Artists to paint RVA in Plein Air

Nearly 45 artists from across North America will come to town to do two things: 1) create paintings of Richmond and 2) raise money for the Richmond Symphony.

Richmond may have largely avoided this summer’s Cicada swarms, but there’ll be infestation of another kind this week at Libbie and Grove, Shockoe Slip, Church Hill, and other places around town. Dozens of artists from across North America have arrived to paint local landscapes during the second annual Plein Air Richmond, which benefits the Richmond Symphony.

“People like to watch people paint outside,” said Loryn Brazier, organizer of the event and owner of Brazier Gallery, the city’s only exclusive realism and impressionism gallery. She was pleased by the number of Richmonders who, last year, watched as artists painted several of the city’s most notable sights and vistas. “There’s something about art that is universal” and captivates people, she said.

Artists have painted the outdoors while being outdoors for centuries. But the phenomenon really took off during the Impressionism movement of the 1800s. Painters like Monet and Renoir lauded the practice of painting en plein air, French for “in the open air.”

Brazier said that plein air painting has “gained a lot of popularity in the last decade.” She said that she’d considered starting a plein air event in Richmond “for a long time,” but wanted to find a benefactor “that could reap the benefits of it.” That benefactor is the Richmond Symphony, which received a percentage of the roughly $25,000 raised from the individuals sales of 95 paintings created during last year’s inaugural event.

Locations & dates

  • June 10th • Shockoe Slip
  • June 11th • Maymont Park
  • June 12th • St. John’s Church
  • June 13th • Libbie and Grove
  • June 14th • Wilton House Museum

This year, nearly 45 artists from across North America (Canada, California, Florida, among others) have been handpicked by Robert Johnson, Signature Member of Oil Painters of America, to set up their easels and paint local landscapes.

A painter herself, Brazier said plein air painting offers more benefits than painting from a photograph. “If you paint outside you understand the atmosphere, the spatial quality, the true colors of nature,” she said.

Brazier said last year’s artists were excited to paint Richmond “because of its history.” This year, painters will visit more locations around town. “We’re trying to spread it out all over the place so a lot of people can see them painting.”

Artists will visit a specific location each day, although it’s up to them to decide when they’ll visit. Amateur and hobby painters are also able to tour the locales alongside the artists during the week-long event.

On Friday, June 14th members of the public are invited to attend a preview cocktail party and gala that will exhibit the paintings created during the week. The editor of Plein Air Magazine, M. Stephen Doherty, will judge and award prizes to the top pieces. Tickets are $150 to attend, the price of which can be used toward the purchase of one painting.

On Saturday, June 15th the “Fast and Fresh” event will be held on the 1800 block of Monument Avenue from 9:00 – 11:00 AM. Both juried artists and members of the public will have two hours to complete their paintings. Those paintings will then be available for purchase fresh off the easels, with proceeds benefiting the Richmond Symphony. Paintings will be exhibited at Brazier Gallery from June 15th – 16th.

“It’s going to be fun,” Brazier said, “I think it’s going to be very exciting this year.”

Plein Air Richmond takes place June 10th – 15th.

photo courtesy of Plein Air Richmond

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Nathan Cushing

Nathan Cushing is a writer, journalist, and RVANews Editor.

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