Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Sky Portrait Artist 2020 - the prep!

'Brass Neck' - oil on linen, self portrait, Julie Douglas
Self portraits aren't really my thing. But when you enter a competition, and they ask for a self portrait, there is no option... I only had two weeks to complete it so had to decide very quickly on a composition that might attract the judges eye, and work round the clock, between classes, to get it done. I used to play the Euphonium when I was at school and was borrowing one from a local brass band, so decided to get a few distortions going in...

I happily admit that when I got the phone call from Sky saying I had a got through to the televised heats, I was slightly in shock. Oh yes! Oh NO!!! The challenge is to paint a portrait in 4 hours, while being filmed constantly, with a live audience, and popping outside at regular intervals to be interviewed...

So I had about 6 weeks to practice painting portraits, in 10% of the time I would usually spend on a painting. I would like to thank everyone who so kindly modelled for me. Most sat for me in the studio, some let me take a reference photo. I really enjoyed the process and all the sitters ejoyed it too, saying they were surprised at how relaxing it was for them. I can't say it was 'relaxing' from my side of the easel, but I learnt a great deal. I managed to complete 15 speed-paintings before the programme was recorded, of David, David, Claire, Conor, Ben (three different ways!), Catherine, Rachel, Ken, Amanda, Alison, Rory, Clive and Jonny. You are all beautiful and much more beautiful than I managed to capture in the limited time available. Thank you so much.

Here are some of the practice ones - and yes, I ALWAYS did a drawing first, and included that in the 4 hour time limit. Each drawing took around 45 minutes, leaving me 3 hours 15 minutes to paint.

These 7 paintings were all completed over 5 days - bit of a marathon. 



David - I did paint David too, this was the prep drawing



Amanda. Amanda was my first sitter, and she is a massive fan of the SKY portrait competition - consequently we laughed and talked too much! So once I got this far I had to chuck her out so I could get ON!!! Ahem. 



I will write another post about the day of filming... 

For info on workshops with me at BARA studios, please emial
Upcoming workshops include Friday Night Life drawing, portrait drawing, two week oils workshop in April 2020 and weekly classes. 

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