Art Challenge Wales Plein Air Portcawl

I took part in the inaugural Art Challenge Wales event in Porthcawl yesterday. It was really good fun and the weather was great after a gusty start. There are many artists who get distracted and upset by people that chat to them, my advice to them is don’t go near Porthcawl, I’ve never met a more open, friendly and chatty bunch of people. They were all very supportive and encouraging. 

The challenge was to paint something that captured the spirit of Porthcawl in a day, so first thing I drove there to suss out good spots before taking a couple of canvases to the registration point to get stamped. It’s a bit like the Pintar Rapido event in London (that I’ve never been able to go to!).

It was a windy start to the day so I set up on the leeward side of an amusement arcade where I could capture some of the natural beauty of the bay and some colourful seaside atmosphere in the same frame. And not forgetting the wonky lamppost! I was also drawn to the dark shadow shapes on the left and bottom which supported the shape of the bay. I started sketching  the composition on a light red primed 16 by 20 inch canvas and realised by pure fluke I could use sight size measurement which made the drawing and measuring of the structure of the painting much faster.



At this point I overheard a comment that they weren’t on keen on the colour I’d painted the sky, some other onlookers leapt to my defence to tell them I’d not started it yet, like I said everyone was very supportive.



The kiosk in the painting was owned by Myra (pictured and very smartly turned out) who came out of the amusement arcade behind me for a few chats as well as the offer of a cup of tea. With hindsight standing next to the entrance to an amusement arcade was bound to attract attention but in my defence it was closed when I started.



Here’s the finished painting, “Myra’s Kiosk”. I had used quick drying white and quick drying mediums to accelerate drying to allow the painting to be safely left for judging. However this made the paint on the canvas and on the palette tacky very quickly, I’ve got so used to moving the paint around and smearing it that I found it a bit more limiting than normal but I’m pleased with it overall. It’s preframed to allow it to be handled wet and you can see the masking tape covering the frame to keep it clean. I got this idea from the fantastic Roos Schuring Blog. 

After taking the painting back to the car and having a bite to eat I contemplated what to paint on my other registered canvas. I hadn’t much time to roam around and I was admiring the abstract shape the lifeguard lookout made on the horizon so I thought why not?

 This time I was backed right up against my car to avoid the wind but it didn’t put people off from coming up for a look and a chat, the best one being three burly likely lads from the North East who were very encouraging and after a while one said he took his watercolour kit wherever he went. Never judge a book by its cover.



Here’s the finished painting “Lifeguard Lookout”.

All of the paintings are online ready for a people’s choice vote (from Sun 7th evening) and announcement of the prize-winners later in the week. Ahem, did I mention there was a people’s choice vote?

It was a really great event made by the friendly organisers and locals. Thank you. Hopefully it’ll be back again next year with even more people so get practising. 

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