Telluride Plein Air: Sheridan Arts Foundation in Collaboration with Ah Haa, 6/28 -7/4, 2023!

Telluride Plein Air: Sheridan Arts Foundation in Collaboration with Ah Haa, 6/28 -7/4, 2023!

Telluride’s Sheridan Arts Foundation (SAF) this year hosts 26 nationally recognized American plein air artists from June 28-July 4, 2023. The group gathers in Telluride for the 2oth 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. The event is a collaboration with the Ah Haa School.

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 at

Go here for more on Telluride Plein Air.

Go here for more on the Sheridan Opera House/Arts Foundation.

Go here for more on the Ah Haa School.

A three-day art exhibition and sale will be held on Sunday, July 2 through Tuesday, July 4, to display the completed works of flower-filled meadows, majestic mountains and colorful downtown scenery. 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 painted before arriving in town, denoted with a different price tag.

The Telluride Plein Air’s participating artists were selected through a competitive juried process in late 2022 with over 95 applicants.

Each year the top-selling artists and the Artist Choice first-place winning artist from the previous event are invited back to participate.

Marc Anderson of Wisconsin won the prestigious top prize of Artist Choice. Top sellers from 2022 who will return this year are Suzie Baker, David Dallison, Mat Barber Kennedy, Christine Lashley and Wayne McKenzie.

In tribute to the very first Telluride Plein Air five of the original artists will return: Kathy Anderson, Debra Huse, Charles Pyle, Randall Sexton and Keith Wicks. Co-founder of Sonoma Plein Air, Wicks advised on the inaugural festival in addition to being a participating artist.

The Sheridan Arts Foundation created Telluride Plein Air 20 years ago to benefit community programming and the continual upkeep and restoration of the historic Sheridan Opera House. The Opera House has provided quality entertainment to the Telluride community since 1913. Profits from sales of the paintings will be split with 40 percent benefiting the Sheridan Arts Foundation’s community programming and 60 percent retained by the artists.

The Sheridan Arts Foundation announces the following 26 artists:

Kathy Anderson, CT
Kirsten Anderson, CA
Marc Anderson, WI
Suzie Baker, TX
Paul Bergquist, WI
Laura Bianco, NY
Carla Bosch, TX
Allen Brockbank, UT
Krystal Brown, TX
Michele Byrne, NM
David Dallison, IL
John Eiseman, MD
Orville Giguiento, CO
Debra Huse, CA
Jody Kauflin, CO
Mat Barber Kennedy, IL
Christine Lashley, VA
Liza Mozzini-McDill, CA
Wayne McKenzie, CA
Alison Leigh Menke, PR
Charles Pyle, CA
Randall Sexton, CA
Lyudmila Tomova, NC
Richie Vios, TX
Stewart White, MD
Keith Wicks, CA

Returning artists are in bold.

In addition the Sheridan Arts Foundation has partnered with Ah Haa School for the Arts to offer art classes with two of our nationally renowned plein air artists.

Mat Barber Kennedy, a top-seller since his first year in 2015 and multiple top-three Artist Choice award-winner, will teach “Broadening Your Watercolor Language” on Thursday, June 22 through Saturday, June 24, 2023.

Kennedy is a member of The Royal Institute of Painters In Watercolor and a fellow of The Royal Society of Arts. He teaches at The American Academy of Art in Chicago, but this workshop will be the first he has offered in Colorado. All levels of experience are welcome.

Register for his class here.

Suzie Baker, 2017 Artist Choice Winner and multiple top-three Artist Choice award-winner, has served on the board of Oil Painters of America since 2014, including presiding as president from 2020-22.

Baker holds signature status in that distinguished organization as well as the American Impressionist Society, American Women Artists, and others. In addition to being a still life and portrait artist, Baker has been painting en plein air since she was a teen. A sought-after instructor, for her humorous and informative style, Baker teaches through videos, virtual classes and workshops around the United States, Europe and close to her home in the Houston, Texas area.

Register for her class here.

What is Plein Air?

En plein air is a French expression, which means “in the open air.” The term is particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors. Artists have long painted outdoors, but in the mid-19th century working in natural light became increasingly important to multiple schools. The Barbizon school of France was of particular influence on the Realists, who focused their work on everyday subjects versus prominent figures. These Realists inspired the Impressionists, whose signature style included visible brush strokes, ordinary subject matter, and an emphasis on light in its changing qualities.

The popularity of painting en plein air increased in the 1870s with the introduction of paint in tubes, which replaced the task of grinding and mixing dry pigment powders with linseed oil. It was also during this period that the “Box Easel,” typically known as the French Box Easel, was invented. That development increased the ease and portability of art supplies, making treks into the forest and up the hillsides less intimidating and more appealing to those looking to paint new landscapes.

Lead by Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and others, the Impressionists took their paint tubes and easels outdoors, where they recreated the world in the colors they saw in the changing light. At first these outdoor sketches were taken home to be finished in the studio, but eventually artists began to complete their works outdoors. Although at first rebuffed for what appeared to be unfinished paintings, the Impressionist vision soon became a standard for truthfully conveying the outdoor experience.

Artists in the United States were attracted to the concept, and many, like Californian Guy Rose, traveled to France to study with the French Impressionists. Suddenly, locations with remarkable light were of particular interest to painters, including on the East and West Coasts and in the American Southwest where painting colonies formed.


June 28 – July 1 (all day).

Plein Air artists at work, various locations in and around Telluride: Visitors and locals alike will have the unique opportunity to observe 26 of the nation’s top plein air artists as they paint on location in Telluride, Colorado. Artists paint on site during the sale as well.

Thursday, June 29 (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.

The annual Artist Choice preview will be held offsite and is not open to the public.

Saturday, July 1 (9 p.m.) Toad the Wet Sprocket live in concert:

Tickets available at $75-$85 + $5 fee

Toad the Wet Sprocket share in the kind of musical chemistry that can only come from meeting in high school and writing, recording, and touring on albums over the course of time. While most will still feel the comforting familiarity of the Billboard-charting hits, “Walk on the Ocean,” “All I Want,” “Something’s Always Wrong,”, and “Fall Down,” fans will also be well familiar with tracks with lyrics that resonate for so many life milestones like “The Moment,” “I Will Not Take These Things for Granted,” “Transient Whales” and so many more.

Music starts at 9 p.m., doors at 8 p.m. at the Sheridan Opera House.

Sheridan Opera House, more:

The Sheridan Arts Foundation was founded in 1991 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to preserve the historic Sheridan Opera House as an arts and cultural resource for the Telluride community, to bring quality arts and cultural events to Telluride and to provide local and national youth with access and exposure to the arts through education.

The Sheridan Arts Foundation is sponsored in part by grants from the CCAASE, Colorado Creative Industries and an American Rescue Plan Act grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support general operating expenses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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