September 28, 2018 – September 30, 2018
Free Admission to the General Public

Central City Opera, in partnership with the Gilpin County Arts Association, is proud to launch the inaugural Central City Plein Air Festival. The festival will bring 20 artists from around the country to Central City for three days to paint fall landscapes and historic architecture within a radius of the Central City Opera House. Entirely free to the public, visitors are invited to observe the artists, ask questions and experience Central City in autumn from an artist’s perspective.


For more information about the 2018 Plein Air Preview Party & Sale Click Here.







Diane Zing, Dana Edwards & Paul Moore









Central City Business Improvement District

Additional Support Provided by:
Central Presents
Barbara Froula
City of Central
The Gilpin County Arts Association



2018 Central City Plein Air Event Schedule

The general public is welcome to attend all events: 

Friday, September 28, 2018
All Day Paint Out  
Interact with Event Artists in Central City as they paint in locations within a three mile radius of the Central City Opera House.

Saturday, September 29, 2018
All Day Paint Out 
Interact with Event Artists in Central City as they paint in locations within a three mile radius of the Central City Opera House.

“Quickest” Draw Competition
12 pm – 1:30 pm, Eureka Street
Come watch event artists create brand new paintings from blank canvases in 90 minutes. Artist Barbara Froula will judge and distribute awards immediately following the event. Paintings in the “Quickest” Draw event will be available for immediate sale.

Central City All-Access Tour
2 pm – 3:30 pm, Central City
Learn abou the history of Central City and tour some of the city’s historic buildings including the Central City Opera House, Teller House and other historic properties that are not currently open to the public.
Space is limited and advanced sign-up is encouraged.  To sign up for a public tour, please e-mail Assistant Director of Development, Clare Mail, at

Sunday, September 30, 2018
All Day Paint Out 
Interact with Event Artists in Central City as they paint in locations within a three mile radius of the Central City Opera House.

Painting Demonstration with Lorenzo Chavez
12 pm – 1: 30 pm, Location TBD
Acclaimed plein air artist Lorenzo Chavez will lead a painting technique demonstration and answer questions from the public.

Central City All-Access Tour
2 pm – 3:30 pm, Central City
Learn abou the history of Central City and tour some of the city’s historic buildings including the Central City Opera House, Teller House and other historic properties that are not currently open to the public.
Space is limited and advanced sign-up is encouraged.  To sign up for a public tour, please e-mail Assistant Director of Development, Clare Mail, at

“Sneak Peek” Preview Party of Exhibition
4 pm – 5 pm, Gilpin County Arts Association’s Washington Hall Gallery
Be the first to view and purchase the 60+ works freshly painted throughout Central City during the weekend.  Preview Party attenees will receive one (1) drink ticket, enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres and mingle with festival artists, judges, art collectors, sponsor and patrons. To purchase a $50 Preview Party ticket, please e-mail Assistant Director of Development, Clare Mail, at

Public Exhibition & Sale and Awards Reception
5 pm – 8 pm, Gilpin County Arts Association’s Washington Hall Gallery
The 60+ paintings created throughout the weekend will be on display and available for purchase. Festival judge Desmond O’Hagan will give brief remarks at 5:30 pm and select winners for Best of Show, 2nd place, 3rd Place and Best Opera House painting. Event Artists will be onsite to answer questions and mingle with exhibition attendees

2018 Central City Plein Air Selection Panel and Exhibition Judge: Desmond O’Hagan

Desmond O’Hagan was born in Wiesbaden, Germany, and was raised in the United States. He enjoys working in several media, but his primary focus is in pastels and oils. Although he appreciates many different forms of art, his main interests include the paintings of several late 19th century American, French, Spanish, and Russian painters. Continuous study of these painters has had a strong influence on O’Hagan’s own art. Constantly challenging himself has translated into a fulfilling career in fine art encompassing several one-man shows and participation in group exhibitions in the United States, Japan, China, Canada, and France.

