In Plein Air: Festival returns featuring 42 artists

Published 3:39 pm Tuesday, August 8, 2023

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Plein air artists from across the U.S. and as far away as the Netherlands have their eye on the city as they prepare to “Paint Suffolk Virginia.”

The third annual Suffolk Plein Air Festival returns Sept. 5-9 with 42 professionals set to arrive here and capture the beauty of the city’s waterways, landscapes and cityscapes. In addition to competing for prizes, they’ll also have the opportunity to sell their artwork. 

“Seeing our city through the eyes and talents of others is a highlight of this week-long outdoor painting event,” festival organizers said in a news release.

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A team of volunteers from Suffolk Art League, Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, Downtown Suffolk and Suffolk Tourism make up the Suffolk Plein Air Festival Committee. During the last few months, the group has worked diligently to bring this unique event to life with the support of wonderful sponsors in the community. Artists, art lovers and spectators will converge in Suffolk to watch the painters in action, anywhere they see a Paint Suffolk Virginia yard sign.

After three days of painting, juror Karen Kinser has the daunting task of reviewing more than 120 works of art to select the winners. Cash awards will be given for the Best In Show, $3,000; second place, $1,000; and third place, $500.  Additionally, $100 will be awarded for plein air paintings capturing: best historic, best city, best waterfront, best rural and best farmland.  

The Wet Paint Sale and Soiree at Suffolk Art Gallery then brings together artists and patrons from 6-9:30 p.m. Friday, Sept, 8. 

Those attending the event have the chance to meet the artists, view all their new artwork and purchase an incredibly special piece of Suffolk themed artwork to adorn their home or business. Tickets to the sale and soiree are $100 per person and include food, an open bar and live music. Purchase tickets online at  

To wrap up the festivities, the Paint the Taste quick draw event is set for noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9 in conjunction with the annual Taste of Suffolk downtown street festival; Youth ages 10-17 and adults are invited to paint outside “en plein air,” festival organizers said. This is a chance for novice to experienced painters to try their hand at plein air painting. 

The quick format is exciting with  the goal of quickly producing an original piece of plein air artwork in only two hours. Prizes will be awarded and Paint the Taste artists are encouraged to sell their artwork afterwards, during Saturday’s downtown festival. 

Registration is $10 per person and the event is open to artists of all abilities at


The artists

The 42 artists participating in the 2023 Suffolk Plein Air Festival are listed below and additional information on each can be found online at

Listed in alphabetical order, they are: Jeffrey Baumgartner, Michigan City, Indiana; Karen Bladergroen, Richmond; Thomas Bradshaw, Blackstone; Coakley Brown, Henrico; Lisa BurgerLentz, Media, Pennsylvania; Nanci Charpentier, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Lynn Cothern, Roanoke; Karen Lee Crenshaw, Jacksonville, North Carolina; Lori Cusick, Dallas, Texas; Debra Dartez, Chesapeake; Freeman Dodsworth, Port Republic, Maryland; 

Vlad Duchev, Baltimore, Maryland; Carolyn Dudley, Gloucester; Tomas Ehrenberger, Cartersville; John Eiseman, Hebron, Maryland; Alex Eisenzopf, Haywood County, North Carolina; Nancy Fine, Hampstead, Maryland; Rhonda Ford, Easton, Maryland; Calina Franzosa, Alexandria; Elizabeth Grosso, New York, New York; Catherine Hillis, Locust Grove; 

Pearl Horng, Midlothian; Donald Kaupp, Richmond; Rose Kennedy, Hope Mills, North Carolina; Melanie Landrith, Media, Pennsylvania; Cindy Lane, Suffolk; Lynn Lewis, Kensington, Maryland; Tami Louco, Cazenovia, New York; Brian Murphy, Newport News; Fen Rasco, Windsor, North Carolina; Jim Rehak                           Seaford, Delaware; Orit Reuben, Orlando, Florida; 

Maggii Sarfarty, Easton, Maryland; Elbert  Shubert, Pilot Mountain, North Carolina; Ellen Sinclair, Virginia Beach; Eric Thingstad, Virginia Beach; Karen Thuermer, Williamsburg; Lyudmila Tomova; Cary, North Carolina; Dimitris Voyiazoglou, Rijswijk, The Netherlands; Catherine Whitehead, Glen Gardner, New Jersey; Terry Wiley, Norfolk; and Lori  Yates, Easton, Maryland.

“The success of Suffolk Plein Air Festival is a tribute to the vision and collaboration of the Suffolk community,” festival organizers said in the release. “So many wonderful people have opened their homes to host some of our out-of-town artists for the week. Others have offered their properties as locations for the artists to paint.”

Through the support of business and patron sponsors, officials said the event is able to make the arts accessible to all, bringing together artists of all skill levels and ages and providing rich experiences for the community at large. 

For more information about the 2023 Suffolk Plein Air Festival’s artists, sponsors, events or volunteering, contact or visit