I love the start of the programme, when everyone is nervous and preparing, there is the ritual of squeezing out the paints, looking at the competition through the corner of eyes and trying to calm the nerves, then, the sitters are introduced, positioned and we are off!
Basically, each week there are 9 artists split into three groups each having a celebrity sitter who they have to paint. The three celebrities can be anyone from authors to sports personalities or actors, some I wouldn't recognise and some I haven't even heard of, but all are a challenge for the artists.
Out of the 9 portraits, three go into the final group of which that weeks winner is chosen. Eventually at the end of the series, the weekly finalists then compete for the prize of 'SKY portrait artist of the year'
As with any competition it's all purely subjective, but each week we love to bet on who the three will be and who will win that weeks selection.
As both of us are artists it's great entertainment and we look forward to it like two big kids each week!
I enjoy the different styles and approaches, some participants use an iPad and seem to look at that for the rest of the sitting whilst others just look at the sitter. I have to admit that I am always most impressed by those who paint direct without relying on a photo, and of course a portrait has to resemble the sitter otherwise it's just a painting of a person.
I must have bored those of you who have never seen the programme and you have probably switched off by now, but I wanted to share with you what inspired me to paint my latest painting.
It's a good challenge to try new things, perhaps paint in a different scale or use a different media, shake things up a bit, which is what I did.
I decided to use a little wooden panel I have had lurking for a couple of years in the studio, it's only 5 x 5 inches. I applied the double gesso layers, then a layer of pale raw umber, just to get rid of the white, once dry, I was ready to paint, and this is the result.
I'm quite happy with it and it was a fun project.