Nighttime Painting in Alcázar de San Juan

I tried my first ever nighttime painting contest on Friday in the town of Alcázar de San Juan in Castile-La Mancha and was - if winning prize money is the goal anyway - successful. We planned the contest to coincide with our drive home from Madrid. With a slight dip south, Alcázar is along the way.

The contest started at 10 p.m. sharp (they held our canvasses behind locked door and when 10 hit we had to bullrush for them) and ended at 2 a.m. Though it was a fun experiment to paint at night, I struggled a lot. Whole there was no need to find shade and stay out of the sun, it was difficult to see the scene I was painting with the lack of light, and also difficult to conceptualize it (light and colours are essentially reversed). And it was hot and arid, even at night, so much so my lips parched and cracked. I was amazed that even babies in Alcázar were up till the earlier morning and most of the town was out, eating ice cream and drinking iced coffee in the main square, at 2 when we handed in our work, in order to enjoy even the tiniest respite from the daytime blaze.

 Here I am getting started. The guy in front of me also won a prize with a watercolour, which he painted flat on a table rather than with an easel.

 With my famous ironing board and oversize tile. For some reason I still can't understand, I'm the only painter who uses an ironing board, and I get reminded of it at least a few times each contest. You can see that though there is some light from the street lamps, it's crepuscular. And the sky is pitch black, so no interesting distinct shadows or character to the street.

Here's the final piece. 100x81cm, acrylic on panel.

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