Amateur painting competition. The ten artists face two still life challenges before the judges decide who should leave the competition.
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Hello, and welcome to the show that celebrates the joy we derive
from that most basic of human pleasures,
translating the world around us into art.
We searched the country for enthusiastic amateur artists
with bags of potential
and invited ten of the best to join us in our artistic Boot Camp.
Over the next six weeks, they'll be working alongside
professional mentors, who will nurture their talent.
OK, everyone? Pick up your bamboo sticks.
-So they can learn...
You're going to start painting with these mops.
Totally looks better the other way.
..and grow as artists.
Remember, you're not painting a pond.
-What is it?
-It's a flamingo.
We'll take the artists to inspiring and testing locations.
I turn around, my painting washes away!
Each week, the challenges get a little bit harder
to push our painters a little bit further.
You've made her fat.
Looking forward to this?
I'm so excited.
We want to see elephants, we want to hear elephants.
Mariella wants to smell elephants.
Each week, a panel of expert judges
will decide on someone to send home.
And the artist that's going this week is...
-But only one artist can be crowned winner.
I wish we had a trumpet, don't you?
-Can you play the trumpet?
-I can, as a matter of fact.
Welcome to The Big Painting Challenge.
MARIELLA: It's 8am in London's historic Bermondsey.
For the next two days, this 19th-century converted workhouse
will become home to our hopeful amateur artists.
I'm nervous, more than I've ever been
in my life before, because I just don't know
what is about to happen, really.
As soon as I smell the turps,
I'm away, and it's just wonderful.
I feel really nervous,
my legs are a bit jelly, everything's a bit hot and clammy.
-Mariella and I both love looking at art,
but here are ten amateur painters who can actually do the business.
Hello to you all, and welcome to six weeks of artistic inspiration,
instruction and challenges.
Mentors will be there to help you every step of the way, emulating
the atelier system which produced such greats as Leonardo da Vinci.
So if you have something in you to wipe the smile
off the Mona Lisa's face,
they're there to encourage you, to coach you,
to push you to get it onto canvas.
That's what we're looking for, a new Leonardo da Vinci.
So, no pressure at all!
Sadly, you won't all be here for the duration.
We will be losing some of you over the course of the next six weeks.
This week, our theme is still life, and you'll have two opportunities
to show what you've got, the first by way of a sort of palate cleanser.
Sorry! It's really just a chance for you to demonstrate your skill.
In each of your mentors' studios,
the judges have placed a group of objects on a table to create
a classic still life composition.
In a couple of hours, the judges will be coming by
to make their judgements, but until then, mentors, let's get mentoring.
Who do you think's going to win?
We could have a little sweepstake going, you know.
Throughout the competition,
the artists will be working in two groups.
And, this week, they'll be in separate studios.
They are about to come face-to-face with the items
they have to paint in this still life challenge.
-What do you think about this?
Pretty difficult, to be honest.
These five artists will be working with Pascal Anson,
an artist, designer and guest lecturer at the Royal College of Art.
-When did you last do a still life?
-30 years ago.
Yeah, it's a little bit scary, isn't it?
The other five artists will be guided by Diana Ali,
art educator, curator and artist.
This still life is a different set-up,
but with equally tricky items.
Don't be overwhelmed.
-Might be a time
to break out of your comfort zone now.
So you need to go and get your materials ready
and the clock will start ticking.
The artists have two hours for the challenge.
They can use their own brushes, paints and tools from home...
Oh, we've got drawers!
..and the medium they wish to paint in is up to them.
-Can I paint on the floor?
-Absolutely, go for it.
Never been so freaked out by a teddy bear in my life.
Painting with other people, or drawing with other people,
is completely new.
I've never done anything like this before.
It's not my favourite stuff, still life, I have to say.
I'm just going to have a go.
Still life arrangements emerged in Europe
in the 17th century.
The subjects were chosen to depict either mortality,
so skulls and perishable foods, or material pleasures.
The arrangements were constructed
so that the artists could show off their proficiency
in handling light, colour, texture and substance.
So, as their very first challenge, still life
is a great way to test our artists in these areas.
This is nothing to, like, painting in your living room.
And I think the colours,
the shapes, everything, it's... it's quite challenging.
The judges will be assessing the artists
on how they've captured the resemblance of the objects.
So the items they choose to paint must look like the items
on the table in front of them.
I've started with a pencil, and then I'm getting to block in the colours,
shapes, then try and add some detail within the next two hours.
Usually it takes me between 25 to 75 hours to do painting.
I like the idea of the bear. Maybe putting
a few books at the side there,
pretending they're Pooh Bear books or something.
Throughout the competition,
Pascal will be mentoring David, Ruaridh,
Camilla, Lesley and Suman.
He's an experiment artist with an unconventional teaching style.
My approach to teaching is alternative thinking.
Sometimes you've got to take one step backwards
to go two steps forward.
A bit lower. That's cool.
