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Welcome to The Big
Painting Challenge, the show that celebrates all those
who have a passion for painting.
We've found ten enthusiastic amateur artists
to join our artistic boot camp.
Are you looking forward to being painted by this lot?
Very much, yes.
They're hoping to hone their skills...
You're going to start painting with these mops.
..in a series of increasingly difficult artistic challenges.
Along the way, they'll be supported and guided by their two mentors,
Pascal Anson, an artist and designer and guest lecturer
at the Royal College of Art...
A good artist is somebody who's a troublemaker.
Right, let's start again.
OK, everyone pick up your bamboo sticks.
..and Diana Ali, art educator, curator and artist.
'It's really important for an artist to be experimental'
and then make their work exciting.
Our artists will need to impress the judges, to avoid being sent home.
Last week, landscapes got the better of Maud
and Jennifer won the public vote for the second time.
But the pressure's on for all eight artists
if they want to remain in The Big Painting Challenge.
This week, it's animal antics
and our eight remaining artists
will be getting up close and personal
with some of nature's most exotic beasts.
We're at the zoo!
I can't believe it, I've seen three rhinos
and I'm really excited!
You'd think I don't get out at home.
I do genuinely get out, but this is just... This is class.
It's brilliant being here. I really like animals.
I just hope to God they've had a good dinner
and they're laying still or something for a while!
Our artists will be guided, but occasionally goaded,
by their two mentors.
This week, I hope the artists take lot more risks,
because they're working with a subject they don't deal with,
so hopefully it's going to really get them out of their comfort zone.
Painting animals is really difficult. It's really challenging.
The animals move and you can't control them,
so you need to work really quickly.
'I did try to paint our two greyhounds once,'
and both my children just said,
"Mum, that's awful! Scrub it."
Welcome back. You've had a couple of weeks now
working with your mentors and gaining insights from the judges.
We've bought you to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.
The challenge is two-fold.
First of all, we want you to capture a flamingo...
-on canvas only.
The judges will be along in a couple of hours.
Mentors, kindly make your way towards the wild side.
Diana and Pascal each have four artists left in their teams.
OK, everybody, we've got these incredible animals to paint today.
You've got two hours for this challenge.
Try and get a lot of information from sketching -
about the shape that they are, the form that they are. Let's go.
The flamingos are putting me on edge with their squawking.
Think about movement of your paintbrushes to get energy in there.
OK? Good luck.
Painting something that's alive is a bit daunting.
It might look a bit flat
and it might look like a school child's done it.
I once tried swans and gave up
but this is far, far, far more interesting.
As ever, it's our judges who the artists will need to impress.
Daphne Todd OBE, a former winner of the BP Portrait Award...
We're asking them to paint a very jolly subject, flamingos.
Wonderful, pink, lively creatures, with their extraordinary necks.
You know, all sorts of interesting observations to make.
Award-winning figurative painter Lachlan Goudie...
I'm looking for the artist to give me a sense of
the life of this animal.
The fact that it's moving, it's got a character.
And art historian and researcher, Doctor David Dibosa.
Think about accuracy of observation.
It's all too easy to use cliches,
but to actually look at a flamingo and how one might turn that into
a convincing painting, that's very difficult, indeed.
Renaissance artists, like Albrecht Durer
and Leonardo da Vinci, studied animals
with an almost scientific approach.
Animal painting was a specialist skill.
Even masters like Rubens collaborated
with experts, to add fur and feathers
to their masterpieces.
These artists were known as animaliers.
I haven't actually painted a live animal before.
It'll be interesting to see how that develops.
They're really colourful and bright
and a little bit more aggressive than I remember them being.
They're just moving too fast.
They've gone from here to over there in five minutes.
Unless you've got photographic memory,
it's very difficult to capture that.
This week, David is considering ditching the dots,
for a different approach.
There probably won't be pointillism, we'll see!
I'm going to go for a more realistic style of painting today
with these, I think.
Camilla has decided to get stuck in to her painting.
I don't want to waste endless time sketching the flamingos.
I'd rather almost get the thing mapped out.
'With Camilla, she tends to ignore the things
'that she doesn't like confronting.'
I'm really hoping that the difficulties here,
which is about the animals moving, doesn't, kind of, overwhelm her.
What's your strategy for dealing with this?
Well, this is the kind of background of that,
and I'm just working on the colouring,
and then I'm going to put the pink... Penguins!
The pink penguins in here.
Because I want to work on the reflections,
that's what I wanted to do.
Remember you're not painting a pond.
-What is it?
-It's a flamingo.
-So, a pond is not going to give you...
..observational accuracy and spark of life.
Suman has decided on a composition of just one flamingo.
It's, kind of, a gamble just doing one, I guess,
but it was just a really nice pose that I was able to capture.
I'm doing my usual, where I make sure the drawing's perfect,
then I'll put it through onto the canvas
and then I'll plot all the colours down.
Suman is a very meticulous and careful painter.
Capturing one is quite a smart move,
because it means that she could get some texture and she could get some
shape and form in one painting,
rather than painting several of them.
On Diana's side of the pond, Angela, the least experienced painter,
is struggling to get started.
