This Saturday will be a magical day for Mary-ellen Threadkell.
Thousands of hours of work and meetings come to fruition as the 27th annual TD Art Gallery Paint-In returns to Moss Street.
“It's a huge day and one I wait for with anticipation,” said Threadkell, co-ordinator of the event.
This year more than 190 artists will leave their studios and line Moss Street from Fort Street to Dallas Road.
Artists new and old will be painting, sculpting, carving, potting, printmaking and performing for the more than 35,000 spectators who are expected to take in the event from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It is Vancouver Island's largest outdoor visual event, say organizers.
It hasn't always been that way.
When Threadkell took over the event 14 years ago, only 40 to 50 artists participated. Today, there is a waiting list.
Threadkell is not surprised by the popularity of the event.
“The paint-in demystifies the art process,” she said.
“People get really easy access to the artists. They're able to chat with them and learn about their craft.”
Artist Noah Layne will be participating in his ninth straight paint-in this weekend.
Layne, an award-winning realist artist, said Paint-In gives him a chance to get out of the studio and talk to art lovers.
He'll present a portrait drawing demonstration from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
“People are interested in art and how it is done,” Layne said. “I find, though, when I'm working, people don't tend to interrupt me.”
And while he doesn't usually sell a lot of his work during Paint-In, many people are interested in his art classes or making appointments to see his studio.
On Paint-In day, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria will open for extended hours, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., by donation, offering the opportunity to visit the gallery's newest exhibitions. In addition, a food and beverage area will be open in the AGGV parking lot from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
This year more than 200 volunteers are expected to help with Paint-In with everything from handing out brochures to greeting the public.
Paint-In is one of the largest fundraisers for the art gallery, but also fits into its mandate of community outreach.
“It's a huge day for all of us. It's a magical day for me,” Threadkell said.
TD Art Gallery Paint-In artist Noah Layne is in select company.
Layne was chosen as one of 10 artists to compete at the Grand Central Atelier's inaugural Still-Life Painting Competition in New York later this month.
He will compete for $10,000 in prize money.
The artists will compete for 48 hours over six days to paint a still life. Participants are allowed to bring a number of objects for their painting, but the judges will also unveil one or two secrets objects that everyone must add to their composition.