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:
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.