“They set up, regardless of the weather, find interesting places to paint and paint quickly to capture the light,” said Carolyn Vienneau, an organizer of Paint Pictou. “It’s a challenging way to paint. It gets the artists out of their comfort zone, and develops them.”
Paint Pictou involves 17 artists engaged in plein air painting all around the town, at various locations. Plein air refers to a style in which an artist paints outdoor scenes, specifically with the intent of capturing lighting conditions in nature, which are fleeting.
Vienneau said the “chasing the light” of the artists in Pictou is a deliberate feature of the event, serving as a challenge to the artists to use their talent within stricter timelines than other styles of painting.
She said plein air painting captures the beautiful – albeit temporary – lighting that helps make the scenery around Pictou as enticing as it is.
Vienneau said a team of volunteers, stationed at the Pictou Community New Horizons Club throughout the day, goes around to collect paintings from the artists at their various locations in town when they are finished.
“(The volunteers) have a map of the town with pins that indicate where each artist is, downtown or along the waterfront,” said Vienneau. “The volunteers go to where the artists are, take the finished paintings and put them up on the wall for auction.”
There will be bidding on paintings completed throughout the day, as well as a takeaway price for each painting.
“People can get great deals on some good local art, if they stay around for the bidding,” said Vienneau.
The auctions for the paintings will go on from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and bidding ends for the day at 4:30 p.m.
This year’s Paint Pictou is the second local iteration, and it constitutes growth from last year’s event, which had 10 participating painters.
The event begins at 8 a.m. Vienneau encouraged everyone in attendance to watch the painters work, and chat with them, as they create their art.
Vienneau also suggested guests follow painters, to see when each painting would be done – and to be able to bid optimally on them.
In addition to the paintings created that day, Vienneau said each of the artists is allowed to bring two framed paintings for sale – something that makes the event like a combination of an exhibition and an auction.
“There are people from all over Nova Scotia participating,” said Vienneau. “We want to build on this each year – maybe next year, we’ll aim for 30 or 40 artists.”