Painting outdoors
“Merfeld Homestead,” oil, 16 x 24 in. by Gerald Merfeld, 2018 Judge of Awards

22nd Annual National Juried Fine Art Exhibition of the Plein Air Artists of Colorado at Sorrel Sky Gallery, Durango

From the gallery:

Sorrel Sky Gallery proudly hosts the Plein Air Artists of Colorado (PAAC) for their 22nd Annual National Juried Fine Art Exhibition, featuring close to 100 juried artists and almost 200 pieces, all completed entirely en plein air, and within the last two years. In addition, during the four days leading up to the weekend’s events, artists will participate in a PAAC “Destination Paint-Out,” discovering fresh inspiration and new subject matter in and around Durango’s historic downtown and throughout the Animas Valley.

Painting outdoors
Carol Jenkins, “Saturday Sunshine,” 2017 Best of Show, oil, 9 x 12 in.

Plein Air Artists of Colorado (PAAC) was established for the love of plein air painting, the commitment to painting from life despite the challenges, and to enjoy the camaraderie of painting outdoors. Dedicated to creating opportunities for artists to paint outdoors together, PAAC schedules a paint-out weekly throughout Colorado, including locations in Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver, Estes Park, Fort Collins, and the Western Slope. These paint-outs are open to artists of all levels.

“Destination Paint-Outs” are also organized at various times during the year. This fall, artists from around the country will be gathering from October 1–4 to paint at coordinated sites in and around Durango. On October 5, the Annual National Juried Fine Art Exhibition opens with an artist reception and awards ceremony. Renowned Southern Colorado artist Gerald Merfeld will be this year’s awards judge. The juror panel of well-established painters, proficient in plein air painting, remains anonymous, scoring each submission to the Annual National Juried Fine Art Exhibition on its own merit.

Plein air painting is a highly disciplined technique that not all artists attempt. Due to the ever-changing condition of light and weather, it takes commitment and perseverance to be a plein air painter. However, if given the chance to talk to one of them, it quickly becomes clear that they keenly believe that there is no substitute for painting from life.

Gallery owner, Shanan Campbell Wells, is proud to be hosting the PAAC exhibition this year. “I may be mildly biased, but what better location in Colorado for plein air painting than Durango in the fall? With its historic downtown streets and neighborhoods, the Narrow Gauge Train, the Animas River and its many picturesque bridges, Durango is a plein air painters paradise.”

Painting outdoors
Susan McCullough, “The Zapata,” 2017 Artist Choice Winner, oil, 12 x 16 in.

The Plein Air Artists of Colorado (PAAC) for their 22nd Annual National Juried Fine Art Exhibition is on view through October 28, 2018, at Sorrel Sky Gallery. For more information, please visit

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