“Men in Hats” is group of plein air artists consisting of men and women.  Founded in 2007 by Dave McHolm, Bob Henrich, John Beatty, Larry Tillyer, Dennis Magnusson and Marv Skelton the original goal was to paint outdoors every Tuesday at various locations throughout the Lower Mainland.    The name derives from the fact that we all wore hats during the first summer of existence, which was uncharacteristically warm for the Vancouver area.  On one of our first outings someone said “Here come the Men in Hats” and at the time, that expression seemed to fit our persona so it has stayed with us.

When painting at different locations, many people came and asked if they could paint with the group.  Having no objections, the group includes anybody who wants to join us for the day.

Men In Hats, has participated in many plein air events around the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast.  We have also discovered a great comaraderie.  It has become fun!  We enjoy each others company, respect our mutual work, and give advice when asked for.  Men in Hats consists of water colourists, Oil painters, Acrylic painters, and pastel painters.  We now work all year round, renting studio space for the winter months and sharing the costs.  The Events page of this website will display when and where we are painting at any given time , also giving an alternate in case it is raining or cancelled.

“En plein air” is a term used to refer to a practice of painting outdoors, where the artist works to render the experience or scene in one session.This method of working was popularized by the French Impressionists at the end of the 20th century, but can result in work ranging from high realism to a fresh free flowing abstraction and expressionism.  A plein air piece can end up as a finished piece or reference for a studio painting. Plein air work can be landscapes or figures, still lifes or just studies.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why the name Men in Hats if there are women members too?

We have had many discussions about this.  The problem was coming up with a name that contained the original concept. Changing the name would require significant changes to our website, calendars, etcetera.  So in the end, with the ladies blessings, we decided to keep it as is.

How do you become a member?

Paint with us often enough you become an associate member.   If you want to join as full member ask and you are in.  The only obligation is to participate on a regular basis, provide your own materials, equipment, transportation and supplies.

Is there a membership fee?

There are no membership fees, but there is a cost to establishing your profile and webpage,  maintaining the website, entry fees for exhibitions and shows and rental fees for winter studios.   If you don’t want your profile on the website and would like total anonymity there is no cost at all.  There is no obligation to participate in any shows, exhibitions or attend any organized plein air event.

Can I have my own web site?

Yes.  We can provide you with a profile page that shows four jpegs of your work, which you can change any time at your discretion, and a link to your own website.

Can I link to your site too?

Yes, but with restrictions

Do you give lessons?

Our philosophy has been to help others.  We do not give specific lessons, but will help and provide feedback to anyone who asks.  We often constructively critique our own work at the end of sessions or during our lunch break.