For me, one of the highlights of being in Tahoe, a place pretty stacked with highlights, is painting for a week in a plein air class with Phyllis Schaffer. I've taken the class three years in a row from Phyllis, a Sierra-based oil painter whose work manages to expresses the incredible-ness of the area. She's not only an amazing painter--I mean, really amazing-- she's also a talented teacher. Which I think is a rare combo. This year I felt really off. I couldn't get into the groove and did only one painting I was happy with, which I lost by driving away with the painting on the roof of the car. Advice from my 93-year-old mother: set things on the HOOD of car.
So, my paintings were crap, but the days spent at 10K feet, brush in hand, admiring the landscape, learning from a fabulous teacher, were not. The wildflowers were late, so Mt. Rose looked like this late into the summer.
More crappy work! That's my motto.
In spite of not painting anything I was happy with (that I got to keep) I will do the class again next summer, and forever, if I'm allowed. And you should too. The older I get, the more everyone sounds like Yoda, but week with Phyllis is a week with a painting-fu master. The class is through Sierra Nevada College, and is open to painting students at all levels. Phyllis has a solo exhibition at the Stremmel Gallery in Reno, November 3 to December 3. Don't miss it if you are in the area.
Imagine seeing something like this in real life. More of her work is here.