North Gwinnett Arts' Plein Air event expects to draw crowd

SUWANEE -- The increasingly popular Plein Air Event is returning for its third installment.

The North Gwinnett Arts Association will sponsor the third semi-annual event, which will take place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on March 31 and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 1. Painters, photographers and artists using mixed media will compete for prizes by depicting scenes around the city, from old houses to urban scapes.

"Some people enjoy having artwork representative of where they live," said Vickie Johnson, president of the NGAA. "It's a lot of fun, a lot of camraderie."

Plein Air is French for "painting in the open air" directly of city or landscapes as they appear in the moment.

Johnson said she hopes to have at least 25 participants. The organization's first event last March drew 13, while the October version had 24 people.

The types of artwork can range from painting lakes or houses, photography, or mixed media such as painting with tea, or mixing sand and paint.

Johnson and other members of the NGAA used to drive to Buckhead and other areas around the state for similar events.

"Suwanee is a great place to give it a shot," she said.

Johnson laughed when she described a previous Plein Air Event painting in front of an old house when several cars of people stopped to talk about what she painted. Another artist, Johnson said, had a blooper moment when a canvas blew into the water at Sims Lake Park. Luckily, it was an oil painting, so it was not as harmed as it could have been.

The association stamps each canvas so the participants are required to only work on the artwork during the selected times. Pre-painting is not allowed. The finished product also must be ready to hang by 3 p.m. on Sunday.

A reception where prizes and awards will be given out will be at Ippolitos in Town Center from 6 to 8 p.m. on April 1. The artwork will be available for sale and on exhibit.

The entry fee is $40 for members of the NGAA, and $45 for non-members. For more information, visit suwaneepleinair.com.