Please click on paintings to view larger.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Co-creating With Robert Genn: What's Next for Heli-Painting

"The Bugaboos Spires"
Oil on linen - 6x8"

In September 2010, Robert Genn and I taught an inaugural plein air workshop in the Bugaboos. We used the helicopter to lift us quickly to high, stunning vantages. It was a life changing and unique painting experience for everyone involved, and we all returned home with records of time spent in very sacred, magical places.

In 2013 we completed our 4th annual trip, and each year it has gained in popularity. Heli-painting is a rewarding and challenging experience that can’t help but grow you as a painter - it has become a “bucket list” opportunity for adventurous artists looking to expand their range while connecting with like minded souls.

Taking A Hard Right

Shortly after our 2013 trip, Robert was diagnosed with cancer. As many of you who follow his blog The Painters Keys know - he is meeting his diagnosis with remarkable grace, and a surprisingly pragmatic attitude to getting on with things.

I spent a few hours with him in his studio when I was in Vancouver this January. For most of our visit he reclined in a comfortable chair in his studio, working away on a painting. It was so obviously a form of meditation for him, a way of staying present in the moment, of navigating his new reality while staying connected with one of his greatest passions in life.

Over the course of our friendship Bob has been an inspiration to me in many ways. Observing how he is meeting this experience has taken that to whole new level.

I watched as his assistant, his son, and voices from the outer world all kept checking in, interrupting his sacred space to get input on the unfolding tasks of getting and keeping his affairs in order. He would pause to address what was needed, and then return to his painting and our visit. He is clearly choosing peace, acceptance, and a commitment to living now - not in past or future.

Where We’re Going From Here

We discussed at length what direction we wanted heli-painting to take going forward, and determined that we both felt strongly it was a distinctive workshop experience that should continue.

We considered what artists might best complement the kind of teaching and painting experience we have created, and for 2014 we have invited Stephen Quiller to co-instruct. Stephen is a very accomplished studio and plein air artist who has taught painting to hundreds of students. He has developed a proven approach for creating transformative shifts in the students he works with.

Stephen and I taught together on Salt Spring Island in September of 2012. He is incredibly laid back, extremely articulate and infinitely generous with his wealth of knowledge. Our intention is to continue to share with you a remarkable, trip of a lifetime painting experience.

If you’d like to join us next year – please click here for full details and booking information.

Click here to view a Heli-painting photo album