It was a first for me to take part in the Steveston Grand Prix Art organized by the Travelling Brush: 3 hrs, plein air (outdoor painting), rain or shine, 40 locations, locations drawn by lottery one hour before competition, (so there's very little planning or studying to do) and about 117 artists who competed.
I chose Garry Point, Scotch Pond.
The center of all the activity is where you will find numbers 4 and 5 in the map below. I got #17.
The tent was in place and another artist had already settled herself nicely. I did wonder why the tent was put so close to the cannery shed (?) It was right up against the shed's wall and the only view to paint was the dike, some bushes and water. I later on found out that the artist moved the entire tent! (Is that possible? I guess it's ok to move the tent, anywhere within 15 feet if it's raining?) It was even more of a challenge for me since I had to move my painting, duck in the tent when it rained.
I try to paint every day, so in a way, this is just another day...at least that's what I kept telling myself since the size I chose to paint in was much bigger than usual.
That changes quite a bit of my workflow but it was a chance for me to test how much I was able to learn from inside the studio and see how I fare with rain in the skies.
Two dogs came by to give me some moral support but they left when they got hungry.
Que Sera Sera! No one ever said that painting outdoors was going to be easy.
There was very little time to experience my surrounding, to hear the stories, to meet the people. It was a matter of quickly capturing the feel of the place and interpreting it through the pigment of my imagination.
Volunteers were knowledgeable, took pictures, videos, gave clear instructions, directions, and one of them, Lucy, a volunteer driver, used her own car to take me to my painting location. She reassured me that she will be there waiting when it's time to go back, even stopped by other locations not assigned to her, to see if any other participant needed a ride back.
I DID IT! I got the blue ribbon and the Dan Gray Cup!
My painting sold to a lovely couple named John and Yetzka. John told me: There are only 5 houses across that pond. The middle house is where they live. There's a hallway through the front door with a wall. That's where the painting will be so anyone who walks in will see it.
"STROLL BY SCOTCH POND"
As I look back, putting myself in the shoes of the organizer, the event was such an ambitious undertaking. The many moving parts of the event was clearly beyond what the staff of Travelling Brush staff/Phoenix Art Supplies Store can handle. All the residents who volunteered came together that day for the love of art and people. Even if I'm no longer a resident, I truly felt the spirit of community and hope I could do my part in highlighting the volunteers who have shown me what a community is and what it can do when people come together for a common goal.