Telluride Plein Air: 22 Nationally Recognized Artists to Paint in Telluride Region, 6/28 – 7/4!

Telluride Plein Air: 22 Nationally Recognized Artists to Paint in Telluride Region, 6/28 – 7/4!

Telluride’s Sheridan Arts Foundation (SAF) hosts 22 nationally recognized American plein air artists from June 28-July 4, 2022. The group gathers in Telluride for the 19th annual Telluride Plein Air. Artists will spend one week painting outside capturing the light, color and unique character of this breathtaking region, including the towns of Telluride and Mountain Village.

For a complete schedule of events, artist information, painting locations and sponsorship opportunities, please
visit the Telluride Plein Air website at or visit the Sheridan Arts Foundation website

For more on the Sheridan Arts Foundation and Opera House, go here.

2015 Artist’s Choice Award, Carl Bretzke

A three-day art exhibition and sale will be held on Saturday, July 2 through Monday, July 4 displaying the completed works of flower-filled meadows, majestic mountains and colorful downtown happenings. Artists typically paint 10 to 20 pieces, culminating in over 200 paintings to view and purchase over the course of the sale (only eight-10 pieces may be displayed at one time). Artists are also allowed to display one studio piece, painted off-site from a photograph, denoted with a different price tag, of Telluride painted before arriving in town.

Telluride Plein Air’s participating artists were selected through a competitive juried process in late 2021 with over 80 applicants.

Each year the top-selling artists and the Artist Choice first-place winning artist from the previous event are invited back to participate. Attending Telluride Plein Air for the first time, Allen Brockbank of Utah won the prestigious top prize of Artist Choice. Top sellers from 2021 who will return this year include  Suzie Baker, David Dallison, Mat Barber Kennedy, Christine Lashley and Alison Leigh Menke.

The Sheridan Arts Foundation created Telluride Plein Air 19 years ago to benefit community programming and the continual upkeep and restoration at Telluride’s historic Sheridan Opera House. The Sheridan Opera House has provided quality entertainment to Telluride since 1913. All profits from the sale of the part will be split with 40 percent benefiting the Sheridan Arts Foundation’s community programming and 60 percent retained by the talent.

WHEN: June 28-July 4, 2022
WHERE: Telluride, Colo.

Plein air painting, more:

What’s it all about? Well, “plein air” is a concept first associated with the French Impressionists and in that context is shorthand for “very spendy, but would look great in your living room if you could afford one.”

Just kidding.

En plein air is a French expression, which means “in the open air.” The term is used to describe the act of painting outdoors, popularized in the 19th century.

Digging into the details of that story, Eugene Boudin was one of the more adventurous 19th-century painters, known primarily for his beach scenes and seascapes of northern France and for his luminous skies. One of Boudin’s students was a young painter named Claude Monet to whom Boudin taught the importance of painting a scene directly from nature in the light, in the air, just as he saw it. In the stroke of Monet’s brush, painting en plein air was born. Out went the dark palette of Realism and the Barbizon School. In came the sun.

When Monet and his colleagues first came on the scene back in 1874, artists who ultimately became brand names – Monet, Manet, Renoir, Bonnard, and Degas – they were all considered rebels. Defying the traditions of the official Salon de Paris, they moved their studios outdoors into the open air – again, en plein air – to facilitate the direct observation of nature.

They originally called themselves “Societe Anonyme,” but a critic hatched what he believed to be a derisive handle based on the title of one of Monet’s paintings in a group show: “Impression: Sunrise.”

The Impressionists chose to use landscapes and scenes from everyday life as covers for their true subjects, color and light, defying a trend popular throughout the 19th century (and with the Salon de Paris) to paint historical or literary subjects.


Impressionism is an old idea.

With new blood.

The first important Impressionist work to be shown in America was Manet’s “Execution of the Emperor Maximilian,” banned by Paris censors and politically inflammatory. According to art critic Robert Hughes, in 1879 the image was brought to New York and Boston by an opportunistic singer named Madame Ambre, who put on a show to generate publicity for her recitals.

In 1886, a popular French art dealer mounted the first professional show of Impressionist images at the American Art Association’s galleries. Thus began America’s love affair with fine European works of art. In a heartbeat, American artists began to adopt plein air techniques. Much late-19th and early 20th-century painting stems from reactions to Impressionism’s basic tenets. Today in the U.S. alone, there are 500+ registered Plein Air painters.


