Art in Nature: Oil Painting on the San Juan

A multi-day oil painting workshop on the Upper San Juan

CFI is teaming up with Nathan Florence to create the first art themed Adult Adventure Seminar! This seminar is ideal for beginners, experienced oil painters, and anyone in between.

Draw inspiration from the breathtaking canyon walls, changing October foliage, and unparalleled natural and cultural history. This is the perfect opportunity to hone or develop skills under the guidance of a professional Colorado Plateau artist.

Expert Knowledge

This workshop is designed to help develop your artistic skills while exploring breathtaking natural scenery. Immerse yourself in a trip full of creative discovery, artistic growth, and visual storytelling alongside Nathan Florence. CFI guides will also take time to teach about cultural history, geology, and the many natural wonders of the San Juan.

More than just a painting workshop

On a multi day river trip, you have the opportunity to experience the immersive nature of the San Juan. Greet the sunrise with your cup of coffee, explore Utah’s darkest skies at night, and experience the joy of whitewater rafting, all while taking the time to explore, create, and build community with the other adventurers.

The Upper San Juan River
October 13, 2024 through October 17, 2024
5 days, 4 nights
Group Size:
Minimum: 6, Maximum: 12
$1840 plus $10 BLM and $30 Navajo Nation fees
First night in Lodge, then a 4 day, 3 night river trip.

This is how we rate the challenges you might face on a CFI trip.

Level 1 - Easy

  • Low level of physical activity, minimal movement required
  • 0 nights spent camping or in the field
  • Hiking or walking 0-2 miles per day

Level 2 - Moderate

  • Medium level of physical activity, some movement required
  • 1-4 nights spent camping or in the field
  • Hiking up to 4 miles per day
  • Flatwater or mild whitewater rapids

Level 3 - Active

  • Medium or high level of physical activity
  • 1-5 nights spent camping or in the field
  • Hiking up to 5 miles per day
  • Class I - III whitewater rapids

Level 4 - Challenging

  • High level of physical activity
  • 1-6 nights spent camping or in the field
  • Hiking 5 or more miles per day
  • Class IV whitewater rapids
CFI's Essential Eligibility Criteria outlines specific challenges that you may face on CFI trips. Please consult the EEC for information on responsibilities of participants.

See other trips in these categories:

All participants on our adult seminars and on our private trips are required to be fully vaccinated.

Trip Narrative

Guest Faculty

nathan florence bio pic Nathan Forence is a Salt Lake City based artist. Nathan’s paintings document his love of the landscape and storytelling. They range from small landscape studies done on site, to large, figurative paintings done in the studio and commissioned portraits. His work is found in public and private collections around the world. Nathan produced and directed the critically acclaimed documentary, Bright Spark: the Reconciliation of Trevor Southey. His work also includes sculpture and photography. Nathan is actively involved in local social issues and is a member of the board of the Alliance for a Better Utah, a progressive advocacy group. He lives in the 9th and 9th neighborhood with his family.

Accessibility and Safety

For any CFI trip, please consult the Essential Eligibility Requirements to determine if this trip is right for you. You can also reach out to CFI at to ask any questions. 

Regardless of the time of year, please bring all items suggested on the packing list, including rain layers.

CFI trips generally happen rain or shine, with some modifications possible depending on the weather.


During this overnight river trip, we will be moving down the San Juan River, camping on riverside beaches and campsites.

Camp will feature spots for your tent, a camp kitchen, and a centrally located seating area. We will use rain tarps and shelters in case of hot or rainy weather, and we bring chairs for each participant. There will be a nearby Groover to use for the bathroom.

Hiking and Boating:

We will spend most of our days on rafts, navigating the river corridor. We may also stop for side hikes, excursions or to see points of interest along the river. Most hikes will be short, across sandy trails with some elevation gain or loss. Some will be on steeper, stair like trails or scree slopes. All side excursions are optional. 

Guide Training and Emergencies:

Every CFI guide has either a Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder certification. Your trip leader will have a Wilderness First Responder certification. Anyone working with youth has passed a background check, and drivers are insured with clean driving records.

Backcountry trips carry In-Reach satellite communication devices for emergencies. All guides have been evaluated by Canyonlands Field Institute as possessing the judgement, skills, and disposition required for mitigating risk in the field. 

Need to Know

CFI is a non-profit organization and fees are not taxed. By choosing CFI, you are supporting our efforts to provide lifechanging outdoor experiences for hundreds of children per year.  Scholarships are available on an as needed basis.