O’Hagan is listed in Who’s Who in American Art, and is a Master Pastelist with the Pastel Society of America. In 2005, he was inducted into the International Association of Pastel Societies’ (IAPS) “Masters Circle.” O’Hagan has won several awards in national and international exhibits including IAPS convention exhibit’s Prix’d Pastel Award, “Southwest Art” magazine’s Award of Excellence at the “Altitude & Attitude” Exhibition in Denver, CO. He has also won the George Innes, Jr. Memorial Award from the Salmagundi Club in New York City, and awards from the Pastel Society of America’s annual exhibits.

In September of 2016, O’Hagan was invited to exhibit, conduct workshops and seminars, at the 2nd Biennial China International Pastel Exhibition in Suzhou, China. In December of 2016, F&W Media released four new instructional DVD’s by O‘Hagan; two instructing in pastel painting, and two instructing in oil painting.

His paintings have been the subject of feature articles in numerous national and international magazines including The Pastel Journal, American Art Collector, Southwest Art, The Artist Magazine, International Artist, American Artist, United Airlines’ Hemispheres magazine, Pratique Des Arts (France), Artists and Illustrators (England), International Artist (Australia), and Gekkan Bijyutsu (Japan). He is also represented in four books. O’Hagan’s art is in public and private collections in the United States, Japan, China, Canada, and Europe. He is represented by galleries in Santa Fe, NM, Charleston, SC, and Desmond O’Hagan studio, Denver, CO.

2018 Central City Plein Air Selection Panel Judge: Lorenzo Chavez

Lorenzo Chavez was born in New Mexico.  His inherited connection to the colorful and historic Southwest as well as seeing the Taos Society of Artists works as a young boy was the catalyst for his art career.  In 1983, he graduated at the top of his class with honors from the Colorado Institute of Art.  Chavez sought additional training at the Art Students of Denver studying with Mark Daily.  During the late 1980’s and early 1990’s Chavez studied in workshops with many of the best representational painters in the country, including Richard Schmid, Clyde Aspevig, and Ned Jacob.

Chavez participates in several national invitational group exhibitions including the Pastel Society of America in New York, Artists of America Show in Denver, Plein Air Painters of America, Colorado Springs Fine Art Museum, Butler Art Museum, Laguna Art Museum,  Gilcrease Museum, Albuquerque Art Museum, Nicolaysen Art Museum, Loveland Museum, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Bradford Brinton Museum, Artists of the West at the Pioneer Museum in Colorado, Coors Show in Denver, Settlers West Gallery in Tucson, Trailside Galleries in Jackson and the Gene Autry Museum in Los Angeles.  In 1996, he was featured in a successful on-man show at the C.M. Russell Museum.  He has participated successfully in several C.M. Russell art auctions.  His work is featured in articles in Southwest Art, Artists of the West, Pastel Journal, American Artist and Art-Talk.

His suggestive renderings and fluent technique have earned him numerous awards and many devoted collectors throughout the United States and he is considered by many to be the west’s premier pastel painter.  In 1996, he was named one of the ten most collectible young painters in the county by Art Talk magazine.  He has been the recipient of awards and honors from such notable groups as at the Pastel Society of America, the C.M. Russell Auction, and Artists of the West Pioneer Museum, Society of American Impressionists.  Chavez is a member of the Northwest Rendezvous Group, the California Art Club, as well as honorary memberships in pastel societies throughout the country.

The bulk of the artist’s recent work is devoted to plein air landscapes in both oil and pastel.  Chavez typically chooses to paint that corner of the world which we often overlook, opting for the less grandiose and spectacular genre typical of western art.  The artist’s passion for this craft and his visceral connection with whatever landscape he finds himself in weave a powerful undercurrent of emotion and accessibility.

