As an abstract impressionist painter, Regan Hatfield typically clings to his serenity while he works.

But the Quad-City artist has, in recent years, grown accustomed to having an audience.

Hatfield, 44, who owns Star Dog Gallery below Boozie’s Bar & Grille in downtown Davenport, started painting live in public about five years ago at concerts, beer tappings at Great River Brewery and charity events.

“It was out of necessity,” he said. “As a full-time artist, you have to do different things to get the word out.”

His live paintings are a regular sight at the summer Live@5 series in the courtyard of the River Music Experience, or RME, which starts up again on June 2, the venue announced Tuesday.

During the shows, he starts with a blank canvas, and when the music is done two hours later, he has a finished painting.

“That's really moving,” Hatfield said of the fast pace. “There's a sense of hurrying. That way, you get to see the whole thing from start to finish.”

Hatfield doesn't typically have a subject in mind for his creations and lets inspiration strike while people-watching or listening to music.

As he paints, passersby will comment on the colors and ask where he's going with it. Some make an offer to purchase the completed piece; he sold about 75 percent of his works during last summer’s RME series.

“It is totally unnatural,” he said. “You look behind you and realize there's just as many people watching you as there are watching the band.”

He's not the only live painter you’ll find at the RME. For the past six months, Shy Brewer, 21, has taken up the in-action artistry during concerts at the Redstone Room. She’ll set up her easel at Saturday's show.

Brewer, who also works at Bent River Brewing Co., started painting in high school and has since started a business selling her custom artwork and jewelry. She sells her products at area vendor fairs and festivals from May to October.

Brewer said there's an added creative energy when she paints in front of people, compared to the quiet of her Rock Island apartment that doubles as her studio.

“I always found an escape from people in painting, because you don't have to talk to anybody,” Brewer, a Geneseo native, said. “When you're face to face, it adds these creative connections.”

Brewer typically brings half-finished pieces to tune up during concerts.

“People can watch what you're doing and offer their thoughts, and then you get to ask people what they think of it,” she said. “I want my viewers to feel something.”

Kate Dale, director of entertainment at RME, said live painting has “sprouted over the years.”

“It’s cool to see it from the first strokes of what they're starting to the end of it over two hours,” Dale said. “It definitely goes well with the music and brings this other artform into the room.”

Hatfield, who said he’s eager to get back to those Live@5 events, has certainly seen that over the years.

“I love painting alone, but this brings out a cool element,” he said. “It's a full experience you won’t get other places.”


Amanda Hancock is a reporter covering food, arts and entertainment in the Quad-Cities (and beyond).