In Plein Sight

Cheryl St. John

Location Info:

Denver Metro Area
City and County of Denver
Denver, CO  80202

One of the best and easiest ways to see artists at work is in a plein-air setting, and the best of plein-air painters don’t mind you peeking over their shoulders while they literally work in the field. It’s all part of the game, says veteran outdoor artist Cheryl St. John. “People look at it sort of as a sport: You go out and paint, and you always get a nice painting, though it’s more of a study,” she explains. “You’re kind of like a fisherman, with all your gear. And just like in fishing, sometimes you catch ’em and sometimes you don’t.”

St. John, a fourth-generation Coloradan in love with the state’s gorgeous scenery, got into plein-air painting after an indoor career in graphic design, and she thinks there’s been an uptick in people setting up their easels outdoors, some as professionals and others as hobbyists.

In fact, she’s just one of 27 Colorado artists participating in this week’s inaugural In Plein Sight plein-air festival, which culminates in a two-day show next weekend. Until then, the painters will be working at a different Jefferson County Open Space location daily as guests of Plan Jeffco, an organization dedicated to the preservation and conservation of the county’s open parklands. On October 4, the public is invited to view and visit with the painters in South Valley Park, 90 South Valley Road in Littleton, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; in the coming days, they’ll move to Mount Falcon Park in Indian Hills, Crown Hill Park in Lakewood, and White Ranch Park and Clear Creek Trail in Golden for more dawn-to-dusk painting.

The paint will barely be dry when the works are put on view from 9:30 to 4 p.m. Saturday, October 8, and Sunday, October 9, at the Golden Community Center, 1470 Tenth Street in Golden. And since there will still be live painting on the first day of the exhibit, new pieces will be added to the display on the second. Admission is free; for information and a complete painting schedule, visit

Oct. 4: South Valley Park, 90 S. Valley Road, Littleton. Oct. 5: Mount Falcon Park, 21255 Mt. Falcon Road, Indian Hills. Oct. 6: Crown Hill Park, 9307 W. 26th Avenue, Lakewood. Oct. 7: White Ranch Park, 25303 Belcher Hill Road, Golden. Oct. 8: Clear Creek Trail, Golden.

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