Glasgow to host outdoor painting contest

A LIVE outdoor painting competition, where hundreds of artists create pictures on the streets of a city in just one day, is to launch in Scotland for the first time.

Organiser Roger Beckett was inspired by a competition in Spain. Picture: John Devlin

Pintar Rapido, which is already an established event in London and Amsterdam, is to take place in Glasgow on 15 and 16 August this year.

Organiser Roger Beckett, who started the competition after seeing a similar event take place in a small Spanish village, where Pablo Picasso painted several early Cubist paintings, plans to alternate the Scottish competition between Glasgow and Edinburgh each year.

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The paintings created will be exhibited in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and sold off, with some of the proceeds going to the charity Campaign for Drawing.

“Three years ago, I saw a small painting competition in a village in Spain,” said Beckett, a designer and publisher who lives in London.

“Artists were invited to come and paint a picture in any location in the village, and at the end of the day all the pictures were hung in the town hall and prizes were awarded. It was a lovely day and a great privilege to see artists create a picture. I was inspired to do two things: firstly, have a go at sketching with watercolour myself, and secondly come back and launch it in the UK.

“I called it Pintar Rapido, which means “fast painting” in Spanish. There are a lot of small painting competitions like this in towns and communities all over Spain – they just like to celebrate art and celebrate their beautiful architecture.”

Artists can paint anything they like on the day, inspired by the ­cityscapes around them – and their paintings are to be judged by a panel which will include Scots artist Robert Kelsey. It is open to professional and amateur artists of all skill levels and offers a first prize of £1,000.

All of the paintings created will then be exhibited in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on 16 August.

“The whole challenge is to capture the spirit of the city where it is taking place,” said Beckett. “The aim of the event is to have fun, but also to celebrate our urban environment by celebrating the spaces and places through art.”

Councillor Archie Graham, chairman of Glasgow Life, said: “Coming exactly a year after the streets and venues of Glasgow were brought to life by Festival 2014, and ahead of the 2015 Turner Prize coming to the city, this is an idea that will show once again the breadth of talent Glasgow has to offer and will also capture the imagination of the huge and appreciative audiences.”

Beckett, who has published two of the UK’s most influential magazines for designers, Design Week and Creative Review, intends to expand the competition across the UK next year.