Painting Plein Air at the Monet & Mimosa Art Series

What could be better on a gorgeous Saturday morning than spending it painting “plein air” at the Monet & Mimosa art series at The Hermosa Inn?

Plein air painting at Mimosa & Monet

Not much!


This was the kick off event of the art series, which runs through May, 2017. Each class offers the opportunity to paint a different painting. Today’s class was the iconic blue door that once led to the reception area of the hotel. Set against an adobe building with gorgeous flowers and foliage it’s as inspiring as trying to emulate a Monet. Before the class starts I find the blue door on property to check out what the “goal” is.

Plein air painting at Mimosa & Monet

The door we’re going to paint

The class is led by Carrie Curran, a local artist with a private studio in North Scottsdale.

Plein air painting at Mimosa & Monet

Instructor Carrie Curran

There are about 20 people in my class and Curran is hedging her bets on 100% success by sketching in the door and sidewalk shape and the vase. But don’t think that means this is going to be totally easy or stifle creativity, it doesn’t.


At the start of class Curran tells us she’s going to make sure we all have a great door painting and learn some techniques along the way.


The first thing we learn is about mixing color to get the right shade. If something is green, don’t think you’re just going to dip your brush in the green and go to town. Nooooo, that is a rookie mistake. To give depth to the color we’re instructed to make green by mixing blue and yellow together. I learn that I often don’t put enough paint on the brush, hence streaking. But don’t worry, if you do something wrong, it’s easy to fix with another layer.

Plein air painting at Mimosa & Monet

A work in progress…

I teach journaling as a way to write yourself well, and I find painting can offer similar benefits, as well as show elements of our personalities.


When I first start the painting with the panels inside the door, I’m worried about doing it perfectly, but then I settle in and by the time I’m painting the dusty rose background I’m having fun playing with color and brush strokes and the process becomes relaxing and almost meditative.


The grandma across from me wasn’t enjoying similar benefits. Throughout the class she was bemoaning and berating herself for “doing it wrong.” I have to admit that it was distracting my Zen, and worse, I found the more I heard her do it, the more my own inner perfectionist was clawing to get out and mess up my bliss. In fact the more I worried about making it just right, the worse I painted. I’m pretty sure there is a metaphor in here….


Trying to finish the painting in two hours is a bit of a challenge and Curran kept the class moving fast. I was always one step behind. Thankfully, she had her daughter Maggie and another assistant circulating to explain things one-on-one and to offer suggestions on technique.

Plein air painting at Mimosa & Monet

Ready for the Met! My finished piece.

As we paint, mimosas are served. The liquid courage seems to fuel creativity for some. There is also coffee and pastries available.


If you’re ready to unleash your inner artist and try your hand at painting plein air at the Mimosa & Monet Art Series, here is the remaining schedule. All classes are held at The Hermosa Inn from 9:30-11:30 am and cost $75.


February 11, 2017

March, 11, 2017

April 8, 2017

May 13, 2017


Book at 602-955-7878 or

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One Comment:

  1. GREAT article Dena! Loved it – and am so glad you went! Your painting was amazing! It\’s a keeper!

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