Last weekend I took part in a fabulous Art event called Pintar Rapido, for the first time. Pintar Rapido means paint fast in Spanish, and the idea is that you complete a painting on the Saturday, which is then displayed in an exhibition open to the public on the Sunday. The event is centred on Chelsea Old Town Hall, and whilst one can paint anywhere, necessarily the closer you are to Chelsea the more time you have to paint. The day starts by getting your canvas stamped in Chelsea Old Town Hall (to prove you actually did it on the day!). There were literally hundreds of artists, not just from London (the chap next to me in the queue had come down from Yorkshire), from complete amateurs to some pretty big-name professionals. I think this mix of abilities and experience, hanging side by side at the end of the day, was fairly unique and one of the things which made it feel so special. Anyway, I had scouted a location earlier in the week, and had also (unlike most artists) brought the car. I trundled off to Hyde Park, and the Serpentine gallery, which had several advantages I thought – I could park right outside; there was plenty of space to set up, with tree cover in case of sun or rain (and we had both!); I was very inspired by the current Serpentine Pavilion; and, last but not least, there was both a coffee shop and a loo within 30 yards!
The Pavilion is a temporary structure that the Serpentine Gallery commissions each Summer from a different artist. The gallery itself has limited space, so this also allows them to provide a cafe and more seating cover for the increased summer visitors, as well as a talking point. I really loved this year’s structure, by Francis Kere. I loved all the ins and outs and ways around the building, the use of geometric shapes, the lovely contrast of the blue and orange, and the subtle way he had cut and shaped the walls to create the different light effects. His idea came from the African village meeting tree, and this was indeed how it seemed to be functioning, as everyone gathered and met underneath.
I really enjoyed making the picture. I chose a spot a little off the path, so got a few people coming to have a look, but not too many! I’m getting quite confident working outside now on this kind of picture, and I really enjoyed solving the problems of the picture. I played about with my view so as to include the gallery behind the Pavilion (not seen from my spot), to make a nice contrast. And I cut a print block from a piece of card, and used this to print the blue triangles, together with a bit of corrugated card to print the ridges. Very messy, but great fun. By the middle of the afternoon it was starting to rain. The tree protected me for a while, but then it got heavier and I quickly packed up and returned to Chelsea. I had seen kids running around the Pavilion all day, and wanted to include some of this life, so I cut some collage figures and popped them on, working on the floor in the hall. Quickly into the pre-bought frame, and all done!
The exhibition on the Sunday was great. There was some really high-quality work, and some very interesting stuff too. I thought my picture looked great on the wall.
It didn’t sell – I can see it’s quite a statement piece and you’d need a certain type of space to make it work. But maybe Mr. Kere will see it and fancy the memory!