Monday, April 8, 2013

Plein Air Survey Results!!!!

As you may already know the Wisconsin Plein Air Painters Association in response to the upcoming Umbrella Group meeting issued a survey to determine the consensus of our group on various subjects...sure to come the convention!  As I am unable to attend this meeting myself (as founder of WIPAPA) we have a representative going to this meeting. I did not feel comfortable sending them without finding out how our people felt so we decided to do a survey. As we (a group of us) developed the survey two things became clear: 1. It was an opportunity to ask a wide variety of questions and 2...the questions would apply to most of the artists in the world of Plein Air. We therefore decided to make it available to all so as to get the broadest sample.

As the starting point of the survey was the conversation begun in the original article written by Eric Rhoads (The Courage to Make Waves…Oct. Nov. 2012) concerning standards for plein air events and how to apply them.  I alerted Mr. Rhoads to the survey.  In his response he took issue with the statement “creation of a sanctioning body to rate Plein Air events” and assured me in no uncertain terms that was NOT his intent but rather suggested guidelines! ”This line creates a survey bias and does not represent our intent and I think it does a disservice to the survey result and sends the wrong message about our intent.” He said. At this time I have no reason to doubt him. For this I apologize. It was not our intent to misrepresent you!

It is only fair to state that creating this survey became a bit contentious. Questions were changed, added, deleted. Wording was squabbled over. Intent was questioned and feelings bled. In the end we were divided about even releasing it. Consensus is not easy to come by among artists. In the end I decided to push forward in hopes of gaining more understanding from all who took the survey.

In hindsight, it is easy to see we could have created a better survey. For instance it is clear that invitational events have differing goals and standards than open events. Given more time we could have asked a set of questions for each eventuality and perhaps had clearer responses.

One continually amazing thing to me…when asked what made a successful event …”camaraderie with fellow artists” received the highest number of votes just ahead of sales! This to me shows the very soul of my fellow artists…oh they are a goodly bunch!!

Results can be found here:

 Full Data in spreadsheet format:   and

Wendie Thompson (Current WIPAPA administrator and all around art instigator!)


  1. Dear fellow artist. Thank you for your hard work. I shared your survey with our group: Plein Air Artists of Riverside (PAAR), and most were incredibly upset by some sanctioning body trying to tell us what to do and how to run our business. I am very glad to hear that Mr. Rhoads did not mean that at all meant it more to create some guidelines. That I could agree with. As a young group (8 years), we can always use some good suggestions on how to improve professionalism. Sales will follow.