Artists to paint Sidney’s streets

Plein Air Paint Out hits the streets of Sidney this weekend

Artist Matt Haider catches attention during the annual Plein Air Paint Out in Sidney by holding up his old 45 record. Haider claims peering through the holes in the record allows him to see the true colours.

Bring your creativity, art supplies and an easel, and head to Sidney for the 10th annual Plein Air Paint Out on Saturday, Aug. 4.

Artists will line the streets of Beacon Avenue and the Sidney waterfront to paint the scenery around them.

“The object of painting outdoors is not to paint a photographic painting and it has to be something that they’re looking at as a scene,” said Odette LaRoche, organizer of the Paint Out.

The goal of the event is to capture the light and the mood of the day and express it on a canvas, she added.

“Is it misty? Is it rainy? Is it morning? Is it night? Is it sunset? They have to capture that and express their feeling in the painting.”

Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Paint Out draws between 45 and 60 artists annually. Emerging and professional artists come from all over Greater Victoria, as well as Nanaimo, Qualicum and Vancouver. In the past, artists have come from Calgary, San Diego and Toronto.

The annual gathering allows artists to come together, show off their expertise and display how plein air painting is done.

Painting can be a solitary activity, LaRoche said.

“When [artists] have a gathering like this … they get a chance to rub elbows together and share stories and paint together,” LaRoche said.

LaRoche remembers participating in the first Paint Out 10 years ago. She took over as organizer of the event in 2003.

“It was the first time I had ever painted outdoors and I was shaking in my boots,” she recalled. “It was pouring rain and I had my back to the wall, just hoping I don’t get drowned.

“I didn’t know what I was doing, but I won second place, so I started to take it more seriously.”

LaRoche’s advice to painters is to get their painting down quickly and then concentrate on details.

“But always be very careful with the lighting, the direction of the lighting and how clear the weather is [in the painting],” she said.

Jurors of the Paint Out include LaRoche and Comox-based artist Grant Fuller.

LaRoche and Fuller will pick the top three works based on the artists’ knowledge and use of their chosen tools, composition, mark making and most of all, whether they had fun and were able to capture the feel of the day.

“Just get comfortable and relax and have a good time,” she said.

All artists are welcome to participate in the event, taking place along Beacon Avenue, at the Beacon Park bandstand and along the waterfront. Members of the public are invited to observe the artists at work, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Awards will be given out to artists at 2:30 p.m. The public may also cast votes for their favourite painting.

The paintings will be on display at Beacon Park until 4 p.m., before moving to the Mary Winspear Centre, where they will be shown and available for purchase until Aug. 22.

For more information about the event or to register as an artist, see, or call 250-655-8278.


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