Pintar Rapido, London

My past week has been dominated by all things Pintar Rapido!  

The event took place in London over the weekend and, as a reminder, the challenge was for artists to paint on location on Saturday, and have their work exhibition ready by the end of the day. Paintings were hung overnight ready for a public exhibition at Chelsea Town Hall on Sunday. All works exhibited had to be for sale and all sold or unsold painting are collected at the end of the day. 

I registered at Chelsea Town Hall as the doors opened at 9.00am.

Chelsea Town Hall

Registration involved presenting my entry from and having my paper checked to ensure it was blank and then stamped. I was then presented with a Pintar Rapido rosette and a stack of complimentary entry flyers for the exhibition to hand out to passers by as we paint.

I’d already done some basic research on location, mainly based on proximity to Chelsea Town Hall so that I could spend more time painting and less time travelling!

I knew there were some cafes there with some awnings and felt confident that I’d be able to find something suitable. At this time of day, the streets were relatively quiet and it was easy to spot all the artists either on their way to register or on their way to their locations. It was a lovely atmosphere with everyone acknowledging each other, saying hello and wishing each other good luck. 

I made it to Sloane Square by about 9.30 and started off with a quick little sketch:  

Quick Sloane Square Sketch

I wasn’t convinced by this view so spent a little time looking around for another view. The Square is tree lined and the light was creating a dappled effect on the surface. Aha, I thought, this would be perfect and, based on some other recent ‘dappled light paintings’ I felt confident I could do something with the scene. Here’s my first effort:  

Pintar Rapido take 1 on the easel

And the painting in full: 


Pintar Rapido take 1

This was done at breakneck speed and, in the back of my mind, as I was painting this I was viewing it is a warm up piece!  I’d positioned myself strategically I thought, right in front of a water fountain. My thinking was that it would be much harder for people to pass behind me to see what I was up to. While this did work, it also meant that I was unable to step away from my easel to see how it was looking from a distance. I’ll definitely reconsider this next time!

While the first effort was okay for a warm up, I felt it was a little weak compositionally. The knowledge that I needed to have something worthy of exhibiting by the end of the day was now beginning to weigh heavy on my mind.

I set about another take on the same scene in the hope I could improve on it. Here’s the outline sketch:

Pintar Rapido take 2 preparatory sketch

On a plus side, the fountain did provide me with a plentiful supply of fresh water!     

And here’s how it looked a short while afterwards!

Pintar Rapido take 2 on the easel

Painting this did feel better, but still not as good as I’d been expecting of myself.  Here’s the painting in a little more detail.  

Pintar Rapido take 2

By now, I was desperate for the loo and a snack! 

Suitably relieved and replenished, I was desperately trying to convince myself that, now I how something I felt okay with, I could really relax, enjoy my next painting, and hopefully produce my best painting of the day yet! Staying in Sloane Square, I moved to a different position in the hope that a change of perspective would be matched with a change in fortunes! 

Pintar Rapido take 3 on the easel

I did enjoy laying down some of these large shapes in watercolour, working very wet and letting everything mix on the paper. As things progressed however – my lack of planning about how to tackle the bustle of figures under the awnings and the immediate foreground began to haunt me and I gradually lost my way and my will to proceed!

Pintar Rapido take 3

By now it was 3pm and I had to decide whether to try for another painting or to call it a day. Part of me was also deliberating whether it was even worth bothering submitting anything and that way I would at least recover a day of my weekend! (yep, that’s how frustrated I felt!).  I did set myself up to paint again and even sketched out a view, but with so many thoughts and emotions running through my mind, I decided that I really wasn’t in the right frame of mind to continue. I also gave myself a good ticking-off for being so faint-hearted. I knew that even though I may not be satisfied with what I’d done, I had to see it through. 

I returned to Chelsea Town Hall where my paper was checked to prove that it had the official stamp and then had time to pop my painting into a mount and frame and finish off the paperwork. The paperwork was only to add in my bank details, title my work and indicate what price it was to be sold for. The event organisers take 50% of any sales and the guidance was that ‘amateur’ artists should consider capping their prices at £250 while more established/professional/confident artists could set their price above this. While I do sell my work, I don’t consider myself a ‘professional’ artist so opted to price my work just beneath the £250 cap. 

I returned on Sunday with my family in support for a little day out in London!  The exhibition opened at 11am for a private view ahead of opening to the public at 12noon. There were around 300 participating artists so, including friends and families, there were a lot of people milling about and a great atmosphere.

It was also great to see quite a few red dots appearing on works really early on. A number of awards and prizes were presented and there was a really warm and celebratory air to the whole proceedings. Everyone applauded the prizewinners enthusiastically and wholeheartedly and there was a wonderful sense of camaraderie in the room as everyone went around looking at each other’s work and sharing their experiences. 

By this point – my daughter had long since lost interest and it was time for us to strike out for lunch!  We had a lovely time in Ranelagh Gardens although I did keep checking my phone in the hope that I’d received a message to say my painting had been sold, so there wasn’t any need for me to return at 5.30 to collect my painting!

As it was, the painting didn’t sell. In all honesty, I felt fine about this because, had it not been part of the whole point of Pintar Rapido, it’s very unlikely that I would offer this painting for sale! (I’ve already removed this painting from its frame and mount and, along with the other paintings from the day, have consigned it to my ‘rejects’ pile at home!   

Lessons learned:

  1. Spend more time selecting a view. Focus more on what is it about it that appeals rather than ‘can I paint it!’
  2. By all means set up somewhere out of the way or protected, but still give yourself space to step away from you work
  3. Spend more time planning the painting, some thumbnail sketches, value studies – whatever helps you work out how to best realise the finished painting
  4. Take your time and don’t panic
  5. Try to relax and enjoy it

 What’s most annoying and frustrating about this list is that I already know it so well! I know all of this. These are all mistakes that I’ve made before – so to still find myself writing this out is really frustrating

In conclusion

Pintar Rapido is, quite simply, a wonderful event. I loved the coming together of so many artists to create such a joyful and celebratory event.

