Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The Big Painting Challenge Week 5

First up the five artists battling for a place in the final were asked to do a painting in watercolours that represented their personal interpretation of Liverpool.

They had to get out and about the city with cameras and sketchbooks to record the images that inspired them. I was rather surprised at the subjects people chose to do as none of them screamed out ‘Liverpool’ to me. Claire went to a shopping centre which in truth could have been anywhere in the UK and Anne went to a park with a bandstand that we’re told inspired the Beatles in the early 1960s. Really? Paul and Richard focused on run-of-the-mill terraced housing and street scenes while Amy did a collage of different things that were instantly forgettable.

Interestingly both Claire and Anne changed their watercolour style during this task. Anne lost her boldness while Claire became a lot more abstract and conceptual and I’m not sure if that was her best move. I’m not sure what she was trying to say in her statement but Lachlan seemed to like the risk she ran with. 

Paul, a football fan, wanted to do something around football and Liverpool FC in particular but reluctantly strayed off his Hillsborough disaster idea over possible controversy. He opted to paint a gritty urban landscape instead. 

With the benefit of hindsight he would learn that was a mistake as both Lachlan and Dorothy (in particular) tore his work to shreds telling him it was too lady-like, too feminine and more Trumpton than Toxteth! What a load of cobblers! I thought he executed the painting very well and after all it was his interpretation of the place – not theirs! 

They should have been judging him on his technical ability and how he used the watercolours to show the run down area. Anyway it’s my Painting of the Week! 

Richard appeared to come out of the judges’ criticism the best. They liked his street scene with the cleaner in the foreground.

Challenge Two was the Quick Draw where they were asked to sketch the Royal Liver Building Clock Tower from the top of the Cunard Building using charcoal, pastel and pencil. The judges were hoping they would get to grips with the complicated archiitectural features of the place and get both the proportion and multiple planes of perspective right. Did you know that the clock face on the tower is the largest in Britain - no, neither did I Una! 

Most of the efforts were so-so with none of them doing the scene justice. Paul was again slated by Daphne which was starting to undermine the poor man’s confidence. 

The final task before the finalists were known was to paint the Mersey river against the panoramic backdrop of the iconic Liverpool cityscape.

This was a harder task than it looked as is forced the artists to tackle the changing light and the vast expanses of sky and water, two elements that are always on the move. There were clouds in the sky, reflections in the river and then there were all the buildings on the far bank.

Claire worries me in that she tends to overthink her subject and paints very slowly which means rushing her work at the end to try and get some semblance of completion.  I thought she did quite well though she was rather upset with her canvas. For me it was one of the better ones in terms of capturing the colour of the buildings in the light and attempting to reflect them in the water.

Richard was the only one who managed to get recession into his water and to make it look the size of waterway he was actually painting. It was a good effort and for me the best of the bunch. 
Can he win this?

I had problems with Paul’s painting. It was all rather vague and that was probably a result of Dorothy’s comments earlier. In his macho-ness he started to paint more manly in that it was big, bold and quite disorganised. The colours depicted looked like he was more likely to be in Venice than Liverpool. I had no idea where he got that light from.

Amy was criticised for overworking her painting which meant that at one stage it was actually better than how it ended up. Mind it was a lot better than most of her previous attempts but was it good enough to beat Anne?

Anne’s again started off by painting everything red!!!! Why red and not blue which should have been a more obvious choice. Red is not even complimentary! I don’t like her technique. To her credit she did have a muddy river and she was the only one who went to the trouble of putting a ferry across the Mersey.

The judges did a very Sugar-like thing in that the changed the rules that had been serving them so well to this point. Instead of judging on this week alone they were going to consider the previous four too which was practically giving major wobbler Paul a get-out-of-jail-free card. Undoubtedly he did deserve to be in the final but this week was not a good one for him and maybe, just maybe, he should have walked. 

I of course would have put him straight through on the strength of his first piece and thrown Anne or Amy out. I am still undecided who is worse as neither has a style I like.

In the end it was big, bold Anne who went and somehow Welsh girl Amy has scraped her way into the final. 

I still think Paul will win it.

Second and third is more difficult. Richard, Claire; Claire, Richard - who knows – just whoever is best on the day. Amy has absolutely no chance!   

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