Plein Air Painting and art retreats
A common scene at the Publisher's Invitational events (the next one is Fall Color Week - details below)

Take advantage of these art and plein air painting events and opportunities from our 2023 Ultimate Guide to Painting Events and Organizations.

(We want to include your plein air painting events! Don’t see your group listed here? Contact our marketing team to learn how to advertise your plein air painting events and more with Plein Air Today.)


Pastel Live presented by PleinAir™ Magazine
Dates: August 17-19 (Beginner’s Day August 16)
Contact: PleinAir Magazine
Phone: 561.655.8778 or 800.610.5771
Sometimes we want to try new mediums, or seek ways to enhance our creativity. For decades, artists have turned to pastel for brilliant, vibrant colors. Today, pastel painting is a huge worldwide trend, and PastelLive is an online event consisting of 3 days of demonstrations from 30 of the world’s leading pastel artists, along with lectures, painting critiques, discussions, and more. There’s even an optional Beginner’s Day for those who need a refresher before the main event. Join a worldwide audience of passionate pastel painters and those who want to discover more about it. This event is held online, so you can enjoy it from the comfort of your own home.


The 18th Annual “Just Plein Fun”
Date: July 31-August 4
Sponsoring Organization: Huse Skelly Fine Art Gallery
City: Balboa Island
Contact: Lisa Skelly
E-Mail: [email protected]

Frank Bette Plein Air Paintout
Dates: July 31-August 5
Opening Reception: August 11
Sponsoring Organization: Frank Bette Center for the Arts
Venue: South Shore Center/Frank Bette Center for the Arts
City: Alameda
Contact: Margaret Fago
E-Mail: [email protected]
Phone: 510.332.6922
The Frank Bette Plein Air Paintout hosts up to 40 juried artists for a week of painting tree-lined streets; stately Victorian homes and shops; picturesque marinas; historic naval ships and naval air station; as well as beaches, lagoons, parks, and San Francisco and Oakland skylines in the island city of Alameda, California. The week includes a welcome reception, a quick draw, and an outdoor exhibit and sale of all the paintings on Saturday.

Exhibition: Colors of Conservation
Dates: August 25-26
Sponsoring Organization: Octagon Barn Center, Land Conservancy of SLO County (San Luis Obispo)
The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County and SLOPE (San Luis Outdoor Painters for the Environment) announce “Colors of Conservation”, Summer 2023, an annual exhibit of original landscape paintings of our precious open spaces, historic ranch lands, waterways, and coastal areas. Original paintings and prints will be available for sale. A portion of art sales will benefit The Land Conservancy. Enjoy live artist painting demonstrations at the Saturday event. The event is a unique opportunity to support local artists as well as local conservancy efforts to preserve our county’s open spaces. Participating SLOPE artists are Dennis Curry, Jan French, Hilda Freyre, Dotty Hawthorne, Sandi Heller, Daniel Jones, Joe McFadden, Laurel Sherrie, and Jim Tyler. Emeritus artists include Anne Laddon, Denise Schryver, and Rosanne Seitz.

Dan Jones, "Croon Creek Beach," 8 x 10, Oil; part of the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County and SLOPE (San Luis Outdoor Painters for the Environment), Colors of Conservation exhibit
Dan Jones, “Croon Creek Beach,” 8 x 10, Oil; part of the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County and SLOPE (San Luis Outdoor Painters for the Environment), Colors of Conservation exhibit


Snowmass Plein Air Fest
Date: July 31-August 6
Sponsoring Organization: Snowmass Arts Advisory Board (SAAB)

Crested Butte Plein Air Invitational
Date: August 11-14
Opening Reception: August 12
Entry Deadline: August 9
Sponsoring Organization: Shaun Horne Gallery
Venue: Crested Butte Center for the Arts
Format: Combination
Contact: Shaun Horne
E-Mail: [email protected]
Phone: 970.349.5252
The 2023 Crested Butte Plein Air Invitational welcomes all to join in a grand painting effort. The event features plein air and studio work from the country’s best direct-observation painters, including Bill Anton, Josh Elliott, Jay Moore, and others. Painters of all abilities are invited to register as Open Artists. Crested Butte-area paintings can be submitted to the rolling jury process at any time. Paintings may be purchased in person or online.

