Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The Big Painting Challenge Week 3

This week’s task took me right back to ‘O’ Level days and still life drawing at RSD. I recall putting a series of objects together – not unlike Claire’s in this episode and drawing them in pencil. Those were the days!

This week the eight remaining artists were off to Blenheim Palace where Winston Churchill was born. It’s quite an impressive place to have a silver spoon in your mouth. I had no idea the former prime minister was an avid painter – maybe if he and Mr Hitler had got together over a few oils en plein air in Tuscany we could have avoided the catalogue of deaths during WW2.

After landscapes and portraiture the eight were now tackling still life, though how the facade of Blenheim seen below can be called such is beyond me! I would have called it the two Ps – Perspective and Proportion.

First up however was a four hour painting of an arrangement of objects personal to the artist. Now I don’t know what planet some of them were on but half of them didn’t make it easy for themselves. First up you select items that are simple to draw and that sit well within a composition, are obviously related to one another to tell a story and balance one another in terms of size and colour. It didn’t want to be too flat neither. Again I was shocked to hear that some of them had never done a still life and had never really painted in the medium thay chose. I know Claire is only 20 but her quote on the left is a rather remarkable confession.

Richard, Paul, Claire and Anthea escaped with the least bruising from the judges. 
They had controlled their tone and managed to describe the three dimensional aspect of their objects particularly in relation to perspective and depth. It was becoming quite evident that the two men were probably streets ahead of the others in terms of technical ability and thinking conceptually about their work. 

The 30 minute Quick Draw of giant chess pieces on an outside chess board in black and white chalks was next up. This was an exercise in accurate drawing, tone and perspective and would sort the weaker people out. Surprisingly the person who impressed the judges (and me) most in this task was Alison. Hers was easily the most confident. Anne and Heather had big failures and things were definitely not looking too rosey for them unless they came up with something dramatic in the final three hour piece.

How would I have tackled Blenheim Palace? 
I certainly wouldn’t have drawn a wide angle view of it like Alison did leaving a huge foreground for the judges to get all spiffy over. I think I would have taken the central area and one of the turret areas and not worried about trying to get a mirror image of the other side. Why give yourself that problem?

Richard agreed with me as did Claire but Paul was a bit more adventurous and included the bit beyond the turret too, so engaging only one side of the Palace. He also called on his career experience as an architectural illustrator and produced a decent enough watercolour painting. All the others I feel are hanging on to his shirt tail – some a bit tighter than others.

Heather had a complete meltdown and if she could have walked off the set probably would have. Anne’s looked a cold bluish mess while Alison fresh from previous praise undid all her good work with a badly scaled painting. She knew it too and wanted to put her foot through her canvas – I can sympathise with that feeling!

Anthea surprised me. With the choice of using any medium she opted for pen and wash and produced one of her better pieces. Claire too did exceedingly well with only her second serious foray into watercolours. Richard experimented with colour and was complimented by the judges for taking a such a bold step. Most of his works so far had been dark affairs and here he was being a bit more expressive and joyful! It worked for him.

I thought Heather was certain to go – indeed she was probably resigned to her dismissal but the judges produced a Sugaresque decision to send two home this week. I was certain that brought Anne into the mix but hey-ho shock-horror the person getting the red card with Heather was Alison who had done such a fine job with the chess pieces. How did Anne escape? She simply cannot analyse and she has this default action of painting her entire canvas either a vivid blue or red colour regardless of the subject! It is the BBC however! Have been speaking to a few people and they too are amazed that Anne has got this far - so it's not just me matter of factly wondering why such a weaker person trumps someone a lot more talented.

Next week is Human Form and Movement so I expect those who can’t really draw well to have big problems here. That’s Anne and Amy for me. The latter has been under the radar a bit.

The final looks like being a shoot-out between Paul, Richard, Claire and Anthea at this stage though I am dreading the thought that the producers might just want to keep Anne in there for a while longer. 
No Painting of the Week! There was just nothing that stood out for me!

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