Trying to get the composition right,
so I'm starting with what I consider is the main object there
and then relate the others to it.
But I probably won't do all of the objects on the table.
The teddy's definitely speaking to me. He's...
He's gorgeous. I don't know who he belongs to, but...
he might not be there at the end of the session.
69-year-old retired nurse Lesley
attends regular art classes and is excited to learn more.
I've been painting for about 60 years.
I don't mind being told what to do at all.
I'm quite happy to take instruction.
I do have a favourite subject to paint, and it's people.
It's figures and faces.
I don't like doing still life very much.
Lesley seems like she really wants to learn,
which is good to see in an older person,
and hopefully she can kind of spread a bit of wisdom as well.
I decided to sort of do minimal marks with a minimal palette,
and try and get the whole scene in.
Pascal's artist, Ruaridh, is the youngest painter.
He's just 24.
Hey, Ruaridh, how's it going?
Yeah, I'm happy with my work so far.
I know normally,
artists would say negative things about their work initially.
I'm keeping it in the positives.
Do you think, in a way, being deaf,
painting provides an extra sense for you?
We all have five different senses, and as soon as we lose one,
then the rest become heightened and a lot more sensitive.
So my visual perspective is very sharp.
Upstairs, the other artists are also getting stuck in.
Can I just ask you, every so often, stand back, OK?
Just stand back. Alan, stop a minute, stand back.
As a lecturer and visual artist,
Diana encourages boldness.
My approach to teaching is get stuck in, be adventurous,
really go for it and let's see what happens.
It's taking that one thing that they're really into
and then pushing them in that direction.
She will be working with Alan, Angela,
and abstract artist Jennifer.
The only worry I really have at the minute is the resemblance.
I'm calm now that I've got a wee bit
of my base down on the canvas.
And I'm now going to spend a wee bit of time
just mixing up some of my oil paints.
Retired optometrist Jimmy
appears to be racing ahead of the others.
You've got a lot of paint going on there,
compared to this side, which is quite light.
-Empty, right, OK.
-So it makes it unbalanced.
OK? So, no more work on this bit now.
-Don't worry, don't worry.
-Who set this pose up?
-It wasn't me.
-It wasn't you?
-Get on with it.
It was you! Scallywag.
Jimmy has painted feathers, which are very light, very thin lines,
but he's used really thick brush strokes, a lot like palm trees.
I don't see a palm tree on that still life,
I don't know why there is one in his painting.
Jennifer has been working on the floor now
for 45 minutes but still hasn't made much progress.
It's really hard, actually having to, like, focus on something
and paint what you see instead of just going with how you're feeling.
-Get paint in there.
In Pascal's studio, Camilla is steaming ahead.
Camilla, stand back from that.
There's some very beautiful bits in there,
and try and identify which bits are looking really good.
And look what needs attention and look what you can leave.
-Can you give me a hint?
THEY BOTH LAUGH
-So what do I do with it?
-Leave it. Leave it alone.
-Leave it alone.
-Don't touch it, OK.
-Lesley, how are you getting on?
-Fine, I think.
With this, don't do a kind of painting by numbers,
where you do the drawing and then you fill it in.
-That's something to bear in mind.
-Keep standing back from your...
..from your canvas, because you've started
Really bad colour. Had to get that back.
So, on Camilla's canvas, she's started kind of messing around
a bit with applying paint with her fingers.
I don't quite know why she's doing that,
and it's not working very well either,
because it's starting to become all very muddy and homogenous
and it's not representing the textures properly.
Well, it's all a bit of a bloody mess, really, isn't it?
Anyway, I can't get the perspectives right
or anything, but hey-ho.
Artists, this is a gentle reminder. You're halfway through the challenge now.
Just to let you know, halfway.
-That's not to panic you, OK?
OK. Looking better, though.
Time for me to catch up with Alan.
Is still life a form that you're happy with,
And what are the challenges,
-do you think?
-For me, it's drapery.
It's notoriously one which separates the men from the boys, isn't it...
-I'm a boy!
-..the conviction of your drape?
What do you think is your kind of strongest approach?
I'm quite literal when I paint,
so I'm not bad at painting what's in front of me.
40-year-old account manager Alan
isn't exactly your typical artist.
Where I work, I think people would be very surprised about the fact
I've got this creative side.
My dad's from a fishing island in Hong Kong.
He came over to England when he was 17.
They came here, put three kids through university.
There are some themes in my paintings which are
about China and about politics.
I'm quite intrigued by Alan because he's quite controlled
but he has got that personal voice somewhere, and I'm dying to
work with him to see how I can get that personal voice out of him.
With Jen, it's great that she's got this energy,
but it is a still life, at the end of the day.
There needs to be that resemblance.
It's gone a little bit too abstract at the minute.
There are now 20 minutes remaining.
OK, Alan's lost control a little bit more, which is good,
because he's getting a little bit more self-confidence.
The way he's...
handled the paint, the way that it's quite geometric
sums up his personality a bit more.
