Forget Saatchi…BP Portrait Award’s where the talent’s at.

On the tube to Leicester Square I had decided I was in love with Sally Mann's work, definitely wanted to become a photographer and would most certainly hunt down some old cameras in the local charity shops when I got home. 
Then we popped into the National Portrait for an hour and I was completely confused all over again… identity crisis much?

I've found there's definitely a flaw in doing a Fine Art course when you're indecisive and fickle, mix that with a fierce competitive streak and you end up with me: wanting to do anything and everything and be better than everyone else. Impossible and incredibly confusing.
Anyway moving on swiftly…

The best portraits entered into the BP Portrait award are on show at the NPG until the 19th September for freeeee!
They're mostly Realism and some Hyper-realist really, but the poses and subjects are all very varied and each is shown with a little plaque explaining the reasons for the painting which I think always helps you to appreciate the piece that little bit extra.
The standard is pretty spectacular and it's hard to understand how some of these people haven't been exhibited before (I googled a LOT of them). I mean, I have a thing I do when looking at portraits and I'm sure most painters do it – you stare at the piece until you can see it as a group of brush-marks rather than an image. However a couple of these I got about an inch away (much to most of the general public's irritation) and still it looked like a photograph… now that's impressive.
There's always a debate as to what makes the 'best' paintings: accuracy vs creativity. But with this lot you really do have to just appreciate the skill, patience and work that went into them rather than look for some kind of reason or concept. They're just beautiful pieces done well.
Here's a few of my favourites, none of them are winners but I preferred them as they're of ordinary people in pretty ordinary poses but are extraordinary works of art!

Sandy Watching by Alex Hanna (reminds me of my little brother staring blankly at the TV)…
and Sentinel by Lyndsey Jameson (amazing facial expression and the background is out of focus so it looks almost like a photograph taken on macro)…
and Dan by Mary Jane Ansell (I like the fact that she just chose to paint a very normal looking bloke, the technique itself is the beauty of it really).


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