My past week has been dominated by all things Pintar Rapido!
The event took place in London over the weekend and, as a reminder, the challenge was for artists to paint on location on Saturday, and have their work exhibition ready by the end of the day. Paintings were hung overnight ready for a public exhibition at Chelsea Town Hall on Sunday. All works exhibited had to be for sale and all sold or unsold painting are collected at the end of the day.
I registered at Chelsea Town Hall as the doors opened at 9.00am.
Registration involved presenting my entry from and having my paper checked to ensure it was blank and then stamped. I was then presented with a Pintar Rapido rosette and a stack of complimentary entry flyers for the exhibition to hand out to passers by as we paint.
I’d already done some basic research on location, mainly based on proximity to Chelsea Town Hall so that I could spend more time painting and less time travelling!
I knew there were some cafes there with some awnings and felt confident that I’d be able to find something suitable. At this time of day, the streets were relatively quiet and it was easy to spot all the artists either on their way to register or on their way to their locations. It was a lovely atmosphere with everyone acknowledging each other, saying hello and wishing each other good luck.
I made it to Sloane Square by about 9.30 and started off with a quick little sketch:
I wasn’t convinced by this view so spent a little time looking around for another view. The Square is tree lined and the light was creating a dappled effect on the surface. Aha, I thought, this would be perfect and, based on some other recent ‘dappled light paintings’ I felt confident I could do something with the scene. Here’s my first effort:
And the painting in full:
This was done at breakneck speed and, in the back of my mind, as I was painting this I was viewing it is a warm up piece! I’d positioned myself strategically I thought, right in front of a water fountain. My thinking was that it would be much harder for people to pass behind me to see what I was up to. While this did work, it also meant that I was unable to step away from my easel to see how it was looking from a distance. I’ll definitely reconsider this next time!
While the first effort was okay for a warm up, I felt it was a little weak compositionally. The knowledge that I needed to have something worthy of exhibiting by the end of the day was now beginning to weigh heavy on my mind.
I set about another take on the same scene in the hope I could improve on it. Here’s the outline sketch:
On a plus side, the fountain did provide me with a plentiful supply of fresh water!
And here’s how it looked a short while afterwards!
Painting this did feel better, but still not as good as I’d been expecting of myself. Here’s the painting in a little more detail.
By now, I was desperate for the loo and a snack!
Suitably relieved and replenished, I was desperately trying to convince myself that, now I how something I felt okay with, I could really relax, enjoy my next painting, and hopefully produce my best painting of the day yet! Staying in Sloane Square, I moved to a different position in the hope that a change of perspective would be matched with a change in fortunes!
I did enjoy laying down some of these large shapes in watercolour, working very wet and letting everything mix on the paper. As things progressed however – my lack of planning about how to tackle the bustle of figures under the awnings and the immediate foreground began to haunt me and I gradually lost my way and my will to proceed!
By now it was 3pm and I had to decide whether to try for another painting or to call it a day. Part of me was also deliberating whether it was even worth bothering submitting anything and that way I would at least recover a day of my weekend! (yep, that’s how frustrated I felt!). I did set myself up to paint again and even sketched out a view, but with so many thoughts and emotions running through my mind, I decided that I really wasn’t in the right frame of mind to continue. I also gave myself a good ticking-off for being so faint-hearted. I knew that even though I may not be satisfied with what I’d done, I had to see it through.
I returned to Chelsea Town Hall where my paper was checked to prove that it had the official stamp and then had time to pop my painting into a mount and frame and finish off the paperwork. The paperwork was only to add in my bank details, title my work and indicate what price it was to be sold for. The event organisers take 50% of any sales and the guidance was that ‘amateur’ artists should consider capping their prices at £250 while more established/professional/confident artists could set their price above this. While I do sell my work, I don’t consider myself a ‘professional’ artist so opted to price my work just beneath the £250 cap.
I returned on Sunday with my family in support for a little day out in London! The exhibition opened at 11am for a private view ahead of opening to the public at 12noon. There were around 300 participating artists so, including friends and families, there were a lot of people milling about and a great atmosphere.
It was also great to see quite a few red dots appearing on works really early on. A number of awards and prizes were presented and there was a really warm and celebratory air to the whole proceedings. Everyone applauded the prizewinners enthusiastically and wholeheartedly and there was a wonderful sense of camaraderie in the room as everyone went around looking at each other’s work and sharing their experiences.
By this point – my daughter had long since lost interest and it was time for us to strike out for lunch! We had a lovely time in Ranelagh Gardens although I did keep checking my phone in the hope that I’d received a message to say my painting had been sold, so there wasn’t any need for me to return at 5.30 to collect my painting!
As it was, the painting didn’t sell. In all honesty, I felt fine about this because, had it not been part of the whole point of Pintar Rapido, it’s very unlikely that I would offer this painting for sale! (I’ve already removed this painting from its frame and mount and, along with the other paintings from the day, have consigned it to my ‘rejects’ pile at home!
- Spend more time selecting a view. Focus more on what is it about it that appeals rather than ‘can I paint it!’
- By all means set up somewhere out of the way or protected, but still give yourself space to step away from you work
- Spend more time planning the painting, some thumbnail sketches, value studies – whatever helps you work out how to best realise the finished painting
- Take your time and don’t panic
- Try to relax and enjoy it
What’s most annoying and frustrating about this list is that I already know it so well! I know all of this. These are all mistakes that I’ve made before – so to still find myself writing this out is really frustrating
Pintar Rapido is, quite simply, a wonderful event. I loved the coming together of so many artists to create such a joyful and celebratory event.
My only regret is that I don’t feel that I gave the best account of myself with the paintings that I produced.
I need to wary that this doesn’t send me into a spiral of self doubt (which I can already feel looming over me!) and to focus instead on all of the positives that come from challenging oneself and stepping outside of one’s comfort zone.