Well, I've got the shapes, I've got the colours
and I hope a wee bit of life into it, I hope so.
We've got five minutes left to finish this challenge.
You've got five minutes. Sorry!
I don't think I've done a very good job, but...
I kind of like some of the colours.
So it's not all lost!
I've got the wrong colour. I haven't brought the subjects out enough.
Now I'm just trying to rectify my mistake,
and I've only got about two minutes to do it in!
I think my control's gone out of the window a little bit.
I've just got to throw as much as I can at this canvas
and hope it's OK.
Artists, time is up.
Stop working and put down your brushes.
-Can I have a shower now?
-So different, aren't they?
You all right, Alan?
I had a very difficult angle.
-It was horrible!
Do you know what, I like it.
It's time for the finished paintings
to be viewed and critiqued by our judges.
Award-winning artist and member
of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Lachlan Goudie.
I'm an emotional, instinctive, painterly artist,
but I'm looking for artists
who are technically competent but can also bring
some real emotional depth into their paintings.
Art historian and reader at Chelsea College of Arts
Dr David Dibosa.
I'm interested in seeing these artists
show that they can master the techniques
but also that they can give voice to their inner vision.
And Daphne Todd OBE,
former winner of the BP Portrait Award.
Because I'm a portrait painter,
and therefore a likeness is absolutely...
fundamental to what I do, I have an eye for accuracy.
First up, Pascal's team.
This is the first time the judges have seen any work
from our artists, and tomorrow they'll be deciding
who is going home.
Camilla, I think it's fantastic. You get your hands onto the paint,
mess it around the canvas. But you've got to still try
and keep things clean, and I think in your tablecloth
at the back there, things got a bit muddy.
I think there are a lot of successful things in the painting
as a still life, there's a lot to enjoy.
Where I think you're not quite so brilliant
is the perspective.
If you think, from where you were sitting,
as to how wide, say,
those books were compared to the height of the teddy bear,
my guess is that at that distance,
the teddy bear should've really finished about where his eyes are.
It wasn't really in proportion, or the perspectives weren't perfect...
Well, far from perfect. They weren't great.
But two hours is really quick, so... I did my best.
Well, Ruaridh, this is visual pleasure, for me.
There's a cinematic feel to what you're doing here.
Well, I've honestly never seen it in a cinematic way!
I just had my own perspective.
I wasn't expecting that comment, that's for sure!
Well, Suman, I think you've done a really elegantly composed
and drawn painting.
It feels light, it feels fresh, and you should be
very pleased with yourself. It's a complicated subject,
and I think you've handled
the positioning of the objects really well.
David, I really like the way you've made
that teddy bear so monumental and that you've been selective
about the objects you've chosen to paint.
In two hours, I think that's pretty good.
Lesley, where you've been bold is in your decision to step back
and give us a much broader view of what's going on.
Having made that confident move,
you've kind of fallen at the next set of hurdles,
things like the use of shadow, tone etc.
It's not quite coming together there.
I have to plan a bit better. That's what I realised from that.
And I wasn't totally sure what I was trying to achieve,
and I think that came across in my painting.
It's now Diana's artists' turn
to hear what the judges have to say.
Jimmy, the books on the right-hand side
are convincingly sitting on that tabletop.
Unfortunately, on the left-hand side, when we get to the feathers,
the heavy, dark line seems to have become a bit of a mush.
Well, Jimmy, I want to call you Hey, Mr Colour Man
because of all this work you're doing with colour.
Alan, I think the way you've treated
the folds and the silk and the highlights
that are in there, I'm intrigued by that.
What you have almost done is create
an abstract pattern of colours.
It's not really reading as a selection of different objects
but as quite an exciting use of paint.
The main thing I'm going to take away from the challenge
is working on the resemblance. That was a theme that came through.
Great, Angela. Well, you've really gone for it.
You've done a huge amount of work in the two hours.
Real competence there. You've positioned all your objects.
I'm particularly pleased with your copper teapot in the background.
That's got a real sense
of the metallic surface, with its highlights.
Maud, what you've done here is you've really exploded, in places.
So we've got this touch of red here which just seems to
come out of nowhere, and this kind of
coppery colour here and this little splash here.
I love that explosive energy that you've got,
and it seems like something that you should take further.
Jennifer, bringing an abstract approach to a still life
Personally, I'm not feeling that even your abstractions
have made many references to what's there.
I can't see...
.any resemblance with what you've painted,
I'm afraid, Jennifer, with what's out there.
I don't think it's sufficiently based on what you're observing.
So, to me, it's - I'm sorry to say - but it's sort of meaningless.
Well, I feel like I was completely slated, but that's fine, because
they are the professionals and they know what they're talking about.
-You all right?
Don't worry about it.
And I'm going to work on it, and tomorrow when we're painting,
I'm just going to smash it.
That is the most difficult thing imaginable for still life.
Oh, man. This is...
I'm just glad to get it under our belt. I'm just, like...
I think the first one is always going to be the most...whew.
