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Elsa Bluethner wins Plein Air Grand Prix d'Art

On July 22nd, I participated in the Qualicum Beach Plein Grand Prix d’Art. To my delight and surprise the judges awarded me First prize from a selection of beautiful works.

Sometimes magic happens. It was an overcast day and the assigned location lacked the movement and life I needed to make a nice painting so off I walked in search of inspiration.

Rounding the next block I saw a bowling green surrounded with benches and lovely gardens. Pochade box on the easel and paint squeezed out, I hoped the boules players would eventually show up and offer some interesting painting possibilities. Instead I painted an overcast lonely deserted bowling green. A few observers stopped by to see what was going on and I offered to paint a couple into my painting. They said “no thank you” and walked away. Others came looking for me and were surprised to find me here instead of there. Oops! I guess I was supposed to paint where I was sent rather than one block away. I wondered if I would be disqualified…

I packed my gear and returned to my spot. There were no flower baskets, no benches, no people!

Time was ticking away and I felt a little warm under the collar as I perused my surroundings. A beautiful reflection on the hood of a car caught my attention. As I scribbled in the start, a couple was heading my way. I looked at them and said “Hello! I hope this isn’t your car because I need to paint it!” After a bit of nattering about how I really prefer to paint people than buildings and cars they asked if there was any way they could help me out. Absolutely! They obligingly stood in front of the old gas pump in the window of the gallery across the street. Not wanting to impose on them for too long, I thanked them and gave them their leave. I finished, framed and delivered the painting to the judging station with a minute to spare.

Thanks to all the volunteers, organizers and judges for hosting a great event. And most of all thank you to the models who collaborated with me in making this lovely little painting.

I enjoyed this so much, I’ve decided to sign up for the Steveston Grand Prix on September 23rd.


Elsa Bluethner plein air painting

A shot of me taken by the models before the painting was completed.