Get out and paint the town

Opus art supplies host its first Outdoor Painting Challenge April 21.

From Chinatown streets to the iconic Johnson Street bridge, local artists are invited to take a seat in the great outdoors on Saturday and paint what they see.

Opus art supplies host its first Outdoor Painting Challenge April 21.

Opus stores from Victoria to Kelowna and around the Lower Mainland will participate that day, encouraging local artists to get outside and paint.

It is open to all ages and to both professional and amateur artists,  however, everyone who participates will compete on the same level for prizes.

Each Opus store will award prizes to three works, chosen on site by an impartial jury, including well-known artist Robert Amos at the Victoria location.

The top prize in each location is a $500 Opus gift card, with second and third prizes being $250 and $100 gift cards, respectively.

April weather can be unpredictable, but the event will go rain or shine, said Marsha Arbour, manager of the Victoria Opus store.

“Working outdoors is akin to working with a live model,” said Arbour. “You’re right there in the present moment. In the weather, with the light, you have to work quickly because the light keeps changing. It’s very vibrant that way … it’s the experience of it really.”

Canvases will be provided, but everyone is expected to supply any other materials they require, from paints to brushes and easels.

“It doesn’t have to be painting, it can be collage, painting, pen and ink, mixed media, anything to get people to make art,” Arbour said.

Participants will set up around Victoria, but there will be restrictions in how far afield they can go.

“It hasn’t been decided yet, the radius out from the store,” said Arbour. “We’re one block north of Chinatown, so that will definitely be part of it. Depending on how many people we get, will determine how far out we go. People can go over the blue bridge and back if they want – there’s a lot of choice.”

Artists are asked to sign in by 10 a.m. and return to the store with their finished work no later than 3 p.m. Winners will be announced at 5 p.m.

“I’m pretty excited about the outdoor painting challenge,” said Arbour. “You don’t have to buy anything, it’s just a community relationship event really. I like to sell things – that’s really fun too – but this is different, the more the merrier – bring a friend.”

Anyone who is interested in participating in the free event is asked to call or stop by the store at 512 Herald St. to register.

Visit the Opus website at for more information about the contest.

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