Friday, March 8, 2013

Walt Disney World Plein Air 2013

Let me just start off by saying that I'm a pretty big Disney geek. Not a over-the-top know it all about Disney, but nonetheless an above average fan. I'm lucky that my best friend from childhood, Christian Slade, lives in Orlando not too far from the parks, and we try to get together once a year to do a Walt Disney World Plein Air trip.

Over the years we've always gone into the parks with our sketchbooks and drawn for hours, but these past few years have become more focused. We plan ahead, talk about where and what we want to paint, narrow down our canvas sizes, and make decisions about our brushes and paints weeks before we meet up. Our trip usually takes place over a long weekend since we both have wives, small children and jobs to get back to. This year we did it over the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend from January 11-13th. I actually ran the half marathon which was awesome, and next year we plan on running the full. Adding the run into the trip is really fun, but the main goal is painting, and lots of it.

From trial and error we realized that working in Acrylics is the easiest. It dries the fastest, so within minutes we can pack up and move to another spot. We try to limit our paintings to about an hour, and always try to pick a spot close to somewhere that sells beer ;) Finding a bench or table is a plus, but not a necessity.

We also decided to go small this year in terms of canvas size, which is great because we both paint out of old cigar boxes. We keep our supplies and gear as light as we can, so we're not dragging around tons of equipment. This trip I worked on 3.5 x 5 canvases, keeping all of my paintings uniform. Next year i'll probably move up to 4x6 or 5x7, but 3.5 x 5 is a great size to start at. I've done 8x10 in the park before and they've turned out nicely, but they take a long time to finish. Our goal was to try to get as many icons of the park as we could, in the short time we had.

Painting in Walt Disney World is a lot of fun, and I've never had a problem. You might get some funny looks from the security guards checking bags at the entrance when they see all of the paints and gear, but other than that it's a real pleasure. Just make sure you find a spot with shade, you can get cooked really fast out there.

Below are the paintings I did, along with some on-the-spot photos I took during our run. The last picture is what Christian and I did combined from Friday thru Sunday. I can remember each painting vividly and they serve as nice reminders of a epic trip.

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