I'm still not knowing what on earth to say to you,
because I don't know what I'm doing.
But get stuck into it now, I think, is the thing.
Be brave. Put pencil to paper.
At home, her favourite subject is animal and dog portraits,
but the flamingos have got her flummoxed.
To be honest, the animals that I've painted before...
If you can get their eye right, then you can bring them alive.
Now, with a flamingo, you actually can't see their eyes, at all.
It is down to some real light brush strokes over the top of them,
to try and create that feathery feeling.
I've got that feathery feeling in my belly at the minute,
because I've got the butterflies!
I'm a bit worried about getting life into the bird.
So, if you think about blending in paint,
if it's all blended in it's quite smooth, it's quite calm, isn't it?
-So, the spark of life would be something
a bit more quick moving. So, think about your mark making.
'Well, I've just done my base colour.
'I, kind of, want to keep that real acidity, but,'
then still try and remember that the brief's about
observation and not about colour,
so I'm working to the brief and putting in my, kind of, style on it.
Yeah, I think that's dirty enough.
Jennifer needs to stop and actually think about the criteria even more
this week. Expressive as she is, she needs do a lot more looking.
Oh, look at his wee head in his foot!
Weird, weird angle.
They're quick sketches, so don't think about making this right.
Not straight lines, like this.
They are not made of rectangles.
I'm just popping a layer of charcoal on the back of this drawing,
so that I can transfer it accurately.
Suman traces her drawing of the bird onto the canvas.
And it should transfer over.
The drawing is really the most important part.
And it hasn't worked.
Well, we'll just draw it on.
Ruaridh is pulling out all the stops with a vivid palette of pinks.
My aim is colour. I have to focus on that because
there's lots to work with and it looks beautiful.
So, it's making sure that that pinkness of the flamingo stands out.
No, I'm quite confident in myself and my ability
and I know that I can do it, so I'm just going for it.
It's half-time, already, artists.
One hour to go.
I'm just trying to get the bill right, cos that's quite difficult.
I don't want to get that wrong.
So, I keep having that image of Alice in Wonderland
where the queen's playing croquet with them!
As the challenge progresses, Jennifer wants to make sure
she's correctly observing her flamingos.
What's your feeling for these flamingos?
I'm just going to roll with what I can see
and, hopefully, it will look like a flamingo at the end.
I can't help but look at people's work and be like,
"Oh, God, what have I done?"
Would you like to be able to create a more realist image?
I know I want to. It's just getting that from my brain to my hand,
to make something realistic.
How's your flamingo scene going?
-I've hardly seen flamingos before.
-That's right, you're up in Scotland.
You don't get many flamingos walking down Sauchiehall Street,
I'll tell you. You get plenty of other animals walking down
Sauchiehall Street, but never flamingos!
I'll try to get some colour into this, in a minute or two,
because I'm going to get lots of contrast,
and one will zing against the other,
and I'll try and get some life into it.
-Oh, you're on a mission?
-I'm on a mission.
-You're on a mission.
-I'm on a mission.
-Well, I wish you luck with that mission.
Jimmy may be pinning his hopes on colour,
but David is showing unusual restraint.
The technique, it's like a pen and ink drawing.
I'm doing black-and-white and then applying the colours on top.
I'll see where I get to. I may run out of time, as well.
It looks like you're not doing what you have done in the past,
-which is put on blobs of paint...
-I may yet.
You never know, do you?
I'd like to get more of the criteria right in this particular session.
Is time an issue? You look like you're not as far advanced
-as some of the others.
-Well, I spent more time doing the drawing,
that's one of the issues.
How about the flamingos, have they behaved themselves?
No, they haven't. Can you sort them out for me?
-I'll do my very best.
-Put a word in.
With 30 minutes to go before brushes down,
there's a flurry of flamingo finessing.
Alan, just be careful of the face. Can you actually see it?
Does it look like that or are you assuming it?
So just be careful, because we don't want it looking too cartoony.
Yeah, yeah. I don't think it's far off.
You "don't think"? You need to be certain, mate.
It's quite a difficult subject to be that accurate on,
especially when it's moving.
I think the judges would say,
"Camilla, I don't think you've done much observation here."
Just trying to put in some detail,
because I think I've definitely lost a bird in here somewhere.
If you've lost the bird, how's the viewer going to find them?
Oh, no, I haven't lost them. I know where they are.
-But what about the viewer?
Because you can probably see with your head.
-But you can't?
-I can't see it.
-That's fine. Right, OK.
Definition, quite a big thing that's missing at the minute.
With 20 minutes to go, Ruaridh is concerned about his painting.
When I sit back and look at it, I feel like so far it's not working.
Do something radical to this, to move it on.
It looks very flat, very static and not animated.
I think it's about your energy, in relation to your canvas
and those living creatures.
-Yeah, yeah, I agree.
15 minutes, everybody.
My plan is to use my knife and scrape
and try to bring a bit of life to it.
Yeah, we've got 15 minutes left, so I'm now in panic mode.
Just trying to push out the colour, with a wee bit of darker tone.
I'm hoping I'm not destroying it.
