Fine Arts Grad ties for first at speed painting competition

By Everett Dorma Posted: August 18, 2015 6:00 a.m.

Allee Olmstead competing at Trinity Square in Toronto.
Allee Olmstead competing at Trinity Square in Toronto. Photo courtesy Scott Lennon.

Artist Allee Olmstead, competing in the International Live Painting competition in Toronto had to settle for a six way tie for first after lightning forced the competition to be canceled.

The International Live Painting Championship held July 24th – 25th was the culmination of a series of live Art battles held across Canada and internationally. The competition consisted of artists having 20 minutes to paint a picture using acrylic paints in front of a live audience. The audience then voted for their favourite painting.

“This competition was a fun opportunity that I learned a lot from and I met some really great people,” says Olmstead who graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in 2014. “As an artist I’m not really used to working in front of an audience so that was very nerve-racking and the noise was distracting but then you get so focused on completing your painting within the time limit that you just sort of tune all of that out.”

Olmstead placed first in the Regina and regional competitions and by finishing in the top six at the national event in Ottawa she earned the right to compete in Toronto.  The Toronto competition featuring 20 artists was held in conjunction with the Pan Am / Parapan Am Games.

After two days of competition in Toronto, Olmstead was one of six painters to place in the final round. However, after only about 5 minutes of the final round, the painters were stopped due to lightning in the area.

The organizers then decided to cancel the final round after the delay lasted more than half an hour and the paints and brushes started to dry out.  All six finalists were then declared winners of the international competition.

“I had a great time in all of the events leading up to Toronto so it was disappointing and frustrating that the competition had to end the way it did,” says Olmstead. “You put a lot of effort and thought into preparing for these events and you want to see your painting completed and see how well you can do. However, overall it was a great experience and an awesome way to get publicity for your work as an artist.”

The U of R’s new strategic plan identifies student success as one of three top priorities. To learn more about the University’s Fine Arts program visit:

For more information on the 2015 International Live Painting Championship visit:

Allee Olmstead and winning painting at Regina Competition First painting at Ottawa Competition Second painting at Ottawa Competition
Allee Olmstead and her Regina painting. Photo courtesy Sakewewak Collective. First painting from the Ottawa competition. Photo courtesy Scott Lennon. Second painting from the Ottawa competition. Photo courtesy Scott Lennon.
First picture from Toronto Competition Second Toronto painting
First painting from the Toronto competition. Photo courtesy Scott Lennon. Second painting from the Toronto competition.  Photo courtesy Scott Lennon.