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Plein Air Invitational 

15th Annual Plein Air Invitational

March 1-28, 2021

In Borrego Springs, March means art – and lots of it. The 15th Annual Plein Air Invitational brings another outstanding exhibition of Plein Air paintings focusing on the unique beauty and environmental significance of the Anza-Borrego Desert and the Borrego Valley. These paintings eloquently testify to the ageless beauty that has been preserved in this special corner of California. The exhibition is a rich diversity of Plein Air paintings by a select group of 14 artists working in oils, watercolor or pastels, all producing work for the show during the week of March 1-6. The artists bring their own unique interpretation of the landscape and express it in the medium of their choice, communicating their intense feelings about the scenes they view. With COVID this year, we have one less artist than in past Invitationals and we have to limit public interaction with the event. But we are taking safety precautions very seriously to protect our artists and visitors to the Gallery. 

Curator for the 2021 Invitational, Kay Levie, Director of the Borrego Art Institute Gallery has stepped in as curator to take the place of Shannon O'Dunn who won't be traveling because of the pandemic. Shannon has become Curator Emeritus and continues to be available for consulting. 

Juror for the 2021 Invitational,Tim Horn, is an award winning artist from Fairfax, California.

Artists for the 2021 Invitational include returning artists Kadin Goldberg (Laurel, MT), Ryan Jensen (Blue Lake, CA), Thomas Kitts (Portland, OR), Margaret Larlham (San Diego, CA), Patty McGeeney (Del Mar, CA), Stephen Stauffer (Midvale, UT), Barbara Tapp ( Kensington, CA), Toni Williams (Solana Beach, CA), Simon Winegar (Farmington, UT), Jim Wodark (Orange, CA). New to the Borrego Invitational for 2021 are Dan DeLouise (Rockport, MA), Susie Hyer (Evergreen, CO), Natasha Isenhour (Socorro, NM), and Paul Rickard (Arcata, CA).

Schedule for the week of March 1-6:

March 1-5: Artists out painting. All work for judging must be in the gallery by 5:00pm on Friday. Public is invited to view work in the gallery each day, 10am-7pm.

March 3: Quick Draw competition, not open to the public this year. Work will be on display in the gallery March 4.

March 6:  Reception and Awards, 3pm-6pm on the main patio in front of the gallery. Awards will be announced shortly after 3pm. Visitors in the gallery will be limited to no more than 20 at a time. Everyone is required to wear a mask. 

The exhibit will hang through March 28. Gallery hours March 1-6, 10am-7pm. Gallery hours after March 6, 10am-4pm, Tuesday-Sunday. Closed Mondays.

14th Annual Borrego Springs Plein Air Invitational

March 2-28, 2020

Artists:  Bill Cramer, Arizona; Cynthia Rosen, Vermont; Margaret Larlham, California; 

Patty McGeeney, California; Kadin Goldberg, Montana; Kathleen Lanzoni, Colorado; 

Anita Winter, Colorado; Richard Prather, New Mexico; Clare Scott, Colorado;

Catherine Hillis, Georgia; Kathleen Weil, California; Jim Wodark, California;

Stephen Stauffer, Utah; Ryan Jensen, California; Simon Winegar, Utah

Juror: Scott W. Prior, Oceanside, California

Curator: Shannon O'Dunn

2020 Invitational Award Winners

1st Place

   "White Truck"                 oil                  Ryan Jensen 

  2nd  Place

 "Lavender Shadows"                 oil                 Jim Wodark

3rd Place   

 "Sainted Cholla"      pastel       Margaret Larlham

People's Choice and Curator's Choice

 "Night Sky"                   oil                   Stephen Stauffer

Honorable Mentions

 "Storm Rising"                    oil                     Bill Cramer 


"Morning Sleepyhead"              oil               Kadin Goldberg

 "High Ground"                 oil                  Patty McGeeney 

Quick Draw

"A Day at the Visitor's Center"            oil             Richard Prather

Artists' Choice for Body of Work

Jim Wodark

13th Annual Plein Air Invitational

March 3-31, 2019 

Returning Artists: Danny Griego, San Diego, CA; Margaret Larlham, San Diego, CA; Patty McGeeney, Del Mar, CA; Cynthia Rosen, Dorset, VT; Stock Schlueter, Eureka, CA; Aaron Schuerr, Livingston, MT; Barbara Tapp, Kensington, CA

New Artists: Bill Cramer, Prescott, AZ; Lamya Deeb, Niwot, CO; Kadin Goldberg, Red Lodge, MT; Kathleen Lanzoni, Boulder, CO; Susan Hediger Matteson, Dolores, CO; Nancy Roberts, Oakley, CA; Ken Spencer, Blackfoot, ID; Anita Winter, Centennial, CO

Juror: Randy Higbee, Costa Mesa, CA


1st-3rd place and People's Choice Awards: Dennis and Sharon Nourse, Borrego Springs, CA

Artists' Choice Award: Borrego Outfitters, Ben and Donna Nourse, Borrego Spring, CA

Curator's Choice Award: Shannon O'Dunn, O'Dunn Fine Art, Boulder, CO

Two-nights Housing for Judge: Borrego Valley Inn courtesy of Chef Tom of Kesling's Kitchen

