So What’s The Steveston Grand Prix Of Art Painting Race?

So What's A Grand Prix Painting Race?

Never Been To A Painting Race Before?

Firstly, if you’re an art lover “spectator” you are simply missing an outstanding experience that gets you outdoors enjoying life. Getting in touch with the heart of a community, meeting amazing new people who create beautiful art … I could go on and what’s not to love? 

Secondly, if you are an artist, there’s so much to gain by putting yourself “out there”.
There’s nothing to lose and you may discover a new “en plein air” pastime at the very least. You’d be amazed at how this kind of experience can be a meaningful step that expands your art journey. Networking is a win-win for everyone. We all have something to offer as we share our personal experiences and artistic ambitions with others. 

What To Expect If You're An Artist

So once a year I’m packed and ready to hit the streets at the Annual Steveston Grand Prix painting event. Packing plein air painting gear is an ever – “tweaking” process. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of changing this, adding that. Much like hiking adventures, camping or outdoor activities that require mobility, there’s always a “cooler” way to do it.

Years of experience has me down to a camera tripod easel setup. Lightweight and easily portable, it serves well for upright or flat painting. Your intended painting size will obviously determine the way you carry your gear. Backpacking is ideal, leaving hands free for phones, cameras, food and a multitude of other tasks, believe me! A great bonus of packing light is that you’re more likely going to work in a limited choice of colours. That’s the best kind of way to paint, a “limited palette”.

In any case, apart from having fun packing gear is the excitement of meeting up with fellow artists, old and new friendships and the “buzz” of a well organized race to challenge yourself in.

An organized event team devoted to making your experience a pleasure helps take away possible “stage fright”. It’s all about enjoying, not “win or lose”. Once you’re registered into the event, you pick your spot  “out of a hat” and head to your designated location. At the sound of the horn you’re off! With 3 hours to complete your piece, be prepared for onlookers and some that like to chat. Bugs, wind, sun, rain, dogs, run-away kids – all of it can happen. Once completed, you head off to the framing area where tables, framing equipment and a helpful framing team can assist you if you choose. With food ticket in hand you’re treated to lunch, live music and an awards presentation. We’re talking cash awards for “Open” “Youth” and “Masters” categories. It’s wonderful to watch the children get awards and cash prizes – they may be walking away with their future career. Honorable Mentions and 1st, 2nd and 3rd place are awarded. First Place gets the “Gray Cup” – a trophy aptly titled after renowned pastel artist Dan Gray who spear-headed the ongoing 26 year Qualicum Beach Grand Prix Painting Race and subsequent Steveston Grand Prix.

A People’s Choice category follows the awards event where the entries are displayed framed and for sale. Hundreds of people view the show which hangs for the day of the event and the next day until 5 pm.

The Steveston Grand Prix event just keeps getting better and better, with a huge thank you to The Travelling, Phoenix Art Workshop, the City of Richmond and the rest of the supportive local business community.



In the picturesque village of Steveston, the shift whistle marks the start of the competition at 10 am and ends the race at 1 pm when artists are ask to put down their brushes, return to the shipyards and prepare their paintings for display and adjudication. The exhibition is open to the public from 3pm – 6pm and will remain on display at Britannia Heritage Shipyards National Historic Site until Sunday, September 22nd from 12pm – 4pm. Presented by Phoenix Art Workshop and the in partnership with the City of Richmond, local businesses and an amazing community.

Comments are closed.