I'm using some acrylic markers to add some highlights to the birds.
I think it's fairly obvious that it's flamingos.
I think there's some movement in there, but it looks a scruffy mass.
You've got some on your forehead!
I just wanted a decent bird and I think I've done a decent bird,
so that'll do for now.
Time's up, everybody. Step away from the easels.
OK, everyone, time's up.
The judges are on their way.
That was one I wanted a bit more time for.
It is the most I've seen him stressed out.
It's slightly unnerving.
-Is it awful, now?
-Yeah, I really hate it.
Oh, shut up, Pascal!
It's only a painting. Someone will think you'll have a heart attack.
Never, ever say, "It's only a painting."
Will the finished flamingos get our judges in a flap?
Pascal's proteges are the first
to find out, starting with Ruaridh.
Ruaridh, this is not a subtle painting,
but I do think it has got energy and it's got life.
I think that these flamingos do look rather over-pinked,
but what's extraordinary about when you look at the real flamingos
is that they're so orange
and that's not coming out of your painting, at all.
But what is coming out of it is this endless, constant movement.
They're moving around, they're squawking, they're boisterous
and in the texture that you've given - the ruffled feathers,
I can feel that.
Well, Suman, you've done a lot of work here
in this short space of time.
It is a portrait and, by deciding you're going to do a portrait,
we get a sense of a character, to give it the spark of life,
which is a thing that we were really looking for in relation to the work.
Camilla, I think your observation lets you down.
I got quite excited with the observation of other things
-other than the birds, to be honest.
-Yes, you observed the colour.
I was trying to do this and this.
I would have gone back and worked on the birds a lot more,
given more time, but....
I'm not sure you would, really, because I think
you go for that total effect and it may be that, really, to progress,
you just need to hold back and really look.
'I can't say my observation of the flamingos was good.'
No, it was poor, but I do consider my observation
of the overall surroundings, in two hours,
it was satisfactory, for me.
David, this has the kind of quality of almost a Chinese wood print
or a watercolour. There's a nice elegance to it.
And I did notice this flash of purple,
as if you just couldn't help yourself.
A bit of purple came out...
"I'll stop it, I'll stop now, I'll stop now..."
But I think you've done a nice job, an elegant job.
You've gone for a very cool approach here,
which I like very much, because in the past,
we've seen you do all kinds of visual pyrotechnics
with your pointillist techniques and those colours
that you've used and, here, you've decided to keep it calm.
I find it a bit too muted for my taste.
It was difficult to restrain myself but I realised they wanted something
more realistic and accurate so, at this point,
just keep the judges happy.
Now, it's Diana's disciples in the spotlight.
Angela, your flamingos for me are full of life, they're moving around,
they're preening themselves. They're perhaps not all that accurately
observed, I think. They're slightly cotton-woolly.
Look perhaps a little more closely at your subject
-in the next challenge.
Well studied, well observed, but you need to work on that problem
of the flatness of your approach, to make the whole thing more vital.
You're alive, they're alive. Bring it to life.
Sorry, Alan, but I don't think they're well observed, at all.
I don't really think that you've observed the sort of shapes
that these particular birds make with their necks.
It looks to me as though you've had an idea of the shape
and you've then coloured it in.
Jimmy, you're playing to your strengths
with all this lovely, rich colour.
I think you've got lots of energy.
There is vitality in the image, particularly in this flamingo here.
This one here, not so good, and the chaps in the background look like
we're in a kind of fairground, we're going to shoot them all down.
They're all bunched up together.
Well, Jennifer, we've got your signature here with this work.
That playfulness of colour is something
that brings us to the painting, but for me, it's where the painting
starts and where it ends, I'm afraid.
I've got the sense that you want to bring something of your own thoughts
and ideas to your work and, actually, this is an opportunity
for you to step back and observe.
I'm sorry, Jennifer, but I struggle to find good points in this painting
because the worst thing about it, and I'm sorry to say it,
but it's the lack of observation.
They just look like little lumps...
and you really need to see the colours that are out there
and the shapes that are out there
and tell us something about what you've seen.
That was fully cut to the bone, brutal, there, like,
especially when you think you've done something that's half decent.
But you see, I think the craic is that they can't see what I'm seeing,
so in the next challenge I am going
to smash it and they're going to know
what they're looking at, because I will take in every single detail
on that brief and I will put it in my painting...
Well, the flamingos may have got you in a flap,
but the next challenge is elephantine in difficulty,
because you are going to be painting
those great, big, wise giants, the elephants.
The judges are going to be looking for your sense of scale -
how big they are in relation to everything else.
We want texture, the wrinkle of an elephant's skin,
and of course, we want the spark of life. We want to see elephants,
we want to hear elephants, Mariella wants to smell elephants.
The judges will deliver their verdicts,
as will our public viewing panel
and whoever they choose will, of course,
be catapulted through to next week.
Unfortunately, Diana can't be with us for this challenge,
but Pascal is here to help and support you.
You have the whole day ahead of you, so let's get cracking.
Elephants. Flipping elephants!
How do you make it not look like Dumbo?
Yeah, I thought they would be grey,
they're actually a, kind of, browny-grey.
