Friday, May 02, 2014

Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge

I don't really paint so much these days. I used to! When I got back from Japan in 2002, I decided I was going to focus on my writing instead of drawing or such, and I've barely made any art, the odd doodle aside, since that time. All the same, some of YOU must paint, right? And this sounds like fun: the Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge. And there are prizes... Video here, Facebook event page here. Details from the press release follow...
Opus invites the whole province to paint outdoors on May 10th!

The goal for the 2014 Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge (#OPC2014) is 1000 participants with the decree, “Let’s get this whole province painting!”

Vancouver, BC – Opus Art Supplies invites creative individuals to take it outside at the Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge on Saturday, May 10. This community event, now in its third year, offers artists of all ages, mediums, and skill levels a chance to spend the day outdoors capturing the beauty and diversity of British Columbia.

The Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge began in 2012, where a sunny spring day brought out 335 artists province-wide, an inspiring start to a new tradition. Though the 2013 challenge was held on a rainy Saturday, the downpour was no match for the spirit of the 464 artists that braved the weather to be part of that day.

“We want to double last year’s numbers,” says Opus’ President David van Berckel. “The event motto is ‘Let’s get this whole province painting!’” Having witnessed the passion and tenacity of the artists who were part of this event over the last two years, van Berckel believes that this year Opus will see over 1000 artists and enthusiasts rise up to the challenge, rain or shine. The event largely focuses on the joy of creating outside with fellow artists and spending quality time with friends and family. Artists of all ages are invited to share the creative process with their community in this inclusive event, from artists well versed in the art of plein air painting to those who haven’t picked up a paintbrush in years.

Opus is encouraging participants to create in any medium, including painting, sketching, or even collage – all mediums and points of view are welcome. The challenge is simple: Opus will provide participants with a 9”
×12” canvas panel to take out within the painting zones designated by each of the six Opus store locations.
Participants will then create their outdoor-inspired piece using whatever medium, materials, and tools they have brought with them, providing passersby with the opportunity to witness the often secluded process of creation. As Vancouver artist and 2013 participant and 2014 judge Sean Karemaker so beautifully puts it, “I think working in public lifts the curtains away from art and allows people to be a part of it.”

Each location will have onsite experts within their painting zone to offer assistance and advice, including Ross Penhall, Michael King (S.C.A), Rod Charlesworth, Listel Bjorck from Gamblin Artist Colors, Jim McFarland (A.F.C.A), Sheree Jones (F.C.A), Dave Denson (F.C.A), and more. And to help fund participants’ art practices over the spring and summer months, there are nine top prizes adding up to $1000 in Opus gift cards at each Opus location!

“It’s been gratifying to see the diversity of the participants. We have witnessed everyone, from professional artists to entire families, come out to be a part of the day,” said van Berckel. “With this in mind, in addition to the prize category for adults, we have added categories specifically for children and youth this year.” Each location’s jury will announce their three top picks for each age category: Kids (Up to 12 years old), Youth (13-18), and Adults (19+).

Works will be selected by jurors, many being renowned BC artists such as Kiff Holland (S.F.C.A, S.C.A, C.S.P.W.C, C.I.P.A), Enda Bardell (S.C.A., N.W.W.S., A.F.C.A.), Victor Lotto (F.C.A.), Lianne Gulka (F.C.A) and Barry Walker (F.C.A).

Prizes aside, the chance to mix and mingle with other local artists tends to trump the potential prizes as professional artists, recreational painters, groups of friends, and families alike take Opus up on the chance to let their creativity run wild. One 2012 participant said, “Painting outside is wonderful. Because there were so many artists out here doing the same thing, there was a real sense of fellowship and I just can’t say enough about how enjoyable the experience was.”

Taking your studio outdoors for a day with your community isn’t limited to the designated painting zones. If you live away from one of the Opus locations, you are still invited to take your favourite medium, people, and umbrella (the Challenge happens rain or shine!) to a beautiful location and create. While personal canvases do not qualify for the prizes, the larger goal of building the artistic community remains. Snap a picture or video of the day and it will be posted to Opus’ Facebook page.

Bob McMurray (F.C.A), a juror at the Opus 2012 event said of working outside, “Painting outdoors is very rewarding because you bring things to your painting that you don’t get in your studio. It’s just great to be there to hear the sounds, to smell the smells, and to feel the breeze on your face.” Are you ready to challenge yourself? Call or visit your local Opus Art Supplies store to register and let’s get this whole province painting! More information can be found at

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