Lucky 13 for Paint Ontario

Focus of annual show is representational art

Paint Ontario
March 14 to April 5
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Lambton Heritage Museum

By Casey Lessard

“Fight poverty, buy art.”
That’s the mantra Paint Ontario founder Barry Richman uses to encourage people to support the representational art show he started in 1996.
“Paint Ontario was established by me, selfishly,” says Richman, “to serve artists like me – representational artists. We paint something that looks like that thing. Not abstract, not installations.”
This year’s juried show accepted 300 entries from about 110 artists; only 120 fit on the walls at the Lambton Heritage Museum. Most artists are from Ontario, with some from Michigan and elsewhere. Some artists will have no pieces accepted into the show, and the most an artist can have in the show is three.
It’s an attractive venue for artists for a reason. Forty-three paintings sold last year, an increase from the year before; this year may be different because of the economic climate.
“I don’t know any place that sells 43 pieces in three weeks. I don’t know how sales will go, but we’re up 50 per cent in entries from last year.”
All of the art is available for sale, with prices ranging from $175 to $6,000. Last year’s average sale price was $645. To prize for best in show is $2000, with other prizes offered. They include purchase awards for two pieces: $750 for a local piece featuring people living a healthy lifestyle that will be purchased by the Grand Bend Area Health Services and paid for by John and Helen Walsh; and $500 for a piece chosen by Richman to join the Paint Ontario permanent collection.
Richman is available to give tours to anyone coming to the show for the first time; he also has a wall set up with a good cross-section of the different subjects represented in the show.
“The biggest thing I enjoy is watching how artists have grown compared to last year. Artists come and are very objective about why not all of their pieces got in the show, or why none got in. They find out where they’re falling short and talk to me about what makes a good painting or a great painting. To me, that’s very important.”
For more information, visit