I was riding my bike in mid-October on the Tahoe-Pyramid Trail, east of Sparks, where the bright yellow stands of aspens and willows lining the Truckee River in the afternoon sunshine were downright gawk-worthy. My first thought was, “I bet the plein air painters are out today.” That thought evolved into a call for Nevada and Tahoe plein air painters—artists who bring their easels, paints, and chalks outdoors and paint what they’re looking at—to show us what they’ve been up to.

In the middle of a dumpster fire of a year, as COVID infection rates reach record highs, at the near-culmination of the most contentious election season of my life, it’s been an absolute delight to watch pictures of people smiling next to easels in the fresh air roll into my inbox. It is my great pleasure to take a quick break from it all to introduce you to Nevada and Tahoe’s plein air painters.

Phyllis Shafer, South Lake Tahoe

Phyllis exhibits her work widely and is an art professor at Lake Tahoe Community College. (You can learn more about her on Double Scoop.) Here, she’s painting on Blue Lakes Road near Hope Valley.

Sidne Teske, Tuscarora & Reno

Here’s Sidne drawing with pastels in Tuscarora, and a painting she made in October at Thomas Canyon in Spring Creek.


Zoe Bray, Reno

Zoe is best known for oil portraits and comic-type drawings about life with kids in 2020 that hit the nail on the head, but she works outside sometimes, too. Painter Erik Holland shot this photo of her painting in Verdi in 2012, shortly after she moved to Nevada. Zoe said in an email, “This year, with the accentuated anguish of the current environmental, health etc. crises, plein air painting has served me as even more much needed respite as well as communion with nature and art.”

Bill Bon, Las Vegas

Bill especially likes to capture atmosphere, mood, and light. He paints in several media, including oil, watercolor, and casein. Here he is at work, and his painting of Calico Basin in Red Rock Canyon.

Monika Johnson, Incline Village

“There are so many beautiful places around the Sierras,” Monika said. “I never run out of inspiration!”
Here she is in Virginia City and at Spooner Lake State Park.

Sue Perry, Sparks

Sue is a member of the Latimer Art Club, which was founded in Reno in 1921. She waved hello from Reno’s Oxbow Nature Study Area and shared a painting she made at Washoe Lake, looking at Slide Mountain.

Kaelyn McGowen, Reno

Sometimes Kaelyn works in a neon studio—and sometimes she works outdoors.

Heidi Reeves, Kings Beach

Heidi painted these images as part of a North Tahoe Arts plein air event. They’re views from near North Lake Tahoe and Trinidad, California.

Jenny Krummes, Lake Tahoe

Jenny is teaching her granddaughter, Nevaeh, how to paint. These pictures are from an outing at Regan Beach.

Dana Childs, Gardnerville

Dana teaches classes and workshops, including plein air outings. Here she is with her watercolors at Frog Lake and in Hope Valley.

Rossitza Todorova, Reno

Rossitza is a conceptual artist and Truckee Meadows Community College art professor who lives in Reno and paints outdoors as a side project. “Working plein air can be magical because it lets you get lost in the moment and pay attention to changing light and color,” she said. “I really enjoy taking groups of students on painting sessions outside. Working plein air teaches you how to focus and paint with purpose.”

Kim Franke, Reno

“Plein air painting allows me to see beauty in my surroundings, whether they be natural, urban or just plain ordinary,” Kim said. These photos were taken in Toila, Estonia, on the grounds of a Russian Industrialist’s estate. The buildings were destroyed in World War II, but the grounds are still open—and meticulously kept up—for visitors.

Luverne Lightfoot, Sparks

“Nature is a gift to artists which encourages plein air painting,” Luverne said. ” Painting nature is inspiring, and sometimes the canvas is too small.” Here’s an action shot and a painting from a session at Big Springs Gardens in Sierra City, California.



Karolyn Bader, Reno

Karolyn went on a Latimer Art Club Plein Air Paint Out at the River Fork Ranch, a Nature Conservancy area in Genoa.


Posted by Kris Vagner

Kris Vagner is Double Scoop’s Editor & Publisher.


  1. artgallery.prism November 1, 2020 at 1:18 am

    All lovely artists and their work, simply lovely. La Vonne La Tulip Vasick (NevadArt by LaVonne – Nevada Lifestyle Watercolorist)

  2. As a fellow artist – it is always inspiring to see Plein Air Artists out in the field doing what they love! If everyone could see that extra beauty of the outdoors & feel the sun & breezes on their faces while making “magic” happen on their canvas or paper….how much happier this world would be!

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