Thursday, 24 February 2011

BP portrait competition 2011

So after my last post, I have decided to try again for the BP portrait exhibition. It is about a 1% or 2% chance of getting into the exhibition (never mind winning anything) but it is such a great standard, that to be included would be a fanstastic honour. I enter a lot of competitions, usually just because it is the thing to do, but this one is different - the quality of the work in the BP portrait competition is always consistently high and to be accepted would be a real achievement.

So after deliberating over what to paint, my husband suggested I paint him, as he wanted to be portrayed as he was, before he got too old etc! Much as I love him, I was reluctant, for one good reason....he cannot sit still! At all. Ever. So a deal was struck. He would sit in the living room and watch Top Gear on the telly while I drew.

The top image is of sketches made from life (over three different telly sessions) and the one below is of a colour study from a photo and another sketch.
This planning is showing a new way I am trying to work. I am tired of replicating photographs and hope by doing the sketches that some of the life of the model will be preserved into the final painting. Before I go, here is the final study at 30 x 40cm for the bigger painting.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Art competitions; a necessary evil?

After a lot of deliberation, I have decided to enter the BP portrait competition. I was deliberating as I have entered once before, but didn't get in, and have had quite a few rejections from more local competitions over the years. For the BP though, there is really only about a 2% chance of getting shown (never mind winning) but the standard of the work is usually extremely high. I feel it is worth doing, as if I got shown, I would at least feel highly honoured.

In general, I find competitions particularly difficult to choose work for, as there are a few factors that I can't get out of my mind when painting; how much it is costing and whether the painting will be good enough, or liked enough. There is always a terrible temptation to dumb down what you do and be more safe, more classic, more grey etc. in a bid to be liked by the Art Societies in question.

In reality, art is often rejected, not because it isn't any good (as I saw some lovely work on reject day at the SSA) but how much space an organisation has left over after all the VIPs have been hung. With dwindling budgets and societies getting squeezed for wall space, this situation will only get worse, meaning that the public will get the chance to see less work from new artists, and more work from the members of the old boys club. I realise I probably sound a little cynical, but having work rejected, only to sell it the following week, tells me that there must be another reason, above quality, on why my work is not being picked for the national shows.

So, back to the BP. I have decided to portray my long suffering husband, Trevor. The only way I could get him to sit for more than 5 seconds, was to draw him while he was watching Top Gear and Horizon. He felt deliciously naughty watching TV in the afternoon! Of course, the dog had to get in on the action and will be in the painting too. Keep and eye on this page for developments.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

NUDE New Year

This post is a little late, but January turned out to be a surprisingly busy month. Just a week before the opening, I was discovered by the eternally enthusastic Drew at The Virginia Gallery and invited to submit some work to his second show entitled Nude. The show opening was a roaring success with a party going on into the wee hours (although I had to leave at 9) and I sold the painting above to a lovely lady owner of Organic Pleasures shop in Edinburgh. She said she was planning to hang the painting next to her grand piano, which I thought sounded terribly glamorous!
The painting above is called 'Canary yellow Fans' and is a portrait of the stunning Vendetta Vain performing her 'Sally Rand' fan dance. For thise of you who don't know, Sally Rand was a burlesque performer famous for her fan dances because under all those feathers, she was completely nude : no pasties, no thong, nothing!

The NUDE show has a mixture of sculpture, painting and the under-represented medium of photography. Particulalry inpisrational is the work of Jean-Marc Milliere who takes portraits of partially clad women in their own homes. I am also a fan of the bright figure paintings by Ivor Secton whose new paintings evoke the vintage world of funfair art.
I hung a few paintings from the recent Axolotl show as well as a cheeky new one of Dirty Martini from New York.
Catch the show over the next few weeks as it runs until 4th March 2011 and watch that artspace as I think there is going to be some really interesting happenings there.
The Virginia Gallery
45 Virginia Street (downstairs from Luke & Jack)
Glasgow G1 1TS, call 0141 552 5699