Honorable Mention Awards: King of Frames/Randy Higbee Gallery

The 2019 Plein Air Invitational Winners

1st Place

                                                                             Danny Griego              El Rancho #8                       Oil

2nd Place

                                                                            Aaron Schuerr              Ephemeral Abundance                    Oil

3rd Place

                                                                               Kadin Goldberg     Head in the Clouds         Oil

People's Choice

                                                                                  Bill Cramer        Light on the Mountain                Oil

Curator's Choice

                                                                                   Cynthia Rosen       Across Flowered Fields          Oil

Honorable Mention

                                                                                Ken Spencer          Borrego Sunrise           Oil

Honorable Mention

                                                                           Lamya Deeb            Such a Lovely Morning                   Oil

Honorable Mention

                                                                                  Margaret Larlham        Kumeyaay Kitchen              Oil

Quick Draw

                                                                              Bill Cramer             Beginning, Middle and End                   Oil

Artists' Choice for Body of Work

Bill Cramer

12th Annual Plein Air Invitational

March 9-April 1, 2018 

 Jurored by noted California Plein Air artist Richard Lindenberg

the 12th Annual Plein Air Invitational artists were as follows:

Cindy Carrillo, Arizona; Robert Goldman, Arizona; Thomas Kitts, Oregon; Margaret Larlham, California; Greg LaRock, California; Susan Lynn, Kansas; Patty McGeeney, California; Cynthia Rosen, Vermont; Stock Schlueter, California; Aaron Schuerr, Montana; Cheryl St. John, Colorado; Paul Strahm, California; Barbara Tapp, California; Toni Williams, California; James Wodark, California. 

The 2018 Juror, Richard Lindenberg of Novato, California, a longtime and highly acclaimed artist with a passion for painting en plein air, is currently a marketing manager for Plein Air Magazine. 

The 2018 Winners of the Plein Air Invitational:

1st Place

Margaret Larlham       Notations-Palo Verde Wash      Pastel

2nd Place

Jim Wodark           Borrego Palms            Oil

3rd Place

Greg LaRock             Old Borego            Oil

Honorable Mention

Thomas Kitts             Passing Through            Oil

Honorable Mention

Susan Lynn             First Light            Watercolor

Honorable Mention

Cynthia Rosen               As the Day Rests                  Oil

People's Choice

Susan Lynn             View From the Edge            Watercolor

Curator's Choice

Aaron Schuerr             Desert Rhythms            Pastel

11th Annual Plein Air Invitational

March 5-26, 2017 

 Jurored by noted California Plein Air artist Gil Dellinger

the 11th Annual Plein Air Invitational artists were as follows:

Martin Arriola, Judith Doxey, Mark Fehlman, Joe Forkan, Danny Griego, Susan Elwart Hall, Rose Irelan, Thomas Jefferson Kitts, Michelle Valberg Kondos, Susan Lynn, Phil Starke, Barbara Tapp, Mary Ann Warner, Andy Williams, Jim Wodark.

The 11th Annual Borrego Springs Plein Air Invitational Winners:

(Work was judged on the body of work rather than individual paintings)

1st Place: Thomas Jefferson Kitts

2nd Place: Phil Starke

3rd Place: Susan Elwart Hall

Honorable Mentions: Danny Griego, Susan Lynn, Barbara Tapp

People's Choice: Andy Williams

The following paintings are part of each winner's body of work:

Water of Life II, oil by Thomas Jefferson Kitts

Morning, Coyote Canyon, oil by Phil Starke

60 Second Commercial, oil by Susan Elwart Hall

Coyote Canyon Twilight, watercolor by Susan Lynn


Lazy S Curve, oil by Danny Griego


Natural Sculpture, watercolor by Barbara Tapp


Desert Sands Airstream, oil by Andy Williams                            

The 10th Annual Borrego Springs Plein Air Invitational Winners:

1st Place: "Borrego Colors"   oil by Jim Wodark 

2nd Place: "On a Dark Desert Highway"   oil by Danny Griego

3rd Place: "Making the Bend"   oil by Thomas Kitts

Honorable Mention: "Morning Wash"   oil by Paul Kratter

Honorable Mention: "Air Plein"   oil by Rita Pacheco

The 10th Annual Borrego Springs Plein Air Invitational featured these artists:

Juror: Shannon O’Dunn, La Mesa, California

John Berry, Millville, Utah

Rich Brimer, Carmel, California

Patricia Rose Ford, Loma Linda, California

Danny Griego, San Diego, California

Karen Hedges, Laguna Beach, California

Thomas Jefferson Kitts, Portland, Oregon

Michelle Valberg Kondos, Borrego Springs, California

Paul Kratter, Moraga, California

Patty McGeeney, Del Mar, California

Rita Pacheco, Carlsbad, California

Karen Petrovich, Meadview, Arizona

Pauline Roche, Del Mar, California

Stock Schlueter, Eureka, California

Jim Wodark, Orange, California


Open Tuesday - Sunday 10 am - 4 pm and closed on Monday.

© Borrego Art institute 2021

Borrego Art Institute is a 501 (c) 3

not-for-profit corporation


Borrego Art Institute

665 Palm Canyon Drive, at Christmas Circle

Borrego Springs, CA  92004

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 2383

Borrego Springs, CA  92004

(760) 767.5152

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