Review: Portrait Artist of the Year
Art is hot on everyone’s agenda right now, with the start of Sky Art’s latest show, Portrait Artist of the Year. So of course, we had to catch up with our Student Artist of the Year, Rachel Ward, to get her thoughts on the show! Take it away, Rachel…
Review: Portrait Artist of the Year
Hello Hobby Craft Blog Readers!
I hope everyone has had a great start to the year! I have been very busy producing arty content for Hobbycraft’s Student Artist of the Year Instagram takeover, check it out if you haven’t, but for now, here is my first monthly blog post (yay!) I thought I would finish January off with a blog that takes a break from product reviewing, and my own personal tips, by taking the time to check out a few other artists.
Have you been watching ‘Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year?’ It’s a great one to catch whether you are an artist or not! The contestants who won the second episode have stood out the most for me so far, firstly, Phoebe Cripps. Her soft and tonal use of oil paints, keep a traditional approach to portraiture but she still holds her own modern style. Painting and drawing is all about interpreting the shapes and colours your eye can pick up on and the longer you look, especially when it comes to painting faces, the balance of detail and subtlety becomes key. In Phoebes work, I think you can really see that control. I also love her style because of her use of highlights. A few brushes of white can really bring life into a painting and in her winning portrait of Sue Perkins, this definitely held its own, in terms of subtle detail. A quick point for anyone who is getting into the art world, when looking at other work, try and find brush marks and focus on where the artist have concentrated any detail. This is why Phoebe’s work had a modern feel for example, traditional portraiture, is very flawless, but in her case, you can see how she has used the paint, and created a face by layering tones and shapes, and using smaller brush strokes for the important detail, such as eyes and ears.
This is Phoebe’s self-portrait, see what I mean about the brush marks? It’s all a build-up of shapes.
I loved how Emily Palmer used the background for her celebrity portrait, as her paint palette. The judges noticed how it brings out and shows the range of colours she used. It important to know that in portraiture, skin is not just one colour and with such a colourful foreground, you can have a wider colour scheme range which will complement the character of the portrait. One thing that was discussed amongst the judges was how alike the portrait was to the famous face. Different eyes will pick up on features, when it comes to painting, whilst one judge thought the mouth was wrong, another disagreed. I don’t have much experience with painting people, especially from real life, but one thing I have found is that the eyes are key to creating that likeness, which is always needed, regardless of whether your style is realistic or not.
Finally, Bill Bone and his pointillist work. Going back to what I said about colours in skin, his work is a great example. Colours such as green, purple and blue, are great for adding depth and tone, especially with paler skin types. I loved how he paints on melted wax, I have never heard of that before. Don’t forget to try painting on different surfaces, like tiles, slate, textured card (I’ve always wanted to try glitter card) even aluminium sheets, it can create great texture and shiny surfaces will add extra cool highlights to painting! Bills technique is also an example of how squinting your eyes can break up shapes and block colours together, to form a person. This is why, from a distance, the dotty brush work disappears and his build-up of colours form the contours of a face.
There’s a lot more I could say about the artist on the show and it just goes to show what you can learn from other art work. Next week is the semi-finale of ‘Portrait Artist of the Year,’ the show includes a range of skill sets and ages so make sure you catch it, it’s great to see what the famous faces think of their portraits too! Thanks for reading, February product review coming soon.
(IG Takeover @ https://www.instagram.com/hobbycrafthq)