Grand Prix of Art Steveston – 2nd Place Award: “Steveston September” by Peggy Burkosky
Who could ever believe that rain could be on your side! Artists braved the September rains in the streets of Steveston this weekend of Sept 19 2015, braced to face whatever the weather threw their way. And boy it did! Painting plein air is no cake walk. Thankfully winds were kept at bay which can be the worst part of painting outdoors. Your precious painting and a good few hours of work can suddenly turn on a dime. The whole effort is just that – an effort, since the shifting light is a challenge on it’s own. Things never seem to be going your way, especially if wet watercolor defies being lifted off because things are simply too wet – wet atmosphere, wet surface, wet paper towels and tissues, shoes, clothing … at some point you throw in the towel and mutter “it is what it is” and try to go back to enjoying the day. Somehow the wetness worked to my advantage, and I say “somehow” without reserve, since it could just as easily turn out to be a session in learning.
This fun filled event is something to plan for each year if you haven’t attended yet, and now that it has expanded to embrace Steveston, Qualicum Beach and Delta, it’s more accessible. There are so many gifted artists that attend, young and old, the streets are filled with enthusiasts and the air is charged with creative joy. Hosted by Phoenix Arts Workshop’s TravellingBrush.ca, this popular event returned to Steveston for its 6th year, attended by over 100 artists painting their hearts out in three hours. Artists are randomly placed throughout the scenic streets of Steveston and the Gulf of Georgia National Historic site of Britannia Shipyards. The shift whistle blows at 10 am and we’re off – painting madly until 1 pm. Then artists proceed in a (this time) soggy dash to the framing station where they assemble the work for display at the Britannia Heritage Shipyard’s Seine Net Loft. Accompanied by excellent live music and a fabulous presentation of art work displayed, this event is a warm and positive time well spent. Presentations to emerging youth artists is a premiere highlight. I can say that for myself, this strikes a chord in my heart. As artists, often what shapes and encourages us in our developing years is encouragement from professionals that are willing to focus on sowing into our lives. We all know how far a positive word can launch us into our destiny. I recall that in my younger years my grade 7 art teacher had the class listen to a CBC Radio play whilst painting the scenes from the story. I won a prize, and it went a long way for me. Thoughts like “I could be an artist” flooded my head. A few more providential moments like these steered me forward. That’s a valuable thing – we all have an opportunity to leave behind us in this world the good that we sowed into others. Thank you Phoenix Art!
The Grand Prix Exhibit will be on display at Britannia Heritage Shipyards Seine Net Loft: Noon – 4 PM Sunday September 20 – Wednesday September 23. The reception takes place in the same location Thursday September 24 from 4:00 to 6:00 PM. The Grand Prix of Art closing event coincides with the official launch of BC Cultural Days.
“Steveston September” by Peggy Burkosky