The Kingston School of Art (KSOA) hosted its 8th annual Paint the Town event in the village of Portsmouth from September 10-12. In collaboration with International Plein Air Painters Worldwide Paint Out, KSOA offered a free art experience for all ages and skill levels.
This year’s Paint the Town weekend saw a record attendance of 75 participants which topped event totals from previous years.
The newspaper spoke with Moira Demorest, Co-organizer of Paint the Town and Executive Director of KSOA, about how the event engaged the Kingston arts community.
“We had a number of newer students in Kingston, first and second year folks who were just starting to get a feel for [Kingston’s] art scene, ”said Demorest. “It was nice to see the age range getting bigger this year.”
Participants varied in terms of skill level. The event welcomed everyone who wanted to go out and do art. While many established and semi-professional Kingston artists attended the event, everyone is invited to showcase their work in KSOA’s Paint the Town exhibition in December.
Many paintings, sketches and watercolors were done over the weekend with varying subjects and styles. The location of the village of Portsmouth offered many muses to use, including cottages, houses, clouds, seascapes and boats on the harbor.
“There was really a bit of everything,” Demorest said. “Everyone has kind of taken a different position. “
Paint the Town has teamed up with a local dance company called The Conservatory to give artists the chance to paint posed ballerinas in different areas of Portsmouth village.
The event also included an outdoor reception, which Demorest described as an opportunity to “show and tell” for the artists. Music was provided in the live performance of alternative country singer-songwriter Clem Chesterfield, giving the reception “more of a party atmosphere”.
An ‘artists’ talk’ also took place during the event, giving a historical glimpse into the local architecture that attendees painted – the annual change of scenery is part of the fun.
“We choose a different area each year to give a little artistic color and life to the area. Outdoors reach, ”Demorest explained.
The outdoor setting allowed participants to disconnect from the digital world and the hustle and bustle of their lives. The relaxation space generated self-expression and creativity in the artists, as they could focus on their art and the landscape around them.
“This is an opportunity to turn off a screen or device and just sit there and think, ‘I’m just going to start drawing or start experimenting and expressing myself,’” Demorest said.
“I don’t think we do it very often, and I think it’s really intoxicating when we remember to do it.”