2021 Plein Air Festival

September 25 – September 26, 2021
The 2021 Central City Plein Air Festival will take place on Saturday, September 25 and Sunday, September 26, 2021.

Observe artists at work, and enjoy activities for the whole family! More than twenty specially selected artists from across the country travel to Central City this September to paint the incomparable Colorado scenery and historic atmosphere. All events are free with the exception of the Friday Night Kick-Off Party at the Monarch Casino Resort Spa and the Sunday Preview Party in the Teller House.

The festival culminates in an exhibition and sale, where 60+ paintings created during the event are displayed and available for purchase.





6:00 – 8:00PM | Monarch Casino Resort Spa

Start the weekend off right at the Festival Kick-off Party at the newly opened Monarch Casino Resort Spa! Meet the participating plein air artists for hors d’oevres, drinks and a very special painting demonstration by watercolorist David Pyle. 




10:00am – 1:00pm | Central City Opera House

Tour some of Central City’s historic buildings including the Central City Opera House, Teller House, and other properties not currently open to the public.


11:00am – 3:00pm | Penrose House Lawn

Become an artist with fun, interactive arts activities for the whole family. Tap into your imagination and experiment with chalk art, create your own plein air painting and more! All ages welcome! 119 Eureka St.


11:30am – 1:30pm | Eureka Street 

Watch artists create new paintings from blank canvases in 2 hours.


2:00 – 3:00pm | Central City Opera House Gardens

Quick Draw paintings will be on display and available for immediate purchase. Judging and an award for the winning Quick Draw painting will be distributed.


3:00 – 3:45pm | Central City Opera House

Be serenaded by Central City Opera main stage singers, from the iconic Opera House Gardens. Featuring Sarah Barber, mezzo-soprano and Jeremy Reger, piano


10:00am – 1:00pm | Central City Opera House
Tour some of Central City’s historic buildings including the Central City Opera House, Teller House, and other properties not currently open to the public.


11:00am – 12:00pm | Teller House

Be the first to view and shop for works painted throughout the weekend, and visit with festival artists. Judges Sheila Marie and Lorenzo Chavez will give brief remarks and distribute awards at 11:30 a.m. Hors d’oeuvres and drinks included. 


1:00 – 2:30pm | Central City Opera House Gardens

Join award-winning plein air artist and instructor Spencer Meagher for a demonstration on the timeless art of painting outdoors.


3:00 – 3:45pm | Opera Gardens

Be serenaded by Central City Opera main stage singers, from the iconic Opera House Balcony and Gardens. Featuring Miguel Angel Ortega Banales, tenor and Jeremy Reger, piano


4:00pm – 6:00pm | Teller House

View and purchase the 70+ paintings created by participating artists throughout the weekend.

Meet the 2021 Judges
Sheila Marie

“I am drawn to the rhythm and the complex beauty that nature bestows upon us.  I love carving out

the design, uniting the brilliant and nuanced colors.  Drawing and painting from life is critical in my observation and growth as an artist. Each brush stroke bringing the work to a place that the viewer can feel, reflects reality and is clearly a painting.”

Sheila owned a stained glass studio for a dozen years, teaching, designing and creating commissions for custom home builders.  Next, she became involved with a start-up baby product company where she worked for 25 years.  As the Director of Operations she built relationships with manufacturers, developed processes for operations, designed fabrics for product, developed, designed and patented baby products.

Sheila now devotes most of her time to painting.  She has won numerous awards, both local and regional.

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.  He graduated with honors from the Colorado Institute of Art in 1983 and continued his art education at the newly founded Arts Students League of Denver starting in 1987.  Lorenzo and his wife Dolores currently live in Parker, Colorado.

Chavez  has been an active professional fine artist for 35 years

His suggestive renderings and fluent technique in both Oil and Pastel 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.  He has been the recipient of awards and honors from such notable groups at the Pastel Society of America, California Art Club, American Impressionist Society, The Russell Art Auction.

Meet the 2021 Artists

Betsy Johnson Welty

For Betsy Johnson Welty, the act of creating art is a process of continued discovery that brings with it challenges, surprises, obstacles, insight and epiphanies. Each new painting presents a new set of adventures and a quest for interpreting the world around us in a unique way. Welty attended Occidental College and majored in fine art.  She then embarked on a career in graphic design.  After retiring, she continued her painting studies with Kevin Weckbach in his master class, and also with Mark Daily, SusieHyer and Jordan Wolfson.