Chavez has spent years creating his own library of fine art books and spends hours studying the lives and works of his personal heroes, including The Taos Society of Artists, California impressionists, Maynard Dixon and Edgar Payne, Spanish colorist Joaquin Sorolla, and Russian itinerate Isaac Levitan whose landscapes have special meaning to Lorenzo because of the emotional impact they create.

Chavez has been painting professionally since 1985.  His work is featured in six galleries in the United States and is included in private and corporate collections nationally and internationally.  He teaches workshops regularly at the Scottsdale Artists School, Fredericksburg Art School, Fechin Art School, and Valdes Art Workshops.

2018 Plein Air Festival Artists



Richard Abraham 

St. Paul, MN

“Along the Turquoise Trail”

In 1998, Richard Abraham made the decision to leave a 14-year career as a designer and animator, moving to Minneapolis to train in traditional oil painting techniques. During this time, he painted landscapes on location or “plein air” for the first time and discovered a passion for the subtlety of nature. The challenge of working outdoors consumed him and he hasn’t looked back. Abraham has participated in plein air events around the country, and his art has presented opportunities to travel the world painting in Italy, Mexico, and Prince Edward Island, to name a few.

Contact: Website







Judith Brunko 

Evergreen, CO

“Animas River”

Judith Brunko began her art career in 1982, studying at Rocky Mountain College of Art and then went on to earn her master of architecture in 1990 from the University of Colorado, finding it the perfect blend of art and science. Judith loves the challenge of impressionist representational art and the pursuit of capturing light as it defines objects; whether landscape, seascape or figure painting. Brunko is drawn to oil painting as a form to evict and portray thought, emotion and feeling. Brunko has found that creating the structure of the human figure or the landscape on canvas has many similarities to designing and building architecture; both being visual expressions of physical beauty.

Contact: Website







Dawn Buckingham

Niwot, CO

“On the LOBO Trail”

 Dawn Buckingham is a Colorado artist with a passion for capturing the landscape in all seasons. She began to pursue pastel painting after retirement from education in 2012 and now exhibits her work in both local and juried national shows and plein air competitions. Buckingham believes that the arts have a major role to play as a tool for raising awareness of the effects of global warming and the consequences of human activity on our planet.

Contact: Website









Carole Buschmann

Denver, CO

“Home of the Happy Fish”

 Carole Buschmann paints form and pattern with expressive color. Pastels are the tools Buschmann uses to interpret the emotion which every day scenes bring to her. The play of light and shadow on the color of daily scenes, whether they are seen in Mediterranean Europe, Central America, Mexico and her backyard, have driven her artistic investigation. The small scenes from daily life is what interests Buschmann.

Contact: Website

















Jeanne Hougen

Lafayette, CO


Shape, pattern, color, value and texture are the things that excite Jeanne Hougen when she interacts with the world around her. Growing up in the Colorado mountains, with a father who painted, Hougen has been intrigued by this visual dance for as long as she can remember, but it wasn’t until 2006 that she was seriously bitten by the painting bug. Since that time, Hougen has studied her craft through reading and attending painting workshops with a number of nationally known artists. Hougen considers nature as one of her best teachers as she has spent countless hours outdoors honing her artistic eye, and painting on location, or plein air, as it is known in the art world.

Contact: Website














Shelley Howard

Denver, CO

“Heritage Pair”

Having always been inspired by the landscape, especially in Colorado and New Mexico, Shelley Howard tries to infuse a sense of movement into her landscape paintings. Howard believes the interplay between man-made objects or architecture, balanced with the random forms of nature, allows a connection to be drawn with the medium in a very intuitive and spontaneous manner. The use of mark making in pastels or brush strokes in wet media serves as the vehicle for unifying her works. Howard’s award-winning paintings and pastels are in collections in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Ohio and Texas.


