|THE FOUR FINALISTS - RICHARD • PAUL • CLAIRE • AMY|
I’m a bit bemused why the artists are taken to the Royal Naval College and asked to create a painting which captures the atmosphere, spirit and heritage of the Naval College. Seascapes – really?
The artists had two hours to do their research using sketches and photographs – the usual pre-painting exercises. They then had three hours to create their paintings – indoors! This place would have bored the life out of me with its regimented lifestyle and OCD leanings where everything looked obsessively clean and in order.
I can understand why Claire didn’t take to it – it’s macho-male territory and it’s no wonder Richard is practically salivating with his services background. Both he and Paul could probably relate to this environment better than either of the two girls and it’s they who both come up with interesting narratives for their paintings. All Claire can see is one battered old sofa that somehow breaks the sterile uniformity of cadet life here.
|AMY AND RICHARD'S EFFORTS|
Paul’s painting was well structured and thought out but oddly his clever narrative divided the judges – Lachlan got it but Dorothy played the dumb blonde (grey!) perfectly and feigned ignorance over Paul’s powerful evocation of loneliness that might engulf cadets enough to take to their bunks. I liked it.
Richard dealt with a similar concept but painted himself as the cadet in his bunk missing the person in the over sentimental photograph pinned on his wall. His lack of colour which I am sure was intentional added to the loneliness of the image. Like Paul he got a decent review of his work and both could feel happy with the start they have made.
|DEAR ME CLAIRE THAT JUST DIDN'T WORK|
Dear Claire simply imploded. She took a risk in Liverpool with her abstract shopping centre and it paid off but here she tried to be too clever with her statement and no-one bought her left field, angled white rectangle on a uniform black background. She’d have been better off admitting it was a white flag of surrender.
Bearing in mind Amy was already in meltdown the judges didn’t add to her misery and fair play to them they found a few good things to say about her effort. It's pretty evident it’s now, barring something spectacular happening in the final two tasks, a two horse race between Richard and Paul!
|THIS WAS DIFFICULT!|
This was a difficult task and I think I would have been overwhelmed and probably produced something as static as Richard’s. I’m not sure whether I would have also put the sword in the wrong hand though! That's quite basic! Anyway that has just about blown any chances he had out of the water!
Claire made a reasonable effort but it was all quite tentative and her small strokes were never really bold or suggestive enough to cover so much information. She concentrated too much on the shadows and not enough on the idea there were a huge platoon of men marching.
Paul’s use of perspective and his inclusion of context made for a more successful drawing in terms of depth and movement. He understood what this was all about. He got everything that was required bar the colour. This was possibly his best Quick Draw round and he was probably satisfied to have saved it for the final. He is ahead of Richard now and barring a disaster in the Showstopper Paul will be the winner.
Amy did very well considering she was the rank outsider. She used chalk pastels and had the cadets walking away from her. The judges liked it as she more than the other three caught the energy and movement of the occasion. She’ll be pleased with that. Was she in with a chance of causing an upset for second place – maybe – but I don’t think so.
|RICHARD GETTING READY FOR THE FINAL SHOWDOWN|
Seeing the easels and the four artists on a little cobbled quay side street on an absolute peach of a day made me want to be there as they held up their small picture frames to sort out their composition. It’s funny what you learn too. Paul despite having a strong Scottish accent said this is where their family holidayed when he was growing up - so he had empathy with this Devon location.
|PAUL'S PAINTING - LOVED THIS!|
|AMY DID BRILLIANT TOO|
Richard’s colours were far too muted for a summer’s day that was more Mediterranean than Merseyside. His painting just didn’t look like the sun was beaming down on Dartmouth that day!
Poor Claire seemed to be just filling in time as she was probably more than aware that she had blown what chances she had of challenging Paul for the title of Amateur Artist of the Year completely out of the water. She shown her inexperience, not for the first time, of being indecisive and taking far too much time to get started. She also over elaborated on the small woodland area of her painting so she had time issues and that meant she didn’t finish her painting.
|RCICHARD AND CLAIRE'S EFFORTS JUST DIDN't DO IT FOR ME|
For what it is worth she has the potential to be a very good artist. She’s still searching for her style however. When she finds it and when she has acquired a lot more knowledge, she’ll probably be in my opinion, the best of all four in the next five to ten years.
Paul I think won easily and if based purely on the final day Amy might have pipped Richard for second place. However if the series was taken as a whole Richard would probably be runner-up, Claire third and Amy fourth! Just my opinion!
|PAUL - THE DESERVED WINNER|
Next year, if there is a next year, I’d like to see better artists and keep all ten throughout the six weeks as who knows how Melvyn or Jan might have developed. Amy was hardly setting the programme alight until the final week so sometimes artists need time to find their feet and get used to having cameras around and having annoying people like Una Stubbs and Richard Bacon ask them stupid questions. Anybody can have a bad week and then follow it up with a good week!