Art Live: ‘Plein Air Brandywine Valley’

This week, plein air painters are taking it to the streets and beyond. If you aren’t familiar with the term, it is a French expression that means “in the open air”. It’s used by artists who paint outdoors to capture a view in natural light. This style of painting was developed in France in the mid-19th century and is still wildly popular today around the world. Several fun events are happening this week to celebrate this style of art.

Fresh Farm by Mary Lou Griffin

In Kennett Square, the one night only “Nocturne Stroll” is on Thursday, Oct. 17th. Over 40 Plein Air Brandywine Valley artists will be painting between 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and the 100 block of East State Street will be closed to traffic for it. This is the first time that Kennett Square will be the location for the annual event. Plein air painters typically work outdoors during the day to catch the natural light from the sun. Painting at night presents a different challenge because light is coming from several sources; the moon, car headlights, and street lamps to name a few, but these brave artists are up for the challenge. Visitors should take advantage of this unique opportunity to talk with artists and enjoy watching them as they work.

This is part of the larger week-long “Plein Air Brandywine Valley” event, now in its 9th year. The press release states, “For one week each fall, artists paint some of the most scenic properties in and around the Brandywine Valley including private estates, land preserves, streetscapes and renowned duPont properties such as Winterthur Museum and Gardens.” Other events on Thursday night include Square Pear Gallery hosting a special one-night exhibition of the Plein Air Brandywine Valley Artists’ work from the Marshallton Quick Draw competition being held on Tuesday, Oct. 15th and a reception at the restaurant La Verona.

A final reception will take place on Friday, Oct. 18th at Winterthur where visitors can see all the works finished during the week. The art will be on view throughout the weekend. Proceeds from sales will benefit Youth Development Programs at Children’s Beach House. These activities will support Plein Air Brandywine Valley’s mission, “to help children with special needs reach their highest potential as functioning members within their families and communities.” For more details visit: and

Chill in the Air by Mary Lou Griffin

In Wallingford, Community Arts Center (CAC) and LandArt Events Farm-to-Table Plein Air are partnering for a new event called “The Harvest Gathering.” This celebration of art and music will be on Saturday, Oct. 19th from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. outside at CAC or in the Duke Gallery if it rains. It’s a big and worthy event. Visitors will see works that were painted over the past five months by 25 local artists who set up at various farms and farmers markets. A collaborative piece titled, “Plein Air Panorama” will also be on view. It’s a work made by young artists and their instructor during a workshop at CAC’s summer art camp. The entire exhibition will be on view in Duke Gallery from Wednesday, Oct. 16th through Saturday, Oct. 19th. In addition to art, there will be beer tastings, pizza, and more. Be prepared to have fun listening to live music and to get your kids involved in the special art activities being offered. For all the details and to purchase tickets visit

CAC "Harvest Gathering"

In Exton, the plein air paintings of artist Mary Lou Griffin are on view now through Oct. 23rd at Chester County Art Association’s (CCAA) Exton Square Studio Gallery. Griffin began painting “en plein air” when she relocated to the Brandywine Valley in the late 1990s and she has been capturing the light brilliantly ever since.  The exhibition is on view through Oct. 23rd. CCAA’s Exton Square Studio Gallery is at the Exton Square Mall  on the first floor, next to Boscov’s.

One more event worth checking out: If you are a fan of mid-century craft, make an appointment to see “In Philadelphia: Then and Now (1950-2019)” at Globe Dye Works. The exhibition features works by such luminaries in craft as Wharton Esherick, George Nakashima and Paula Winokur along with works made by some of today’s most compelling artists. It is on view now through November 9th. The “then” part was curated by the venerable art dealer, gallery director and educator, Helen Drutt and curator and writer Matthew Drutt, while the “now” part was curated by Joseph Leroux and Stacey Lee Webber, artists who live and work at the a former yarn-dying factory turned live/work space for creatives. To connect with the curators, email: or visit

Whatever you do this week, support the arts!



About Constance McBride

A native of Philadelphia, Constance McBride lived in Arizona for 16 years, where desert observations made a transformative impact on her work as a research based visual artist. Passionate about contemporary art, she was actively engaged in the local arts community. She served as a board member for several art organizations, managed an artist collective/gallery space, curated and juried several exhibitions and wrote for two arts publications in Phoenix. She taught ceramics at Shemer Art Center and Museum and exhibited her work both locally and nationally. McBride returned to Pennsylvania in 2018 and resides in Chester Springs with her husband and two dogs. In West Chester, she serves as a board member at The Art Trust Gallery at Meridian Bank and teaches ceramics at Chester County Art Association. She also teaches at Clay on Main in Oley, PA. She is a member of American Craft Council, Philadelphia Sculptors, and Women’s Caucus for Art, Philadelphia Chapter.



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