The Beginning of Plein Air Richmond

In The Beginning…

When asked why she started Plein Air Richmond in 2012, Loryn Brazier honestly replied, “You know, I get asked that a lot and it just seemed like a good idea.  People told me Richmond was too big of a city and it couldn’t be done, but it’s so pretty I had to try.”

Despite the initial doubt, Plein Air Richmond has been a success.  June 2016 marks Plein Air Richmond’s 4th year.  The event is held each year at Brazier Gallery and benefits a non-profit organization.  Plein Air Richmond 2016 will benefit the Richmond SPCA.

“So when did you begin painting?”

Loryn Brazier received her degree from VCUarts and started her career in fashion design and advertising.  After spending 20+ years in advertising, Loryn was inspired to paint like Danish artist P.S. Krøyer.

Brazier Gallery was born out of Loryn’s necessity for a public art studio.  The space she found was too large so she thought a gallery might be a fun way to take up space.  “I knew plenty of artists so I thought, why not?”  The first artist friend she called was Dawn Whitelaw and the rest was history.  Brazier Gallery became Richmond’s first contemporary impressionist gallery.  It’s opening closely followed the VMFA’s 1995 exhibit on Impressionist Artists.  Brazier Gallery has since moved from Carytown to it’s current location on West Main but many of the initial artists have remained with the gallery. Gallery artists Larry Moore, Nancy Tankersley, Ed Hatch, Jason Saunders, and Beth Marchant will be participating in this year’s Plein Air Richmond.  Loryn hopes Plein Air Richmond will continue to be a fun, community event for years to come.


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“Fast & Fresh” brings Plein Air Richmond, 2016 to a close

NancyTankerslyFullThe final day found our artists painting alongside other artists entering into an open competition. Rules were simple … the painting had to be done in the Carytown area of Richmond beginning at exactly 9:30 and ending at 11:30.

The artists had to work quickly, contend with changing light conditions and talk with the enthusiastic spectators crowding the sidewalks of Carytown on a warm and humid summer morning.Crowd1.jpgCrowd2.jpgJudgeKathieConnecticut artist Kathy Anderson once again served as judge in what proved to be a very competitive event.

BethsView.jpgRichmond painter Beth Marchant had chosen a small pink house down a side street, which she had to view between an assortment of poles and streetsigns, as well as moving pedestrians, dogs, cyclists and cars.BethsBlueRibbon.jpgBut it certainly paid off … Beth took First Place with a beautifully painted piece!JonathanCrossingCary.jpgSecond Place went to upstate New Yorker Jonathan Stasko for his view looking east down Cary Street.

And David Diaz of Annapolis, Maryland took Third Place.

What a wonderful week for us all … the artists got to show us new views of our city, many Richmonders got beautiful new art for their walls and the Richmond SPCA got new donations through the sale of the art to carry on their fine work helping our four-footed friends.

Thanks to all for making this such a wonderful week!

Day 5

IMG_2616.JPGThe paintings from the past week are hung in Brazier Gallery …IMG_2658the judging has been completed …and the gallery will be open to the public shortly.

There are many more fabulous paintings ready to find new homes. This was the best Plein Air Richmond event to date!

1stPlacePainting.jpgJudge Kathy Anderson awarded First Place to Katie Cundiff for her painting, “Concierge,” which was painted inside the Jefferson Hotel on Thursday. Congratulations, Katie!

Crowd1.jpgCrowds were heavy and sales brisk on Friday evening at Brazier Gallery.

Day 4

JeffersonStatueIntense thunderstorms rolled into central Virginia early Thursday morning, putting a damper on the artist painting “in the open air.” However, in a surprise move, artists were invited to paint inside the Jefferson Hotel in downtown Richmond (this just doesn’t happen … artists with solvent and oil paints and all sorts of paint-spattered gear setting up on top of huge, elegant carpets) … What an opportunity! And thanks to the management and staff of the hotel for their enthusiasm and hospitality offered to the motley crew of painters!