Kirsten Anderson CA
Marc Anderson WI
Suzie Baker TX
Jill Banks VA
Paul Bergquist WI
Wendry Brayton CA
Allen Brockbank UT
Krystal Brown TX
Philip Alexander Carlton CO
David E. Dallison IL
Catherine Hillis VA
Hai-Ou Hou MD
Jody Kauflin CO
Mat Barber Kennedy IL
Christine Lashley VA
Wayne McKenzie CA
Alison Leigh Menke PR
Bill Meuser NM
Antwan Ramar FL
Richard Sneary MO
Richie Vios TX
Jing Zhao TX

June 28 – July 4 (all day)

Plein Air artists at work, various locations in and around Telluride: Visitors and locals alike will have the unique opportunity to observe 22 of the nation’s top plein air artists as they paint on location in and around Telluride. Artists paint on site during the sale as well.

Thursday, June 30 (5-7 p.m.)

Golden Hour Quick Draw Competition & Sale: This event is free and open to the public! See our artists in action on Colorado Avenue in this 90-minute competition. Winner will be awarded a cash prize at 6:45 p.m. All pieces will be available for sale at 6:30 p.m. outside of the Sheridan Opera House. SHOW Bar is open with drink specials the whole time and live music with Desert Child from 7-9 p.m.

Friday, July 1 (5-7 p.m.)

Artist Choice Preview & Cocktail Party: This event is free and open to the public! The highlight of the week,stop by the SHOW Bar at the Sheridan Opera House to preview or purchase each artist’s favorite painting. All  paintings will be up for sale. Artist Choice winner will be awarded at 6:30 p.m. Private invite only viewing from 4-5p.m.

Saturday, July 2-Monday, July 4 (July 2-3, 10 a.m. -5 p.m./ July 4, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.)

Plein Air Exhibition & Art Sale – Sheridan Opera House Courtyard /Elks Park: This event is free and open to the public! Plein Air memorabilia (posters, notecards and small prints) will be available for sale in addition to the paintings.

Join the Sheridan Arts Foundation in the Sheridan Opera House courtyard and Elks Park for a sale of paintings created during the week-long celebration. Please note that artists are limited to hanging eight-10 paintings at one time, so new paintings will continually be displayed as others sell — especially on the second day of the sale! Please note: if there is inclement weather, the sale will be moved inside the Sheridan Opera House theater.

Special guest artisans Moon Bear Jewels will be selling their jewelry, including Songlines by Jewel, in Elks Park for each day of the sale as well.

Monday, July 4 (8 p.m., doors at 7 p.m.)

Fourth of July Celebration Concert with Dave Jordan and the NIA ft. Joint Point Live music at the historic
Sheridan Opera House. Tickets are $20 GA with a $5 ticketing fee.

A nearly three-decade staple of the New Orleans and south Louisiana music scene, Dave has been described as a swampy lovechild of Tom Petty, John Prine and Dr. John and “the personification of the New Orleans ethos.” His music freely flows between New Orleans funk, Americana roots, and rock and roll, all with a jamband sensibility, defying genre and categorization. His touring band, dubbed the Neighborhood Improvement Association, is a rotating cast of some of New Orleans’ finest rock, blues and funk musicians, as well as regional musicians Dave collaborated with over the course of his travels. The current tour features guitarist Gregory “Wolf” Hodges, who performed for many years with the legendary Col. Bruce Hampton; Jordan’s longtime bassist Will Repholz; violinist James Hausman; and Telluride’s own, drummer Allen “Booradley.”


All net proceeds retained by the SAF will benefit community programming of the Sheridan Arts Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization operating out of the historic Sheridan Opera House. The SAF’s mission is to preserve the historic Sheridan Opera House as an arts and cultural resource for the Telluride community, bring quality arts and cultural events to Telluride and provide local and national youth with access and exposure to the arts through education.


Event Sponsors: Plein Air Magazine and the Sheridan Arts Foundation. Contact Ronnie Palamar at 970.728.6363= ext. 1 or to learn about other sponsorship opportunities.


Thanks to members of the Telluride community for generously offering to host Telluride Plein Air artists in their homes throughout the course of the event. If you are interested in hosting an artist please contact Leah Heidenreich at

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