Different colour. A lot darker than I thought they'd be,
-And they're fairly hairy, aren't they?
-How can you tell them apart?
It's just like, how do you make something massive and grey look like
anything other than a rock?
I think I might find this a bit of a challenge.
Most of my work is soft and flowing.
This is a heavy, solid animal. This is going to be a nightmare.
Before the artists gets started on their paintings,
Pascal has an exercise, to help them focus.
Right, team. So, we're going to work on your observational skills.
Something that's so important for every amateur artist is to look for
90% of the time and draw for 10% of the time.
So, you're going to be looking for 60 seconds and you're going to be
drawing for six or seven seconds.
Right, so I'm looking at the shape of the back of the elephant.
Back legs, the underneath and then the shape of the head. I'm trying to
make the brush, kind of, describe that.
That's all I want you to do.
If you want to improve your accuracy,
this exaggerated observation exercise -
where you look for nine times as long as you paint - could help.
OK, is everybody ready?
-Right, your 60 seconds of looking starts now.
'It might feel strange to start with...'
Is this helping me with observation?
'..but the more you look, the better your accuracy will be.'
And your seven seconds starts now.
So, has it started?
Yeah, oh, yeah, started ages ago.
Five, six, seven, stop.
Stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop.
OK, no matter what that looks like, I don't care what it looks like,
just unclip it and put it behind you.
Not an elephant, anyway.
-I literally don't know what's the front and back of the elephant!
We have to look again now.
OK, everybody, round two, start looking.
60 seconds starts now.
'For the next 15 minutes...'
Lots of lovely looking, please.
'..Pascal drills the artists.
Oh, my God, we've only got bums.
Shall we just do bums?
'..followed by seven-second paintings.'
Six, seven, stop.
-Stop, stop, stop, stop.
-Oh, my God, it goes through so quick.
That's a good backside.
I'm getting into this, Pascal.
Back-ends are easier.
Yes, nice, good, good, good.
This will help make your brushstrokes more descriptive
and you'll find that, with so little time, every mark has to count.
That was just brilliant. I really, really enjoyed doing that.
It's going to make it a bit looser and freer,
which is the thing that I need,
because I think my paintings are rigid.
With their observation skills firmly honed,
it's time for the artists to get stuck into the challenge.
OK, everybody, the challenge starts now.
After an inspiring exercise from Pascal,
the artists are keen to spend enough time sketching their subject.
I'm trying to take on board what Pascal was saying about
observation and just making a rough plan as to where I'm going to lay
all the colours down and where I'm going to try and get the texture.
I'm really intrigued by the trunk,
so I think it's going to be in the forefront.
I've spent more time observing this time, because that was one of my bad
comments for challenge one.
I've also written down things like, "That's the sandy area,"
"Tufty bits on its ears,"
and they're not as Dumbo-like as I thought.
The artists have five hours to complete their paintings and fulfil
the brief set by the judges.
We're looking for them to really capture the, kind of, wrinkly,
crinkly texture of these elephants.
We want a sense of physicality and scale.
These are big beasts. I don't want transparent animals.
I want animals that are going to
thunder out of the canvas towards me.
To move away from a cartoonish effect
to something that's convincing
is going to be a real challenge.
They are sometimes at distance from
the artists and sometimes they're close to
the artists, but they can only do one painting.
So, they're going to have to make a selection of how to bring
out the character, how to bring out
the massiveness of these particular animals.
The size and the weight of this beast is really
what I'm trying to capture.
It's going to be big and heavy and strong.
The artists must decide how many elephants to include
in their painting.
I'm doing this big, bad boy here, eating his hay.
He's about to finish, so I'd better hurry up a bit.
How many are you going to paint?
I'm just going to do one, at the moment.
But I want to try and get an impression of their size.
Right. Imagine that this was the canvas.
And you could do that, then.
Bursting out the canvas, so it doesn't even fit in.
-I just love that.
You don't feel that would be a bit contrived?
Have a go at doing that. I think it would be really brilliant.
Well, I'll draw it out and see if I feel convinced by it.
This challenge, the artists are faced with the crucial decision
of which size canvas to go for.
I would go up a scale, to that massive canvas,
so that you can't stand there this far away from the canvas. Shut up!
You'll have to get a bit more gestural,
which is, I think, what you need to do, really.
If I crash and burn, are you going to help me with this?
It weighs more than me!
I'm freaking out. I'm freaking out. Oh, my God!
It's going to be really sweeping marks and quite gestural.
I've never worked this large before.
I think it'll be a really big challenge.
I want the elephant to cover round about here.
With the addition of, possibly, a baby elephant.
I don't know if there'll be enough room, though, that's the thing.
Don't confuse scale with size.
The elephants are big in size, but don't automatically assume that
a big canvas is a way to create big scale.
It's just a big canvas.
See, now that you explain that to me,
at first, I didn't look at it that way.
I thought, "Big canvas, that can be the only way."
OK. So, you're doing its bum.
Maybe I can get more texture in, to concentrate on the skin more,
and the heaviness.
Pascal is worried the viewer's eye level is too high
for that of an elephant.
