VIDEO: First ever art battle in Duncan attracts enthusiastic Cowichan audience

The crowd circles the room in the Arbutus Gallery, watching the Art Battle painters work. Here, we can see, in front, Pauline Dueck, and behind, Skye Skagfeld is at her easel. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)The crowd circles the room in the Arbutus Gallery, watching the Art Battle painters work. Here, we can see, in front, Pauline Dueck, and behind, Skye Skagfeld is at her easel. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
Painters consider their options quickly as they take up the Art Battle challenge in Duncan on Saturday evening, May 11. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)Painters consider their options quickly as they take up the Art Battle challenge in Duncan on Saturday evening, May 11. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
Fascinated to watch how the artists use their time, the crowd circles the room behind them. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)Fascinated to watch how the artists use their time, the crowd circles the room behind them. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
A second group of artists follows the first and the crowd begins circling anew as the painters begin work. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)A second group of artists follows the first and the crowd begins circling anew as the painters begin work. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
Donning a pair of unique glasses, painter Pauline Dueck concentrates on a detail of her painting. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)Donning a pair of unique glasses, painter Pauline Dueck concentrates on a detail of her painting. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
Lindsay Myers puts down her paintbrush at the end of the first battle. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)Lindsay Myers puts down her paintbrush at the end of the first battle. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
As the painting goes on, it is interesting to guess what the artists’ subjects are. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)As the painting goes on, it is interesting to guess what the artists’ subjects are. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
A large crowd, intrigued by the concept of the event, assembles to watch the art battle begin. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)A large crowd, intrigued by the concept of the event, assembles to watch the art battle begin. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
Painter Skye Skagfeld adds final details to her work during the Art Battle. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)Painter Skye Skagfeld adds final details to her work during the Art Battle. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
Members of the audience pay close attention to painters such as Skye Skagfeld as they concentrate on their 20-minute-masterpieces. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)Members of the audience pay close attention to painters such as Skye Skagfeld as they concentrate on their 20-minute-masterpieces. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
Tori Skramstad begins her painting in the second round of the Art Battle in Duncan Saturday night, May 11. 
(Lexi Bainas/Citizen)Tori Skramstad begins her painting in the second round of the Art Battle in Duncan Saturday night, May 11. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

For the first time ever, an Art Battle where artists compete to be the champion of the evening, was held in the Cowichan Community Centre as part of the Cowichan Valley Arts Council annual fine arts show.

There was a good crowd of onlookers to watch the event as artists are given only 20 minutes to transform a blank canvas into a work of art. They circled the painters in the centre of the room.

The first two rounds saw Skye Skagfeld and Pauline Dueck, and Susan Wright and Naiomi Laughland emerge as the four finalists. They were determined by audience votes.

The Round 3 winner and Champion of Art Battle Duncan is Skye Skagfeld. She received a cash prize of $250 and a berth into the North Island Finals on June 1, where all the champions from all the North Island Art Battles go head to head for a chance to go to the Canadian Finals in Toronto in July.

Listening to members of the audience as they circled the painters watching their progress, it was clear that many people were fascinated by the various techniques, pace, and style of the different artists.

The paintings were available for sale to the crowd, and six of them were sold. Six artists will receive 50 per cent of the proceeds of the sale of their paintings. Competing in Art Battle is free for artists, according to Susanne Grundison, producer of the event.

Asked whether Art Battle will be back again, she said, “The Cowichan Valley Arts Council will have a meeting but, by all indications, they are so very happy with this addition to their Fine Art Show so, yes, we want to come back!”