Plein Air Invitational 

14th Annual Plein Air Invitational

March 2-29, 2020

In Borrego Springs, March means art – and lots of it. The 14th Annual Plein Air Invitational will bring 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 will 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 15 artists working in oils, watercolor or pastels, all producing work for the show during the week of March 2-7. 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. The reception and awards gala will be held March 7, 2020, 5:00 to 7:00 pm.

Returning Curator for the 2020 Invitational, Shannon O'Dunn of O'Dunn Fine Arts, is no stranger to the Borrego Art Institute. As an artist and a gallery owner in La Mesa, California for seven years, Shannon attended many of BAI's Plein AIr openings. In 2016 she accepted the honor of judging that year's Invitational. In March of 2017, Shannon assisted BAI's longtime Plein Air curator Barbara Nickerson and then stepped into the curator position for the 2018 Plein Air Invitational. Shannon, now a resident of Boulder, Colorado, continues to be involved with BAI and is working on creating another outstanding Invitational.

Juror for the 2020 Invitational is Scott W. Prior, an Oceanside, CA Plein Air artist with numerous awards for his work. Scott will be putting on a Plein Air workshop on March 9 & 10, "Back to Basics". To get more information and to register for this workshop, email 

Artists for the 2020 Invitational include returning artists Bill Cramer (Prescott, AZ), Cynthia Rosen ( Dorset, VT), Margaret Larlham (San Diego, CA), Patty McGeeney (Del Mar, CA), Kadin Goldberg (Red Lodge, MT), Kathleen Lanzoni (Boulder, CO), Anita Winter (Centennial, CO). New invitees to the 2020 Invitational are Richard Prather (Placitas, NM), Clare Scott (Lafayette, CO), Catherine Hillis (St. Simons Isl, GA), Kathleen Weil (Los Angeles, CA), Jim Wodark (Orange, CA), Stephen Stauffer (Midvale, UT), Ryan Jensen (Blue Lake, CA). Simon Winegar (Farmington, UT). 


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



Borrego Art Institute

665 Palm Canyon Drive

P.O. Box 2383

Borrego Springs, CA  92004


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