What an amazing summer of plein air this year! I was able to participate in all three of the #grandprixbc events sponsored by Mark Glavina and the Travellingbrush.com from Richmond BC. This included locations in Ladner Delta, Qualicum, B.C. and Stevenston, B.C.
We arrived at 9am on Saturday Sept. 19th at the Britannia Heritage Shipyards and showed our registration tickets to the volunteers. Rain was pelting down around the tent edges, but all the volunteers and participants were beeming in anticipation of the hours ahead! I put my hand into the GrandPrix trophy, closed my eyes and let my fingers search for just the right piece of paper. I pulled out #19. At first, one of the volunteers looked a little concerned - but I thought it must just be the weather. I was to be located along the main strip of Steveston and the tent that would shield me against the rain was sponsored by Budget Appliances! (side note; Thank you so much, because without your sponsorship, we would have been very wet and painting would have been impossible under the conditions!). Armed with french easel, watercolor paper, paints and essentials, I was wisked away to my tent by volunteer drivers who themselves were so important to the event! They were willing to give of their time and vehicles to see us safely to and from the different locations.
Once I arrived, I was amazed to find two other artists already setup at the event. It turned out to be Dan Gray ( the infamous artist who started all this grand prix activity in Qualicum BC.) and alongside him, Mike Pellister who is among the "MeninHats" plein air group! Dan was working in pastels and Mike in watercolors. I certainly could have thrown in my paints at that point, but just to be there and hear their stories was terrific - oh and their paintings - not too shabby either! Had people stopping constantly - lucky for me as I was with them!!!!
We waited until 10am, didn't hear the fog horn go off, but agreed it was time to start. On my east side of the tent, the rain started to blow in and add extra texture to my watercolor palettes and the little pools of watercolor could have made a terrific painting on its own! I attempted to capture the grey skies, the wet road, people huddled under their umbrellas and wearing jackets that haven't seen the light of day in almost three months of a fantastic Vancouver summer.
As part of the event, there was a photographer contest with the prizes to be given out on Sept 24th as part of the beginning of BC culture days! Every so often, a brave photographer with plastic bags over their lenses and photograph equipment would appear and take pictures of the participants. They weren't so lucky having to wander in the rain and wind.
Time passed by so quickly and my thermos of coffee was well needed. Suddenly 1pm arrived - painting finished, signature placed and the next thing I knew, everyone was vacating the tent and I was collasping my easel, table and stuffing wet things into bags to rush back to the vehicle waiting. Thanks again Mike for taking that great picture.
During all the plein air events we tweeted pictures, we instagrammed pictures and we facebooked when we could - all this and painting too! The art was framed and brought to the gallery hosted by the Richmond Artist Guild. Bean and Beyond made us a great lunch while we waited for the judging to finish and a opportunity to see the great work from over 100 registered artists.
for more see http://grandprixofart.com/
The previous weekend also as part of the plein air summer was the great event setup by Artist Jan Poynter and the town of Gibsons. The Gibsons Landing Paint Out Swept 11, 12, 13th was setup to coincide with the International Plein Air Painters (they have a great facebook presence). We sketch crawled, watch demos given by Jan Poynter http://janpoynter.com/ , Ruth Rodgers http://www.ruthrodgers.com/ and Enda Bardell http://endabardell.com/ and we painted everyday enjoying the comradery of the other 30 artists! Artist Carol McQuaid http://carolmcquaid.faso.com/ who was participating wrote a great blog as well as talked on COOP radio http://www.coopradio.org/ under the Arts Rational section with Jan about the event last week. Artist Danyne Johnstone http://nsartists.ca/danynejohnston joined us to enjoy a mom weekend away and although she missed her kids greatly - she was right into the painting! Artist Wendy Mould also presented a fantastic blog on her website http://www.artbywendy.com/ . Men in Hats abounded everywhere as they had been spending the previous week further up the Sunshine Coast http://meninhats.ca/ . That's just a few of the great things that happened. We were able to put two pieces of our wet art into the Gibsons Landing Gallery https://www.facebook.com/Gibsons-Landing-Gallery-230321833717847/timeline/ which has great pictures including the People's Choice award that went to my painting "Fish Store"!
So much I could talk about, but just want to thank all the hard working volunteers and artists who helped and participated in all these events and to all the great sponsors becuase without you, these types of great activities for the arts just couldn't happen!