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'Welcome to the show that celebrates
'all those who have a passion for painting. We enrolled ten
'of the country's most enthusiastic amateur artists,
'all bursting with talent and potential.'
'They are hoping to hone their skills in a series of increasingly
'difficult artistic challenges.'
Painting something that's alive. It is a bit daunting.
This to me is a very, very challenging landscape.
'Along the way, they'll be supported and guided by their two mentors.'
'Pascal Anson, an artist,
'designer and guest lecturer at the Royal College of Art.'
Never, ever say it's only a painting.
'And Diana Ali, an art educator, curator and artist.'
OK, look beyond your canvas.
'Last week, we said goodbye to Camilla,
who was flummoxed by the flamingos
'and congratulated Suman, who came top trumps
'in the public vote with her tender rendition of a baby elephant.'
I feel amazing! It's so great.
'This week, we're at the National Portrait Gallery in London,
'where our remaining seven artists will be taking on,
'you've guessed it, portraiture.'
'Steeped in centuries of British history,
'the National Portrait Gallery is home to the most extensive
'collection of portraits in the world.'
'And it's here that our artists will be painting for a place
'in the semifinal.'
It's not at all intimidating, is it(?)
I'm absolutely delighted to even be at the halfway point.
Every week, I'm learning something new
and that, for me, is very important.
I'm really chuffed, because I really, really wanted to do
portraits and here I am at the National Portrait Gallery!
What a place! It's amazing.
It's everything that you're inspired to be able to do as an artist.
It is absolutely mind-blowing.
I can't think of anywhere else
you'd want to be.
Well done for making it past the halfway mark.
This week, we've brought you to the spectacular
National Portrait Gallery
to intimidate you in the face of so many portrait masters,
and to demand that you, too, paint us a portrait.
The judges will be forensically examining your paintings, as always,
but they're also looking for potential,
because only the artists with that je ne sais quoi are going to be
making it through to the next stage of the competition.
Your first challenge - you're going to be painting yourself.
And, of course, in that subject matter, everyone's a critic.
You've got a couple of hours
so off you go and take a long, hard look at yourselves.
'Portraiture is one of the oldest forms of art,
'dating back at least 5,000 years.'
'More than just a representation of someone,
'portraits have been used throughout history to show status,
'wealth and power.
'They remain, to this day, a popular and unique way to record humanity.'
I have never done a self-portrait in my life and I'm dreading this.
And I'm wearing the brightest orange.
I don't even know how to mix this, and I'm wearing lipstick,
what's with that? Like, oh, God!
I had a bit of a sigh of terror, I suppose.
So I just need to pull something out the bag
and produce a bit of Jimmy... Real Jimmy!
It's difficult to be self-critical.
And you've got to do that when you're doing a self-portrait,
and maybe, I won't like what I see, I don't know.
OK, artists, you've got two hours for this.
That's quite a long time for a drawing.
But for a painting, that's not very long at all.
So work really, really quickly.
All right, everyone, off you go.
'Separated into their two teams, the artists will use a mirror
to help them create their self portraits.'
As far as character is concerned, which one do you want?
This one? That one?
Which is your best side, Alan?
Glasses on, glasses off.
Don't know. I might do it without my glasses.
But being an optometrist, I really should put them in, shouldn't I?
Yes, I think I'll put them in later.
'The judges will be looking for accurate proportions and a sense
'of character. So, with the clock ticking,
'the artists must work out what to focus on first.'
Just trying to get that basic outline of most of the features,
and then see if I've got all of the proportions right.
Oh, God, crows' feet everywhere.
I'm just trying to think of the best way to start this portrait.
The thing I'm worried about is my glasses.
That's really something that I've made mistakes in, in the past.
And it's easy to do so with glasses.
The classic mistake is to start with the details like the eyes, the nose,
the very figurative elements.
With a quick painting like this, you need to start with the big,
blocky elements, and then work towards the details,
if you've got enough time.
