Sarasota Painters Embrace Art Of Competition At Summer Skirmish

Aug 22, 2019

A different kind of battle raged in Sarasota recently.

The participants came to the Art Ovation Hotel armed with palette knives, brushes, and tubes of paint.

This live painting competition, billed as the "Summer Skirmish," was hosted by the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County. The event was an unofficial offshoot of Art Battle Sarasota, which took place in January.  

Credit Margaret McCampbell

The summer event began with three artists standing in front of blank canvases which sat on easels arranged in a circle.

Two local artists, Karen Chandler and Mara Torres Gonzalez, and one wild card entrant who was drawn from the audience, Chris Bales, had 30 minutes to produce an original work of art.

They could paint whatever they like liked and as they worked, patrons moved around the easels, taking pictures on cellphones and closely watching the creative process.

When time was up, the artists dropped their brushes and audience members voted for their favorite.

In the end, the winner was the wild card entrant, Sarasota-based jewelry designer Bales. She edged out the competition by just one vote.

As the winner, her painting of a horse will now hang in the lobby of the Art Ovation Hotel.

Another Art Battle will take place at the Selby Library in Sarasota in January. This larger match will feature 12 artists in three rounds of competition. Artists who are interested in applying to paint should look for that announcement in late November or early December at

Last year's winner, Judy Robertson, advanced to compete in the South Florida Art Battle.