Estes Valley Plein Air
Date: August 17-24
Opening Reception: August 25
Sponsoring Organization: Art Center of Estes Park
Format: Juried
Award Total: Approx. $10,000 and gift certificates
Contact: Lars Sage
E-Mail: [email protected]
Phone: 970.586.5882
Estes Valley Plein Air welcomes artists to the stunning beauty of Estes Park for our fifth annual show. The Art Center of Estes Park, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, will be celebrating its 36th year. Activities include a quick paint/auction and nocturne painting, as well as poster/wine label and miniature contests. Enjoy exquisitely beautiful painting opportunities including a fun artist group paint-out.


AIS 24th Annual National Juried Exhibition
Date: August 3-September 2
Sponsoring Organization: American Impressionist Society
Venue: Somerville Manning Gallery in Greenville
Format: Juried
Juror of Awards: Quang Ho AISM
Award Total: $78,000
Contact: Liz Ahrens
E-Mail: [email protected]
Phone: 231.881.7685
American Impressionist Society provides opportunities to artists working in the style of Impressionism. Annually AIS presents four juried exhibitions and panel discussions, demonstrations, workshops, critiques, painting competitions, and educational programs. Exhibitions and events are open to the public.


Plein Air Coeur d’Alene
Dates: July 21-August 6
Sponsoring Organization: Kootenai Environmental Alliance and Art on the Green
Contact: Jessica Bryant
E-Mail: [email protected]


7th Annual Kekionga Plein Air Event
Dates: August 23-26
Sponsoring Organization: Fort Wayne Artists Guild
Contact: Sandra McGill
E-Mail: [email protected]
Phone: 260.437.2187
Four days of painting around Allen County, Indiana with artists’ demos, nocturnal paint-out, art exhibition, Quick Draw, and the Kekionga Plein Air Competition during the Taste of the Arts Festival. Cash prizes/purchase awards over $10,000. Events offer wet paint sales. Artists of all levels are welcome.


Plein Air Art Festival
Date: August 16-26
Sponsoring Organization: Artascope
City: Yarmouth
Contact: Catherine Bickford
E-Mail: [email protected]


10th Annual Summer Plein Air Show
Date: August 5
Venue: Crystal Moll Gallery and Highlandtown Gallery in Baltimore
With the recent move of the Crystal Moll Gallery to Highlandtown & the 10th Anniversary of the Highlandtown Gallery, our two galleries are joining forces to host the 10th Annual Summer Plein Air Show! This group exhibition will be on view through August 26. In addition to a curated exhibition in both galleries, the Opening Reception will include a Demo, a Paint-Out, and Wet Paint Sale.

Artists Paint OC Plein Air Festival
Date: August 9-13
Sponsoring Organization: Art League of Ocean City
Venue: Ocean City Center for the Arts
Format: Juried
Contact: Katie Brown
E-Mail: [email protected]
Phone: 410.524.9433
This annual outdoor painting festival happens every August in the seaside resort. Now in its 18th year in 2023, 50 artists compete for the top prizes of cash and prestige as they spread out across the area to paint the beautiful local scenery with its beaches, marshes, boardwalk, and Assateague Island.


Plein Air Glacier 2023
Date: August 21-25
Opening Reception: August 26
Sponsoring Organization & Venue: Hockaday Museum of Art in Kalispell
Format: Juried
Juror of Awards: Hockaday Staff, Plein Air Panelists
Award Total: $500
Contact: Alyssa Cordova
E-Mail: [email protected]
Phone: 406.755.5268
Plein Air Glacier 2023, 14 years running! Paint in beautiful Northwest Montana, Flathead Valley, and Glacier National Park. This event includes a paint-out, museum exhibition, fundraiser sale, artist hikes, partnership programs with Glacier National Park, and more. Paint Out and Canvas Stamping: August 26-31; Public Party and Sale: Saturday, September 2.

New York

Adirondack Plein Air Festival
Dates: August 14-19
Opening Reception: August 14
Sponsoring Organization: Saranac Lake ArtWorks
Venue: Town Hall Auditorium at Saranac Lake
Format: Juried
Contact: Sandra Hildreth
E-Mail: [email protected]
Phone: 518.832.0081
Five days of painting in the glorious Adirondack Mountains of northern New York, inspiration to 19th-century artists of the Hudson River School. Located in a charming village with historic architecture, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, bogs, marshes, mountains, farms, and much more. Meet the Artists Reception, Nocturne Contest, Quick Draw, and the Show & Sale in the Town Hall auditorium. 40 Artists.

