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A Finished Painting in One Hour: Part 2

Quick Draw table set up

Here's what happened at this year's WNC Quick Draw, a fundraiser for art's programs in Haywood County, NC.

Upon arriving, I was greeted by staff and show to my table, where I set up for the one hour quick draw (see previous post). Artists are permitted to draw out their subject before the bell so as you can see in the image, I have a pencil sketch of a mountain scene with rhododendrons in the foreground. On my table, I have also laid out my supplies.

Here's a closer look at my sketch.

In the many weeks before the event, I have practiced painting similar watercolors many times in an attempt to get comfortable with the process, including mixing just the right colors, layering, and using brush techniques to create the best outcome. I've practiced without time constraints and then with them. Even in the last days, I know this is going to be a significant challenge for me so I am a bit nervous.

The Laurel Ridge Country Club provides this beautiful space which begins filling up with people. As other artists set up, we have a little time to walk around and say hello before the timed painting begins. Some local high school art students are volunteering and make sure we have everything that we need. They also enjoy seeing what we are doing and ask questions. Engaging with them is one of my favorite parts of the event this year. They are full of enthusiasm and eager to learn more about the many art forms represented. During the timed portion of the evening, they returned many times to see how I was progressing.

My daughter Ivy returned this year as my assistant. It's very handy to have her helping me with set up and applying the blow dryer to my paper to speed things up a bit as I paint. She knows me very well and tends to say just the right thing to keep me centered. As a fellow artist, she calls me on anything she sees that I might be missing as I work. I am very thankful for her presence.

As the bell rings, we all begin quickly painting. I put down the first washes of the mountains, sky and foreground. I start with my largest brush and stick with it as long as possible. I've got a little test paper off to my right to check if my color is about where I want it before I begin to put it on the paper. Mistakes are time consuming to correct. It's better to be fairly sure before committing to the paper.

As one hour comes to a close, I have a finished painting, ready to frame and go to auction.

I don't even know what to think of it at this moment. It's not easy to do this in one hour and I want so much for this painting to yield some benefit for the arts programs. I've put a lot of time and resources into this one painting. Not just the one hour that it took to make it during the event, but countless hours of practice beforehand along with selecting framing, matting, and driving around to and fro to get everything needed to be here and contribute to this very worthwhile event.

The auction area begins to fill up as we bring our paintings in and set them up on easels. Out of 22 paintings, my piece will be number 19 in the auction. Not the best placement because it's pretty far at the end. As it turned out, this year the auction was very long and many people where getting hungry and tired and left the area before my time. Still, it went for $400. I sure would like to see a higher amount next year. I'll be learning and practicing.

After the auction, I relax and enjoy the food and social portion of the evening. Many people come up to me and mention that they love my painting and others thank me for being a part of the event. Ivy and I sit with two very lovely women and chat about our families, art and life. Finally we pack our stuff into the car and head back home, feeling good about another WNC Quick Draw. The challenge that the quick draw provides, makes me work hard on my artwork in a way that few other things could do. The time pressure along with the desire to make a piece with value for the auction motivates me in a big way.

The WNC Quick Draw returns each year, usually in May, to raise funds for arts programs in Haywood County. Over the years, they have raised over $138000. It would not be possible without the hard work of an amazing team of dedicated people who put this fun and important event together every year. Having arts programs in our schools and helping young people develop as artists is vital to the health of our world.

"The creative arts are the measure and reflection of our civilization. They offer many children an opportunity to see life with a larger perspective... The moral values we treasure are reflected in the beauty and truth that is emotionally transmitted through the arts. The arts say something about us to future generations." ~ Ann P. Kahn, former president of the PTA

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