The DCPAP is a group of artists that enjoy painting on location (plein air) in a manner based on direct observation of the landscape. The group provides an opportunity to meet other painters, to share ideas, locations, and to generally enjoy and promote the plein air painting experience. Group outings are scheduled from May through November and participation is free. Painters from beginners to professionals are welcome.

DCPAP Outing Coordinator:

Tom Gilbert
Email: tagilbet@gmail.com
Home Phone: 608-222-1745
Mobile Phone: 608-886-2133

DCPAP Blog Administrator:

Pat Wafer
Email: pwafer@charter.net
Home: 608 231-2773

(Note: Starting in June, 2018, contact Tom Gilbert for blog related questions)

onal Information and Guidelines for Members

by Tom Gilbert

The following shares some thoughts and provides miscellaneous information about how the DCPAP group works. Newcomers to the group are especially encouraged to read this.

There are no membership fees to join DCPAP. Persons wishing to participate just need to contact me and I will add their email address to the group list. Information on outings is then provided via email.

I started this group in 2012 by contacting a few painting friends and posting notices in art stores and libraries. At first many of the outings were sparsely attended and I wasn't sure about the group's future. But in the last few years interest seems to be growing and our email distribution list has grown to about 85 people. Many people can't get out on a regular basis and last year the actual size of painting groups was typically 6 to 8 people, which is a nice size group.

An Invitation to All

I want to encourage everyone to come out to DCPAP outings regardless of how well, or in what style you paint. Plein air painting can be quite difficult at first, but it's difficult for practically everyone and is nothing to be embarrassed about. My intent and hope is for the DCPAP participants to just enjoy the outdoors, the painting process, meeting other people, and supporting each other. We do not have formal critiques or showings of paintings after an outing. But members do share and learn from each other in more casual interactions.

After meeting many painters over the years I've discovered how varied people are in what motivates them to paint and in their attitudes about painting. Some are beginners and still uncertain as to how much time and attention they want to give to painting. Others might be called “hobbyists” in that they are often content (more or less) with how they paint and focus more on just enjoying themselves. For professionals and some others, painting is a more important part of their life and who they are. These painters are often dedicated and strive towards high standards.

These differing motivations and attitudes can sometimes lead to conflicts and misunderstandings between people. But what I've gradually come to realize is that there is no one “right”, or better way to approach painting. You can dedicate your life to it, or it may just be a casual hobby. Either way is fine. And by understanding these differences we can strive to be more tolerant and accepting of everyone in the group.

Painting Locations - I'm quite familiar with most painting locations in the county, but still, every year it seems like I find something new. So let me know if you have a painting site suggestion. And If you own some nice scenic farm or natural property, or know someone who does, and want to host an outing, that would be great. And we do, on occasion, have outings beyond the Dane County borders. It also seems like following up a morning outing with a pot-luck is popular and if anyone wants to do something like that please let me know.

Scheduling Outings – To schedule outings I'll send an email notice about a week or two before the date. I might schedule a few dates all at once but I don't intend to initially set up all the dates for the entire season. We have always painted on weekdays, usually Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. We may schedule an occasional weekend outing.

Re-Scheduling Outings - Typically, I won't be trying to closely monitor the weather in order to reschedule outing dates. Often one can find nice lighting effects on the edges of stormy weather. But if the forecast is rather certain for a steady rain then I may reschedule a date with short notice.

Replying to Outing Notices - When I send emails with notice of an outing you really don't need to reply to me to let me know if you're coming or not. But, having said that, it is sometimes nice to know who might show up, so if you are planning to attend, and are inclined to reply, please do. I'll appreciate it. And let's keep common email etiquette in mind … think twice before using “reply to all”.

Outing Logistics - This is an informal group and, of course, there's no set rules to follow, so if you want come to an outing early, or late, or set up in some more remote location, that's fine. But at the same time, we don't want people showing up at widely varying times, setting up in completely separate spots, and then leaving whenever, such that we're not really interacting as a group. So I want to encourage people to try, when possible, to arrive at about the same time, maybe set up closer together (depending on the site), and then get together after painting. If it's a morning session, then possibly go out for lunch.

On occasion I've had people tell me they came out to an outing but couldn't find the other painters. When I send an email notice about an outing I'll try to be very clear about a “primary meeting area”and the “start time”. We do paint at some large parks with multiple parking lots and it's possible to be in the wrong spot if you don't pay careful attention to the meeting area description. Also, if you don't see anyone, and it's past the meeting time, you may want to search around a bit. And feel free to text or call me on my mobile phone.

Explaining my Short-Comings - I do enjoy meeting other painters but I also enjoy painting and can get quite absorbed in it. So, for me at least, it's sometimes hard to paint and socialize at the same time. For example, the first half hour of painting is typically critical, so once I start, I may not be ready to greet another person who shows up a little later. So please understand if I don't always seem to be the greatest host. I'm also not so great at remembering names (I'm more likely to remember your art work). I guess what I'm getting at is please try to not be too easily offended by a goof like me.

I do try to meet and talk to new persons coming out for the first time, but trust that others at the outing would also make an effort to do this. We need to have a group effort in making newcomers feel welcome at outings. And the general difficulty of painting and socializing at the same time is why I think it's important to get together after painting for lunch or just general discussion.

Use and Maintenance of the Email Distribution List – We will use email more strictly as a way to communicate specifically about the group outings. Other more general information will be placed on the blog, plus we also have the calendar feature with the painting dates on the blog. Members should feel free to use the group email distribution list if you want to share an art related event or show with the group. But, please, use it with discretion, and often it may be better to post something on the blog rather than use email.

The email distribution list now has about 85 names on it, and some on that list rarely, or have never, come to an outing. So I want to point out that you probably don’t need to be on the list, and could just use the blog if you only want to keep track of the group in a general way. So let me know if you want to be taken off the distribution list. I’m certainly not trying to get rid of anyone, I just want to keep the email list manageable and don’t want to be sending unwanted junk emails to anyone.

DCPAP Blog Postings– Our blog address is: pleinairdaneco.blogspot.com. As a sort of diary for our painting season it would nice to have at least one posting for every outing. Anyone attending the outing is welcome to post something. People typically post the painting they worked on but one could also post a photo of the painting location or of some painters in action. Or maybe just written comments on something that happened would be of interest to the group.

Pat Wafer has been our blog contact in the past but starting in June, 2018, Pat will be taking a break from her Blog Administrator duties. In her place, please contact Tom Gilbert.  If anyone wants to add a post about an art workshop, event, or some other art-related item, contact us to coordinate that. And if you have a personal art web site, let us know if you want to include a link on the blog for your web page.