Pintar Rapido is a Spanish idea – brought to London by Roger Beckett.
Can you imagine coming across over 500 artists on the streets of Kensington and Chelsea, London all being madly creative and painting on every street corner, from every vantage point. It’s an unbelievable sight for an artist, but can you imagine the impact on the general public? Wouldn’t everyone, given the chance, like to watch an artist at work and be intrigued at how he or she makes the painting ‘their own’ by adding feelings and thoughts about the subject. I have taken part in this activity for two years now, and been lucky enough to sell my work, on both occasions. We arrive at Chelsea Old Town Hall on Saturday morning and our canvas or board or paper is stamped on the back. We then disperse to all corners of the Borough and set up our easels, our drawing boards, our chairs and everything else we need, and start to plan our day’s work.
The first thing to notice is that everyone works differently, uses different materials, some use studio easels, some work on the floor, some in oils and others in pastels, I work in watercolours and others use acrylics. We all hope for one thing, and that is dry weather. Carting a portable art studio, around with you is no joke on a rainy day, its hard enough on a hot one. If you’ve never seen artists at work – it’s worth going to visit for that alone. Artists usually do their ‘creating’ behind closed doors alone in their studios, so it’s a real treat to watch their process.
The subjects chosen are as diverse as the artists themselves, from riverside boats, barges and bridges, to historic buildings, to parks and gardens, to busy street scenes or quiet mews houses, tree-filled squares, rooftop views from high vantage points, market stalls, passers by, statues and even a graveyard. There is plenty of variety in this part of London. I chose Sloane Square and painted my first subject before a well earned lunch at Côte of Sloane Square. I went back to paint another watercolour as my first one was sold ‘off the easel’ or so I thought, and anyway its better to have a choice at the end of the day. By about 6pm I had three paintings in the bag and had to choose one for the exhibition on the Sunday, and mount and frame it. As usual I asked others to choose the best, as I find it so difficult to judge my own work.
After a good night’s rest the preview opened at 11am where all the paintings, approx. 400 in number were exhibited in the big hall. The judges awarded the prizes we were all thanked and the public were let in. They had been invited by the artists and organisers and paintings began to sell. I went off down to the riverside at the Chelsea Embankment and made a dip pen and Ink drawing of the Albert Bridge, an old and ornate iron suspension bridge, painted pink! (Only in Chelsea)!
Luckily I received a phone call to say my painting had sold, so I could head for home, after lunch at the Chelsea Potter, pub in Kings Road. What a fabulous weekend, every bit as good as the previous year, and an opportunity to sell my work at London prices.
Needless to say, I’ll soon be booking my place at Pintar Rapido 2015.