Plein Air Paintings To Be Available Online


Last updated 4/3/2020 at 1:07pm

An era of online browsing while practicing a voluntary form of home detention is upon us all, but there will soon be, if not already, the opportunity to view and purchase wonderful paintings by talented artists who participated in the 2020 Plein Air Competition, held last month prior to COVID-19 restrictions placed on social gatherings.

The Borrego Art Institute’s gallery was recently closed, except by appointment, but the works of the 15 Plein Air artists should be available online.

“We will not be posting prices (due to contract restrictions),” BAI’s Director Kay Levie said, so interested buyers will need to visit the online gallery at, and if something catches your eye, email her at

Currently, information about one new artist each day is going out from BAI on social media, and so far, 38 paintings have been sold, with each of the 15 participating artists having sold at least one painting.

Having viewed these works up close, it’s clear they are examples of true artistic talent. This is especially true when painting time is limited. On the second day of the competition, a “two-hour Quick Draw” competition held at the Park Visitor Center ended with the production of truly amazing works of art. “I want it to grab me,” Quick Draw judge and BAI Gallery Director/Curator Barbara Nickerson, “and with more rewards up close.”

First time Plein Air artist Richard Prather did just that, the exquisite detail of his painting in part responsible for capturing the First Place ribbon.

In addition to his Quick Draw winning entry, Prather also won the Peoples Choice award.

Other highlights: “White Truck” by Ryan Jensen won the Plein Air top prize ribbon, although he admitted to be a bit startled (the happy kind) by the award, having switched from drawings to paintings only three years ago.

A painting by Jim Wodark, “Lavender Shadows,” captures the timeless beauty seen by Borregans nearly every afternoon as the sun lights up the Santa Rosa Mountains to the northeast. Wodark won Second Place for that piece of very fine art.

Returning Plein Air artist Margaret Larlham won Third Place with her “Sainted Cholla” piece, a beautiful study in light and shadow but also concealing the prickly danger lurking in the spines of that desert plant if one should accidently brush past or step on one its cucumber-shaped fingers.

There are so many fine pieces of art awaiting purchase that it’s impossible to highlight them all. But art lovers will have the opportunity to view them and, if a piece speaks to you, you can write to the gallery for more information.

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