2022 Plein Air Festival

September 22 – September 25, 2022
Join us for the 2022 Central City Opera Plein Air Festival

Observe artists at work, and enjoy activities for the whole family! Specially selected artists from across the country travel to Central City this September to paint the incomparable Colorado scenery and historic atmosphere. The festival culminates in an exhibition and sale, where paintings created during the event are displayed and available for purchase.

Schedule of Events

Wednesday, September 21

Artist Arrival & Registration
All Day Paint-Out
Private Artist Welcome Reception

Thursday, September 22

All Day Paint-Out

Friday, September 23

All day Paint-Out

Saturday, September 24


11:00 am – 3:00 pm | 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.


11:30 am – 1:30 pm | Eureka Street 

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


2:00 – 2:45 pm | 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.

Ticketed Event – Cost: $15
3:00 – 4:00 pm | The Martin Foundry, 212 Eureka St, Central City, CO 80427

A Song Cycle for mezzo-soprano and string quartet with texts by Gene Scheer based on the life and work of French sculptor Camille Claudel, a student and lover of Rodin.
The composition is based on pictures by the artist, architect, and designer Viktor Hartmann and will feature two pianos.

Sunday, September 25

Ticketed Event

1:00 p.m. | Teller House

Be the first to view and shop for works painted throughout the weekend, and visit with festival artists. The judges will give brief remarks and distribute awards. Refreshments and drinks included. Additionally, all preview party attendees will receive complimentary entry into the Music & Art concert in the Foundry.

Ticketed Event – Cost: $15
3:00 – 4:00 pm | The Martin Foundry, 212 Eureka St, Central City, CO 80427

A Song Cycle for mezzo-soprano and string quartet with texts by Gene Scheer based on the life and work of French sculptor Camille Claudel, a student and lover of Rodin.
The composition is based on pictures by the artist, architect, and designer Viktor Hartmann and will feature two pianos.


4:00 pm – 6:00 pm | Teller House

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

Participating Artists

Lorrie Beck

Lorrie Beck is a Dallas, Texas native. She is an alumna of both Baylor University where she holds a Bachelor’s in Fine Art and the University of Colorado from where she earned a Masters of Business Administration. Throughout her life she has enjoyed drawing and painting, but has concentrated almost exclusively on western and wildlife subjects. Drawing has always been a passion for Beck, using pencil to combine her love of art, horses and the outdoors, though in recent years she has expanded her medium choices to include pastels and oils. 

Ted Garcia

My style grew out of commercial illustration mixed with a new-found joy of Russian impressionism. I have concentrated to develop the merging of the two styles to create the bold and vivid paintings for which I am known for. I find that plein air painting brings a great opportunity to develop an emotional connection with the viewer. The beautiful thing is that 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. “Our lives are are about passion. My work is an attempt to bring that passions into our daily lives and to share it with others. In each piece or collection, I’m attempting to emote passion from the gazer’s stare and to bring him into the emotional journey that has crescendoed to that moment that is captured on canvas.”

Hai-Ou Hou

Hai-Ou Hou was born in Beijing where she studied painting and ceramics at the prestigious Central Institute of Fine Art and Design. She accepted a teaching post at the Hubei Fine Art Institute where she taught painting and design. After immigrating to the United States, she received her Master of Fine Arts from Towson University. Hai-Ou’s work has been widely published and exhibited both nationally and internationally and hangs in many museum, corporate, and private collections. She is the recepient of numerous fine arts honors and awards.

Jeffrey Markowsky

In 2022 Markowsky, “The Plein Air Nomad” retired from teaching full time and is currently traveling across North America painting and living a nomadic life. He also Illustrates and serves as an Ambassador for the outdoor recreational clothing company American Backcountry. Markowsky won the Grand Prize at the 3rd Annual Saint Augustine Plein Air Festival in 2019. He was the 2018 Grand Prize winner of the Lighthouse Art Center 5th Annual Plein Air Festival in Tequesta Florida and returned in 2019 as judge. He won ‘Best Water’ category for the 2019 January/February Plein Air Salon. He is a member of The Oil Painters of America and was juried in to the 2019 Eastern Regional Exhibition in McBride Gallery in Annapolis, Maryland.

Carol Newsom

Carol’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 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. Carol has a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. Carol is a signature member of the Colorado Watercolor Society, and the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies, National Watercolor Society. She is married to Tom Newsom, also an illustrator and artist. They live and work in Idaho Springs, Colorado.

Sandhya Sharma

Sandhya Sharma is a plein air and studio artist and holds Diploma in Painting and Drawing. She has also trained at the Florence Art Academy, Sweden and Royal Drawing School, London. Her specialization is figurative work and portraiture and she has earned Honors and Merit Certificates from London Art College. She likes to paint en plein air (painting outdoor from Nature) and is a juried and award winning artist for plein air events in Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, and Colorado. She has been in juried shows held by NOAPS, MAPAPA, MFA, and MAA and her paintings are in collection in several countries. She has won several awards for her plein air paintings at the annual plein air events in the US. Her preferred medium is Oils, while she also works in pastels, water media, and pen and ink. She runs her Studio and Classes in Bethesda (MD). 

Cindy Shaw

Originally trained as an Architect, Cindy worked for 16+ years on civic, medical, commercial and residential projects. She also taught Architecture, Engineering and Interior Design coursework to college students. When her husband’s career took them to rural Italy for 5 years, Cindy went to the local hardware store for supplies and began to paint. She enjoyed exploring the Italian countryside and capturing “le viste belle!” After returning to the USA, she has continued to grow and develop as a full-time impressionist artist over the past decade. To learn more about Cindy, including gallery representation and recent awards, visit cindyshawfineart.com.

Ellen Sklar

Ellen Sklar is both an accomplished artist and a professional illustrator with a degree in media arts. She studied fine art at the Quater Art School, Tucson Arizona, a classical atelier, under mentor Florence Quater, a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago, for five years as well as at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona. She furthered her tutelage under the late master artist, David P. Curtis, Essex, Massachusetts for six years. Curtis studied and taught at the Guild of Boston, Boston, Massachusetts under Ives Gammel, one of the last American realists. She continues to advance her studies and paint and show at every opportunity. She currently lives in beautiful Longmont, Colorado with her part-time art assistant and critic, soulmate and life partner, Charles.

Tanner Steed

Tanner Steed is an oil painter located in Denver, CO. Born in 1996, Steed studied Human Development with a concentration in Education at MSU Denver. This insight into the psychological and physiological processes of learning provided an advantage to develop a curriculum to teach himself drawing and painting. After a few years of self motivated study, Steed then continued progressing at the Art Students League of Denver to develop more advanced technical skills. He studied with artists such as Daniel Sprick, Quang Ho, Andrea Kemp, Alexander Soukas, and Mitch Castor. Steed is now faculty at the Art Students League of Denver where he teaches courses in Floral Painting, Classical Drawing Techniques, Figure Drawing, and Figure Painting. Steed paints tirelessly and every single day to improve one step at a time, and he will continue doing so for the rest of his life. His work is displayed at the Broadmoor Galleries in Colorado Springs.

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 two-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 CO 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 one. Years later, it’s truly a challenge, every time.” Her work is in private collections across the U.S. She currently resides and works in the Denver, CO area, and is represented by American Contemporary Gallery.

Plein Air Preview Party

Sunday, September 25
1:00 p.m.

Music and Art Concerts

September 24 & 25
3:00 p.m.


The City of Central
The Central City Business Improvement District
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.