Review: The Big Painting Challenge
Hi again Hobby Craft Blog Readers!
Art competitions seem to be everywhere at the moment and it’s great to see all the buzz and encouragement surrounding amateur artists. The BBC’S ‘The Big Painting Challenge’ is the latest, on every Sunday evening, I really recommend catching it!
The first episode was all about still life. Now, to most artists and myself, spending time on still life seems pretty daunting, as well as boring to some, as it suggest creating realistic work. But in fact, when you watch the show, all the contestants bring something new to a traditional approach. It’s refreshing to see a mix of opinions and criticisms, reminding all artists, that when your work is judged, it is also subjected to that person’s single opinion. However, the first episode did stress how important drawing from still life is. Whist the contestants were all skilful and unique with what they can produce, at first, painting from real life proved to be a struggle. This is something that I need to work on as well, in order to be able to advance as an artist. I recently had a university interview for an illustration degree. I had a really interesting conversation with the tutor, but he made me realise that unless you draw things that are not in your comfort zone, you are only going to be able to reproduce what you already know. His exact words were, ‘Rachel, you draw all these animals, but that’s only a small part, there is the rest of the world you need to learn to draw in order to create a story with your art and really say what you want.’ He also stressed the importance of working from real life and avoiding painting from photos, in order to progress…
I suppose the point I am trying to make is that there is always something new to learn, no matter how comfortable you are with painting animals, for example. Whilst what you do may be all fine and dandy, it’s nice to think you can do more than just reproduce what you already create. Working from real life improves your artistic eye, accuracy and ability to recreate a sense of perspective. If you have that down, or once you do, the style, mediums and how you choses paint is up to you! There was a great tip on ‘The Big Painting Challenge’ about eye line, which is one I will definitely try out, not to mention ditching photos and drawing more of the world around me.
I was also told that drawing from images rather than real life, makes your work look ‘obvious.’ Your painting, whilst it could be decorative and amazing, it may only resemble a single moment in time, or the composition is just to ‘forced.’ Drawing a portrait from life will put much more dynamic into your work, and reflect how your eye and artistic hand work together. For example, get filling sketchbooks! Fill one with crowds whilst on a street from a coffee shop and see how different your art can be. On the show, it’s proving a much more effective way to learn, and will hopefully change any thoughts about still life from being boring, into an opportunity to develop as an artist that can paint anything!
Thank you for reading, hope you are enjoying the Hobby Craft Blog as much as I am when writing these posts.
( check me out ! – Instagram @rachelandtheworld)