JeffersonLobby.jpgThe Jefferson Hotel was built by Lewis Ginter, a modest and colorful businessman from New York who adopted Richmond as his home town. Opened in 1895, the Jefferson was immediately hailed as being the finest hotel in the United States. Within a week of opening, an elegant party was held on its Roof Garden honoring the upcoming wedding of Irene Langhorne to famed illustrator and satirist Charles Dana Gibson, creator of the
“Gibson Girl.” Miss Langhorne’s younger sister, also in attendance, latter married Waldor Astor, and became “Lady Astor.”

The centerpiece of the domed lobby is a life-size statue of Thomas Jefferson, sculpted by Richmonder Edward Valentine. The statue took two years to complete at a cost of $12,000. To be accurate, Valentine actually borrowed clothes worn by Thomas Jefferson as reference.

The hotel has had a rich and interesting history, including a fire in which Thomas Jefferson’s statue barely escaped, but not before losing his head (which the sculptor later repaired). And for many years, live alligators inhabited the marble pools in the Palm Court.

In the early 1990s, the hotel underwent extensive renovations and was immediately honored with a Five Diamond Award by AAA.

Guests of the Jefferson have included scores of actors, musicians, pro athletes, foreign dignitaries and no less than thirteen U. S. presidents!TwoArtistsNancyTomBest.jpgNancy Tankersley chose TJ to capture in paint … KatieDeskwhile Katie Cundiff worked on a more contemporary subject, the desk clerk (and a fabulous painting of an elegant lady hanging on the wall).TomLynchIllinois watercolorist Tom Lynch, tucked away in a corner, worked on getting a back view of the Jefferson statue and lobby.LobbyAerialMeanwhile downstairs, spectators watched Florida artist Larry Moore.LarryBottom.jpgLarryBack.jpgLarry was working on a view facing the “famed” staircase that many say was the inspiration for the stairs in “Gone With the Wind.”

Day 3

River2A warm, partly cloudy day in Richmond. The plein air artists, after getting a feel for area, are fanning out all over the city, finding many exciting spots to paint in.RiverMiddleSt. Louis painter Allen Kriegshauser set up on a floating dock at Rockett’s Landing to paint a view of an old steamboat on the James River. River3Allen was working quickly, trying to get as much done as possible before the steamer launched. Katie1Katie Cundiff, from Bradenton, Florida, chose a spot on a corner on East Main Street.Katie2.jpgKatie was capturing the quaint old buildings and Main Street Station.JonathonMeanwhile, upstate New York painter Jonathan Stasko found a shady spot on Monument Avenue to paint the Lee Monument, a magnificent sculpture honoring Gen. Robert E. Lee. And a bit of trivia … it has the shortest inscription of any statue in America … “LEE” … that says it all.

Day 2

Chad.jpgNorth Carolina plein air painter Chad Smith capturing the gardens of historic Virginia House in Richmond.

Kansas City painters Greg Summers (left) and Richard Sneary working in the beautiful, multi-tiered gardens.

BethRichmonder Beth Marchant chose a location up on a hill a couple hundred yards away from the house, and was working quickly before a rain shower came up.

Tennessee painter Jason Saunders zeroed in on gardenias in the garden.

Anna_Umbrella.jpgAnna Lancaster came prepared in case of rain … but then again, she’s from Oregon!

Plein Air Richmond, 2016 … Day 1

DooleythruTreesOn the first day of summer, 30 plein air artists from across the country scattered over the grounds of beautiful Maymont Park to begin a week of painting in and around Richmond.

Dooley Mansion was a popular spot as artists staked out prime locations to paint the historic home.

AndresNudes.jpgGoochland painter Andre Lucero managed to find some nudes to paint ;>)

Beth Bathe, from Pennsylvania, chose to paint the Carriage House from a lovely spot by a blooming magnolia. Beth studied Communication Arts at VCU, but as a busy student, never made it out to Maymont. This is her first visit to the park.


Eleanor Cox puts the VooDoo on her composition just before beginning to paint in the Italian Gardens.

JulieRykerJulie Riker of Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, paints in the lower level of the Italian Gardens. Just around the corner to the right was Anna Lancaster, who get the prize for traveling the greatest distance … all the way from Portland, Oregon! When asked her first impressions of Richmond, she said, “Gorgeous!”

DavidTannerCarriage Richmond painter David Tanner paints the Carriage House from a distance …NancyTankersleywhile Maryland artist Nancy Tankersley paints a more intimate view right next to the Carriage house.

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