You're very quick at working, normally.
So try and just block in those colours first of all.
And that, I think, will give you a lot more confidence,
rather than starting with this.
'On the other side of the gallery,
'Diana's making sure her artists think about proportions.'
So, are you all right in terms of where the eyes sit?
-You've got your eyes halfway, then your nose is halfway.
What about the scale? The size of the canvas?
I've never done anything this big and I've got quite a small head!
What can you do about the size of your head?
Oh, my God! What I can do about my pea head!
Think about your tactics.
Basically, if you are far away, your head is going to look small in the
-mirror. If you're close, it's going to look bigger.
If you take the width of an eye, if you're looking straight on,
your width of your face is about five eye widths,
and the separation between the eyes is one eye width.
I'm roughly using those guidelines.
Whether it looks like me after I've done that, I don't know.
'As always, the artists' paintings will be assessed by the critical eye
'of our three judges.'
'Award-winning artist and member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters,
We want them to express their character in the way that they might
paint the light hitting their eyeball,
or the mouth might be downturned.
There are all these little habits that we have that project a
great deal of information about who we are and what we're thinking.
'Art historian and reader at Chelsea College of Art, Dr David Dibosa.'
The difficulty is making the image look alive.
Our faces are changing and moving all the time
and a portrait is static.
Somehow, the artists are going to have to capture that moment.
'And former winner of the BP Portrait Award, Daphne Todd OBE.
'Who, with two portraits hanging in the Gallery herself,
'will be keeping a particularly close eye on this week's paintings.'
I think getting the proportions right in a self-portrait is going to
be difficult for them. They will only be right when they keep their
head in exactly the same position.
Do you know what the most difficult bit is?
Of course, character is in the eyes, and every time you look at it,
you look like you're being shifty, looking out the side of your eyes.
I'm going to do a head-on
and I'm going to try and make myself giggle, because that's what I do.
I'm always smiling.
'This week, Ruaridh has decided to paint in a bold colour palette.'
We've got your blue period going on here, have we?
Yes, the reason for the blue is just to kind of show my character
and try and separate that from the image of my face.
Trying not to use too much brown.
This is only for the outline.
You do look like you're painting a portrait of yourself painting
a portrait of yourself.
I mean, it's not neutral, it is actually you doing this thing now.
Sometimes, you look consumed.
Not anxious, exactly, but you're obviously really committed to this.
Yes, I do feel like I need to step up this week
and do a competent painting.
Everyone here, we can all paint,
but putting it together in this process is a bit of a problem.
This is, kind of, up your street isn't it?
Because you like to paint people.
I'm fascinated with people and I'm fascinated with eyes, of course.
I looked into eyes all my days
and it's nice actually to paint them, rather than examine them.
I'm not too sure about painting myself, though.
The trouble is, the model's not very good looking!
Not at all! Fine-looking fellow.
Jennifer really needs to show that we have features on our face.
At the minute, it's pure colour.
We have no eyes yet.
Artists, we're just over halfway.
-What you're doing, you're moving the eyes too far apart.
It's difficult, because it's a three-quarter view,
but I think the eyes need to be closer together.
I think you've overcompensated across the bridge of the nose there,
-and just widened them too much.
-OK, I'll work on that.
'As their paintings develop, the mentors want to make sure
'the artists don't forget to bring out their characters.'
Ruaridh hasn't put his glasses in.
And they are a key feature on his face,
in terms of how we recognise him. And I think he sees them as
something difficult, rather than something that can help him.
Are you going to include the glasses?
Yes, I think it is important to show my personality.
Good, good, good.
What about character?
Giggly, a bit silly.
I think it looks a bit silly.
She looks very sensible. There could be sparks, there could be drips,
there could be all sorts, you know, to get that really bubbly
-personality out from you.
-Yes, so just be a bit brave with it now?
Be braver, be mischievous, be cheeky with the application of paint.
What are your plans for this now?
