Pintar Rapido is essentially a painting competition where you have to paint a picture in a single day and exhibit the next day all within the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
Last year I did a watercolour painting of the Michelin Building and I really enjoyed the experience. That said, it was very tough on the day what with the heat and getting things sorted at such a speed. So this year I thought I would plan ahead and pre visit the possible sites to make it a mite easier to handle.
A pre visit
After wearing out a few pairs of shoes walking about the Borough and finding not much to inspire me, I came across Portobello Road Market and felt it had the intimacy and detail that I enjoy. I would therefore do another watercolour painting of that.
About Portobello Road Market
Portobello Road Market is in Notting Hill, and is about two miles long. It was developed in the mid19th Century to sell fresh produce to the wealthy inhabitants of the surrounding squares. The market has since developed into the largest antiques’ market in the UK and of course a very popular filming location from 50’s B movies to Bed Knobs and Broomsticks, the Italian Job and of course that one with Hugh Grant. It gets massively busy at the weekends and I needed to take this into account when choosing my viewpoint.
I noted a few ideas down and decided that, on the big day, I would position myself at the top end of the market, looking back at the last few shops along the gentle slope down the hill. This was a fine view, and crucially out of the way of the throngs of tourists that will descend on the site once Saturday arrives, or so I thought.
On the Day
Once I had signed in at Chelsea Town Hall, I grabbed a tube to Notting Hill and was rolling by 10 am. The night before they had predicted rain though it was pretty obvious that the millions they had spent on predicting the weather for the VERY NEXT DAY was wasted again as this was going to be a bone dry hot one.
I got set up and marked in the ideas developed from my loose drawing, noting the shapes and the odd character passing by to place in later on. Why is it no matter where you go on a boiling day there is always an elderly lady walking about in a massive winter coat? She simply had to go in (far left). I was also most keen to get in the curve of the hill and the bright colours of the shops which typify the market.
A bit of a panic
As the morning moved towards mid-day, things started to get very busy and even though I had picked a spot out of the throng, I still had to move position here and there to get a decent view. I do enjoy the odd chat while working and I met people from all over the world who stopped by to talk about art and painting. A few even picked up one or two of my booklets. Splendid.
Others didn’t speak at all, just simply viewed me as an extension of the market and had their photo took with me, often bizarrely picking up one of my brushes and waving it at the camera. I dutifully grinned on cue, inside though a twinge of panic was growing on whether I could finish my painting on time.
I got rolling again and worked steadily through the day and I have to say my pre visit drawings certainly helped make the decisions quickly. I got finished with an hour or two to spend and afterward loped exhausted to a pub to sink a few beers or three.
The next day was the exhibition at the Chelsea Town Hall. A good exhibition of watercolours, oil paintings and drawings though I have to say the most enjoyable bit is meeting up with my fellow artists for the afternoon. The nature of our work means we don’t meet that often so days like these are always pleasurable.
Later on, I took a walk on Chelsea Bridge where I painted a postcard of Battersea Power Station which I then gave away to a follower on my Twitter @liams_art.
Later on that evening I got a call from someone who picked a booklet up. They commissioned a painting right there and then. How good is that!