Contact: Website






Kathy Imel 

Westminster, CO

“Hopper Time”

Kathy Imel began drawing in black and white more than 30 years ago. She began her art career as a botanical illustrator. When she first started in pastel, Imel was still pretty “tight” in her execution; she spent a great deal of time on the background drawing, putting in lots of detail.  Over the years, Imel has been able to simplify the shapes and focus the light through color to get more of the essence of the subject rather than just a photorealistic representation. Imel’s work is an attempt to distill light through the use of color.


Contact:  Website












Natasha Isenhour 

Socorro, NM

“Stealing Light”

Painting in both oil and pastel, professional fine artist Natasha Isenhour is known for her light-filled landscapes, chiaroscuro still-life paintings and birds. Before painting professionally, Natasha was a geologist and worked on a top-secret Department of Defense contract for the government in the middle of the desert. Her geological background is now an integral part of her understanding of the landforms she paints.

 Contact: Website




Rebekkah Jackson 

Ault, CO

“Cross Creek Ranch- Rocky Mtn National Park”


Rebekkah Jackson is a landscape painter and generally uses oils as her medium of choice. She searches for landscapes that have a nice balance of lights, darks and plenty of drama and movement. Thus, dramatic shadows, rocks, windblown trees and water are frequently depicted in her finished pieces. Jackson tends to work in a very unstructured way with large wide strokes that overlap. She then finishes with palette knives which gives the painting movement, structure and some very nice areas of pure color.


Contact: Website








Jean-Pierre Jacquet  

Greenwich, CT

“Willet Ave”


Jean-Pierre Jacquet is a French-American painter. In addition to painting, Jacquet has pursued a variety of different professions, including lawyer, journalist and award-winning film animator. Jacquet likes to paint what he sees, rather than what he knows, and tries to uncover the hidden designs in his subject matters, be it straight nature scenes or urban landscapes. Jacquet is partial to free and bold brushstrokes, which help him keep a certain sketchiness to his paintings.
















Betsy Johnson Welty 

Denver, CO

“Cat Anderson’s Small Barn”


Betsy Johnson Welty grew up in Denver and attended Occidental College, majoring in fine art, with a focus in painting. Painting in both watercolor and oil, Betsy is attracted to graphic patterns of light and shadow in the natural world. Color is a visual element she loves to explore as she paints. Johnson uses enhanced or more subdued color palates to evoke strong mood and emotion, while striving to portray an impression of the feeling she would like the viewer to experience.


Contact: Website










Mark Johnson 

Johns Creek, GA

“Looking East”

Mark Johnson was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1971 and received a BFA in fine art from the University of Georgia in Athens in 1995. He settled in Colorado and has lived in the heart of the Rocky Mountains almost continuously since 1996. There his love of painting and the outdoors naturally led him to plein air painting. The direction of his work has shifted away from strictly representational pieces and is now focused on capturing the feel and mood of a setting through the use of color and light. Atmospheric and ethereal images result from this process, creating soothing, tranquil scenes that draw the viewer into a dreamy world of memories and imagination.


Contact: Website







Susan Mayfield  

Salida, CO

 “Aspen Grove”

Susan Mayfield is an award-winning artist known for her use of color and light in her pastel and oils. She was raised in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, a watery landscape dominated by rivers, creeks and marshes, where she lived until moving to Salida, Colorado, 8 years ago. Mayfield explores and interprets the landscape, wherever she finds herself. Her work has focused on the incredible wild places in and around the canyon country of the southwest with particular emphasis on the rivers that carved them. Mayfield participates in plein air festivals across the region and her paintings have been chosen for the Art in Embassies Program. Her work is included in many corporate and private collections.

