Monday, 20 March 2017

The Big Painting Challenge Series Two Week Six

Missed the Big Painting Challenge Final as I wanted to watch Ireland’s brilliant win over England in the Six Nations rugby match on ITV Hub last night. Days as good as that don’t come around too often. That meant I watched TBPC on iPlayer early this morning and I did well managing to avoid knowing the final outcome. There were four artists left and we had our own wee Ulster girl in the Big Painting Final but I wasn’t holding out much hope for Jennifer even with her new silver shaded hairstyle.

The four Finalists with their mentors
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The first challenge was portraiture and it had the artists wondering who their individual sitters were, so half expecting it to be their mentors Pascal and Diana and the presenters Mariella and Richard it was a huge BBC Surprise Surprise when a parent of each of the finalists walked through the door and proper gunked them. I think I would have lost all concentration but it did seem to settle the finalists and all four produced their best work of the series. They all got remarkable likeness and if I had to choose a favourite it was David’s 2.0 version of his father. 


The Portraitures of a Parent
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It was quite ironic that their mentors were hands off and unable to offer them tips or guide them in the final. Free from Pascal’s imposing shadow David made his own decisions. You could see his orange-clad mentor chomping at the bit in the background just dying to step in and direct/confuse him and Suman who had reverted back to her safe and tentative style of Programme Three. Suman ran David a close second, with Alan next. For all that it was Jennifer who took the biggest step forward in terms of personal progression and while I don’t like her style I have to admit she painted a well observed and recognisable picture of her mother. She couldn’t have done that six weeks ago! Daphne was rather cutting when she congratulated her on making ‘a perfectly normal human being’ – by implication not another bloody alien! 

The judges weren’t on hand to offer critique on these family member portraits. 

I didn’t think much of Pascal’s white boiler suit, mop, sponge and decorating brush tips for David and Suman. Yes, it might help them loosen up but this wasn’t the time or place for such a mad exercise. Suman who is usually keen to please didn’t incorporate any of Pascal’s odd team talk into her final painting. And David ignored him fearing he’d produce a wacky Jackson Pollack. Diana’s advice was more timely for her painters as both Alan and Jennifer used her tips in their final pieces.

THE SHOWSTOPPER SCENE
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Who in the BBC thought it was a cracking idea to have the artists rocking, painting and getting seasick on a river boat? The wind was knocking over canvasses a la Hastings and all it needed was a bit more puff to render this Showstopper pointless. Why didn’t they paint from where Canaletto stood if this was to be based on his riverfront at Greenwich with the Royal Naval Hospital, and the Queen’s House in the centre? I assume the wee Venetian man was at his easel on the opposite bank! While the sun did make a fleeting appearance it looked to be quite an overcast day so they didn’t have to worry too much about shadows and the sun in their eyes. 

I sighed when I saw Jennifer lay down hair extensions on the canvas. Why? She was reverting back to the old Jen or maybe taking confidence from the knowledge that the only two times she triumphed over Suman was when she used these hairy ‘stencils’? Did she not think that her new found card painting style from last week was more suited to this straight edged architectural task in front of her? I knew then she had no chance.


Not sure how either David or Suman painted their canvasses
with the awkward angle they were at to their subject
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David and Suman were painting beside each other and it was interesting to see how alike their paintings were. David’s wide landscaped painting was closer to the original Canaletto and I loved his sense of space. His dirty river Thames looked more believable than Suman’s, but her more zoomed in painting had more warmth and personality. This was going to be a close contest. Alan trailed behind the frontrunners yet again. His painting was rather flat with no foreground boat interest and little greenery. His drippy painting even suggested it might have been raining (it wasn’t).

THE SHOWSTOPPERS
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Suman got the nod from the three judges and deserved to lift the trophy. From very timid beginnings she made consistent progress and her confidence seemed to develop week by week as she took on board Pascal’s words. She’s a braver artist than David and more likely to break new ground and that’s what maybe swung it in her direction. She was a lovely person as well and you couldn’t help but warm to her! I felt sorry for David early on in the series as he was fighting both himself and Pascal. Being older he was definitely more stuck in his ways and not in awe of Pascal and his arty-farty ideas the way the younger Suman was. Alan needs a huge boost of confidence. He does need to loosen up and find a bolder style. He’ll take away a lot from these six weeks. As for Jennifer. She’ll do OK. The programme wasn’t right for her. She was lucky to survive the first two weeks but hey she did Northern Ireland and her mother proud. She oozes personality, has a lot of confidence and can talk the hind leg off a donkey! Will be looking out for her and her work in the future.


SUMAN - DESERVED WINNER AMATEUR ARTIST 2017
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