Richmond artists hosting plein air drawing to escape pandemic blues

"Plein air painting event" is one artistic entertainment that the pandemic can't spoil.

"Men in Hats," a group of plein air artists consisting of both men and women, showed up near London Landing in Steveston this Wednesday to capture the beauty of fall with paintbrushes and coloured pencils. 

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"We all paint for different reasons and it’s fun to get out of the house. We have been maintaining social distancing and also doing social connecting, which is important during the pandemic, especially most of our group members are seniors," said Richmondite Marv Skelton, a founding member of Men in Hats. 

In normal years, members from Men in Hats usually gather together at the Sunshine Coast for the first week of October to paint. However, it's impossible to continue the tradition this year because of the COVID-19, according to Skelton. 

Therefore, he and other members, started bringing their art supplies to various locations throughout the Lower Mainland each week since February. 

For now, Skelton and other members have visited Richmond Country Farms twice, and many Richmondites also allowed them to paint at their own places. And they were even invited to draw at River Rock Casino on B.C. Culture days. 

"You don't need to be good artists. You can be anybody to get involved and paint together," said Skelton, adding that they have been following the provincial health officer's rules while expressing the beauty of nature in art. 

Another Richmondite, Mike Rossiter, a long-standing member of Men in Hats, told the Richmond News that he never missed each weekly outdoor painting event's fun. 

As a graphic designer who spent over 50 years working in front of a computer, Rossiter finds watercolor painting and journal sketching relaxing and pleasant. 

Everything was used to be done by hand, and then the computer came along, so people spent most of their time working in front of the computer, said Rossiter, adding that "it was nice to pick up colour pencils and paintbrushes to draw."

For more information about Men in Hats, visit

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