Second Art Battle Saturday in downtown Chilliwack

Art Battle is a worldwide phenomena where artists gather in a circle to compete in a 20-minute window

Chilliwack's Christine Newsome is one of 12 artists competing in Art Battle #245 on Saturday.

Chilliwack's Christine Newsome is one of 12 artists competing in Art Battle #245 on Saturday.

The artists are getting their tools and acrylic paint ready to do battle.

Art Battle 245 returns to town on March 28, this time at the Vineyard Centre on Wellington Avenue in downtown Chilliwack.

One of the local artists eagerly anticipating the competitive art event is Christine Newsome, a mixed-media collage artist who was intrigued by the whole idea.

Art Battle is a worldwide phenomenon where artists gather in a circle to compete. They’re given 20 minutes on the clock to make the very best painting they can, using acrylics only, as an appreciative crowd watches on.

At the end of the round, everyone votes for their favourite, and the art works are later sold by silent auction.

“I attended the first one and I really liked the atmosphere,” said Newsome, about Art Battle 205 held the Hampton Inn.

“It was like being a gladiator in battle under bright lights.”

As a more experienced painter, Newsome said she wanted to get signed up, in part to represent her demographic, and to challenge herself.

As a retired art teacher, she’s feeling reasonably comfortable that she can do something in the time limit.

“When you only have 20 minutes to paint, you really have to be on your toes.

“Some people are horrifyingly good at it,” she underlines.

Some are rather adept at the speed painting aspect of it, like one of the national Art Battle winners from Vancouver who won it four times in a row.

Surprisingly, the painting competition is not a “frantic” one when you’re actually in the midst of it, she noted.

“You have to be really controlled.”

Getting prepared for Art Battle means coming to the event with something in mind, and going through the steps in your head, because you can’t bring any reference material into the room, only paintbrushes, palettes or other non-mechanical implements.

“You can be a fabulous artist, but it may take hours and hours for you to produce something really good.”

Newsome will be wearing her lucky Van Gogh apron that she used to wear in the years she was teaching at Vedder middle.

How sophisticated the final product will vary from artist to artist.

For Chilliwack artist Taegen Burritt the Art Battle event will be all about doing something “fun and exciting.”

“Maybe I can gain some exposure and meet other artists,” she said.

She’s ready to enter into it with her brushes and her instincts.

Burritt mainly paints in watercolours, but is also very comfortable with acrylics. She’s been painting since she was a kid, and was tutored by an accomplished watercolour artist while in middle school.

Art Battle makes art a spectator sport, as well as opening doors for the artists as a competition.

“That is really cool. I’m so glad they thought of it,” she said. “I think it will be a good community event that will bring people together.”

It might even foster a whole new appreciation of art and the artistic process.

“It’s a chance to see people at work doing what they love. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Art Battle 245, March 28, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Vineyard Community Centre, 45892 Wellington Avenue.

Tickets  – early bird $15/regular $20/ students and seniors $10. See more at artbattle.ca/245-chilliwack/