Friday, 6 March 2015

The Big Painting Challenge Week 2

With Melvyn gone the nine remaining amateur artists faced three challenges in portraiture on London’s Southbank.

For the opening task, they were given four hours to create pictures of themselves from their reflections in mirrors. This was followed by a quick-draw where they have 30 minutes to attempt an anatomically accurate sketch that captured the likeness of a stranger in black and white chalks. In their last chance to impress before the elimination, there was a four-hour sitting with EastEnders actor Rudolph Walker (Patrick) and Albert Square legend Pam St Clement (Pat). Plus, Una Stubbs talked to royal portraitist Nicky Philipps, while Lachlan Goudie provides tips on proportion and scale. 

Looking back on last week and dwelling on this week’s programme two things are starting to annoy me – the art world’s contempt for illustration, notably some of Daphne Todd’s comments towards Anthea. She has a horrible insidious habit of looking down on artistic modes and styles that aren’t similar to her own. 

I also don’t like the idea that making art should have time restraints placed on it. I think the latter is one of the weaknesses of the show yet I understand why it is necessary. The 3-4 hour time factor is probably why some of the 6000 artists who applied to get on the show and who were much more talented than the ten picked didn’t make the cut. 

It was Jan who went out despite being a professional at drawing people’s faces. What was more surprising was his portfolio had a wonderful portrait of Winston Churchill so he had experience of what was expected of the task. Maybe that’s the problem with drawing from a photograph - when it came to life drawing he fell flat on his face!

I felt there were others worse than him  but because their paintings were expressive (another word for badly drawn in my art world) rather than graphic they escaped Todd’s biased noose.

The best self portrait was done by Claire.
She announced herself as a real contender with a superb likeness. She’s my third person nailed now for the final – I just have no idea who the fourth will be. Heather would appear to be my favourite at the minute. 

It’s really worrying that several drew heads far too small for the body. At school my art teacher Ivor Coburn drummed it into us that the head fits into the body six times and that your eyes are placed halfway down your face – you never forget things like that!

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