The danger, I think, with that, at the moment,
is it doesn't look heavy enough.
I think it looks a bit like a cow.
And a cow is much more human scale, isn't it?
So, there's your eye level.
-I think by extending this and making that bigger...
-It makes it a bit heavier.
After her indistinguishable fluffy flamingos,
Jennifer is concerned she needs to create a recognisable elephant.
I feel like I have a lot to prove, but I'm hoping that,
through just observation, texture, I can maybe pull it together.
She glues down hair, which she will then drip ink over and allow to dry.
When she removes it later,
the imprint left behind will create a textured effect.
The hair is back.
I feel like this is my lucky hair now, because I got really good
results with the challenge the last time.
Suman's enjoying trying out
new techniques on her super-sized canvas.
I'm just using solvent straight onto that toned bit that I did.
I think it will help the texture.
When you put it on, it just whips off and I like the mark making,
I've done it before with charcoal,
but not with solvent, so this is new.
How are you going to use this texture? Are you going to use it
-as a description of the skin?
So, what I'm hoping is, because I've put darker ink in,
the ink will attach to the hair, which will create lines.
I'd try and make it, so it's a bit more descriptive
and not just this, kind of, superficial layer slapped on
as an effect.
Think about the edge of the animal and think about how the skin kind of
goes across the head or across the back.
And you can use that to paint the background over this line,
to scribe that trunk.
It doesn't fill me with joy.
After following Pascal's advice on scale,
David is still sceptical about the composition.
It just feels like I'm making a big deal of it being stuck to the edge.
Looks a bit too art-schooly to me!
He decides to start again on another canvas.
We're nearly an hour through.
Seeing how far everybody else is, that's not great.
David's not the only one doubting his painting.
It's the first time in the competition
I haven't felt comfortable, to be honest.
I'm just stuck in a dilemma.
Should I start again or carry on and see how it develops?
I feel like the scale is right, the composition is there,
but my instincts are telling me, no, there's something not right.
-To be honest,
I'm finding it difficult to answer that question.
I've got a bad feeling about it.
I don't know what it is.
I think, with this challenge in particular, there's two things.
We're very, very used to seeing animals in picture books
And I think this is heading towards
a romantic fairy tale...
..picture, rather than a painting
about elephants and really observing
characteristics of elephants.
Yeah, I think I'm going to have to get rid of this.
Whilst Ruaridh goes back to the drawing board...
..Jimmy is trying to crack the colour of the elephant's skin.
I'm using oil paints because of the vibrancy and identity of colour.
Acrylics dry too quickly.
This, you can move about.
I'm using cobalt blue and cadmium orange,
to make some lovely brownie-greys
just now. But it's a brownie grey or a grey-grey.
I'd always imagined that elephants were grey,
but they're not grey, at all, especially these ones.
Having had a good stab at painting number two,
David has to decide which one to proceed with.
I wish I'd done this a little bit bigger, but I feel happier with...
this approach. I can go forward.
I find it difficult to know where to go with that. So...
I really need to get on with one of them.
I think it's going to be this one.
The artists have all been inspired
by Pascal's pre-challenge tips on brush strokes.
Usually, I'm like this.
This, I'm really sweeping.
Trying to not overcomplicate things.
I'm, kind of, using directional strokes for the skin.
It's working on the trunk,
but on the back of the legs, I'm not really sure.
So, it's looking a bit blocky at the minute.
Every time I put a paint stroke on,
it's got to be in the direction that I want the skin folds to be in,
to try and tell a story of how the elephant is made up, really.
I must say, it is jolly hard, this elephant thing, to be honest.
Unlike the others, you've chosen an elephant in retreat,
which presents a rather arresting image to the viewer.
That's very polite way of putting it. So, you've chosen
the elephant's bum.
And the observational thing that the judges were talking about...
Do you feel that this is perhaps a better manifestation
-of the creature at hand?
-Well, not really.
I've got so much to do on it yet.
And your palette knife is out again.
How about that texture, that wrinkled texture?
Well, this is it. I'm just slowly working into it.
Like, just here, I'm beginning to work in the textures.
So, I'm just going to put on so much texture, literally,
and try and get it so the skin is just sagging down.
I'm trying to observe it, but it's not there.
Where are they? They've gone!
As she waits for the ink to dry,
Jennifer goes back to observing the focal point of her painting.
Just looking at the elephant's eye,
just to try and see what shape it is,
cos that will be quite a major part of mine, once it dries.
Ruaridh, how are you?
-I feel a lot better, now.
Definitely, compared to painting number one.
I'd be happy to see it burn.
Now, I'm playing catch up.
Ruaridh, you've made some big decisions under pressure.
Your first version, you had an elephant and a calf.
-Why did you lose the calf?
-I don't feel it's really reflecting
the elephants that are there. Now,
I'm looking at it as a real-life elephant.
I often say, a picture's never finished until you've had
-a major tantrum.
I'm trying not to panic and run away in tears.
I'll just have to focus on the task that's in front of me.
It's as simple as that.
The artists are approaching the halfway mark.
The painting here is starting to look so beautiful.