My only regret is that I don’t feel that I gave the best account of myself with the paintings that I produced.

I need to wary that this doesn’t send me into a spiral of self doubt (which I can already feel looming over me!) and to focus instead on all of the positives that come from challenging oneself and stepping outside of one’s comfort zone.

Thoughts on Pintar Rapido, London

12 thoughts on “Pintar Rapido, London”

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  3. Margery Griffith

    I especially like Bob Ellis’ solid comments! I always could mess up on exams! I agree, take time out from constantly challenging yourself with competitions and just PAINT FOR YOURSELF! Forget trying to please unknown judges! As I said before, quit trying to copy someone else’s style! John does quite well himself! Personally, I’m sick of ‘red and grey and rain soaked streets’!
    I DO approve of repainting the same thing a number of times though. I find the repetition helps you to understand, to KNOW the subject, get colors right, so that you can finally put some soul into your painting! I am now on my 5th WC portrait of my great granddaughter, plus 2 charcoal drawings. Not used to doing portraits, never have done one in WC before, though used to do some in pastel. It’s been an enjoyable challenge, made better by taking a week-long break!
    I used to enter shows, was always ‘accepted’ and usually won something, but don’t feel the necessity any more to ‘be accepted’. I paint because I want to, not because I HAVE to financially, thank God! Now back to Poppy’s portrait!

    1. Hi Margery and thanks so much for this! I recongnise in me a lot of what you say – but I think that I often find the challenge of something like Pintar Rapido really focuses the mind (and my time!). I also wasn’t trying to please the judges, – I really was only trying to please myself, or at least paint something that I was happy with. I do admit however that my third effort was straying towards the someone else’s influence but by this point I was beginning to get desperate! I’m great believer in tackling the same subject on numerous occasions, I think think its a great way of learning and honing one’s approach. While I do have to earn a living, I’m not reliant on my painting to do so, so in essence, the only pressure is the pressure that I put on myself. With the recent Open Houses and Pinter Rapido escapades, I think I’ve ramped up my own pressure – and I look forward to stepping back from this a little over the next few weeks and hopefully, as you say, return to just painting as I want to paint! Thanks so much Margery – your advice and encouragment is much appreciated.

  4. Would have, could have, should have…., like you,
    I have been in that “space” too many times. Each experience, however, becomes the tool, not for flogging myself, but instead…the tool that defines what my
    creativity is all about…but for me and me alone. Flogging is easy…passion is refining and defining…rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat. Sir Paul McCartney said in a recent 60 Minutes
    Interview, “Do I have insecurities? Yes, I do…we all
    have insecurities. Even me.” In my own words to
    myself, more often than I’d to admit…
    JUST. KEEP. GOING. You are an inspiration.

    1. Thanks so much for this Raye! I know deep down that you (and Sir Paul) are totally right – but I think that you may also appreciate that it all feels a little bit raw at the moment! I do also recognise that these moments are what help to move us on! Thanks so much Raye, I can see that you’ve been here before so understand where I’m at at the moment, and I really appreciate your kind words and support.

  5. “As soon as I arrrived at the said location, I totally changed my mind.” Doomed from that point on! Too much choice is destroying society. Now I remember in the old days when there was shampoo or no shampoo and that was it…. Just think how much time and mental effort that saved us.
    By the way, are the winners available anywhere on line?

    1. haha yes, you’re probably right Rob! last October I did a similar group paint out event in London that was organised by the British Plien Air society or group. I did two paintings that day and was really pleased with both of them – and I did them both totally cold to the views. I think the pressure of knowing that whatever I had at the end of the day I had to exhibit really did get to me. My personal low point is usually music shops! The number of record shops that I’ve left after enterring to buy some music only to become too overwhelmed with choice! As for the winners, I think they will be published, but when I just looked on the Pintar Rapido website, they haven’t been uploaded yet. I’ll keep an eye out and put a link on next week’s post. Many thanks Rob!

  6. It reminds me most of walking out of a Shakespeare finals exam having started three different essays, feeling very relaxed but finally realising that they had all gone in the wrong direction. So I’d say you’d better avoid exams in future! Or else make sure you write down a very strict list of rules for yourself to avoid that feeling of “it doesn’t really matter – I’ll just start another one – plenty of time left…” But I think you’ve worked that out for yourself. Personally I’d have known exactly where I was going to paint and how I was going to paint it before exposing myself like that – I’d probably even have painted it a few times already just to make sure it worked. I bet all the prize-winners went through secret preparations before the day! You went about it in the right spirit and seem to have got a lot out of it and had a nice day out so I hope you don’t let it knock your confidence. By the way, did you win?

    1. Hi Rob and many thanks for this, certainly a lot of truths in your response! First off, no, I didn’t win – and to be honest, I think that’s only fair! I did see the winning paintings and, while not all to my taste – I could totally appreciate why they’d been singled out by th judges. Also, having looked up a few of the people whose work had impressed me – some of them were definitely painting scenes that were familiar to them, so they’d already had a good bit of practice with their subject matter. I had done some planning about my location, it’s just that as soon as I arrrived at the said location, I totally changed my mind. I’d like to think that I’d be much better prepared if were to do this again next year – but there’s absoluutely no guarantee that will be the case! I must confess to feeling a bit down on my painting as a result. I think I’m going to take a short break from painting – only a week or so – and hopefully bounce back feeling enthused and rejuvenated soon!

I'd love to hear any thoughts you have about this

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