BP Portrait Award 2018

Hello everyone, Linda here!

I’ve hardly been able to sleep since I went to see the BP Portrait Award 2018 exhibition at Wolverhampton Art Gallery last week. So much incredible talent under one roof is completely unsettling! The wonder of it all either sends you home inspired and determined to paint more and more until you get better at it or – and maybe this is more realistic – give up and never pick up a paintbrush again! I found myself checking the artists’ bios to discover their ages. Were they years younger than me, in which case I might as well give up now. Were they much older than me? Maybe I’m a late developer and there’s hope yet if I try harder!

As you enter the gallery you are met by this large, photorealistic painting by John McCarthy. An appropriate introduction to an exhibition that illustrates close observation of a variety of sitters using lots of different mediums. This one is acrylic on panel.

The gallery space is quite dimly lit but each painting is beautifully illuminated so they appear to glow from the walls.

I’ve shown details of the overall winner on my Instagram page but here’s the complete painting.It’s called ‘An Angel at my Table’ and is by Miriam Escofet. The judges described this work as ‘a very sensitive depiction of an elderly sitter’. The subject is the artist’s mother – it’s her strong and capable hands that held my gaze.

This attention grabbing portrait by Jesus Maria Saez De Vicuna Ochoa is of his daughter Bertha. Oil on canvas.

I include this photograph of me to give you an idea of the scale of this painting! It’s oil on canvas – no, not a photograph!

Massimiliano Pironti is a professional singer and dancer and his work is a portrait of a fellow dancer, Bathoni. The hands were mesmerising! Oil on panel.

I loved Alistair Adams’ portrayal of the writer and director Bruce Robinson. The rich patterning of the background textiles, the incredibly convincing wrinkling of the skin and the quality of light falling across all surfaces was awe inspiring. Oil on board.

I’d be hard pressed to choose a favourite painting from the exhibition but I did find myself drawn back time and again to this one.

There’s so much character – how can mere paint convey that? Well, Bernardo Siciliano can make it do just that! Oil on canvas.

I would have shown you every one of the 48 paintings in the exhibition if I had space! They were selected from 2667 submissions from 88 countries. I don’t envy the judges who had to choose this selection let alone to single out the winners!

Thanks for dropping by today – I hope you’ve enjoyed just a taste of this world class exhibit. It continues at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery until November 30th – I shall definitely be visiting again!

Linda x