Abbotsford teacher wins Art Battle competition

Shannon Thiesen now advances to the regionals in Vancouver

Abbotsford teacher Shannon Thiesen displays the heron she painted in 20 minutes during Art Battle 208 in Chilliwack on Friday

Abbotsford teacher Shannon Thiesen displays the heron she painted in 20 minutes during Art Battle 208 in Chilliwack on Friday

An Abbotsford teacher won an art contest in Chilliwack on Friday, Jan. 16.

Shannon Thiesen, a Grade 5 visual arts teacher at Abbotsford School of the Integrated Arts’ North Poplar campus, won the Art Battle 208 competition held at the Hampton Inn.

Twelve local artists went head-to-head for the chance to win a cash prize and a spot at the regional finals in Vancouver.

Competitors had 20 minutes to create a piece of art, with the public deciding the winner.

Artists used acrylic paint, and the tools used were brushes, palette knives and other non-mechanical implements.

Half the artists competed in the first round, and the other half competed in the second round.

The top two from each segment then moved on to the final round. The audience then bid in a silent auction to take the work home.

Thiesen said she decided to enter the contest as part of her New Year’s resolution to “loosen up as an artist” because much of her work is “tight, realistic and detailed.”

She said she was also inspired by her students to show them that “creativity takes courage.”

The first piece she produced at the Art Battle was a heron, which she chose ahead of time but had to paint from memory.

Thiesen said she was caught off-guard when she made it to the final round, and painted the face of a woman.

“(It was) completely imaginary and unplanned – instinctual, if you will,” she said. “I just put my knives and squeegee to the canvas and held my breath that something good would come out in 20 minutes. I was shocked to win, but very happy.”

If Thiesen does well at the regionals, she will advance to the provincials.

The exact dates for these competitions have not yet been released, but are tentatively scheduled for March and May.

The competitions culminate in the national Art Battle in Toronto.