The big painting challenge

20 March 2017


Usually, I steer well clear of reality TVs shows, but this years’ big painting challenge has provided some useful tips. Mentors Pascal Anson and Diana Ali (also an OCA tutor) have made some excellent suggestions which I will be able to apply to my practice.

When approaching the project to paint elephants, mentor Pascal Anson suggested that one way of expressing the massiveness of the animal would be to frame the image such that it is not fully contained within the canvass. This worked very well, giving the painting presence. I was also interested during the warm-up exercises to see that Pascal asked the contestants to express the animal with a single painted line worked with a thick paintbrush. He also asked them to spend 90% of their time looking at the subject and only 10% of the time drawing it. This reminded me of some figure drawing classes which I attended where we were asked to do ‘blind drawings’. This helps to focus on the object and draw what you see, rather than making assumptions (which are often wrong).

Last week’s programme involved drawing moving ballet dancers and I was interested to see the mentor’s ideas on how to suggest movement in a static painting. These included multiple images of the same subject in different poses and using sweeping marks (such as scraping paint with the edge of a credit card).


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