Following critique from the judges,
Diana and Pascal are considering
who is in danger of being sent home
and will be needing extra help in the next challenge.
A couple of them mismanaged their time, because they spent
too much time sketching out perspective.
With Jennifer, she was upset with the first challenge.
I think that's really geared her up to not change who she is
but listen a little bit more to the criteria.
Lesley needs to be
a little bit bolder with her approach, and have the confidence.
I think Camilla needs quite a lot of help. She clearly loves painting,
but she needs a really sound knowledge
of understanding what perspective is
and understanding how to translate what she sees onto the canvas.
Another day, another challenge,
and a second chance for our artists to impress the judges.
We started you out with a fairly tricky, rather small still life.
Next, we want you to tackle a very tricky, very large still life.
In your studios, you'll find two bedrooms,
which you may or may not recognise as recreations
of famous paintings by Vincent Van Gogh and Roy Lichtenstein.
Now, we're not asking you to copy those paintings
nor the style of those painters.
But one thing they have in common
is the ability to distil from the ordinary something marvellous,
and that's your challenge,
to take the everyday and give us something wonderful.
So, get on with it, have a good time,
-and good luck.
While our artists prepare for the day ahead,
we've sent Lachlan to the Tate's stores,
to tell us more about the original artwork by Roy Lichtenstein,
Interior With Water Lilies.
So, who would live in a room like this?
I mean, it feels like we've been taken through the keyhole into a...
a deceptively bland interior.
In the 1960s, a new art movement emerged in America,
which took its inspiration from American consumer culture.
It became known as pop art.
Tins of soup, comic books,
billboard advertisements - pop artists took this pervasive
consumer imagery and decided they could recycle it and turn it
into a powerful new kind of painting.
The artist Roy Lichtenstein
was a leading figure in the pop art movement.
He wanted to make images that appeared to have come straight off
the printing press, mass produced, and drained of all emotion.
The very opposite of what fine art was always meant to be.
This painting actually mimics the dots, dashes
and marks of commercial printing techniques.
That's the effect that you get if you look at a newspaper photograph
through a magnifying glass.
But the fact is that this effect has been carefully created
using hand-painted stencils.
I mean, every single one of these marks
has been painstakingly added by the artist's own brush.
I mean, you're meant to think that the process behind this image
is sort of a cold, manufactured attack, but, really,
the truth is completely the opposite.
And that's all part of Lichtenstein's intention,
it's his vision.
He's grabbing our attention with vibrant marks, crude colours,
a huge bed whose perspective is drawn so extremely
that it almost seems to invade the space we are standing in.
This is an image you simply cannot ignore.
And here's the set we've created for Pascal's artists,
inspired by Lichtenstein's Interior With Water Lilies.
So, here's your room. What do you think?
There's a lot of clash of colours, but...
Before they get started,
Pascal shares some key tips
which will help his artists work to their full potential
in today's challenge.
I want to go right back to basics with this and start from
something that's very important when you're looking at an interior,
which is eye level.
1 metre 55. Oh, look, Lesley, perfect!
Can you stand and face those guys?
As an artist,
establishing your eye level is a useful starting point.
It becomes a reference on your canvas, allowing you to work out
which items sit above the line and which are below.
Here, Pascal is marking out Lesley's eye level around the room.
Eye level varies according to your height.
You two need to stand on tiptoes,
you two need to crouch down a little bit,
and make sure your eyes are on this eye level.
So what's happening to the dots?
Eye level helps determine your perspective.
It's a reference point for you to use as structure for your painting.
Camilla's perspective frustration continues.
I can't do it. Hate it. I hate doing lines.
-Remember, you're picked
to be a part of this competition.
You can do it. You've got the skills to do it.
It's a difficult process, but you're the one that's chosen to do it,
because we all believe that you can do it.
Before we start, I want us to get this perspective right.
Pascal tries another tack.
So, I want you to hold that so you can see the set through that.
-So, hold it.
is allowing Camilla to be able to see the simple
lines and shapes that determine the perspective of this room.
Just do one line.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven.
-Want to start again?
When looking at just the skeleton of this set,
what it boils down to is a straightforward box...
So it's a vertical line that drops down to the bottom.
Join that line next.
OK, and then join that and that with one line - bam!
..which can be described using just nine lines.
If you start doing 20 lines there,
suddenly we're going to have 400 lines describing the space.
-This is what happens!
Upstairs in Diana's studio, her artists
will tackle a set of the Van Gogh painting Bedroom In Arles.
Known to be one of Van Gogh's personal favourites,
his aim was to use his distinct colour palette
to bring out the simplicity of the room.
The lack of shadows and distorted perspective
make some of the objects appear unsteady.
-This is definitely a Van Gogh, isn't it?
Forget the artist, it's your vision. My vision...
Diana is demonstrating how to simplify composition
using the artistic concept of negative space.
What negative space is, it's the spaces
in-between the positive objects.
