Painters Flock to Bradenton for Twin Contests

Todays News

Grab your brush and your smock and head on down to the Bradenton Riverwalk this Saturday for the start of the 10th annual Paint the Town event. In addition to the titular contest, pitting jury-selected artists from across the region in a competition to represent the Bradenton scene in acrylic, oil, watercolor or any paint of choice, the weeklong celebration kicks off with an open-to-all speed-painting Quick Draw competition.

While the official Paint the Town competition is open only to appraised and selected artists, the Quick Draw contest provides an opportunity for artists of all stripes and calibers to test their skill and take part in the fun. Entrants register at 9am Saturday morning at the Mosaic Amphitheater before setting off in search of the perfect place to set up their easels and capture the people and places that make Bradenton sing. The contest begins at 10am sharp, ending just as abruptly at noon, leaving the artists a mere two hours to create a finished painting and submit it for judgment from Kerry Vosler, a Tampa-based artist and Florida Ambassador to the Portrait Society of America.

“Sometimes even someone who’s not a master painter can come up with an interesting view of a scene,” said Joan Peters, a Sarasota artist competing in both the Quick Draw and the Paint the Town competitions and volunteer organizer for the events. “You don’t have to be an incredible painter to do some interesting painting.”

Meanwhile, more than 30 professional artists from across Florida (many from Sarasota, Bradenton and Venice, but also some hailing from Tampa, Appalachicola, St. Petersburg and elsewhere) will descend upon the Bradenton area for the larger Paint the Town competition. Unlike the Quick Draw competition, which is localized to the Riverwalk, Paint the Town competitors will have a bit more free reign, spreading across the greater downtown area and surrounding communities, including the Riverwalk, Anna Maria Island, Cortez Fishing Village and the Village of the Arts looking for subjects. Participating artists have a little bit longer to complete their work, from Sept. 27-Oct. 2, painting ‘en plein air’ (in the open air; outside) for all to see.

“We have enjoyed these plein air painters for these 10 years,” said Susan Covert, local artist and volunteer manager working alongside ArtCenter Manatee. “This is going to be a spectacular event and hopefully soon a signature event for ArtCenter Manatee.”

Upon completion, this year’s juror, nationally acclaimed and master plein air painter Bill Farnsworth, will pass judgment, dispensing cash prizes ranging as high as $2000, before the paintings are transported to ArtCenter Manatee, where they will remain on display until sold or the end of the exhibition, Oct. 30.

In addition to his role as juror, Farnsworth will also be hosting a workshop entitled “Capturing the Light” from Oct. 7-9 for all interested in honing their craft or learning something new.

“It’s a wonderful way, especially for the public, to come and see how painters work,” said Peters. “And it’s a wonderful way to start purchasing and collecting paintings from some of our local painters.”

The resulting art will be on display at ArtCenter Manatee from Oct. 2-30. Art from both competitions will be available for sale at ArtCenter Manatee.

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