To put some colour in.
Like skin-type colours.
Because I'm worried it's like a sketch rather than a painting.
You need to realise, some of these lovely marks have really good depth.
Those eyes follow you around.
Now, if you were to colour this, you might block that.
You know, I'd love you to be really, really brave and just go, right,
that's me. But I'm going to leave that decision to you.
I'm going to pieces now!
We've got half an hour left.
Half an hour, everybody.
The glasses look fantastic.
-But, use the light to make the face more three-dimensional,
more formed to the face.
Because it's gone a bit flat.
The eyes, they look too squinty.
'With time running out, our optometrist
'still hasn't put his glasses on.'
I'm actually getting a bit worried that I am actually worried,
so I've got a worried painter trying to get this thing finished
in the next 20 minutes.
There's no sparkle in my eyes yet.
There's no sparkle in any of it yet.
You need something daring.
Maybe do something with the background, something that saves it.
-How are you feeling?
OK, everybody, time's up.
Stop painting. Stop.
Right, guys, put your brushes down.
It's not what I was planning, at all!
I was going to put my glasses in at the very end, but I ran out of time.
I'm reasonably happy with it, actually.
For two hours, I'm very pleased.
I think I need a shave!
Oh, God, the judges are going to rip it to shreds!
'It's now time for judges Daphne,
'David and Lachlan to view the artists' work.
'And first up is Pascal's team.'
I think, David, for two hours, it's a pretty good attempt.
You've made it look like a believable human being.
What's not so good is the fact that you didn't realise you just had to
make a small adjustment to line the two eyeballs up.
-In terms of the proportions, it's only the hair, I think,
and that bit between the hair on the top of the skull, where you
-need to think again about your approach.
I think, in terms of a painting of a rather moody young woman,
The likeness and the proportion,
which are the two things you were meant to be really concentrating on,
-this isn't your finest hour.
Because of the way that you applied the paint,
there's this textural approach.
The downside of your technique does mean that the surface of the flesh
looks a bit like spam.
One of the most important failings is the nose.
It's this projection out of the canvas.
And here, you've really struggled.
Earlier on, I was quite worried about the inclusion of my glasses.
And I left that until last, actually.
Do start another self-portrait, and start with the spectacles,
because you could have got the proportion of the glasses,
and you could have seen the other shapes
-around those fixed shapes of the glasses.
I've learned from this mistake, that's for sure.
Pleased all round, really. That's a first!
I was sort of surprised that they've pulled anything positive out of it.
Well, it wasn't good, was it?
For the next challenge, hopefully,
we're painting someone who doesn't wear glasses.
'Next up for the experts' critique is Diana's team.'
Alan, I think this is a lovely painting.
In terms of proportion, it's just about there.
In terms of character, it's all there.
There isn't much of a painting,
so either you've played safe or you've played clever.
It's working. This has stayed a portrait, not a caricature.
-This is Jimmy, without glasses.
You're a man with glasses. You know, that first hurdle
of it being a recognisable likeness has failed.
This is Jimmy with Botox.
Look at this! Look at the puffy cheeks.
It's a slab of flesh you've got across the side of this painted face
that doesn't exist.
The thing that struck me was the bright red cheeks.
Red is a dark-toned colour.
-And you have to be very careful in using it in a face
because, at the moment, it's jumping off the surface.
The thing which I can't help but notice is the moustache.
You look like you've got a tash. Is that not striking?
Did you not notice that? Get it out.
The last little thing I put on, that was, as well.
It looks like somehow there's been some kind of nuclear meltdown
going on. The hair, I'm afraid, is not convincing.
The angles are just not here.
Amazingly, for such an ugly image, I have to say,
the colours are really beautiful in themselves.
But in terms of us knowing this was you, it's failed really abysmally,
and the proportions are just dire.
You've got big strengths but your ability to sort of draw...
Yeah. I need to work on that.
Thank you. Thank you.
