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Annual Kern County Plein Air Painting Festival

April 20 – 25, 2020

Plein Air Painting: Painting on-site, or the “en plein air,” a French term meaning “in the open air.”
Also, a painting done outside rather than in a studio.

The 6th annual event will be held the week of April 20, 2020. Lasting five days, it’s a fun and adventure-filled week for participating artists and the general public alike!

Fifteen of the best artists from the western US are invited to observe and paint our beloved Kern County outside in the elements. Each year, artists produce an amazing collection of works that depict the diverse landscapes and beautiful scenes from a county unlike any other place on earth. The general public have the opportunity to meet these talented artists and to watch them paint local scenes.

The events culminate with the Award and Sales Gala, a juried show and sales event celebrating the artists work.

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This festival is a fine arts love letter to Kern County, which has a richness of history and landscape.

This year’s participating artists:

  • Ellen Howard (@ellenhowardart)
  • Durre Waseem (@waseemdurre)
  • Carol Tarzier (@carol_trazier)
  • Ellie Warner Wilson (@ellieheartart)
  • Ken Spencer (@jkenspencer)
  • Ariah Myles Boyle
  • Charity Anderson
  • Chris Long (@long_painter
  • Danny Griego (@danny.griego)
  • Aaron Cordell (@aaroncordell)
  • Melanie Thompson (@melaniethompsonart)
  • Michael Chamberlain (@chamberlainpaintings)
  • Laurel Buchanan (
  • Patty Voje (@pattyvoje)
  • Eric Jacobsen (@jacobsenstudio)

If you’d like to be considered for the Plein Air Painting Festival, please email with work samples, website, and list of exhibits and awards.

2019 Kern County Plein Air Festival photos

First place winner Durre Waseem with juror Paul Kratter at the Awards and Sales Gala. Photo by Marsalh Musaad. 

Artist Durre Waseem’s 1st place painting, titled Farm Works. This was painted at the Kern County Museum on April 8, 2019.  Photo by Runa Lemminn

Artists (l to r) Kadin Goldberg, Ellen Howard, and Dan Schultz at the Artist Meet and Greet at Bakersfield Art Association on April 11, 2019. Photo by Runa Lemminn

Dan Schultz’s 2nd place winner at the Gala, titled Sycamore Sunset. Dan painted this out at Hart Park on April 9, 2019 in Bakersfield.

Photo by Dan Schultz.

Artists Lindsey Kustusch and Nate Ross were painting beside Comanche Drive in Bakersfield on April 9,2019. Photo by Runa Lemminn.

Spring in the Canyon, by artist Nate Ross, won Artist’s Choice at the Gala on April 13, 2019. Photo by Nate Ross

] One of Artist Daniel Sauerbrey’s paintings, which sold at the Gala. Photo by Marsalh Musaad.

Artists Dan Sauerbrey (l) and Aaron Cordell Johnson look at paintings displayed at the Gala on April 13, 2019. Photo by Marsalh Musaad.

Artist Melanie Thompson had some curious visitors while painting at Tejon Ranch. Photo by Melanie Thompson.

Artist Melanie Thompson stands beside her 3rd place award winning painting at the Award and Sales Gala on April 13, 2019. Photo by Marsalh Musaad.

Plein Air artist Matt Sterbenz’s painting, titled Tejon Poppies. Photo by Marsalh Musaad. 

One of artist Wendy Brayton’s paintings (sold) from the Gala, titled Woolgrowers. Photo by Marsalh Musaad.

Aaron Cordell Johnson discusses his painting technique with a passer by in downtown Bakersfield on April 11, 2019. Photo by Runa Lemminn


Plein Air artists (l to r) Matt Sterbenz, Patty McGeeney, and Melanie Johnson paint in downtown Bakersfield on April 11, 2019. Photo by Runa Lemminn.


One of artist Patricia McGeeney’s paintings, titled Tejon Cows. Photo by Marsalh Musaad.


Artist Aaron Cordell Johnson’s paintings, . Photo by Marsalh Musaad. [/caption]


Plein Air artist Brandon Gonzales discusses his art with Gala attendees on April 13, 2019. Photo by Marsalh Musaad.


One of artist Brandon Gonzales’s paintings at the Gala on April 13, 2019. The title of the painting is Morning Light. Photo by Marsalh Musaad.


One of Ellen Howard’s paintings from the Gala, which she painted on Moore Farms earlier in the week. The title of this work is I Want Moore. Photo by Marsalh Musaad.



David Gordon, Executive Director for the Arts Council of Kern and artist Lindsey Kustusch walk at the Kern County Museum on Monday, April 8, 2019. The KCM was the site of the 1st artist meet and greet for the general public that week. Photo by Runa Lemminn.



Artist Michael Chamberlain gets ready to paint in the doorway of a historical building on the grounds of the Kern County Museum on April 8, 2019. Photo by Runa Lemminn.