During the Summer months in Spain, a regular event is held in various towns throughout the country where artists are invited to participate in a competition called ‘Pintura Rapida’ or ‘Speed Painting’. This event is open to professional and amateur artists where they are to paint, in a given amount of time, either the landscape, city, streets or people of the area. My local town called Alcaudete hosts this annually and this year I decided to enter, along with between 70-80 other artists from all over Spain.
It was an extremely hot dusty day in August and I arrived early at the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) to have my canvas stamped and registered to prove I had not started the piece previously. I was given my complimentary breakfast and lunch vouchers and set off to find a quiet and hopefully cool spot to begin my painting.
I found a lovely solitary place which had some shade and set up my canvas ready for the challenge that lay ahead. It was so peaceful being alone amongst the nature with only the strong smell of fennel and a few cats for company. I made quite a promising start, I knew I had to get the paint on to the canvas quickly as we were only given until 6pm that day to finish, it was already about 11.00 am. The view I had chosen was of Alcaudete Castle in the distance with the landscape cascading around it and so the paint flowed onto the canvas.
However as morning became the afternoon, it was more and more difficult to concentrate as the heat started to affect me and made me light headed as my chosen spot was now in full sunshine. I am quite used to painting ‘en plain air’ but not in the intense heat of August, and as the minutes flew by I knew I probably wouldn’t have my painting finished by 6 pm.
The promenade in ‘El Parque’ was filled both sides with artists and their work displayed on easels and I tentativley place my unfinished piece amongst the most incredible paintings. The judging then took place and the winners were announced and they collected their substantial prize money which had been mainly donated by local companies. It is an amazing experience to see an outside exhibition with so many talented artists work on display.
At the end of the evening I took my painting back to my studio and completed it the next day. I realised there is certainly a technique to speed painting which I don’t have. My work is based on layering and has an emotional reaction to what I am painting. There is no formula to my style as I paint what I feel as well as what I see. I also need a certain amount of drying time before I apply the next layer or textures, this tecqnique doesn’t really work when speed painting.
So I definitely need to ‘skill-up’ if I am going to enter again next year and maybe find somewhere with a bit more shade ! I finished my piece back in my studio and I am actually quite pleased with the finished painting, it certainly gives the impression of a hot day in August in Southern Spain.