Painting Events - A scene from the Publisher's Invitational, Fall Color Week
A scene from the Publisher's Invitational, Fall Color Week

Take advantage of these in-person and virtual plein air painting opportunities from our Artists’ and Collectors’ Ultimate Guide to Painting Events and Organizations.

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September 2021 Plein Air Painting Events


Grand Canyon Celebration of Art
Dates: September 11, 2021–January 17, 2022
Sponsoring Organization: Grand Canyon Conservancy
Venue: Grand Canyon National Park
Format: Combination
Contact: Kathy Duley
Phone: 480.277.0458
Celebration of Art (CoA) is a wonderful tradition at Grand Canyon National Park, providing a vibrant experience for visitors, a venue for artists inspired by the canyon, and a successful fundraiser to benefit a dedicated art venue and arts programming at the park.
Since 2009, CoA has invited participating artists to paint “en plein air” for a week at the Canyon. The works produced are available for purchase online and are on display at historic Kolb Studio for a four-month sale and exhibition.

Grand Canyon Artist in Residence Opportunity
Dates: January 31 – April 1, May 23 – July 22, and September 12 – November 11, 2022
Application Deadline: September 15, 2021
Sponsoring Organization: Grand Canyon Conservancy
Artists have been inspired by Grand Canyon’s majestic views for millennia, going back to the first people who lived on this land. In the late 19th century, painters of the Hudson River School created vibrant scenes that became the impetus for the creation of the National Park Service. Today, the sights and sounds in national parks continue to inspire artists in residency programs across the country. We are seeking professional artists working at a high level in their discipline who can give new insights and focus to Grand Canyon and the surrounding communities as an on-site resident artist at Grand Canyon National Park.


EXHIBITION: Art from the Trail: Exploring the Natural Beauty of Santa Barbara County
Dates: Saturdays through October 3
Sponsoring Organization: San Luis Obispo Painters for the Environment (SLOPE)
Venue: Wildling Museum of Art & Nature
Eleven paintings from SLOPE members have been juried into The Wildling Museum of Art and Nature’s exhibition, “Art from the Trail: Exploring the Natural Beauty of Santa Barbara County.” This show celebrates outdoor treasures on the Central Coast. A key goal of the exhibition, in partnership with Healthy People Healthy Trails and the Santa Barbara County Trails Council, is to raise awareness of the wealth of trails in Santa Barbara County and to inspire visitors and community members to explore them, while encouraging a healthier lifestyle.

Exhibition: “Vistas, Varmints and Vagabonds: The PAC6 Paints the Wild West”
Dates: Through November 7
Venue: Santa Paula Art Museum
PAC6 is a group of six women artists from Southern California who joined together in 2014 to travel and paint en plein air across the country. They are Linda Brown, Marian Fortunati, Nita Harper, Debra Holladay, Laura Wambsgans and Sharon Weaver. While the six artists paint side-by-side during their expeditions, each artist renders the location and subject matter in her own distinct style.

Annual Sonoma Plein Air Festival
Dates: September 6-11
Venue: Sonoma Plaza and nearby areas
Award-winning professional artists from across the country arrive in Sonoma County in early September for a week of painting “en plein air” and fund raising to support art education for children & youth in the Sonoma Valley. The week begins with 33 nationally-recognized artists heading into the vineyards and the fields of Sonoma County, west to the Pacific Coast and south as far as San Francisco to paint. The public is invited to watch the artists paint and purchase paintings at a Quick Draw event and at the Art Show and Sale on the Sonoma Plaza. Forty percent of each painting’s purchase price is a tax-deductible donation to support youth art education in Sonoma Valley.

SCNY SoCal Plein Air Painters
Date: September 17
Location: Olaf Wieghorst Art Museum, El Cajon
Painters from the Salmagundi Club New York – Southern California (SCNY SoCal) and other plein air groups in our area have been invited to paint in the Olaf Wieghorst Art Museum’s cactus garden, which boasts cactus varieties from all over the world. Olaf had been a mounted police officer in New York City. Therefore, As a special treat, a mounted policeman has been invited and will be on site modeling for the group. Olaf Wieghorst’s original home sits on the property just the way he left it, and is a treat for painters. At noon, artists will take a break, and stroll to a Mexican Restaurant just steps from the garden for lunch. After lunch, artists will return to the garden to frame some of their paintings for an exhibition in the museum. Generously, the museum has invited participating artists to exhibit their paintings in the museum for 6 weeks for patrons to see and purchase.


