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En Plein Aire Outings, Hikes, Workshops

& Artist Retreats

Sierra Nevada Region 2020

“Essentially what we do 

is trounce out into the wilderness and paint our interpretation of the beauty that surrounds us,” says Childs.  “Inspiration is the key to all good painting, and getting outdoors and painting not only what we see, but merging that with how the space and experience makes us feel is key to creating excellent art.”

Hikes and Plein Aire Outings 


 5/30 SAT  Caples Lake - 1:30 to 4:30pm, meet near old hotel


 5/27 Cave Rock - 8am to 1pm, $10 parking. Hiking & Light walking

     Hike to top on 5/27, 1 mile, then go to boat launch area call 

     530-306-2379 for details

     Return next week on 6/3 to paint “The Lady of the Lake”

     Hwy 28 Glenbrook, NV - eastern side of the lake



6/3  Cave Rock - 8am to 2:30pm, Meet at boat launch area ($10) to paint “The Lady of the Lake”.   Hwy 28 Glenbrook, NV - eastern side of the lake

6/17 Kings Beach - 8am-2:30pm meet in lot on east side of park ($10).  There is a shady area near parking, or you can work on the beach (bring shade awning).  CA Hwy 28 in Kings Beach


Emerald Bay En Plein Aire Experience - 6/25-28 - Four-Day Workshop both on location and at Tahoe Art League Gallery - South Lake Tahoe. email tfa.create for more details




07/01- Sand Harbor - 8am-noon - I will save area near the parking lot.  Text 530-306-2379 once you get there for exact location.  We can usually get a section of beach toward the middle of end of the parking lot to your left as you go in.  ($10)  NV-Hwy 28, Incline, Nevada

En Plein Aire Experience - Paint Lamoile Canyon  

ELKO - 07/11 & 12  

Call 775-753-8170 for more details or go to!


Relax & Recharge Women's Artist’s Retreat @ Zepher Cove 


For details go to


Planning Well for Plein Aire:


  • Being prompt helps, we can wait 5 min or so with a text warning, however any place off Hwy 88, or to the east side of Lake Tahoe renders my phone useless, so the sooner you know you’re running a tad late be sure to let me know (530) 306-2379.  When I put a time of 7am it’s usually because I know we will not get parking if we’re not there that early.  The fewer cars the better so if you want to carpool try to arrange it ahead of time.  On occassion before a hike I might let you know if I can carpool, but often I have a class to get to right after so this might be rare.  Inviting a friend is your best bet for that.


  • Take sunscreen, shade awning, umbrella as you see fit (but most places offer trees for shade, etc), polorized sunglasses, folding chair (per your discretion, I will sit on a rock, stump, ground often), water to drink and for painting, flat clip board to paint on, snacks, hand sanitizer, (biodegradable tp for hikes, and shovel- I use a stick), remember to take the parking fee for those mentioning $10, you can pay me upon arrival per check or cash - to Dana Childs. Take extra money if you want to buy lunch, some places like Sand Harbor, Kings Beach and Caples Lake have small snack shacks available.


  • If I don’t mention anything about a hike, that means the location is near a parking lot and easy to access for just about anyone, but if you have any quesitons, just email me at or text me 530-306-2379. 



Supply List


Most of these can be found locally in Reno at Nevada Fine Arts


Preferred palette is Frank Web  -- if you want to use a white ceramic dinner plate that works as well.  Small palettes are problematic, but come in handy for in the field or backpacking, etc.

For plein aire or art hikes try to find a smaller palette that folds, and has a thumb hole in it for holding.  Or you can use a foam disposable plate and cover with saran wrap.


Paints – tubed watercolors  

(Grumbacher, Academy, Daniel Smith, Holbein or Windsor Newton’s Finest is preferred)


Permanent Rose (or Alizeron Crimson)

Ultramarine Blue

Antwerp Blue (sub = Prussian Blue)

Raw Sienna

Burnt Umber

Cadmium Yellow or New Gambouge (open it and make sure it's a bright yellow first, I use Daniel Smith of Van Gogh)


Brushes:  1-inch square sable or sablette, #8 round sable or sablette (and a #4 round if you are into detail)


140 lb cold press paper (prefer Arches, other’s ok.  Canson & Fabriano student grade is ok-I would avoid other brands personally)


Two water buckets (one large and one yogurt sized)


1 flat household sponge – (no soap)        pencils, kneaded  or Mars eraser


paper towels and tissue 


Palette rental and medium paper (student grade) available for $8



For  Plein Aire outtings bring :

Polarizing sunglasses, beach or camping chairs, flat surface to paint on (clipboards, large or small or plywood work well), your own gallon of water, food to nosh, drinks, sunscreen, etc.  Anything you would need for a day at the beach type supplies.


Fall Plein Aire’s are usually at Hope Valley, Dayton State Park, and Galena Creek.

Stillwell cabin front.JPG
Stillwell painting at cabin.JPG
Stillwell cabin deck.JPG
Stillwell painting at Zepher Cove.JPG

Recharge and Relax Women’s Art Retreat

Zephyr Cove, Nevada

July 16-20, 2020

It’s that time!  Time to treat yourself to a relaxing art experience and join us at our women’s art retreat and get-away.  Combining her passion for the Sierra Nevada wilderness and her love of painting, art instructor and professional watercolorist, Dana Childs is organizing this retreat along with award-winning painter, Maggie Stillwell, who is hosting it at her cabin which is walking distance from Zephyr Cove.  Artists may choose to participate in several outings, or hang back at the cabin and paint.  Most meals will be provided, allowing you to focus more on your creations and less on taking care of yourself.   Relaxing music will aide in setting the tone throughout the weekend.  The whole idea is to do whatever will make you the most relaxed and allow you to settle back into your own creative zone.  


Accommodations include a choice between two single beds or a single bunk bed in a shared room, and a shared bathroom.   A continental breakfast and healthy dinner will be provided each day, as well as lunch on Saturday.


Childs will be offering watercolor demonstrations the first three days with two as part of the en plein aire outings to Zephyr Cove and Cave Rock.  “Essentially what we do is trounce out into the wilderness and paint our interpretation of the beauty that surrounds us,” says Childs.  “Inspiration is the key to all good painting, and getting outdoors and painting not only what we see, but merging that with how the space and experience makes us feel is key to creating excellent art.”  


In addition, guests will enjoy a painting demo by Award-Winning artist, Maggie Stillwell, who employs the use of mixed media to create a layered look and depth to paintings.  Her creations are often a combination of collage, spray paints, acrylics and markers.  


  • Bring wine and beverages to share and for personal use, bottomless infused water and ice tea provided.  

  • Shared kitchen and food storage space for your lunch, beverages and snack items.

  • Cuisine includes a variety of fresh veggie and fruit salads and snacks, breakfast danishes, cheese, deli meats, grilled chicken and veggies, breads, pastas and so forth.  Light on the heavier foods and heavy on the veggies and fruits.



Reservation Information


$545 with lodging and cuisine - continental breakfast and dinner provided 

each day, including lunch on  Saturday.




  • $15 discount for choosing bunk bed accommodations (just one)


  • $50 non-refundable deposit secures your spot - remaining due by May 15


  • Check in is Thursday at 10am and check-out is Sunday at 3:30pm

  • Daytripper rates of $75, other than Saturday which is $85

  • Parking is limited, we can arrange for shuttle service as needed. 

  • Contact Dana, for more details.

To register go to