I always feel like I'm in the danger zone.
I'll see how the next challenge goes and hopefully I can reel it back in.
David said it was my best work yet, so I'm absolutely amazed.
They gave me a bit of a hammering there, didn't they?
It's disappointing to be criticised on something that you are really
quite good at.
Jennifer had a lot of criticism.
Every week she's been told you need to balance out the technicality and
her self expression.
She's still not listening to that and she's in danger.
Ruaridh did struggle with this challenge
but he pushed himself a little bit.
He used some new colours and there
was a kind of freshness to the painting.
Well, the first one was a pretty revealing challenge.
The next is going to be sprinkled with stardust because you are going
to be painting a portrait of a national treasure.
In fact, not one, but two national treasures,
because we have one for each group.
The judges are going to be looking for resemblance.
We want the figure you paint to actually look like the person in
front of you. We're looking for facial expression as an indication
of character and don't forget, a good portrait always gives us a
sense of who the person really is.
Daphne, David and Lachlan will be delivering their verdicts,
as usual, as will our public viewing panel.
You have your mentors on hand to help and support you.
So don't lose faith.
-I'm really sorry.
-And get painting.
'Before the artists begin their next challenge,
'their mentors want to give a few tips to help them prepare.'
I wanted an exercise which tries to get the artists to think much more
three-dimensionally about a head, rather than a face.
When you're thinking about the eyes, the nose, and the mouth,
I want you to think about it like a baked bean can.
The eyes sit on a curved surface.
There's also the tip of the nose here and then there's a mouth.
'If you're a budding amateur artist,
'a simple exercise like creating a 3D model of a face out of card will
'really help you understand how facial features are positioned.'
Look at each other to try and think about where
bits of the face are going to go.
It's too tall.
I'm not sure my ears aren't too far forward, actually.
That's what I want you to get right.
The relationship between where the
eyebrow finishes and ear is really crucial.
Where do David's ears come in relation to the back of his head
-and the front of his head?
-About halfway. OK.
I hadn't necessarily thought about the position of the
ears, so that was interesting.
'Once you've cut out your face,
'move your model around to help you see how the size and shape of the
'features change when viewed from different angles.'
When I tilt the head back like that, the ears appear to be lower
and then, when it goes forward,
the ears appear to be higher than the nose.
I learned where to position things, keep them in a 3D shape,
and how the 3D aspect of things work.
I've done exercises before where you sort of plot the features,
but it's good to see it because then you can use it as a tool.
I think it will be really useful.
Can I put the moustache on now?
'Diana is teaching her team to be more daring
'when they apply paint to the canvas.'
This is supposed to be quite quick, it's supposed to be
fluid, and making a bit of a mess.
'If you find yourself struggling to create convincing
'facial expressions, try a speed exercise like this one,
'where you don't think too much about how you're making marks.'
OK, quite loose, very quick.
We're only going to spend about ten minutes doing this.
'Use ink and water as your medium
'and quickly create an image of a face.
'The ink's unpredictability will force you to relinquish control.'
The more water you add in, the more
varied tones you'll get with the ink.
Got us started with spontaneity and with loose strokes and a long arm,
rather than this tiny, minute detail stuff.
Angela, you're being a little bit careful.
'By simply loosening your approach,
'you can create powerful and instant emotion to your images.'
Think about what sort of marks
you've used to convey that character.
-If you look at yours, Jen...
-It looks kind of dead.
If you look at yours, Jimmy, what sort of character is that?
-Worried? So look at the expressiveness.
OK. So, you could use some of those marks to convey that character.
'As the artists get set for their next challenge,
'it's time for the celebrity sitters to make their entrance.'
I'm sure you're dying to know who it is you're going to be staring at all
day and I can now tell you that your subject has been a household name
for 50 years, honoured by the Queen, immortalised by Morecambe and Wise,
the first female journalist ever to regularly present the news.
Would you please welcome Angela Rippon CBE.
