Plein Air Art Festival

Across the Street

The Prescott Plein Air Art Festival will launch on Thursday, Oct. 13 with demonstrations and educational activities for families from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Constellation Trail on Oct. 14, and at Sharlot Hall Museum on Oct. 15. The festival will conclude with an Artist Reception, Gallery and Sale from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 16,  at the Finn at Touchmark at the Ranch, 3150 Touchmark Blvd., Prescott.

The closing reception will allow guests to visit with the artists, learn more about the Plein Air style of painting and purchase one-of-a-kind pieces directly from the artists. Following the reception, the Mountain Artists Guild will host a post-exhibit and sale through Dec.

Referencing the French expression for “in the open air,” Plein-Air art festivals involve artists who paint in outdoor settings and strive to capture the spirit and essence of a landscape or subject by incorporating natural light, color, and movement into their work. Artists participating in the Prescott Plein Air Art Festival may be found painting throughout Yavapai County and the public is invited to observe and engage with them at no cost as they create their art.

This annual celebration offers attendees a chance to observe and interact with artists painting in outdoor settings.

Cindy Carrillo is an accomplished oil painter, watercolorist and mixed media maker whose work has been featured in galleries and national juried shows across the country.

Carrillo’s paintings are inspired by the natural world. For her outdoor work, she uses primarily oil.

“For most of these events, I prefer the oil paint because it’s a lot more forgiving,” Carrillo said. “It doesn’t try too hard, too fast. You can go back and if you make a mistake, you can go and correct it easily. You have time to play with it rather than acrylic, it’s bone dry while you’re eating your sandwich.”

When painting indoors, Carrillo often uses acrylic paints. Her choice of media depends totally on what the scene demands.

“I pick the medium according to what I’m trying to do and in the studio, I will use acrylic paint, but that’s because I also add layers of paper and I do collage and other things and I want that dry so I can get to the next layer,” Carrillo said.

Russell Johnson grew up in Prescott and enjoyed the closeness of the outdoors. He is an avid hiker, seeking out trails to explore. On these explorations, Johnson will paint “en Plein Aire” as well as photograph and sketch subjects for future studio paintings.

Johnson’s paintings are vibrant and energetic, often painted with a palette knife. He is a colorist, emphasizing light and color as a dramatic force in his paintings.

“Colorists are trying to portray moods and feelings with color,” Johnson said. “If you look at my work on the website or other places, it tends to be less dulled down or grayed down. It just has a lot of impact from the color.”

Being outside in nature while painting is what Johnson says he enjoys most about the Plein Air style.

“Everything about it is stimulating all the senses of being outside, whereas working in a studio is kind of a controlled environment,” Johnson said. “Outside, there’s all the wind and changing light, flickering light through the trees or whatever. All the bugs and birds, despite the bugs being a nuisance, just become this kind of cacophony of noises that are stimulating as an artist. Bringing that into a painting, the feelings and mood of these places, and then working from life and being in front of the subject instead of removed from it in a studio environment is what makes it really exciting for me.”

For more information about Carrillo’s work, visit

For more information about Johnson’s work, visit

For more information about the event and to purchase tickets, call 928-776-9550, or visit

Jesse Bertel is a reporter/videographer for the Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter @ JesseBertel, email him at, or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2043

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