My positive objects that I'm seeing,
the bed and the window and the table.
She shades in the space between these objects.
Purely a background, but from there, you can start building in
the actual positive shapes on top of that.
Do you want to have a go doing that?
If you're working on a painting at home,
it's likely you'd draw the objects in front of you first.
But negative space is the empty space between the objects,
for example, the space between the bed and the chair.
If you shade it in,
it helps you place the objects correctly in your composition.
-So, you haven't finished your negative space yet.
Normally when you're drawing, you're thinking about
the positive, and that's where you kind of work from.
But this is actually really refreshing.
It's nice to work like this.
After the first challenge, which was horrendous for me,
I feel like this is going to be something that I can really...
really go forward with and hopefully do a really good job.
Alan, well done for not getting any paint on your shirt!
Armed with some new skills to put into practice,
the artists have the rest of the day to complete the challenge.
Composition is really important with this challenge,
so choose your canvas really carefully.
Their paintings will be judged on...
Perspective - making the room three-dimensional.
Composition - the arrangement of the items on the canvas.
And also their own personal vision.
Round canvas, anybody?
Maybe I should have the round one!
At the end of the challenge,
their work will feature in a public gallery viewing,
and the best painter will be chosen by the public
to get immunity from this week's elimination.
It's really daunting. I've no idea where to start, to be honest.
I'm hoping it's all going to come to me shortly!
Most of the artists are using their brush or pencil
as a tool to measure the items in their view
and transfer the dimensions onto their canvas.
Be careful when you do this, because sometimes
you might be like this, here,
and then other times, you might be like this.
If you're going to use this, you have to be in the right position
-I'm just trying to work out my perspective
with regards to eye line,
and then I'll let my imagination eventually stick in.
I just need a wee bit more time at the moment.
-You know when you did the drawing on the Tupperware lid.
You started with a very big vertical and I got you to
-reduce the vertical. I think the same thing's happened.
-It's too big, that vertical, isn't it?
-This bit is wrong,
-this bit is right.
Camilla runs a small B&B from her countryside home.
Her art is influenced by her community work and travel.
I just feel I can't do good paintings, or meaningful paintings,
unless I have an emotional tie to the subject matter.
Because I've never been taught properly, but at least...
it's a message, it's all I can do.
Clearly, Camilla loves paint. But there's also something else.
She has a bit of a rogue look in her eye,
so I'm keen to see how that develops.
A good night's sleep and some tips from Diana
have done Jennifer the world of good.
Hopefully, I'll get my perspective right
and then we're good to go from there, really,
so I'm just concentrating on it now,
just sketching it out and taking my time.
Though it seems Alan has lost his confidence.
I'm a bit confused as to what to do.
I think I'm just procrastinating, do you know what I mean?
I think... I think I just need to just...
just get on with it and stop...
stop fannying about.
Can't say "fanny", can I?
OK, everyone, remember, you might want to start off with a wash
and not spending ages doing a sketch.
Downstairs in Pascal's studio,
Lesley is thinking about how she's going to improve on yesterday.
Taking onboard people's comments and everything,
it was absolutely right, so I'm putting a bit more oomph into it.
-I want it to sing out a little bit more.
-How are you getting on?
I think much better than the last challenge.
-Painting alongside other painters.
That's wonderful. It's really lovely.
Cos you learn from their good bits,
and all of our areas are helping each other, I hope.
So, what do you want to get out of the process, Lesley?
I want to paint pictures that people pick up and say,
"Oh, that's a Lesley." It's not a, "Who did that?"
-A picture of the you-ness of you?
-Well, that will be lovely.
If I move one inch, your whole angle changes.
-It's a lot calmer today.
-Yeah, it is.
-After...the initial thing.
We're now two hours into
this six-hour challenge, and all of the canvases
are at very different stages.
-How's it going?
Getting there. I think I'm behind everybody else,
which is a bit worrying, but, you know...
I mean, you say that, but what I'm seeing in this picture
is a degree of organisation
that seems to be ahead of everybody else.
Is that typical of you?
Maybe I'm getting carried away too much with the technical side of it.
That's the problem.
50-year-old David is a former astrophysicist
and has recently revisited his love of art.
I have a PhD, which was done
at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge.
I do have a scientific approach to art.
It can be, I suppose, quite analytical sometimes.
I'm not a random... see-how-it-goes person.
Whether people like my analytical process to some of the works I do,
I don't know, but it's me.
So, clearly, David has technical understanding and technical ability,
but I'm hoping I can also bring out a creative side to him as well.
They're now halfway through, and all of the artists
have plotted out their composition and perspective.
But what's also important is their interpretation of the space.
It's very difficult for me as their mentor
to tell them what their artistic vision should be.
We've got five artists painting the same thing.
They need to differentiate themselves from each other,
and the way to do that is through their own artistic vision.
What I'm trying to get in terms of my vision is the fact
that it's a cramped, damp...bit of a miserable room,
which is how I see it, and that blue doesn't really lend itself to that.
