Artist Helga Strauss works on another 20-minute painting at her Colwood studio. This Friday (Nov. 11) she’ll be taking in the latest Art Battle

Art meets beat the clock for Colwood artist

Art Battle pits a dozen artists against each other in a competition with a few unusual twists.

On your mark, get set, start painting!

Art Battle pits a dozen artists against each other in a competition with a few unusual twists. Audience members not only judge the work of 12 artists painting with acrylics only, but the work must be completed within 20 minutes.

Six painters compete in each of two 20-minute rounds, with those in attendance selecting two works from each for the final round. The four finalists repeat the process and audience judging determines the winner.

Colwood resident Helga Strauss was fascinated the first time she stumbled upon an Art Battle a couple of years ago during a trip to downtown Victoria.

“I went in and really liked what I saw,” she said. “I really liked that the audience got to watch each creation come to life. It was inspiring.”

Not enough initially, however, to convince her to give it a whirl, she admitted.

“I was afraid because I’m so used to doing creative things alone. It took about a year to build up enough courage. I kept thinking about the participants I talked to who said, ‘you gotta try this!’ That helped me finally decide. I invited some friends and family because I think having their support will help.”

Although Strauss has a creative background that includes designing mixed-media projects, digital downloads and working with vintage paper and collage sheets, she only started drawing and painting seriously a couple of years ago.

She aims for a lot of expression in her work, employing a plethora of colours and textures in her unique interpretations of art featuring hearts. She has been preparing for Art Battle by trying to complete a variety of heart paintings and other subjects within the allotted 20 minutes.

“The short time frame makes you focus on what’s achievable,” she said. “I’m really excited about the process. That’s really pushed my creativity in leaps and bounds.”

Strauss has also started to invite people to paint with her in her Colwood studio, something she’s been reluctant to do in the past.

“That’s another plus from pushing myself into the competition, because I’ve always liked to help people tap into their creativity,” she said.

Art Battle takes place this Friday (Nov. 11) at the Victoria Event Centre at 1415 Broad St. Tickets cost $20 for adults, and $10 for seniors and students. Artists call time is 6:30 p.m., with the doors opening for the general public at 7. A silent auction of the artists’ paintings will follow the competition, with half the proceeds going to the artist.

For more on upcoming Art Battles and the organization, check out For a look at some of Strauss’s work, visit instagram:helga_the_artchick. Her paintings will be on display and for sale at the Bean Around the World coffee shop in Chinatown during the month of February next year.

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