Contact: Website











Bill Meuser “Pearl Street”

Golden, CO

“Pearl Street”


Bill Meuser graduated Cum Laude from Ohio University in 1984 with a degree in painting, drawing and sculpture. After college Meuser worked as an apprentice for sculptor David Hostettler and spent many years carving a series of wood sculptures. Over the years, Meuser has kept his love of creating alive, finding time where he can to draw, paint or carve. In recent years, his love for painting has taken off, mainly “En Plein air.” Meuser’s recent awards include the Award of Excellence in the 2013 Colorado Plein Air Arts festival, Best of Show in Boulder County’s 2014 “Out Door Creations,” 1st Place Associates and Artist’s Choice in 2015 “Plein Air Artists” and Artist’s Choice at 2016 “Telluride Plein Air.”

Contact: Website







Connie Nicholson 

Lewisville, TX

“The Window at Big Bend”


Connie Nicholson studied art at Stephen F. Austin State University from 1972-1974. Disbelieving she could succeed in the then-abstract art world, she left school and became a waitress, greenhouse worker, accounting clerk and administrative assistant. She earned a bachelor of science in journalism, public relations sequence, art minor in 1997 from the University of North Texas, and after graduation, she studied painting and drawing at Brookhaven Community College and Collin College. Somehow, her winding road always returns to art. In recent years, her favorite subject matters include animals, flowers and landscapes.

Contact: Website






Karen Spotts “Chalk Cliffs”

Evergreen, CO

“Chalk Cliffs”


After graduating from ASU in Tempe, Arizona with a degree in art education, Spotts moved to Los Angeles, then to Denver, and to Saudi Arabia where she spent much of her time pursuing art in many mediums. After raising three children, Spotts has spent more than 20 years teaching art, mostly at the high school level. Spotts’ favorite medium is chalk pastel, and she has been working in that medium for the past 10 years.

Contact:  Website








Jeannette Stutzman 

Evergreen, CO

“The Barn”


Jeannette Stutzman is an oil and pastel landscape artist with an expressive style, focusing on dramatic compositions and effects of light.  Jeannnette is the owner and operator of Acme Design, a design firm, and she is an oil and pastel painter and fabricator of artisan jewelry on her days off. Her works are bold, direct and emotional and she believes they capture the power and excitement she experiences while out in nature. Jeannette was awarded “Best Oil Painting” for her painting “Trading Post” at the 35th Annual Western Spirit Show in Cheyenne, WY and 2nd Place for her body of work at the 2017 Pastel Society of Colorado Signature Member Show.


Contact:  Website







Virginia Unseld “Six O’clock in the Morning”

Black Hawk, CO

“Six O’clock in the Morning”


Virginia Unseld’s passion is painting en plein air in oils and pastels. Since she moved to Colorado from Pittsburgh in 1978, she has been recording her interpretations of the western landscape. The constantly changing sunlight provides a challenge to quickly capture shadows and colors. She also feel the need to document the beauty of empty places which are quickly disappearing. The mountains, streams, lakes and flora of Colorado and New Mexico are subjects which repeatedly call to her.

Contact:  Website 









Robin Weiss 

Poulsbo, WA

“Mount Baker Unveiled”


Growing up in Ohio, Robin Weiss began drawing at an early age. During his time in the US Navy, he painted scenes of the ship in watercolor. Later, he relocated to the state of Washington and studied architectural engineering, as well as art, at Olympic College and soon decided to focus on his artwork.  As a full-time artist, working mostly in plein air, Weiss appreciates the incredible beauty that surrounds us. Weiss strives to reflect that beauty on canvas, utilizing light and color to create a scene that captures the eye and draws a person in to experience the atmosphere of the place.


Contact: Website









Michael Wyszynski 

Norwood, CO

“Lone Cone”


Michael Wyszynski has always carried a pencil or pen in his pocket to scribble and doodle. He joined the Navy right out of high school and was stationed aboard USS Midway, home port Yokuska, Japan. A few years after earning his degree in biology from the University of Montana, Wyszynski found himself lost again, this time in Telluride, Colorado and he’s been lost in this area ever since, for almost 20 years now. Michael has been actively pursuing his art career as a pastel painter participating in plein air events and exhibiting in shows across the region.


Contact: Website




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