” watercolor on Aquaboard 9×12

"St.Regis Falls" watercolor on Aquaboard 14x18

Sarah Yeoman “St.Regis Falls” watercolor on Aquaboard 14×18


Sarah Yeoman - watercolor - The Flume (Adirondack waterfall)

Sarah Yeoman – watercolor – The Flume (Adirondack waterfall)

Margaret Bobb - acrylic - Alberta Falls

Margaret Bobb painted Alberta Falls (Rocky Mountain National Park) primarily with a knife in many layers of acrylic




Janette Rozene, Waterfall in Central Park, Watercolor and gouache

Janette Rozene, Waterfall in Central Park, NYC   Watercolor and gouache

Janette Rozene, Ravine Waterfall in Central Park, Watercolor and gouache

Janette Rozene, Ravine Waterfall in Central Park,NYC,  Watercolor and gouache

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5 Responses to Between a Rock and a Wet Place: Keeping Your Art Balance (Online art lesson #62)

  1. Elsy Wilkins says:

    Hi Lillian
    What a beautiful place that is where you are painting.
    You inspire me to continue my very new interest in plein air painting.

  2. Hi Lilly!

    …LOVE the plein air piece from the Adirondacks! …can’t wait to see more of your work from there! Elsy and I had a blast painting plein air in Steamboat Springs. Right now, I wish I could paint plein air every day. ~big sigh~ It’s a good thought anyway!

    • Lillian Kennedy says:

      It does get addictive. I haven’t been back out to paint since returning, but every time I am out, i see things that I want to paint. I want that state of concentration on nature and paint and beauty.

  3. Janette Rozene says:

    What a joy to see you painting the Adirondack beauty!

  4. Janette Rozene says:

    I love Sarah Yeoman’s work. Thanks for sharing it.

    Another great post. When you are used to painting alone and then find yourself painting with others, how to find that place where you are not self-conscious of the other painters working around you and quiet that part of your brain that feels you must reach a certain quality of painting that others expect of you. Just like in yoga, how to not compare yourself to others and be yourself on that day. How to loose yourself in the process.

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