Are you looking forward to being painted by this lot?
Very much, yes.
I've done this on at least four occasions and it's always been a
very enjoyable experience, which
I'm sure it will be today with all of you.
Angela, would you please make yourself comfortable?
I will indeed. Thank you.
The sitter for your masterpiece made a mark in children's television
first and she's still a passionate advocate for children's charities.
She's an actress, singer, and an author.
And, in 2010, she was made a peer.
Please welcome Baroness Floella Benjamin.
I expected applause actually.
OK, well, we need you to get into
your beautiful throne over here and get ready to be portrayed.
I thought I'd wear this kind of dress,
-so you can do what you like with me.
-How would you like me to sit?
-As long as you're comfortable.
-You've got to be comfortable.
-I think this, don't you?
Please, start painting.
I've had several portraits done of myself and very few of them capture
what I believe is me.
So it'll be interesting to see if they can capture
what I see in the mirror.
I'm so excited.
She's been with me since my childhood.
Yeah. I'm absolutely made up.
I don't have any preconceptions about what I'm going to prefer
or what I'm going to like.
I'm going to enjoy seeing what each of them does and their
own take on the person sat in front of them, who is me.
It is intimidating to have that
person you remember from your childhood
sitting in front of you, and you've got to try and paint her.
You feel her personality and her character.
You can see that within her. I'm still trying to work out what that
character is exactly,
but there's a lot of rich colours that I'm feeling.
'The artists have just five hours and can choose how much of their
'celebrity to include in their painting.'
Now I'm just trying to decide whether to go as a large full
portrait or concentrate on the face.
The trouble is, I think I'm getting diverted by the idea of the chair
-So you're painting a portrait of the chair now, are you?
Well, that's the problem. I quite like the whole set-up.
One of the criteria is resemblance.
So a lot of that is going to be contained in the face.
If this is the space that her face occupies,
it's about 1/100 of the whole canvas with this composition,
so that's one thing I want you to think about.
I'm not too concerned about the set-up.
So I'm just really going to concentrate on her.
Because I'm including the chair and the whole body,
my head is quite small.
So I'm not quite sure how you do such a small, detailed face.
I'm hoping that I'll put the first challenge behind me and excel at
this one because this is what I should be good at.
My focus is getting the composition right and getting the proportions
right. Once I have that then I can deal with the colour.
'As with the self portraits,
'the judges will be casting their critical eye over every element
'of the artists' paintings.'
Being able to recognise a portrait depends entirely on how accurate
the artist has been in getting the shapes
and the relationship of the shapes right.
Focus on colours, on composition, on outlines,
these are the things that they need
to bring to bear in this particular challenge.
Can they create a sense of elegance in their sitter,
a sense of presence and proportion and scale?
All the things, all the tick box things they've got to get right.
And then can they move forward by creating images
that are exciting as paintings.
'After several sketches,
'Ruaridh has chosen to paint a three-quarter length image.'
You've noticed the hands. It's really good.
She has very beautiful, very elegant hands, with the jewellery on.
I think it's a really good thing to include at the bottom.
'But David is still struggling to make a decision.'
This is make your mind up time, David.
Must be soon. It's going to be lunch soon, isn't it?
You're not supposed to be thinking about food.
You're supposed to be thinking about composition.
'Back in Diana's studio,
'Jennifer's determined to show she's listening to the judges,
so is tackling the issue of likeness right from the start.
Does it look like her? Tell me, honestly.
-What do I need?
-I actually think it is, yeah.
I think so. Well done.
I don't know if I've just missed this part in the proceedings before
but I don't think I've ever seen you do such a detailed sketch.
The judges have asked me to be more detailed and precise,
so I'm trying to do that within my own style.
So you're really responding to the judges there?
Yeah. Hopefully I can do the same thing with the paint when it
comes to that point.
'The artists are allowed to bring in their own accessories and I'm not
'talking handbags and scarves.'
