The Big Painting Challenge is back with the remaining eight artists looking forward to/dreading the next challenge. Hey, I've been taking the piss like everyone else on Twitter, but seriously, we do have to remember that these artists are enthusiastic amateurs. That's what makes it so watchable, so enjoyable, so inspiring and, honestly, so funny too. Most people, me included, would screw up really badly having any of these challenges sprung on them under these conditions.
Everyone knows what an elephant looks like. Everyone knows what a flamingo looks like. Right? Well ... oh my!
The flamingo challenge was a 2 hour gig, while the heffalumps took 5 hours to complete.
The big twitter controversy is abstract expressionist Jennifer who refuses to 'observe' anything! The mentors and the judges come in for a fair amount of stick also, but nothing that is really unexpected. It's all good fun in my book. I love all the artists be they good, bad or indifferent. It's the taking part that counts. Art is not a competition.
We should also not forget that the artists, judges and mentors are all at the mercy of the producers and editors who have a completely different agenda which has little or nothing to do with art.
Suman won the popular vote and mine too for that matter, but I also have a lot of love for Jimmy's picture which the judges didn't care for. Camilla left this week and it was also something of a shock to see Ruaridh struggle.
Alan and David better up their game if they are to stay in the process much longer.
Always an entertaining watch for a variety of reasons The Great Pottery Throw Down didn't disappoint again. The main make was to be a water feature which seemed to combine all previous challenges together into one almighty problem for the potters. Some pieces exploded. Some didn't work. Others were badly glazed. Some were badly conceived from the outset. In the end though, nearly all failed in one way or another. Bar one. So this week I'm not going to dwell on unhappy memories, criticise Richard's blood spouting phallus, or weep over Cait's incinerated loved one reincarnated as stumpy toadstool, but instead revel in the opportunity to remind us of Freya's triumphant 'pot of the week'.
Freya won and this week Elaine had to go leaving six potters in the mix. The smart money is still on Ryan, with Nam and Clover having had a quiet week. Cait and Richard surely can't stay the distance, but I'm going all the way with Freya (to coin a phrase). I love her loose sculptural style, subtlety with coloured glazes and sensible construction methodology.
Sky Art's Portrait Artist of the Year threw us a curve ball last night by having an amateur winner of the latest episode. I think the judges had fallen in love with Ross McAuley's submission piece and were a bit snooty about the illustrative qualities of some of the other artists, but, despite Rick Wakeman's enormous nose (top) ...
Professional Lya Nagado (middle) demonstrated how it is somewhat unfair to judge an artist using only one piece since her own style had shifted dramatically away from her sober and accomplished miniture submission. Amateur Liam Dickinson's rendering of one Hairy Biker's beard (btm) sabotaged his final piece. Two great runners up and any one of the final three could have got through tio the semi-finals.
The real 'one that got away' however was Stephen Teeuw (below) who took on a drypoint etching of the most difficult sitter while being a perfectly decent painter. This artist should have made the final, never mind the semis. While the likeness wasn't entirely there, what a risk to take!
The Big Painting Challenge (Episode Two) took the amateur artists down to Hastings for the day and gave them the chance to tackle seaside landscapes. Twitter followers of the show seemed split on the idea of having mentors at all, but I think artists need to be challenged and need to learn how to challenge themselves, which, with this bunch, is no bad thing. They could all do with taking some instruction. I distrust those who resist the structure of the show as classroom. I mean, you can 'be yourself' for the rest of your life. Today you just need to knuckle under and do what is asked of you.
Jennifer won the public vote again despite not taking instruction from anyone, which is fine in one way, but confounds the purpose of the show! I'm hoping that one day she'll paint what is in front of her and then we'll find out how good she is. I don't doubt she is good but we won't find out if she carries on in this way. Neither will she.
Angela is proving to be the stand-out talent so far, but Ruaridh is good too. The others are playing it too safe. Maud went home this week. Not altogether sure about that decision myself as I think she had a lot more in the tank than some of the others.