There's a lovely lightness of treatment, but it suggests kind of
weightiness. Don't overwork these.
Just keep them, kind of, as they are.
-More and more layers.
Of course I've got second thoughts!
I always have second thoughts. Third, fourth, fifth.
Just watch these marks round here. They're stopping there.
What's that's doing, it's flattening out the form.
Those marks should suggest that the flesh goes AROUND those thighs.
See if you can find the elephant.
Wow! Looks awesome.
-I really love the colour.
-This is the problem.
I don't think people can see what I'm seeing.
It's really something that you know
like, where to put the hair and things.
We'll see when it settles.
It's rare that artists get the opportunity to paint
such exotic creatures.
Like many painters,
Lachlan is accustomed to painting more familiar animals.
When I was young, we didn't have ready access to elephants,
but what we did have were nearby stables,
where I used to go and absolutely love to draw the horses as they were
being groomed. And,
although it's kind of quite intimidating to be near a horse,
cos they're so enormously powerful, when you draw them,
you begin to realise they're actually quite fragile animals.
And their legs, those legs that power them at such high speed,
are immensely delicate.
Now, that mixture of elegance and delicacy,
that was something that George Stubbs,
the 18th-century English horse painter, knew absolutely.
In my opinion, he was the greatest
painter of horses in history.
And the canvas for which he's best
remembered is one that depicts
a beautiful Arab stallion, painted
life-size, and named Whistlejacket.
He was owned by the wealthy
Marquis of Rockingham.
When Whistlejacket won York Races in 1759,
old Rockingham decided that it was
time his stallion had his portrait painted.
So, of course, he turned to George Stubbs.
Now, anatomical accuracy is really important
when you're drawing a horse.
What Stubbs understood was that, to create a really great painting
of an animal, you have to actually study their personality,
just as you would a human.
Stubbs could do all of this in his sleep,
but what he could also do was he could create the illusion under that
shimmering coat and those bulging veins, there's a real living,
breathing animal, right there on canvas.
It's said that a stablehand would parade Whistlejacket back and forth
for Stubbs to paint. One day,
Stubbs supposedly removed the picture from its easel
to put it against the stable wall
and have a good look at it.
When the horse caught sight of its portrait,
he became so incensed by this rival stallion
that he tried to charge it.
It had been the Marquis of Rockingham's intention
to have a portrait of the king - George III -
painted on to the back of Whistlejacket.
Once he heard this story, he was so impressed,
he decreed that not one more brushstroke
should be added to the painting.
Well, that's the story.
The reason that Whistlejacket remains so iconic
is because every time you encounter it,
you're engaged by this animal's character -
its fire, its spirit.
A real living being, there on canvas.
At the zoo, the artists have two hours left
to get the character of their bestial subjects
onto their canvases.
Just want to use little twigs to put some eyelash stuff in and to scratch
away at something.
So, I'm just trying to use the palette knife, to get a little bit
texture into the actual colour of them.
Such weird colours they are.
Don't know whether it's there yet. I need to sort out the head somehow.
It's a bit awkward.
I just went up there and, guess what? They turned round,
faced the other way!
Despite the positive start on his second painting,
Ruaridh is now struggling to see his way forward.
-I feel that my painting
is now verging on a children's painting.
I think I'm going to have to adapt and improve.
Jennifer, too, is at a critical stage. As she removes the hair,
she hopes to see if her observation of an elephant has been successful.
I think at the minute it's kind of looking like just a blob of colour.
-Is it a head?
-So, if I describe, yous might be able to see.
So, this is the eye, this is the trunk,
-and it's trying to turn away from us.
And this is the back, so...
-It is there.
-I can see it when you say that.
The judges said that they wanted to recognise the creature.
Do you feel you're going to be giving them what they want?
I really don't know any more.
I've only got my style, so, if it doesn't adhere to what they want,
I can't really help that.
That's a risk you're prepared to take?
I don't know if I'm PREPARED to take it, but I'm taking it, so...
We look forward to seeing your elephant emerge!
So am I! Honestly!
As Jennifer works on FINDING her elephant,
Angela's busy adding more to her herd.
I suggested painting a really big one over the top of all this,
to bring it really forward. But I've just realised I've not done it
half big enough, because I've not been brave enough to do it.
So, I need it...
..manning up a bit.
And I'm really worried now!
Does it look like an elephant at all?
-It's legs are still too short.
They are too short.
I know, but he made me put them shorter.
What do you mean? How could he MAKE the legs shorter?
I mean, he told me!
One minute, you're like, "I don't listen to a word he says.
"He really gets on my nerves."
And the next minute, it's his fault that your legs are too short.
They look like my legs on an elephant.
-That's really helping, isn't it?
-That's not a good look!
Ruaridh's elephant is still getting the better of him.
So, go for broke with texture.
Because that's the weakest point at the moment.
Be calm. Take your time and just focus on that.
You can do it.
I have a lot of confidence in your ability.
You'll get through it.
Suman, how are you feeling about the massive canvas?
I'm feeling a bit more relaxed now.
-Well, thanks, for giving me a gentle push.
-A kick up the bum.
-Yeah, it was, more a kick up the bum.
