'Flagship artist' returns to Quickdraw


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June 9, 2016 12:00 AM

Artist Graham Flatt works on a water colour painting with a 90-minute time limit to complete the work at last year's Quickdraw event, which is part of the Arts Without Borders Festival. This year's event takes place in the Lakeland College cafeteria on June 13 and is free to attend.

Graham Flatt has been involved with the Quickdraw for so long, organizer Deb Davis calls him the event’s flagship artist.
Flatt, who fancies himself a watercolourist, has taken part every year the Quickdraw’s been around in the Border city, making this year his eighth go at the event.
The Quickdraw gives artists 90 minutes to complete a work of art while audience members watch them do their thing, and at the end all pieces go for auction to raise funds for art bursaries.
“It’s improving, it’s getting to be a bigger event for the community, which I’m really excited about,” said Flatt.
“I love the idea of being able to interact with the crowd and teaching a little bit of what goes into a painting and what it’s about.”
Although this’ll be his eighth time at Lloydminster’s Arts Without Borders Quickdraw, Flatt’s actually done a number of similar events in different towns and estimates this’ll be closer to his 50th time at such an event.
Having done so many events in that style, one might think the routine could get stale, but Flatt said because his work process is so chaotic things never get boring for him.
“I don’t have too much trouble keeping it fresh,” Flatt said.
“Just because the way I paint, it’s a little unorganized and chaotic and more often than not things don’t go necessarily the way I plan, so the freshness just happens as a result of the way I paint.”
As mentioned, he works mostly with watercolour, maybe using a bit of soft pastel at the very end because he said it adds an extra “pop” of colour, and he’ll be bringing this method to this year’s Quickdraw.
As for subject matter, he likes doing western themed work often involving landscapes and horses with riders like cowboys or First Nations people.
He said many people who enjoy painting landscapes avoid putting people and figures into their works, but Flatt likes to include them because to him, it gives the work more substance.
“It provides narrative, it helps engage people,” he said.
“A lot of landscape painters don’t put anything in there that moves and it’s devoid of any kind of life form.”
Flatt will be bringing these ideas with him to the event too, having already done a few practice paintings already, and said he’s just trying to determine what kinds of figures will dot his new landscape.
He’ll also provide his wealth of art knowledge to share with some of the younger participants.
The Quickdraw will be featuring some high school aged artists this year and Flatt has agreed to take them under his wing to show them how the event works.
And he’s qualified to do so, being that he teaches art at the Avery Outreach School, as well as other workshops throughout Western Canada and the United States.
According to his bio, “As an instructor of workshops he is refreshing in his approach to ‘breaking the rules’ of watercolour and embracing the students individual process.”
The Quickdraw will take place in the Lakeland cafeteria on June 13 and Flatt encourages all art lovers to check it out.
“It’s free this year so come on out, it’s a lot of fun,” said Flatt.
“The more people we can get out there the better—the better the artists perform, the more of an event it becomes, the more fun everybody has, and that’s my big thing.”

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