Betsy paints in both watercolor and oil, in plein air and in the studio.  Her work can be seen at Denver’s Cherry Creek Art Gallery, and Framed Image Gallery, and her work has appeared in many national juried exhibitions.  She is an associate member of Women Artists of the West, the American Impressionist Society and Plein Air Artists Colorado.

Donna F. McGee

Donna F. McGee is lifelong painter of nature and the landscape in fluid acrylic, oil, and watercolor.  Donna says, “When painting outdoors, I become immersed in the place to the extent that I take much more away with me than a painting.” Donna has an MFA in painting & drawing with over 27 years of university teaching experience.  In addition to numerous solo shows, Donna F. McGee’s award-winning work has been exhibited in over 70 international, national, and regional juried exhibitions.

Richie Vios

Born and raised in Cebu City, Philippines, Richie N. Vios hails from an artistic family, and studied architecture. In 1995, he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture also serving as a faculty member, teaching architectural design and presentation. In 2004, his family left the Philippines in hopes of a better future in America. During the next five years there, Richie refined a unique mastery of watercolor painting, evident in all of his art to this day. In the summer of 2017, his family moved to Victoria, Texas, where Richie joined them sooner after. There, he passionately chased the American dream again, not as an Architect, but as a watercolor impressionist and plein air artist. Currently a resident artist in the Victoria Art League, Richie conducts watercolor classes and workshops in Galveston, Houston, Victoria, Rockport and Corpus Christi, Texas. Richie Vios’ most recent award was the Quick Draw Competition winner at Central City Opera’s 2020 Plein Air Festival.

Rebecca Gorrell

“If you draw, the world becomes more beautiful.” -J.O. Plaven.  Rebecca Gorrell’s goal when she paint is to reveal the beauty in the simplest things - the shadows caressing the contours of a building, the lovely desolation of a wide-open landscape or the mystery of a lit window at night. Rebecca Gorrell loves what she does, and she lovezs sharing it with others.

Andy White

Andy White is a recent military retiree and empty-nester. This stage of life has given him more time to devote to his art career. Andy has sought instruction, attended multiple workshops, set up a studio, developed a website and participated in plein air events. Andy White’s hope is that his viewers will enjoy the way his brushwork portrays the west!

Lorrie Beck

Lorrie Beck’s art is inspired by the beauty of nature and all its components, sometimes man made. As she continues to interpret the world around her, she tries to find her own perspective to tell a story. Her goal in each new piece is to not only render the subject accurately, but also to give it a breath of life. Lorrie Beck represent the story in line, value, contrast and color. Her media choices include oils, pastels or pencils.

Virginia Unseld

Virginia Unseld’s passion is painting en plein air in oils and pastels. Since moving 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. Virginia also feels the need to document the beauty of empty places which are quickly disappearing.  Her work is about joyous mark-making as much as it is about the subject. Virginia Unseld’s philosophy is that it is not what you paint but how you paint it that is important.

David Pyle

For over 30 years, David Pyle has carried a paint box while traveling, looking to create images that tell stories. He began his career with a degree in painting and drawing. From there, David went on to study organic chemistry, while also showing paintings in local Colorado galleries. The intersection between art and science opened an array of exhilarating opportunities in the arts, eventually allowing him to serve as North American Marketing Director for Winsor + Newton and Liquitex, two of the leading brands in artists products. In 2006, David became the publisher for The Artist’s Magazine in Cincinnati, followed by American Artist Magazine in New York in 2008, still while continuing to paint.  Now, David Pyle is doing what he loves most as an active plein-air painter. David Pyle will be leading a special Artist Demonstration on Opera-Focused Artwork at the Plein Air Festival Kick-off Party. 

Jove Wang

In 1997, Jove Wang was honored with the Best of Show at the California Art Club’s 88th Annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibition, and the following year he took the First Place in the figure category in the California Art Club’s 89th Annual Gold Medal Juried exhibition. In 1999, he earned the Best of Show at the 8th Annual National Juried Exhibition of Oil Painters of America. In 2000 he took the First Place at the prestigious Viewpoint 2000 Cincinnati Art Club Exhibition. That same year he also won three prizes at the Plein Air Tucson 2000 Exhibit in Tucson (Grand Prize, Best of Mission, and Best Design/Architecture). In 2001 he won the Best of Show and Artists’ Choice Award at the 2001 Carmel Art Festival. In March 2008, Jove’s portrait “Young Man” won Gold Medal Award by Japan Artist Association at Tokyo National Museum. In 2009, “A Day on the Silk Road” was selected by the 11th National Exhibition of Fine Arts in China. Jove Wang is a Signature Member of the California Art Club.

