LOCATION: Slot Canyons Inn
September 25, 2024 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

A Paint-Around is an event where teams of 5 artists each “paint-around” to create paintings.  Teams have two hours to finish their painting, each member taking 15 minute turns.  Each artist will add to and modify the piece under development, according to their vision of the piece’s required direction, providing commentary as they think their way through the task at hand. A blending of unique visions and styles will provide a truly singular result. Come watch this fun activity as the artists take turns putting their unique spin on a painting!

Each team is co-led and team member names are drawn from interested registered artists. 

The completed paintings will be (silent) auctioned at the Art Competition Exhibit and Sale.  All proceeds will be donated to the Escalante Care and Share Food Pantry

MOSAIC Team Leaders – Jill and Glen Simkins 

Jill Simkins is an Organic Vegetable Farmer who creates art in many mediums; using plants and flowers, magical garden paths, oil or water-color paint, clay, and by using recycled, found or worn out items. Living her life working outside in the soil and discovering this beautiful world by hiking, backpacking, catering horse-pack trips in the High Uintah’s, river rafting, or camping in her vintage trailer, has given her a great respect and love for the outdoors which she attempts to capture on canvas. She especially enjoys painting cows, farm animals, and people.  Her work has been sold in several galleries throughout the West. She writes about her painting and adventures here.

Glen Simkins is a ceramic artist, wood worker, and a former wood shop teacher. He enjoys hiking, camping and being outdoors.

PASTEL Team Leaders – Lonny Granston and Margie Lopez Read

A critic once described Lonny Granston’s work as something that the love child of Vincent Van Gough and Georgia O’Keefe would produce. After high school, he took almost 30 years away from painting, and as a result, his use of pastels is not what would be described as traditional. He uses these ‘expensive crayons’ to create vivid and unique landscapes that are full of color and non-conformity and has won a number ‘best of’ awards in plein air festivals in Utah and Colorado. In addition to his artistic endeavors, he is an acceptable family physician, pretty okay husband and father and an accomplished tall tale teller.

Margie Lopez Read is an artist from Placerville, CA and Moab, UT, using art to generate funds for non-profit organizations through a project called ‘Donation Art’.
In 2014 Margie was selected for Artist Residency at Cape Perpetua in Oregon. It was the Cape’s first residency and she was able to generate enough sales that they were able to continue the program up until the pandemic in 2020. During that residency, Margie developed a public participation in art which she calls ‘Plein Air 4 U’.  These are opportunities designed to be a non-threatening experience for everyone (young and old) to immerse themselves in their surroundings through paint. These events have proven to be very popular and successful. Watch:
She recently started workshops which consist of experimentation with “Patterns In Nature” as an exploratory conceptual experience embracing designs that nature herself creates. You can learn more about Margie’s art here.

WATERCOLOR Team Leaders – Lisa Bryant and Ward Jene Stroud

Lisa Bryant is a communication specialist and scientist by trade, but in her heart is an artist. She still considers herself to be a beginner, or at least have a “beginner’s mind”, constantly learning and exploring the beauty of the watercolor. She’s fascinated by the magic that happens when paints and water mingle on the paper, capturing the kaleidoscope of nature’s colors and light in a way other mediums can’t. Plein air offers her a way of just “being” with nature, quietly observing or chasing light as it weaves in and out of a constantly changing scene, and then trying to capture and convey emotion of the moment.  Lisa’s art journey has detoured into dance, pen and ink, theatre, and music, but always comes back to watercolor, where she seeks to master technical skills, deepen her understanding of pigments, brushstrokes, and paper, meshing her passions of science and art.

Ward Jene Stroud is an award winning (best of show, peoples choice, plein air, etc…) 65 year old Watercolor Artist from Portland Oregon. He has had numerous one-man exhibits across the country and his work has been showcased in Fine Art magazines both nationally and internationally. He has have had the privilege of speaking at national conventions as a panel expert and being a demo artist representing large international art companies. He has also written several published articles on watercolor, marketing and art. Ward is grateful to live life as an Artist and to be able to create from my heart and soul. I’m super blessed. Learn more about Ward at and www.YouTube/wardstroud.

OIL Team Leaders – Helga Watkins and Brian Johnson

Helga Watkins is a painter and designer. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Degree in Painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design and a Master of Fine Arts in Painting (MFA) Degree from the University of Notre Dame.  Helga initiated the Bachelor of Design and Media program at the University of Las Vegas, Nevada, where she was a faculty member. Helga also taught in UNLV’s innovative Entertainment Engineering and Design program. While a tenured professor, she also maintained a professional design practice over two decades, specializing in identity design for resorts and restaurants. Prior to her academic career, Helga was Art Director (Interiors Division) at Young Electric Sign Company in Las Vegas, where she managed a large art department and designed large-scale environmental graphics, lighting, and signage programs for an international clientele. 

She recently retired from academics to have time to spend more time painting, and enjoys participating in plein air events. She has received multiple awards including Best of Show at the Escalante Art Festival Plein Air Competition. You can see more of her work at

Brian Johnson received a BFA in Painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design, then transitioned to digital graphics. He started his career in the gaming industry creating gaming graphics and logos for slot machines. As technology shifted, he additionally designed video graphics, animations and signage in the industry. He worked for many years as a game producer at IGT. Brian is now an Art Lead at Aristocrat Technologies creating designs for new games and developing existing products such as Buffalo and Cash Express.  Alongside his gaming design work, he is an avid outdoor plein air painter, working in oils outdoors and in the studio as often as he can, mostly in southern Nevada, but with frequent trips into Southern Utah. He and his wife participate in Plein Air painting competitions in Utah and Idaho.

Melody Greenlief: Landscape Watercolor Painting from Start to Varnish

LOCATION: Escalante Town Park Pavilion
September 26, 2024 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

I will paint a landscape watercolor painting from start to finish and varnish it while discussing techniques and materials, including how to mount watercolor paper, varnishing watercolor paintings and supplies.

I will be happy to answer any questions that attendees may have.


Melody Greenlief is a passionate artist who finds joy in the world of paint. Her preferred medium is watercolor, which allows her to explore textures using layers of color. Her artistic journey is driven by her desire to share the same enjoyment she experiences while painting with those who view her artwork. She believes that art should, uplift the heart, and bring a smile to people’s faces. With this philosophy in mind, Melody paints people and animals, that are filled with character as well as serene and harmonious landscapes.
Melody’s art has won numerous awards and is in collections throughout the world. When Melody steps away from her paintbrush, you will find her chasing the chickens in her backyard, dreaming of travel, telling bad jokes, and laughing with her family.
Melody was President of the Utah Watercolor Society 2022-2023 and was the 2023 GSENM Artist in Residence.

You can see more of Melody’s work at

Hope Ricciardi: Painting Vistas

LOCATION: Head of the Rocks Overlook
September 28, 2024 @ 8:00 am - 10:00 am

Join me in painting the vista of Escalante Grand Staircase, as seen in my 2023 ECAF purchase prize winning painting, First Impression (above).

I will do step by step demo of how to simplify a vast landscape and create the atmosphere and distance of this image. Attendees are welcome to set up painting gear and work along side me, or just bring a chair and observe.


After 40 years of teaching and art-making in Boston, Hope now lives and paints in Sedona, AZ. As she is inspired by distant vistas, organic shapes and sunlit colors, her plein air work now includes locations in the Grand Canyon, Arizona and Utah. She works predominately in oils on either panels or canvas. Larger commission paintings are completed in her studio. Hope’s work is exhibited at the Sedona Artist Market & Gallery, West Sedona, AZ. She holds a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Tufts University.

You can see more of her work at