North Carolina

2023 Blowing Rock Plein Air Festival
Dates: August 15-19
Opening Reception: August 19
Sponsoring Organization & Venue: Blowing Rock Art & History Museum
Format: Open
Contact: Jennifer Garonzik
E-Mail: [email protected]
Phone: 828.295.9099
The Blowing Rock Plein Air Festival is a 4-day, open-enrollment plein air painting event that prompts applicants to explore the unique Blowing Rock architecture, spectacular Blue Ridge Mountain views, and overall Appalachian feel of one of the most scenic areas in the country.

South Dakota

De Smet South Dakota Harvey Dunn Plein Air
Date: August 10-13
Opening Reception: August 10
Sponsoring Organization: Harvey Dunn Society
Venue: Ingalls Homestead & De Smet Event Center
Format: Open
Award Total: $500 & prizes
Contact: Janae Bell
E-Mail: [email protected]
Phone: 320.894.7540
Paint the prairies of South Dakota and “Little Town on the Prairie” where Harvey Dunn painted and Laura Ingalls Wilder homesteaded. The 15th annual event is the longest-running plein air in South Dakota. Everything free, including registration, workshops, children’s workshop, receptions, and “wet sale.” Beginners and pros welcome. Many residents attend to buy artwork on Sunday.


Vermont Plein Air Festival
Dates: August 11-13
Sponsoring Organization: Mad River Valley Arts
City: Waitsfield
Contact: Jane Macan
E-Mail: [email protected]


Edmonds & Beyond Plein Air Paint Out
Dates: August 17-27
Sponsoring Organization: Cole Gallery
Venue: Edmonds & Kingston and Olympic National Park areas


Paint the Point
Date: August 9-12
Opening Reception: August 12
Sponsoring Organization: Arts Mineral Point, Inc.
Venue: Historic Mineral Point Masonic Lodge #1
Format: Open
Award Total: $7000
Contact: Ried Knapp
E-Mail: [email protected]
Phone: 608.285.2958
The 10th annual Paint the Point hosts 45 artists competing in Main, Nocturne, Quick Paint, and Postcard events with over $7000 in prizes. Mineral Point, a frontier mining town, was founded in 1826 and holds the slogan “Where Wisconsin Began.” It is located in the heart of the Driftless Region — an area noted for beautiful vistas unscathed by the last glacial period. Historic limestone vernacular architecture and surrounding idyllic countryside offer artists tremendous creative options.


Art in the Open Plein Air Festival
Dates: July 30-August 7
Venue: Greenacres Gallery, Wexford
Format: Open
Contact: Anthony Robinson
E-Mail: [email protected]
Phone: 086.237.2470
Join us for the 16th Art in the Open, a plein air painting week in southeast Ireland, each day visiting different locations including Wexford Town, coastal scenes, fishing villages, historic buildings, and rural countryside. Bus transport is available daily. Optional workshops with outstanding professional artists, volunteer stewards, social events, artist talks, costume dinner, charity quick draw event, and 2-day exhibition with awards. Make Europe’s largest plein air painting festival the focal point of your Irish holiday.

Painting Events Coming Soon

New York

Fall Color Week 
Dates: September 29-October 5
Sponsoring Organization: PleinAir Magazine
Venue: Saranac Village City, in Saranac Lake
Contact: PleinAir Magazine, 561.655.8778 or 800.610.5771
PleinAir Magazine’s Eric Rhoads lives in a place where fall color isn’t great, so he created the Fall Color Week retreat, held in various locations during peak color season annually. It’s a week of painting with old friends and new ones. We have our meals together, and we stay on the same property … all for one price. Join Eric this fall in Saranac Lake in New York during peak fall color season. Come enjoy the beautiful fall scenery with no competition, just painting alongside your friends. No meals to cook, no one to care for, just roll out of bed, get fed, and paint all day. It’s glorious.

Stay tuned for more painting events coming online or near your hometown! We’ll post the September painting events soon!


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