Is it a baby one?
It is now!
It's got a, kind of, baby face to it.
Got a little pat!
OK, everybody. So, one hour to go.
I'm really feeling under pressure now.
I feel like I'm losing it again.
I'm really worried now that people aren't going to see the elephant.
Yeah. A bit stressed.
It doesn't work for me, this elephant.
Pascal, please don't give me...
Just a bit more tone now.
Tonal variation is getting a bit muddy.
-I know it is.
-It's looking better than it was,
but I want you to just think of one hour
and what you can do in that time.
Which stands out for you immediately that I need to work on?
Tone and the ear.
I'm going to stop, because if I overdo it,
I'll kill what's already there.
Dave, what are you doing now at the moment?
I think I'm just about done, to be honest.
It looks a bit bland at the moment, doesn't it?
You know what you could do?
Stop now and just go mad on that one
and really enjoy yourself on that one.
David switches back to his original canvas he discarded at the start.
Pascal told me he likes this one more than the other one!
Ruaridh? Keep going, it's looking fantastic.
It's looking really, really good.
Keep going, you're going to save it.
David now has two finished paintings.
Let's put them next to each other. Come on.
But he can only submit one.
It's so interesting to see 4½ hours versus...
-20 minutes, I don't know.
-Mm. So, the question is, which one are
you going to put in front of the judges?
I don't know.
I have no idea.
As the last 15 minutes approach,
it's time for the finishing touches.
I think I've got a sense of
the elephant is lumbering towards something.
I think there's quite a strong sense of family.
I'm trying not to ruin the whole thing in two last strokes.
Which one do you like?
That is much more original.
Honestly, you could see that in a Saatchi gallery.
Right, I'm going to go with the right-hand side one.
Good luck. Brave, that's good!
Good for you, David.
Everyone, please, stop painting.
There's your call. Is that you, Richard?
I'm the St Francis of Whipsnade.
-Maybe we should get them to judge!
Oh, man. That was really hard.
The artists' work will be shown
in a private exhibition to the people that
know the elephants best - the staff at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.
I do like that they've captured the herd.
I just think this one is too thin, the ears are fanning on that one
and that one's too fat.
They'll choose their favourite painting and that artist
will be safe from this week's elimination.
Would you look at that and think elephant?
No! Close-up, I think, yes, but from a distance...
Would you still think elephant?
-I can see a trunk and its eye.
It's got hair in the painting.
I think that's a clever use of something different.
It is a very clever use,
but I couldn't see this hanging anywhere in my room.
I like seeing it from the back end,
because you really get an idea of how large the elephants are.
-Yes, you do, actually.
-Although I'm not sure about whether the legs are
-In proportion? Cos
-they're quite chunky legs.
The closer that you get, the more detail
-you can see in the eyelashes.
-On top of the elephant's head,
-you can identify all the...little hairs on top of the head.
Its face is quite a realistic shape, out of all of them, I think,
and yeah, I like the bright colours.
Having scrutinised the paintings,
it's time to vote for their favourite.
Before the artists find out
who has been saved, the judges will give their expert opinions.
It's the moment you've been eagerly anticipating, I'm sure -
Lachlan, David and Daphne.
The artists were asked to capture a sense of the elephants' scale,
their character and the texture of their skin.
Angela is first up.
I get a huge sense of the characters of these animals and their behaviour
in a herd environment. So you must have done a lot of looking
and digesting, to be able to do that.
Thank you very much.
The images is a bit wispy for me. It hasn't got the physicality,
the beefiness, of the elephants.
Alan, the treatment of the whole image is a bit like the elephants,
it's a bit plodding. And I'm not getting much texture or vitality
or colour or spark.
Well, Alan, I'm going to disagree with my learned friend.
I think you've worked very hard, in relation to tackling that problem
of flatness that we talked about in your work
and I'm getting much more of a sense of depth,
in terms of looking at these elephants.
Jimmy, the character certainly comes out, but it does comes out
in a cartoony way, so this large elephant
is definitely frowning into the distance.
I'm not sure that I ever saw an expression like that.
It's something I think you've brought to it.
Jimmy, you've caught some of those ochres and pinks
that are unexpectedly in an elephant's flesh,
but there's one thing I like a lot, Jimmy - it's the wrinkles here,
like Nora Batty's elephant tights,
which have crumpled up on the hind leg.
Jennifer, it's a very powerful image.
Your eye is lead around the contours,
which I think do begin to represent
that nobbly humpiness that you get on top of the elephant.
I do get the sense of something bestial inhabiting it.
Jennifer, a couple of times I've told you you've produced a dud.
This isn't one of them.
So, you've found a very simple way of describing character.
You look into their eye and you're looking into the soul
of another animal. That's clever.
-Well done, you've surprised me again.
That was a bit of a shock, I have to say.
Daphne actually liked it, for a first.
David, I think you've made one good decision,
which is in relation to scale.
And the way that you filled the canvas with this elephant.
But for me, I'm afraid, it doesn't work as a painting.
It's too much of a stencil.
..it's not elephants that were on the rampage!
You've been rampaging through styles
and now you've gone to expressionism.