This is a mahl stick. It's because I paint the background,
you can't really mess with the background.
So, if you put it on top of your painting,
you can use it to steady your hand.
Is the head too small?
Yeah, I'm only just this second starting on it.
Just look at that distance between the point of the nose...
-..to the end of the cheek.
'In Pascal's studio,
'David has finally decided to focus only on Angela's head.'
It doesn't quite sit together yet.
What are you struggling with here?
I think it's the eyes at the moment that are causing me the problem.
That's an interesting word. You're dealing with a face which is already
very, very familiar. Does that make a difference, do you think, Dave?
I guess so because you might have some preconceived ideas about what
you're drawing. Maybe that's the problem, I don't know.
When I've done portrait sittings before,
they've taken more than a couple of days.
Can you bear that in mind when you see the end result?
'As per usual, Jennifer's decided to paint
'with a mixture of inks and oils.'
I am trying to put down my ink as carefully
as I have ever done in my life.
To not destroy what I've been working on with my drawing is quite
difficult because I'm on the floor.
But if I was standing upright, the inks would just run straight off.
'Nearly halfway into the challenge and Angela's having second thoughts
'about her composition.'
I would have preferred to have done just her face
but because I've got no idea how to do a face,
I've gone and done the whole thing
but it's made it worse, really, because,
when you get it so small, if you go wrong a tiny bit, it's massive.
In the time you've got left,
are you going to be able to do that or do you want to start again?
I don't know. I sort of think I maybe ought to start again.
Yeah. Let's take it down. Have another go.
'So with just over two and a half hours left,
'Angela is back to a blank canvas and the pressure is on.'
I'm not that difficult, am I?
Not at all. I just have got no idea what I'm doing.
-How are you all doing?
Happy with it so far.
-That was a very deep sigh.
-Yes. I do that a lot.
I'm trying to get the colours right.
'David used acrylics for his self portrait,
'a medium he's comfortable with. But for the celebrity portrait,
'he's decided to try painting with something else.'
This is the first time I've used oils in this competition.
There's nothing like being prepared, is there?
There's a certain lustre which works well with oils, I think.
I was having issues with getting a bit blotchy on the acrylics.
'He's also trying out a piece of equipment
'that he's never used before.'
How's that going with the palette knife?
-I don't know yet.
-It's an interesting tool to use because you
kind of push and scrape the paint.
-But just be very aware of the direction you push in.
Think about pushing it over, in your case, the chin right there.
So, think about the direction that the skin is moving over the surface
the whole time.
Ruaridh, it's a good idea to block in all this colour but
if it's too colourful,
you're going to lose Angela's kind of radiance that's coming from her
face, because, if everything's too bright,
-there's not going to be any contrast.
You've made her fat.
The whole body is too big.
-She needs to go on a diet, basically,
-if that head is going to stay the same.
-I'm not changing the head now.
'As our artists paint two strong female figures from modern society,
'Lachlan discovers it wasn't always so easy to portray women
'in such a powerful light.'
What do you see in this painting?
I mean, is it just a young, Victorian woman in subdued clothes -
a schoolmistress, perhaps?
What if I was to tell you that this is the self-portrait of arguably the
greatest female portrait painter in British art history?
And her name was Gwen John.
This painting was shown in London in 1900 at a time and a place when
young women were expected to be demure, to speak only when spoken
to, and certainly not to be carousing around on the art scene.
But this painting reveals a 24-year-old Welsh girl
who was refusing to be bullied by convention.
It's there in the narrowness of the eyes, and the way the chin juts out.
She strikes a confident, almost defiant, pose.
And that hand, that is an artist's hand.
It's kind of calloused and grimy, manicured only with oil paint.
This image really does stand on a tipping point between the Victorian
and the Edwardian era.
This is the moment when art schools for the first time
were opening their doors to female students.
Gwen John was accustomed to having to make her voice heard.