Steamboat Art Museum Plein Air 2021
Dates: September 17–24
Opening Reception: September 24
Sponsoring Organization: Steamboat Art Museum
Venue: Steamboat Art Museum
Format: Open
Award Total: $10,000
Contact: Dottie Zabel
Phone: 970.870.1755
Paint the Steamboat Springs, Routt County, fall splendor offering landmark ranches, alpine vistas, a historic downtown, and plentiful painting opportunities with hosted painting sites. Three sales events: a Kick-Off Quick Draw at the popular Farmers Market on Saturday, September 18; Sunset Preview Reception with artists and patrons on Wednesday, September 22; and the Opening Reception and Awards on Friday. All work on exhibit and for sale through November 6, 2021. Space is limited to 50 artists; early registration and museum membership discounts available. Registration opens January 15, 2021.

Monuments and Canyons Plein Air Invitational
Dates: September 26–October 3
Opening Reception: October 1
Sponsoring Organization: Colorado National Monument
City: Grand Junction, CO
Format: Invitational
Contact: John Lintott
Phone: 970.858.3617
Come paint the most dramatic high desert scenes in western Colorado. The event is based in the incredible setting of Colorado National Monument and the surrounding BLM National Conservation Areas. The 2021 Monuments and Canyons Plein Air Invitational will host up to 25 artists if the event is deemed safe to proceed. If there are any health and safety concerns, it will be held virtually, as it was in 2020. This will be the event’s fifth year, and we hope you will see why John Otto, Colorado National Monument’s first park superintendent, called these canyons “the heart of the world.”


Paint Dover!
Dates: September 29–October 1


Plein Air International Paint-Out
Dates: September 9–12, 2021


Plein Air Painters of Chicago: “Uncommon Ground”
Show Dates: October 6, 2021 – January 16, 2022
Venue: Uncommon Ground Edgewater on Devon
Check site for details, additional events and paint-outs, including “Sundays on State” through September 12.


Carmel on Canvas Plein Air Competition
Date: September 17-18
Sponsoring Organization: City of Carmel
Venue: Indiana Design Center

EXHIBITION: Roy Boswell, American Ideals: Midwestern Farm
Dates: August 7–October 2
Venue: Richmond Art Museum
There are moments that grasp you so fully, you can’t turn away. It could be something subtle, but undeniably beautiful, or grand and awe inspiring. The ideal sticks with you, forever a part of your soul. It will present itself during pivotal moments in our lives, or when we are enthralled by the eternal here and now. We are in communion with the past, present, and future. These moments help define our humanity. The paintings of this show are interpretations of those moments condensed to their visual forms. They are meant to be beautiful, but also a bridge, and a way to calibrate you to the ideal. To be aware and search them out yourself as you adventure through life. When in doubt, hard work, a clear mind, and looking up will help you see the ideal moments around you.


7th Annual Harford Plein Air Painting Festival
Dates: September 17–18
Sponsoring Organization: Maryland Center for the Arts
Venue: Gallery Sale at Bel Air Armory
City: Bel Air, MD
Format: Juried
Contact: Bob Willenbrink
Phone: 443.567.5216
At the Harford Plein Air Painting Festival, you’ll get to meet friendly artists from all over the U.S. and enjoy painting numerous locations throughout Harford County, including expansive farms, historic homes and mansions, beautiful creeks and marinas, and the Susquehanna River from several vantage points. This juried competition includes a quick draw event on Saturday, open to all artists, as well as a collectors’ preview party, award ceremonies, and public gallery sale at the majestic Bel Air Armory in the heart of the county. We have generous host families who accommodate out-of-town artists and lots of social opportunities!


Plein Air in the Berkshires
Dates: June 1–September 30
Entry Deadline: September 28
Sponsoring Organization: Guild of Berkshire Artists
Venue: The Mount, Hancock Shaker Village, Norman Rockwell Museum, and the Berkshire Botanical Garden
City: Lenox, MA
Format: Combination
Contact: Karen Carmean
Phone: 617.868.7082
Create art outdoors in the Berkshires of Western Mass. Every day of the week from 9:30 a.m.–1 p.m., weather permitting, June–September. Meet at a beautiful Berkshire location such as The Mount, Hancock Shaker Village, Norman Rockwell Museum, and the Berkshire Botanical Garden. Work until noon, then positive critique over lunch (bring or buy). Oil, acrylic, photography, watercolors, pastel, drawing, digital painting are encouraged. Bring your own supplies. Open to all levels. Come for a day, a week, or more. We encourage you to join your favorite venue at the NARM level. Stay safe and leave the area pristine.


Plein Air Grand Marais
Dates: September 10–17
Opening Reception: September 17
Sponsoring Organization: Outdoor Painters of Minnesota
Venue: Johnson Heritage Post Art Gallery
Format: Combination
Contact: Allison Eklund
Phone: 651.592.7858
Every September for 18 years, painters from across the country have gathered to paint in Grand Marais, Minnesota, on the North Shore of Lake Superior and up the Gunflint Trail to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Daily mini-workshops, paint-outs, artist social events, and a traditional hootenanny with the “Plain Errors” make this a beloved annual tradition. A successful 2020 event during the pandemic, with optional remote participation, has given us the tools and experience to continue planning a flexible and enduring annual festival of plein air painting.


