Pintura rápida (15 works)
For some artists in Spain, pintura rápida is a way of life, an essential part of an artistic practice.
The contests are held outdoors and they're rapid because you have a day and sometimes just half a day to finish a work from start to finish. And not a small canvas; 100cm x 81cm is seen as the standard minimum.
Canvasses are vetted in the morning at "stamp in," and because the work is done out in the open, the public and organizers ensure no counterfeiting, substituting, or other funny business takes place (yup, it happens, a lot).
At the end of the day—exhausted from the heat and anxiety of finishing, but often surprised by a discovery that wouldn't have happened any other way—artists display their finished pieces, hundreds of residents come out, and a jury of professionals awards juicy cash prizes, or at least they did, before the economic meltdown in 2008. The public, too, sometimes votes on a favourite and the jury makes a selection for a longer exhibition. Then, wheeling and dealing ensues, including for amateurs without the proper credentials.
I know the process well because I did it for years, waching closely and slowly learning. It's how I really cut my teeth as a painter.
Now when I look back I realize how unique the experience was, for it weren't for the comradery, the informal but serious crits, and the pressures to work to deadline, I don't think I'd be where I am today, if an artist at all. I owe it and similar open, blind-judged events a huge debt of gratitude.
For some of the prizes I managed to win, check out my CV.
And for a good video online, check out Dueling Easels.