Ideas & Art from Rob Elliott and Christine Cosby

Tag: 142

How to paint an ogre in 20 minutes

Overhead view of Art Battle in full swing.

Overhead view of Art Battle in full swing.

On Tuesday night, I made my debut in Toronto’s Art Battle series. Twenty-four painters painted in three 20 minute rounds for art supremacy at the Great Hall on Queen Street West. I was in round two, which gave me a chance to observe the first set of painters. I made mental notes about paint quality (slippery),  dry times (slow), and time (20 minutes is a long time).

I had a plan to make my painting as entertaining as possible. Basing my painting on a gouache drawing I did in 2012, Ogre, I worked on a bunch of sketches on cardboard.



My plan for Art Battle was not to give the subject away too quickly. I took my inspiration from the Rolf Harris performances I saw as a child, in which the Australian performer would tell a story as he worked on a giant painting.

When the round began, I started by adding the missing “t” to my name, then began what appeared to be a red field painting. I followed that up by loosely blocking the children. Compared to other artists, who were attacking their canvases with vigour, I was working quite slowly on small areas of the painting.

As Art Battle progresses, the audience continues to circle the easels, so every time time they passed my slowly progressing canvas, they got more curious. A crowd was starting to gather behind me.

When I heard the announcer call out five minutes, I struck, quickly adding the ogre to the canvas, turning the tumbling figures into the monster’s stomach contents. Christine was in attendance and photographed all the action:

Adding the missing "t" in "Elliott"

Adding the missing “t” in “Elliott”.

Starting the children.

Starting the children on a red field of colour.

Working on the details of the children.

Working on the details of the children.

Five minutes to go, starting the ogre.

Five minutes to go, starting the ogre.

Completed painting

Completed painting.

20-minute ogre painting.

20-minute ogre painting.

Painting at the Slient Auction table.

Painting at the Silent Auction table. Someone got an R! painting for $60!

My painting did not win the audience vote, though several people in attendance thought my performance was very entertaining. It was a fun night, and a good way to get my work seen in front of a bunch of new people.


Art Battle late addition


I have been added to the fight card for Art Battle #142 in Toronto. This Tuesday, I will battle 15 rival artists in a painting contest.

As we create our speedy masterpieces, the audience will move around the easels, getting a close-up view of the creative process and an earful of muttered curses. No pencils allowed, just acrylic paint and a fistful of favourite brushes. At the end of each of two 20-minute rounds, the audience votes for their favourite painting. The top two painters of each round then square off for a third and final battle. Plus, audience members get to place bids in a silent auction to take the paintings home. It’s an art lesson, a popularity contest and a party!

I’m not sure what I’ll be painting, but preliminary doodling is favouring monkeys and/or ogres.

Tickets are $15 in advance, $10 for students and seniors
$20 and $15 at the door

Tickets at this link:

Art Battle 142
Tuesday, May 27th, 7:30p.m.
The Great Hall, 1087 Queen St W., Toronto

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