A Paint Battle was held last Wednesday evening at the Student Centre, hosted by the Department of Visual Studies student society in collaboration with UTM Arts for Hearts and the UTMSU.

Easels and canvasses were set up in the middle of the Presentation room for eight artists who would go through four rounds of painting in order to win a grand prize. Each round eliminated two painters according to audience vote. Free food was also provided, along with a free-to-paint table set up for anyone who wanted to paint.

The President of DVSS, Jae, explained that the purpose behind the event was “basically to have fun.” The event is held every year and encourages artists to get into the spirit of live competitive painting. This year’s event had a sizeable turnout, with the audience scattered about the room, observing the paintings and chatting about their favourites. Music videos played on a projector screen in the background, colourful lighting lit up the ceiling, and acrylic paints were set up on two separate tables for competitors and free-painters alike.

The first round’s theme was nature: artists were limited to use cool colours only and aids were allowed. A timer was set up for 20 minutes, at the end of which the audience walked around the room and voted on their top six paintings. The paintings ranged from blue fish swirling around in water and an array of almost fluorescent purple and green flowers, to islands floating in the middle of the sea and mountains in many different shades. At the end of the first round, two artists were eliminated, based on audience vote, and given gift cards for participation.

Round two called for portraits only. It was timed to 20 minutes again but consisted of no colour restrictions and no aids. Artists’ portraits ranged from pop-art style, to anime-style, to silhouettes. Audience members walked around at the end of the round, discussing their preferences. Some loudly declared their love for certain paintings while others whispered among themselves, oohing in admiration.

For round three, artists dwindled from six to four. The theme for round three was abstract art and was timed for 20 minutes with no colour restrictions or aids. Three of the artists splashed paints upon their canvasses in various creative combinations, while the fourth painter, Arumitha, combined elements from previous rounds, painting an abstract portrait of a girl staring at her reflection in a cracked mirror, using cool shades of green, blue, purple, and black.

Artists Arumitha and Virginia reached the final round of the Paint Battle. Although there were no restrictions for this round, the artists would only get 15 minutes to finish their paintings. Artist Virginia painted a blue dinosaur with a colourful background and the words “a happy dino” in capital letters. Artist Arumitha painted a portrait of a girl without eyes, surrounded by green and black leaves.

The audience counted down the last ten seconds as the finalists finished their paintings. After the final round, audience votes were tallied, and proceeding a drum roll, artist Arumitha was announced as the winner of the Paint Battle. The first prize was a $100 gift card to DeSerres, with the runner-up receiving a $50 gift card. Overall, the Paint Battle’s competitive and interactive aspects made for a memorable evening.