Mill Valley Paint-Off

A 20-year tradition in my town of Mill Valley, CA, the annual Paint-Off is open to anyone who wishes to create art in the town square over a Summer Saturday — the one rule being that you depict what you see within the time allotted. The Paint-Off is a lot of fun for both the artists, who plant themselves in various spots to create, and the spectators, who mingle and watch the art happen. It’s relaxed and filled with camaraderie and talent. When brushes and other implements stop, public and artist balloting begins, and a winner is declared. (And, yes, the original idea came from the Pillsbury Bake-Off!)

Lots of artists depict the Depot Bookstore, the focal point of the Square. It used to be a train, and then bus, depot.

There were plenty of other scenes.

Looking further up the same street:

These trees were made with fabric that was sewn on and then cut.

More images of the day:

Look closely at the painter, below, and the picture, above.

We all watched as the ultimate winner was announced.

My personal favorite, this beautiful ink and watercolor painting by David Savellano called “Mill Valley in the Round”, won both the People’s Choice and the Artists’ Choice awards. The execution is so clever. The drawings remind me of beautiful children’s book illustrations.

All in all, a very inspiring day!

Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

3 responses to “Mill Valley Paint-Off

  1. Hi Suz

    This is such a lovely idea! What a great community event. How applicable for schools too!

    Thanks for sharing

  2. Hi Juliet! Thanks for visiting and for your lovely comment! I’m so glad you enjoyed the paint-off. It would be wonderful for schools or any group. The creators had such obvious joy, as did the people who experienced the process and the pieces.

  3. Hello!
    I liked this so much we are going to run one on our little village green this summer. I hope you don’t mind me asking a couple of logistical qs…how do you organise the voting? How much time do you give everyone?
    Thank you!

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