Plein Air Unleashed -
Images courtesy Plein Air Unleashed

Artists from across Virginia and Southern Maryland are invited to Plein Air Unleashed, April 24–27, to spend the week in the Northern Neck of Virginia painting the beautiful scenery en plein air.

From Plein Air Unleashed:
Patrons are able to experience fine artists working in a variety of mediums, out in natural settings, striving to catch the light in their interpretations of the scenery.

At the beginning of the week we publish an online map for Plein Air Unleashed of the suggested painting locations so that patrons and local community artists can go out and see the exhibiting artists at work. On Friday night of the event, Allure Art Center hosts a preview reception that showcases many of the works created by the exhibiting artists during the week. On Saturday of the event, exhibiting artists are on-site at Allure Art Center to work, do demos and workshops, and greet patrons.

This year one of the exhibiting artists, Maria Reardon, will be offering a day-long soft pastel plein air workshop on Saturday. Local community artists are encouraged to come out Saturday to paint on the grounds or just socialize with the exhibiting artists.

We have several new artists participating this year, along with several new painting locations. This event is free to everyone to attend and participate in.

Plein Air Unleashed -

Plein Air Unleashed – Our Story
Plein Air Unleashed came about in 2015 from a conversation between a couple of local artists discussing the state of plein air in the local community. While plein air had taken hold in the cities around Virginia, it was felt that it was lagging behind in the more rural areas of the state in terms of recognition and inclusion in the region’s shows.

Once it was decided to create a dedicated show, we reached out to other plein air artists from around the state to get their input on what they thought would make a good event. We found that there was a desire to have a small, less competitive, and more inclusive event that more closely resembled an artist retreat than the big competition-focused events that were growing bigger by the day.

So we set out to create an event focused on plein air artists from Virginia that would stay small, be casual, and be less focused on competition while giving artists from across the state a chance to come together, network, and work together. This event is about celebrating and appreciating the medium and all of the talented local artists from the region.

Plein Air Unleashed -

Our event is casual; it’s not a competition, it has minimal rules, and we’re focused on getting painters who are interested in plein air painting to get outside on location, painting together, collaborating, and raising awareness in our region. One day during the event several of the artists conduct demos and workshops for patrons. We put out an open call to all local area artists to come join the exhibiting group in painting on location one day of the event.

The goal is to really let yourself be open to working with other artists, learning from and sharing with each other, collaborating, making connections, and networking. It is a great way to find out about how others approach their work — maybe new techniques, shows they have done that you may not know about, etc. Each year we will talk to the participating artists to get ideas for improvements for the next year.

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