Halifax Art Battle mixes paint with sport for colourful results

What happens when there's only 20 minutes to create a masterpiece? You get an Art Battle — live, competitive painting.

The timed, live competitions have been taking off across Canada

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      What happens when you mix art with sport? You get live, competitive painting known as Art Battle.

      Art Battles are held regularly in Halifax and across the country.

      On Friday night, artists went brush to brush in front of an audience of judges for a cash prize of $100.

      "The artists get out of a hole, our of the enclosed space that they're in their basement, in their studio or whatnot and they come out and they get a chance to be a rock star," said Andre Samson, organizer of Halifax's Art Battle.

      The competition is fierce. Artists only have 20 minutes to complete their work.

      To save time, some artists ditch their easels and paint on the ground.

      Samson says the final results are often hit or miss.

      "Sometimes it's awesome. Sometimes it's not," said Samson.

      Some artists like Doug Belding have a strategy. He knows ahead of time what image he's after.

      But even to him, the finished product is a mystery until the whistle blows and time is up.

      "I have no idea how it will turn out and that's kind of fun for me," said Belding.

      "You just kind of have some loose guidelines of where you would like to go and really kind of see what happens on the canvas," he said.

      In addition to the cash prize, the winner gets the chance to compete at the provincial art battle in June. The winner of that goes to the national Art Battle in July.