Kingston School of Art hosts outdoor painting event for eighth consecutive year

Paint the Town engages Kingston’s artistic community

Artists enjoyed the peace and relaxation of painting outside.
Credit: 
Supplied by Moira Demorest

The Kingston School of Art (KSOA) hosted their 8th annual Paint the Town event in Portsmouth Village from Sept. 10-12. In conjunction with the International Plein Air Painters Worldwide Paint Out, KSOA offered a free artistic experience for all ages and skill levels.

This year’s Paint the Town weekend saw a record-breaking turnout of 75 participants that surpassed the event’s totals from previous years.

The Journal spoke with Moira Demorest, co-organizer of Paint the Town and executive director of the KSOA, about how the event engaged Kingston’s artistic community.

“We did have a number of newer students to Kingston—people in their first or second year that were just getting a feel for [Kingston’s] art scene,” said Demorest. “It was nice to see that the age demographic was growing a bit more this year.”

Participants varied in skill level. The event welcomed anyone wanting to get outside and make art. While many established and semi-professional Kingston artists attended the event, everyone is invited to have their work displayed in KSOA’s Paint the Town exhibition in December.

Many paintings, sketches, and watercolours were made over the weekend with varying subject matter and styles. The location of Portsmouth Village offered many muses to use—including cottages, houses, clouds, seascapes, and boats on the harbour.

“There was a real smattering of everything,” Demorest said. “Everybody sort of took a different stance.”

Paint the Town partnered with a local dance company called The Conservatory to provide artists an opportunity to paint posed ballerinas in different areas of Portsmouth Village.

The event also featured an outdoor reception, which Demorest described as a “show and tell” opportunity for the artists. Music was provided in alt-country singer-songwriter Clem Chesterfield’s live performance, giving the reception “more of a party atmosphere.”

An “artist talk” was also held during the event, giving historic background on the local architecture that participants were painting—the annual change of setting is part of the fun.

“We pick a different area every year to give a little bit of artistic colour and life to the Plein Air scope,” Demorest explained.

The outdoor setting allowed participants the chance to disconnect from the digital world and busyness of their lives. The relaxing space generated self-expression and creativity among artists as they could focus on their art and the scenery around them.

“It’s the opportunity of turning off a screen or device and sitting there thinking, ‘I’m just gonna start sketching or start experiencing 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 that.”

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