I can't honestly say I like it.
Another mauling by the judges.
The other painting would have ticked more of the boxes, but I made
a decision, so that's what I have to live with.
Well, Camilla, you've circumvented
all kinds of problems of elephant portraiture,
by deciding to paint an elephant's arse.
It's not necessarily a bad thing, because my first response is humour.
It makes me smile. The problems, however,
I think, are quite serious.
They start with these three legs which,
if you turn it the other way up,
they'd look like chimneys, all sticking up to the sky.
There is a fourth leg somewhere. I'm searching and it's fighting
against my understanding that this is actually an elephant.
I've no idea what the fur rug is doing on the top.
It looks as though maybe a lion is attacking it.
You haven't perceived the anatomical facts that were in front
-of your eyes.
-I really wanted to get the texture...
You got the texture. You got the life.
But it looks a bit like a rhino or something being attacked by a lion.
Well, it looks like an elephant being attacked by a lion
or something, yes! And I don't think that was your intention.
I can see that you've done some things in relation to texture.
I particularly like the way you've treated the top of the animal.
But I think there are issues around the colour,
that heavy use of the yellow.
It doesn't feel like you were at full power in this painting.
I like the way that you managed to get a little bit of animal behaviour
going on here. Cheerfully munching away at the morning's breakfast.
However, the animal in question
seems to resemble more of a woolly mammoth to me than an elephant.
-I really, really hope that the judges will say, OK,
it's maybe not my best work, but they can see the potential in me,
because I would be absolutely devastated if it was me going home.
Suman, I love the way you've controlled the chiaroscuro,
the light and dark,
by having the lightest area hitting that bone over the eye
and drawing attention to the expression on the face.
Life is really the thing that comes out of this painting,
and that was the thing we wanted most.
What a tender image.
I particularly like the eyelashes.
That's the kind of detail that makes a painting work.
When you see it from a long-distance, you think, boom,
this is an intriguing image, and you close in
and there's more, to keep you feasting.
But most of all I get the sense of a painting that really moves me,
Thanks. Thanks a lot.
Judges, thank you very much for your enthusiastically-received judgments.
Now it's time to see who the public have chosen.
The artist definitely going through to next week is...
I feel amazing. It's so great!
It's a big achievement. In future,
I'm not going to be as afraid of taking chances.
Suman is safe,
but now it's over to the judges, to decide which artist
they will be sending home.
It seems like a few of them struggled.
With David, he changed styles in a very dramatic way.
His image had a sense of physicality and scale, but it didn't really have
-No, the burst of life was not there, at all.
Camilla's painting, I'm afraid,
with the great rear end that she presented to us...
-It made us laugh.
-It did make us laugh!
But the fact she did not take on what she was really seeing with that
back end... There's a lot of detail missing.
She is a painter's painter. There's something about the way
-she gets into the work.
-It's so often the same painting.
It doesn't look like the SAME painting,
but she's a naive painter.
Ruaridh definitely struggled across the board.
Things that we talked to him about in that first challenge,
he hasn't taken forward in the second challenge.
Someone who enjoys manipulating paint,
who has a sense of how to create intriguing images,
but I'm worried about Ruaridh, I have to say.
The subject didn't work for him, did it?
I want to see, through these challenges, people growing
and developing. I think it's evolution.
It's when I feel that someone ISN'T able to move forward,
THAT'S when they have to leave.
The judges have made their decision.
One of you will be leaving the competition.
David, can you tell us who's going home?
The judges felt that this artist did not develop their work
in this particular setting.
So, the artist who will be leaving us this week is...
I've actually had a great time. I've loved every bit of it.
It's been fantastic. Really, really challenging, but great.
And was the elephant's backside a statement at us?!
Actually, you've got a point there! Not to be taken rudely!
Outside of the setting of a competition with rules,
Camilla will flourish.
Camilla's work is imaginative,
and it's fun to look at. It's always a pleasure.
I've really, really loved this experience.
I'm going to go back home, feed my goats,
keep painting, really, and just seeing where it takes me.
Next week, the artists come face-to-face...with portraiture.
-How are you feeling?
-Dah! It's horrible.
-I'm going to pieces now.
It looks like some kind of nuclear meltdown.
There are eight amateur artists still in the frame, and they take a walk on the wild side as the competition once again gets trickier. This time they're heading to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo and are asked to paint animals. Capturing that spark of life while stood in front of a living, breathing wild creature is incredibly tricky, and mentors Pascal and Diana are on hand to help every step of the way.
First up, they get in a flap as they face the flamingos, and the deceivingly simple form of these feisty birds trips some of our artists up. As ever, the judges don't spare anyone's blushes when they pass comment on the efforts.
From graceful birds to lumbering animals, the easels move to the elephant enclosure, and the artists come face to face with these magnificent creatures. With the judges looking for the artists to convey a sense of life, the texture of the skin and the sheer size of the elephants, who will rise to the challenge and whose efforts will be more Dumbo than dramatic?
The public panel vote to keep one artist in the competition, and the judges decide whose time in the competition is up.
Mariella Frostrup and the Rev Richard Coles are the hosts.