I'm just wondering whether to get rid of the blue completely.
I need to make a decision and do it pretty quickly, really.
Alan's really hesitant. Like the last challenge, he's nervous.
He did say to me, "I want to lose control."
So he's trying to find that balance at the moment.
We were told to start with negative shape,
which... Maybe getting slightly out of my depth, but I'm really going to
-fight myself to do it.
-Is that out of your comfort zone?
-I know yesterday you were talking
about wanting to break free.
And the fact that the things to draw yesterday was a nightmare.
I have to say, it looked very complicated.
I thought they threw you in at the deep end.
Well, Richard and I are just doing a few sketches downstairs.
-We may reveal them before the end of the series.
Try our still life from yesterday.
-And we'll judge it later.
I can't go anywhere near that. I can just about do the window, maybe.
-But just flat with no perspective.
That's looking great. I'll talk to you later. Thanks.
Jennifer is using a rather unusual method
to give her canvas a personal touch.
I use hair because it attaches the paint to some sections
and it lets the other paint flow off it.
So, between using inks, acrylics and emulsions,
it kind of has a freestyle, kind of more relaxed flow about it.
Jennifer, if she wants to succeed,
we can't have a repeat of Challenge One.
We're more than halfway through now.
All we're seeing is a background.
Some exciting textures. But they don't fit the criteria.
I've just put this extra blue on, which is what I wanted to do.
And then the dribbles started coming down really badly.
-In terms of the drips...
-You're clearly not happy.
-No, I'm not. I don't like those drips at all.
-Don't have to hide it.
The more you build it up, the more layers of paint you put on there,
you'll see a trace of them...
But you won't be focusing...
But they'll be ghostly, though. It's almost like a trace.
It's almost like a memory of something that was there.
-Oh, I see. Oh, yeah.
-So think about your memory.
I don't know how it's all going to pan out.
I'm well and truly lost with it.
I think we can agree that the perspective is much better
and it's starting to work.
I can see a lot of things that aren't working.
Me, too, but generally I think it's...
-Overall, I think you've got it.
So, Camilla's doing really well now.
It's looking accurate and successful, and she's learning
and she's growing, which is great.
Pascal may be happy
with Camilla's progress, but he's clearly worried
-David, let's have a talk.
-That sounds ominous.
What's your strategy going to be for finishing this?
Do you have one?
Yeah, but it's not... You're kind of implying that there's a global thing
I should be aiming for.
I keep doing small steps, seeing what I do and I see what...
Be brave and be experimental. Small steps and small dabs
are not experimental - they're safe.
Well, not necessarily, because you can
end up with random events which take you off in a different direction.
It's like chaos theory. You know, a little deviation
can lead you off in a completely different avenue.
Not in six hours.
-Not in this painting.
For me, a vision is something that every artist
needs to be talking about.
That's what he needs to focus on,
and I'm not sure he quite understands it.
You had a bit of a rough time with the judges
on the first challenge.
Have you got their voices ringing in your ears?
Or have you blocked them out?
No, I've blocked them out with Diana's voice,
cos she's totally been here with us,
just saying, "You can do this, you have got style.
"Just keep true to yourself."
So, something like this set-up, this room here,
is that something that you feel a natural affinity with,
something that you feel, "Oh, yes, I can do this, I can cope with this"?
-Or would it be outside...
-..your comfort zone?
100% outside my comfort zone.
I think these challenges have been massive
in terms of the way I paint and how I can bring myself to it.
But all the straight lines are a massive challenge for me.
I'm feeling a lot more confident.
And a lot more expressive. A lot more like myself.
Which is great.
Cos the more I feel like that,
then the more I want to push things, or try to, or experiment.
I really like the way Suman's handling this exercise.
She's got a really good attitude.
I'm not really worried about the final outcome with her.
Following his chat with Pascal, David has been
struggling to find a way to apply his vision to his canvas.
I couldn't latch on to the point Pascal was making,
so I don't know, it just... made me a bit frustrated.
So this is what I'm doing now. I'm going to do this dabbing technique,
cos I can use the opacity of the paints, and hopefully
it'll have the impact that I want,
because I'm committed - I can't do anything else.
It's either going to work or it's not.
Lesley has left her bedroom free-floating,
but Pascal has other ideas.
I would work on
drawing some verticals and some background.
-This needs... This set, I think,
needs to be grounded, I want to see it standing on the floor.
OK. Yeah. I can do that.
Jennifer has spent most of her time
getting abstract textures onto the canvas.
But now she's struggling with the objects in the room, like the chair.
Can you help me with something, please?
Just the chair that I'm kind of... can't figure out.
So you have to forget, "Oh, it's a chair. What does a chair look like?"
-Just look at it and draw the lines.
Now you have to be really refined
-You're not this at the minute.
-Yeah. I've got this.
We've got an hour and 20 minutes left.
Start thinking about refinement.
Alan is in need of a last-minute helping hand
Fill in all your negative spaces, OK? Finish things off.
