Oak Bay artist to compete in speed-painting competition

(Submitted photo) Jessi Hatt competes at an ArtBattle competition earlier in the year, which she won and which qualified her for the provincial championship.

OAK BAY – Jessi Hatt is practicing for the ArtBattle New Brunswick provincial championship in Saint John later this month.

Hatt says there are 12 artists in three rounds of competition on June 24. In the first two rounds, which are 20 minutes each, six artists compete, turning a blank canvas into a work of art. In the third round, the top two artists from each preliminary round compete for the championship in a 30-minute paint-off.

The live audience will vote on the winner. Originally the event was to be livestreamed online with online voting but the livestream has been cancelled.

Hatt said her sister originally bought her tickets to attend the event as a birthday present.

“As we were seeing posts leading up to the event, we were getting excited and the competitive side came out in me,” said Hatt. “I saw a call for artists, they needed one more to make the 12, so I sent in an application and I got accepted.”

Hatt has been painting professionally for about eight years but working at her art for many years prior.

She was formerly a news presenter on a local radio station. When her mother passed away a couple of years ago, “it just kind of put a new perspective on my life of I’ve got to live every day to the absolute fullest.”

Her passion for painting was so strong she would want to paint while at work. When her mother passed, she felt it was a good time to work on making herself happy and the painting helped her through the grieving process. In November 2021, she built an addition on her house with a studio and a small gallery area, “so that I could work year-round and have a little place of my own.” Her Bay Moon Gallery is on Route 170 near the intersection of Shore Road.

She paints a lot of commissions, often of dogs, and much of her own work is landscape and nature. She does architectural commissions for clients, of things like old family cottages. Human form painting is something she is less experienced with.

For the competition, Hatt says she’ll paint something she normally doesn’t paint.

“It’s definitely something out there that I haven’t done before, but it’s kind of my rebellious side sticking its head out. I don’t normally get to be very rebellious when it comes to painting, so this is going to be me having fun and really putting myself out there.”

She has been working with her sister to study anatomy and her daughter works with her to time painting sessions. She’s been practicing so much she’s regularly covered in paint.

She sees the competition as a way to try something new and reignite her creative flame.

“I just want to bring something new. I want to bring something nobody has seen me do yet and just throw it out there. I’m not saying I’m going to win, but I’m there to win and I’m bringing everything I’ve got.”


Editor’s note: June 20, this story has been updated to reflect cancellation of the online livestream of the competition.

Robert Fisher

Fisher is a writer/author, photographer and filmmaker. Itinerant observer of life. His dog, Lincoln, is a travel companion and has been coast-to-coast with him four times.