Log in
<< All album photos 16/45 photos
Susan McCullough at Lily Lake Paint Out, 2011

PAAC History


The roots of PAAC go back many years (early 90’s) to the Art Students’ League of Denver when several landscape students started painting “En Plein Air” on a regular basis. They showed in museums, art centers, and galleries all over Colorado; Canyon Road in New Mexico; and by invitation in Chicago.

Leslie Allen & Fran Gottlieb at Maroon Bells
Photo by J Baca

Lynn Simonson painting
Sneffels Range

Fran, Lynn, & Connie Taylor in Sedalia


Sugarstone Studio Show 2001

Connie Taylor, Fran, Betty, Leslie, and Lynn
at Sugarstone Studio Show

Lynn, Leslie, Betty, and Fran in 2001

In 2005 PAAC Members Leslie Allen, Mary Ellen Andrews, Frances Gottlieb, Lynn Simonson, and Connie Taylor mounted their ninth annual show and sale at Mill Atelier Gallery, on Canyon Road in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Fran, Lynn, Mary Ellen, Connie, Leslie

The Press Release stated: “All of these award-winning artists are individually represented in galleries across the country, and together their experience spans several decades. They will exhibit their recent work of New Mexico and Colorado. A common thread found among these artists is their love of painting ‘en Plein air’, outside where the light and color can change as fast as the Rocky Mountain weather.  The resulting paintings, small gems to large vistas, reflect the artist’s spirit as well as the landscape in view. They have painted in 90+ degree weather and stood in snow up to their knees. ‘You really have to love it,’ which they do, and hope you will love the results.” 


In November of 2005 Plein Air Artists of Colorado (PAAC) and Plein Air Colorado (PACO) merged into one National organization, headquartered in Colorado. The new name: Plein Air Artists Colorado (PAAC). The founding members of the combined groups shared a vision and believed this merger would be of benefit to all who joined and they now offered a paid Membership for those who wanted to participate in annual juried shows and national advertising, though those who wished only to come and join in weekly paint outs were more than welcome for no fee. This policy still holds today. Founding members were Leslie Allen, Mark Coulter, Frances Gottlieb, Wes Hyde, Betty Kirin-Oliver, Anita Mosher, and Lynn Simonson.

Mark Coulter by South Boulder Creek

Wes Hyde and Anita Mosher

First Meeting in 2005 at Brushstrokes Studio in Denver:

Lynn, Wes, Mark

Leslie, Betty, Fran



With the merger, the PAAC website, was expanded to reflect the increased membership, with weekly and monthly painting locations, schedules, news, Founding and Signature member profiles, links to the artists' websites, and much more!

"Members of PAAC have been painting on location throughout the United States and internationally, and mounting exhibitions for many years. All of these award-winning artists are individually represented in galleries across the country, and together their experience spans several decades. Members now hail from all over the country and they not only paint for their own enjoyment but they contribute immensely to the local economies of the places they travel to paint. As many as 70 members from all over the country have descended on Taos for the Annual Taos Paint Out for more than 5 years."

Members take part in the annual "Golden Triangle Plein Air Fest" in Denver, the annual Art Students' League of Denver "Summer Art Market", the annual Estes Park Plein Air event and other National Plein air events all across the country.

Taos 2007:
Georgeanne Daly, Leslie, Barb Mauldin, Deborah Robinson, Amy Evans

They painted at the grand opening of the new Denver Art Museum:

Mary Dunn

Don Barnes


In 2009, Master Signature Members were announced and continue to contribute to the success of our shows. We are grateful to these prestigious artists for honoring our group with their commitment to PAAC - Joe Anna Arnett, Doug Dawson, Kim English, Albert Handell, Quang Ho, William Scott Jennings, Jeff Legg, Don Sahli, and Karen Vance.
In 2014, PAAC added Lorenzo Chavez.


In October of 2012 the founding board decided it was time to retire and let a new board take over their duties. Leslie Allen, Frances Gottlieb, Anita Mosher, and Lynn Simonson joined Wes Hyde, Mark Coulter, and Betty Kirin-Oliver as Founding Emeritus Members. They continue to participate in the group and offer guidance.

The founding members passed the torch to new board members Holly Kernes, Jennifer Riefenberg, Deborah McAllister, and Debra Joy Groesser. They were excited to have the opportunity to continue the tradition and shape the future of this wonderful group!

Some of the founders at 2013 Show: Wes Hyde, Anita Mosher, Leslie Allen, Lynn Simonson

Debby, Deb, Jennifer, and Holly

2016 brings more board changes.   Debra Joy Groesser retired from the PAAC board so that she can dedicate more time to her position as President of the American Impressionist Society (AIS).  Deb was such an asset to the group, serving as Show Chair and sharing her extensive knowledge and expertise with the group.  We will miss her on the board, but she will always be a PAAC Member at heart!

We are delighted that Jeanne Echternach joined the PAAC board in 2016!  Jeanne has been a long-time plein air painter and member of PAAC.  She's been a dedicated volunteer over the years, and brings wonderful skills and ideas to the board.  She will be in charge of Sponsor/Partner communications, coordinating volunteers, and helping with show tasks.  If you don't already know Jeanne, we hope you have a chance to meet her.

Holly, Debby, Jennifer, and Jeanne

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software