-Clean it up.
-Clean it up. Clean it up.
I'm honestly not sure if I've got enough time to get
where I want to get - probably not.
Artists, you've got half an hour left.
Think about using that time. Some of you need to stop.
Some of you need to work twice as fast as you have been.
Are you one of those people that needs to work twice as fast,
or are you one of those people that needs to stop?
-I need to stop!
-OK, so stop.
It's looking so good.
I'm so happy that you've gone right the way to the edge of the canvas.
Yeah, I thought that was good...
But I'm going to leave you alone, and just finish this.
You know how you've used this colour...
-Do the same to this.
-The blue or the red?
-That brown, red, to here, yeah.
Because we can still see outlines in pencil mark,
-but it's not as defined as it could be.
I don't think I've achieved what I set out...what I set out to do.
What I've actually done
is created a bit of a boring picture, although...
you know, I wouldn't have it on my wall, so that's my barometer.
Pascal suggested that it looked as though
it was floating on a blank canvas.
My aim was to have it floating
so that it was almost an ethereal bedroom.
Rightly or wrongly, I've ignored his advice on this one.
A bit of rebellion there!
That's it, painters, brushes down, please step away from your easels.
Judgment is nigh!
-I think at the end of this process,
I would like to take this one home.
No, mine's not, either.
-Are you exhausted, Lesley?
-Yes, totally. Are you?
Wiped out, yeah.
I could never have done this perspective without Pascal.
Make-up, hair and make-up!
Oh, so sweaty now! Sorry.
Before the judges give us their verdict...
each week, an exhibition will take place,
allowing members of the public
to decide which is their favourite painting.
This week's group are from the British Interiors and Textiles Association.
What I find interesting is how everybody sees things differently.
You know, so they've painted the same subject
and it's a completely different handle on each one, isn't it?
For some of our artists, it's the very first time their work
has been seen by anyone other than their family and friends.
They're all quite simple, and then there's that one.
People are saying it's unfinished,
-but I don't think so.
-No, I think...
Another brush stroke and I think they'd have ruined it.
-It's almost like he's covered it in hair or pulled it off.
I'm trying to work out whether this is intentional, these drips,
or if she's had a bit of a wet brush dripping down.
But I think they're meant to be there.
I feel like they've kind of... It's not gone right
and they've just kind of had to fill in areas. It looks unconfident to me, that.
It almost feels like whoever painted this
-likes to be the centre of attention.
It's an illusion. Yeah.
-I'd have that one on my wall.
The members of the public
now have to select their favourite painting.
And the artist with the most votes will be saved from going home.
But before we find out who is safe,
our judges, Daphne, David and Lachlan,
will give their thoughts on the finished paintings.
It's like a team of doctors heading for you, it's terrifying!
First up, Pascal's artists.
I think you've really taken on the brief, David,
and to put your own sense of vision into it,
and you've clearly done that.
I think it's a very intelligent painting.
This is like walking into Club Tropicana!
I mean, the colours are exploding everywhere.
Is this something new for you?
No, this is my second attempt at this sort of painting.
My mentor spurred me on to try something different.
I can't remember a negative comment to it,
so I thought it was absolutely phenomenal, really.
Does my confidence the world of good.
Suman, I think you've come on leaps and bounds.
We see this rich use of colour here, on the under part on the bed.
You've used this technique to give a sense of control
in relation to the work, which really guides the eye.
Camilla, I think it's quite interesting,
the way that you've offset the composition.
However, you've got a lot of... I think it's black paint.
For me, it's dulling it down.
I think, Camilla, you were intimidated a little bit by this set.
-You've been tentative and tight.
Lesley, it's very blocky.
We're getting these blocks of colour, so we're not getting
a sense of subtlety or the mix of colours that we could have.
You've got to be much more sensitive to how you're dealing with
the design of the whole, so how you relate
these very important edges
to the edge of your canvas really, really should matter.
I deliberately didn't paint the canvas because I wanted it on a canvas.
If you like, the canvas was part of the message I was trying to
get across, which obviously I didn't!
Ruaridh, this is a haunting painting, isn't it?
It's like a death in the Travelodge!
I've stayed in hotel rooms like this. They're a killer!
And the reason that we can feel our way
into that sort of uneasy narrative
is because of the way that you've controlled your palette.
Now it's Diana's artists.
Oh, Jimmy, this is lovely. I really like it.
It's warm and inviting and personable.
The perspective isn't at all bad,
I think it holds together terribly well.
Maud, I think that there are clear issues of perspective.
The chair is all over the shop, so is the table in the background.
And if we're going to forgive that,
it's because you do give the whole image a jaunty sense of movement.
I don't know how you've made this texture
that you've got into the paint...
sort of hairiness, but it's incredibly effective of suggesting
dreams and sort of ephemeral angst.
I think that these little areas are less successful,
but not so much so that they detract from the overall painting.
What is it? How have you made these little scratchy marks?
