Weston Pass, Colorado

Plein air painters can treat themselves to a Rocky Mountain adventure — and perhaps $2,000 — in September during this ascending event. When is the deadline, and where?

Although Telluride Plein Air might be the most well-known event of its kind in Colorado, South Park Plein Air also offers outdoor painters a fantastic opportunity to capture the beauty of the Rockies, and possibly take home respectable rewards.

An artist works at DM Ranch, 2015; photo by Gary E. Nichols
Tom Lockhart and Tim Peterson painting at the Bristlecone View Ranch, 2015; photo by Bob White

“Treat yourself to a one-of-a-kind plein air adventure in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado,” organizers write, “featuring historic mines, working ranches, and wide-open vistas over three days of paint-outs. Our small-town hospitality and our committed arts community will warm their way into your hearts during our Saturday quick draw and live auction as well as our gallery opening on Friday night. Our artists tell us this is one of their favorite plein air shows, and it must be true because we sell out artist spaces very early in the year!”

An artist works at DM Ranch, 2015; photo by Gary E. Nichols
Plein Air artists painting on a hilltop from Bristlecone View Ranch, 2015, photo by Bob White

Located in Fairplay, Colorado, the event offers views that painters often dream about. This year’s event is from September 5-9, 2017 with an opening reception on September 8. Fall can be particularly attractive for outdoor painters in Fairplay as “the aspens begin to turn their brilliant hues of green and gold sparkling along the hillsides,” organizers suggest. In addition to the daily paint-outs, other scheduled events include a live auction, which has enjoyed considerable success over the event’s eight-year tenure.

The Quick Draw and Live Auction in 2015
Bartle Lakes and an artist’s perception, 2015

If you’re interested in participating, the deadline for entry is August 23, 2017. For more information, visit South Park Plein Air.


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