Spencer Meagher

Each of Spencer Meagher paintings is an attempt to express something unique about the subject before him. His goal is to open the viewer’s eyes to how he sees and experiences the world. Spencer wants to help the viewer see common links between shapes within not only the subject itself, but everything around it. To him, this is achieved most effectively by careful observation and execution of value.

JR Monks

JR Monks chases the clouds and light across the Rocky Mountain west to humbly record in paint the glory of nature and the heritage of the west. His work conveys a personal yet authentic vision to his viewers, and translates his passion for the natural world.

Ted Garcia

Ted Garcia’s style grew out of commercial illustration mixed with a new-found joy of Russian impressionism. Ted has concentrated to develop the merging of the two styles to create the bold and vivid paintings for which he is known for.  He finds that plein air painting brings a great opportunity to develop an emotional connection with the viewer, as the painting is a very personal statement of who the artist is, once a painting is completed. As an example, the simple yet bold brush strokes may take a painter a lifetime of painting to find their unique voice that only they carry.

Orville Giguiento

Orville Giguiento started painting again just last year, due to COVID-19 and boredom. He also started a YouTube channel, doing caricatures and painting demonstrations. From there on, it’s been a never-ending quest to discover his own style.

Amy Carter Ishmael

Amy Carter Ishmael paints in Full Sheet Pastels to do scenery its due diligence. Amy first painted in the 80’s, began studying Design in 2010. She incorporates this education into my pastel works.

Norbert Nagel

Norbert Nagel loves to paint, he paints what he loves.

Tim Harvey

Tim Harvey grew up in Gilpin County, Colorado, near the mining towns of Black Hawk and Central City. His upbringing cultivated a love of the outdoors and especially the Rocky Mountains. That love has manifest itself in a lifelong passion for landscape photography and painting. Tim studied art at the Arts Students League of Denver and refined his techniques under the personal instruction of three of his favorite landscape artists. Tim is a member of the Oil Painters of America (OPA), Plein Air Artists Colorado (PAAC) and Southwest Montana Arts (SMArts). Tim now lives in Bozeman, Montana, and teaches at Montana State University.

Marilyn Fingerlin

Marilyn Fingerlin creates because she has to. Her world is full of controlled chaos. She works in a fast-paced office full of fine details and emotions. The day to day money making life becomes consuming and unbalanced. For Marilyn, it’s really about the color. It awakens the viewer to become engaged with her creation. By demonstrating how life extends beyond its own subjective limits, her work becomes the story. Using color and composition, she fill the void and silences the noise of everyday life.

Joni Emily

Joni Emily’s artwork embraces the outdoors in a physical way, undeterred by rain, sleet, or snow.  She would rather be outdoors hauling her painting gear to the edge of an overlook, the top of the mountain, and the rocky bed of a stream.  As a former ski bum and a competitor in marathons and sprint tri’s, Joni has realized the incredible artistic opportunities in painting dramatic landscapes and the people who seek to explore them. 

la Rue

la Rue is a creator who needs to create. She paints how she sees it and feels it - what’s in front of her.  Her painting comes from the heart and provides an enormous satisfaction and challenge.

David Garrison

David Garrison wants the viewer to see the use of the medium, the end of the brush stroke, the spontaneity, the freshness of a new painting. If he can give the viewer an impression of the atmosphere, a sense of light and deep shadows, if he can just open their eyes to the simple beauty around us, then he has accomplished a great deal!

Walda Juhl

Walda Juhl prefers to be out doors to increase perceptions of light, color and feeling. She paints primarily watercolor and has evolved into acrylics and waterbased oils. Walda believes that creating a painting is much like composing music; it can carry you away to another space, another dimension and her hope is that her paintings can be viewed by others, to hear that music. Her philosophy is to paint realistically yet with the flare of impressionists who used the light to make their paintings come to life.

Jeanne Hougen

Shape, pattern, color, value, texture - These are the things that excite Jeanne Hougen when she interacts with the world around her.  These are the tools that she draws from when she puts her brush to canvas.  In a painting, these abstract elements can come together in countless combinations to create a kind of visual dance…a melody for the eyes.

Growing up in the Colorado mountains, with a father who painted, Jeanne 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, she has studied her craft through reading and attending painting workshops with a number of nationally known artists.  One of my best teachers has been nature itself, as Jeanne Hougen has spent countless hours outdoors honing her artist’s eye, and painting en plein air.