I use hair. Hair extensions.
Your own hair? You pull your hair out?
Hair exten...? That's a first! Daphne, get onto hair extensions,
we're going to work... with our next move.
What kind of atmosphere were you trying to put into this painting yourself?
I was trying to make it a bit gloomy
and somewhere you probably wouldn't want to be.
Well, I definitely don't want to be there.
I can see the intention of gloom,
and I think that side of it is successful,
but I think your composition
needs to be worked on, it wasn't successful in the end.
In terms of observation, I think you've got quite a long way to go.
I don't really like the end result, but it was...
You know, it's a learning experience.
Angela, this has got some very engaging aspects to it.
You've got quite a light touch, which I find very charming.
When we have a look at the floorboards, we get this...
brushwork, and then you accentuate it with these drips,
and I think that's an incredibly successful choice to have made.
The vision is there.
Well, thank you, all, and thank you, Diana,
because I couldn't have done it without her.
You painted it. You know, you painted it!
-And that's why we have mentors.
Great artists do make mistakes, and her mistakes, her anxieties,
worked in her favour at that end. It was brilliant for her to hear that.
Well, the judges have had their say.
Now it's time to let the people speak.
The person the panel chose
Having the public saying good things about my work,
and the judges, is just second to none.
Like, it is the best feeling in the world.
We know who's definitely going through next week.
So, judges, a very tough decision for you to make.
'The judges will now decide which artist to send home.'
Overall, it's such a difficult task deciding between these people,
who have taken onboard these challenges
in such restricted circumstances.
Alan's an interesting problem, I think.
He was able to paint the folds on that very difficult cloth
almost better than anyone else. They were sculptural.
I was very taken by his first painting,
but I was desperately unimpressed by the second one.
It was disappointing, yes.
Deeply disappointing, I thought, the second attempt.
There's something about light that he just
can't deal with at the moment.
But can we talk about Lesley?
I wasn't entirely convinced by Lesley's second painting.
But that bed was treated so wimpishly
and the perspective was just not there.
And that outside shape relating to the rectangle of the canvas,
-that didn't work, did it?
-It didn't work.
It wasn't considered sufficiently.
Camilla is a painter's painter.
You can see that she enjoys that application of paint on the canvas.
-She did that in the first.
-She did in the first one.
In the second one, I didn't think it was as good in the second one.
-Somehow, she seemed restricted.
The first painting, with the teddy bear,
it was muddy and it was crude and it didn't work for me.
The second painting, I liked the off-kilter composition,
-and it was a statement.
I think we've talked our way to a decision here
and we seem to be in agreement.
So, Lachlan, can you please let us know your decision?
Well, it has genuinely been excruciating to make this decision,
particularly because we've seen so little of all your work.
Now, this artist has shown great sensitivity,
taken many risks with their work, and I know and I'm sure
that they're going to continue testing themselves and enjoying
the great pleasure that can be derived from creating paintings.
Someone's got to leave, and the artist that's going this week is...
-What a shame!
-I think it was written in the stars!
-You did really well.
I'd sort of kind of realised when I was listening to judges' comments,
that this might be on the cards, and I got myself ready,
had a chocolate bar...
I was very disappointed, because I felt like with a little bit more time,
she could have really developed and gone somewhere,
so I think it's very unfair to go in the first week.
I'm really sad to see Lesley go.
She clearly has great sensitivity.
Lesley's talent lies in her very delicate touch.
Where she fell down was in trying to cope with the larger issues
of perspective and composition.
Lesley has a lot of momentum in her work,
and it's what's brought her this far.
She must never give up.
I feel really sorry that I'm going.
I think my artistic identity doesn't...
It can't be found within a still life.
And so I'm still roaming about, looking for it.
And if anybody finds it, please let me know!
Next week on The Big Painting Challenge...
The conditions are a wee bit challenging!
It's like having a tap running on your canvas.
There's just, like, water everywhere!
My painting is dissolving in front of me!
Right, let's start again.
Do you honestly think every brilliant artist starts doing it like this?
Mariella Frostrup and Rev Richard Coles host a competition in which amateur artists compete against one another. Each episode sees the contestants face two challenges, with a mentor to help guide the way, before a panel of judges scrutinise their work and send one of the artists home.
In this episode the artists are taking on still life. The first challenge sees them facing a table laden with objects. The mentors, Diana Ali and Pascal Anson, demonstrate some handy tips.
In the second challenge the artists have to tackle still life on a much larger scale. Half of them must tackle a set based on Vincent van Gogh's Bedroom in Arles painting, and the other half must interpret Roy Lichtenstein's Interior with Waterlilies. Wrestling with oil paint, sightlines and proportions, the artists set out to express their artistic personalities on canvas.
At a private viewing the results are seen by members of the public, who can give their favourite artist an automatic pass through to the next round. Then it is up to the judges, Lachlan Goudie, Daphne Todd and Dr David Dibosa, to deliver their verdicts and decide which of them will be sent home.