Tuesday, 26 July 2011

BP Portrait Award 2011

Today I visited the National Portrait Gallery to see this year's BP Portrait Award. Once or twice a year my work puts on a free coach to London and I always sign up with a couple of my work friends (previous trips have taken us to the London Dungeons and the Science Museum).

I've been to the show a couple of times before and even had it suggested that I should enter but felt that my work may not be up to the standard required. Having seen this year's show I've changed my mind, it struck me that it not just technical ability gets you in to the final 55 (although some of the paintings were incredible in that respect) but the ability to the draw the viewer in. With varying degrees of skill in the paintings, one thing they all have in common is the ability to draw you in for a closer look. Either through the challenging stare of the subject or some finer detail in the colours or techniques.

Here are my top three from this year's show (I wish I could include pictures but I don't want to breach anyone's copyright. Instead, I've linked the painting titles to their pages on the NPG website)

Jakub by Jan Mikulka - No matter how close you get it still looks like a photograph and glows with beautiful luminosity. It's so incredibly realistic I even felt like I was invading Jakub's personal space by studying his nose so closely. This painting was absolutely flawless.

by Harriet White - I loved the brightness of the sitter's eyeshadow in this painting. The artist has managed to create the appearance of metallic sparkle simply by combining different shades of dazzling blue dotted with white.
Despertar - Awakening by Manuel Ferrer Perea - I voted for this painting as my Visitor's Choice. The artist has beautifully captured the sleepy expression on the face of his daughter, she looks like she isn't quite ready to get up.

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