EXHIBITION: The Latimer School: Lorenzo Latimer and the Latimer Art Club
Dates: Through March 27, 2022
Sponsoring Organization: Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, Nevada
Venue: 2nd Floor Galleries
The Nevada Museum of Art is celebrating 90 years as Nevada’s premier cultural institution. An exhibition by one of the West’s most well-known plein air artists, Lorenzo Latimer, kicks off a months-long celebration.

New Mexico

Plein Air Painters 2021 Events
Dates: January 1–December 31
Sponsoring Organization: Plein Air Painters of New Mexico
Venue: Event venues will vary
City: Santa Fe, NM
Format: Combination
Contact: Elizabeth Cooper
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: 720.933.4022

New York

PleinAir Magazine Publisher’s Invitational: Fall Color Week
Dates: September 30–October 6
Sponsoring Organization: PleinAir Magazine
Venue: Young Life Camp
City: Saranac, NY
Phone: 561.655.8778 or 800.610.5771
PleinAir Magazine’s Eric Rhoads started the Publisher’s Invitational for busy painters who need a break, a chance to slow down, reconnect with friends, and paint beautiful places where the masters before us have painted. We make it effortless. You roll out of your bed for breakfast, pack a sack lunch for your day of painting, and show up for dinner. Regardless of what level of artist you are, seven days of painting can make a monumental difference in your painting skills and your state of mind. At Fall Color Week, you can come as a beginner or a pro. Either way, you’ll have just as much fun, and you will see progress.

Salmagundi Great Paint Out
Date: September 18
Location: Washington Square Park, New York City
Contact: Roger Rossi, [email protected]
Paint the history of Greenwich Village at this famous landmark. Include the surrounding buildings and side streets.


Ohio Plein Air Society 18th Annual Plein Air Competition
Dates: September 23–26
Opening Reception: September 26
Entry Deadline: September 20
Sponsoring Organization: Ohio Plein Air Society
Venue: Columbus College of Art & Design
City: Columbus, OH
Format: Open
Award Total: $3,000+
Contact: Jeff Stahler
Phone: 513.314.3853
Franklin County will be our competition location. This county provides artists with a wealth of urban scenes, plenty of beautiful metro parks, river scenes, farms, historical neighborhoods and locations, and college campuses. The event is hosted at Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD), where we are excited about the possibility of collaboration with CCAD, mentoring opportunities, and student inclusion. The Ohio Plein Air Society, founded in 2002, is a collection of artists and art lovers sharing a common interest in outdoor painting.

South Dakota

Black Hills Plein Air Paint Out
Dates: September 22–25
Opening Reception: September 24
Entry Deadline: September 13
Sponsoring Organization: Hill City Arts Council/Artists of the Black Hills
Venue: Harley-Davidson building, 261 Main Street
City: Hill City, SD
Format: Open
Award Total: $2,000+
Contact: Sandra Newman
Phone: 605.390.2927
The fourth annual Black Hills Plein Air Paint Out will be held in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. Pristine landscapes, history, wildlife, and iconic landmarks abound. This is an open event based in Hill City, the little town with big art! Custer State Park, the Buffalo Roundup, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, numerous lakes, and quaint towns attract 20,000-plus visitors during the week. Best of Show, Best of Day awards, Best Nocturne, Best Downtown Hill City, and Saturday Quick Draw. Exhibit and wet sale Wednesday to Saturday. Host homes available.


Escalante Canyons Art Festival/Everett Ruess Days
Dates: September 17–26, 2021
Sponsoring Organization: Escalante Canyons Art Festival
Venue: Various locations
Format: Open
Award Total: $10,000+
Contact: Allysia Angus
Join us in beautiful Escalante, Utah, to celebrate the stunning public lands of southern Utah’s canyon country. We are located along Utah’s only All-American Road — Scenic Byway 12 — between Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks, in the heart of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Event includes plein air, nocturne, and paint-out competitions, exhibits and art sales, workshops, demonstrations, arts and craft fair, live music, speaker series, film festival, and much more.


Plein Air Event on Chincoteague Island
Dates: September 11, 2021


Watercolor Live
Dates: January 27-29, Beginner’s Day January 26, 2022
Sponsoring Organization: American Watercolor Weekly / Streamline Publishing
Save years of struggle and frustration by discovering techniques revealed by the world’s top watercolor artists in just three days in the world’s largest online art training event!

Watercolor Live 2022 - by August 31

Check out the 2021 Artists’ Guide to Workshops, Schools, and Ateliers for even more painting opportunities, and click below to get your event listed in our 2022 Ultimate Guide. Hurry – the deadline is October 22, 2021!

2022 Ultimate Guide to Plein Air Events


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