Cathleen Windham

Cathleen Windham is an American artist whose work encompasses several mediums including oils, gouache, paper collage, and upcycled leather seating. She got her start as a fine artist in about 2005 with a 2-day weekend “starter” oil painting class in Nashville, Tennessee with artist Dawn Whitelaw. Since then, Cathleen has continued to grow her skills, and in 2018, relocated to Denver, Colorado to paint the west. Her painting travels have taken her from the balmy coast of the Carolina’s, to the glory of the Tetons, to the vineyards in Italy. “Painting from life is perhaps the best way to ‘Be Here Now.’ “

Much of her work is done in plein air, out of doors. “There’s nothing I value more than being able to work outside and attempt to do my subject matter justice. This is where I cut my teeth as a new painter, day 1. Years later, it’s truly a challenge, every time.” 

Cathleen currently resides and works in the Denver, Colorado area.

Carol Newsom

Carol Newsom’s art career began in 1972 after graduating from Art Center College of Design with a major in illustration. Since that time, she has illustrated over 150 children’s books for every major publisher in the U.S. as well as publishers in England, Greece and Korea. When she is not working on children’s books, she is painting the scenery, wildlife, and people of Colorado. Her watercolors are exhibited in galleries and shows across the state and the U.S.

Some of Carol’s awards include Garden State Children’s Book Cover Award, Moms Choice Book Award, second place in the Members show at the Evergreen Center for the Arts in 2013, Best of Show 2019 CWS Members Show, and many more. Carol Newsom is a signature member of the Colorado Watercolor Society, the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies, and the National Watercolor Society. She is married to Tom Newsom, also an illustrator and artist, and they have two sons who are also artists. They live and work in Evergreen. Colorado.

Amanda Maldonado

Amanda Maldonado finds herself drawn to her community and the people and places that surround her. One way she likes to connect is through her art. Amanda believes that it is a chance to connect more deeply with what’s around her, as well as a way to bring people in her community together by depicting images that have meaning and memories for all of us.

Dave Reiter

Dave Reiter studied graphic design at the Colorado Institute of Art and continued his studies with Kevin Weckbach, Jordan Wolfson, and others. Dave has been painting professionally since 2007. He predominantly bases his work in naturalism and landscape. Additionally, he explores how memory, place, and relationships harmonize through the abstraction of realism and the play of color and texture.

Dave’s earthy palette calls to mind his upbringing in rural Montana on the family farm. He has participated in prominent exhibitions throughout Colorado and nationally, and have created work for the City of Thornton, Colorado. Dave Reiter is represented by Southwind Fine Art gallery and The District gallery.

Dawn Buckingham

Becoming an artist has given Dawn Buckingham the gift of seeing and experiencing the world in a new and enhanced way. Dawn 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.  She believes that we also share an important responsibility in documenting historical places as we work toward preservation of the buildings and cultural experiences in these special places. Dawn Buckingham’s growth as an artist is a journey of personal expression, appreciating moments in time, and sharing her joy of painting with others, through creating art and teaching.

Jhenn Whalen

Jhenn Whalen is a representational painter, illustrator, and college art instructor residing in Lakewood, Colorado. She has been honored to work with and study under some of the best artists of our time, including Quang Ho, Zoey Frank, and Robert Liberace. Her favorite art adventure was painting across the country via train with the En Train Air group in 2019.

When not in her studio or teaching, Jhenn Whalen can be found walking her dogs, tinkering in the woodshop, or in the coffee shop. She’s also the caretaker of two cats and one human companion.

Ellen Sklar

Ellen Sklar is both an accomplished artist and a professional illustrator with a degree in media arts. She studied at the Quater Art School, an atelier, under mentor Florence Quater, a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago for five years during high school and after. She furthered her painting skills under master artist, David P. Curtis, one of the most important realists in the Boston School, in Essex, Massachusetts, who studied with Ives Gammell. She continues to practice and study at every opportunity. Ellen Sklar works as a professional illustrator for an educational publishing company as well as teaching and has been licensing to greeting card publishers since 2007. She currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


Nancy Benson
Monarch Casino Resort Spa

The City of Central
The Central City Business Improvement District
Dr. Sarah K. Scott & Mr. Kevin Kearney

Karen and Andrew Ritz

Support the Plein Air Festival

Donate now to support the Annual Central City Plein Air Festival. Your gift will help us continue to bring arts and culture to the City of Central.