Pauline Pike paints outside of The Shoe Inn during TOSH’s Grand Prix D’Art on Saturday, July 22. The 1st place winner of the painting competition was Elsa Bluethner from Gabriola Island. — Adam Kveton

Gabriola Island artist wins Grand Prix D’Art in Qualicum Beach

30 artists competed on the streets of Qualicum Beach July 22

What could have been a wet day for artists painting on the streets of Qualicum Beach turned out a success.

TOSH’s Grand Prix D’Art saw 30 artists randomly draw sites in town from which to paint between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 22.

The judges came back with their verdict at about 3 p.m., awarding the top prize to first-time competitor Elsa Bluethner.

A painter and sculptor from Gabriola Island, Bluethner said she was “in shock” at having won.

Bluethner said she is inspired by people, but said she struggled to find a subject after being assigned to Qualicum Art Supply.

But, after beginning to include a car in her painting, the owners of the car came by, thereby giving her some human inspiration.

“I’m quite delighted. It’s such a pleasure to be able to participate in something like this,” said Bluethner, who added she’s only participated in one other en-plein-air competition, from which she also took home first prize.

TOSH Executive Director Corinne James called the event “incredibly successful,” bringing 72 artists, including those with booths not competing, and keeping passersby interested throughout the day.

Other winners were:

– In 2nd place, Peggy Burkosky

– In 3rd place, Ludek Satola

– Hon. mention, Sheena McCorquodale

– Hon. mention, Gerda Hofman