Her younger brother Augustus
had emerged as a kind of superstar in the art scene.
Unlike Gwen, his paintings were staggering and flamboyant.
But Gwen John left a legacy of intensely beautiful paintings and
quietly, but firmly, her portraits insist, "We will not be ignored!"
What's the hardest bit of me to capture?
Some people say my eyes.
-Your eyes are perfect.
He's a sweet talker, that one, isn't he?
You've got to watch him. Got to watch him.
But they are! The eyes are great.
Losing the likeness.
Yes, you are. How you're going to get that back is looking at
the light that's shining on her face.
It's the tiniest details now to get that likeness.
'With a couple of hours left to work on her brand-new canvas,
'Angela has switched from the full body to the head only.'
It's great, you've got the proportions right now.
-You're a bit more comfortable.
But is the nose accurate?
No, I don't think it is actually, at all.
Really look at the lines of the nose.
I don't think it's going brilliantly,
but it's going hell of a lot better
than what it was doing before so
I think it was a good choice to just scrap what I'd done before.
'In Pascal's team,
'Suman has spent most of
'her time working on the foundations of her painting.'
I can't say anything about likeness yet
but I think the final details will help do that.
At this stage, I'm just working on getting this 3D form going on.
This bit here is fantastic.
This outline of her hair against the backdrop.
It's this, though, that's bothering me.
The colour here, you need to push right back, so that it's much,
Darker. Her top and the chair, when you do that,
the glow from her face will be enhanced.
I've got it, I've got it.
'On the other side of the room,
'David is realising he may have been
'a little hasty in trying out a palette knife.'
I think it's a motor skill that you need to learn, so I'm learning.
'And with just an hour and a half left to go,
'there's still a lot to do.'
If I keep with this tiny little brush, working, working, working,
I might overwork it, so I'm going back and forth and back and forth.
Yeah, right. Let's do this.
Have you got any idea how much time we've got left? Because I'm feeling
a little undercooked, it has to be said.
'An hour and 20 minutes, Angela, so you'd better get a move on.'
There's a lot to do in the time but I think I have managed to achieve
more or less a reasonable likeness.
I think I've got reasonably comfortable hands,
maybe a bit regal here and there.
Yeah, I know. There's definitely the baroness here, isn't she?
Thank you very much. The baroness. Yes, of course!
Oh! Things have changed quite dramatically, Angela.
We've had one canvas and now we've got the second.
There won't be a third?
I don't think there's time for a third, is there?
You've given yourself quite a hard time.
This is what... How many portraits
have you painted in your life to date?
This is the first one.
I've done my two girls but a picture right next to me that I've got lines
and things on, so it's almost like a dot to dot,
so you can't really go wrong.
Whereas this is just completely free hand.
This hand, we need to think about hands not sausages.
I can see three fingers here.
Here, I can only see one.
Just indicate - one, two, three.
Because otherwise it looks like a kind of feeler.
Artists, you've got one hour left.
No, no, no. What have I done?
-Have you done much portrait painting, David?
-No, hardly any.
So you've never done a portrait painting before.
It's interesting that you've decided to use the knife rather than the
-brush so much.
Quite bold. No, it's a bold decision.
'With 40 minutes to go,
'Pascal decides David needs to attempt
'some major reconstructive surgery.'
You do need to take some of the paint off.
This triangle is problematic. I think the nose needs to be...
-Left a bit.
If you pull the mouth up, and the chin up, there's still going to be
enough neck there for it not to look strange. So I'd remove that
and push the base of the nose up, trowel it up, exactly,
and I think maybe the mouth,
push that right up,
and then try and push the neck up a bit.
That's better already.
I don't think I'll be using a palette knife for a while.
30 minutes, everybody.
I've got to do an eye yet. That's going to take me about four hours.
OK, guys. We've got 30 minutes left.
Jimmy, stand back.
Look at the chin.
-It's quite manly.
It's not a square.
Look at the feet!
-Absolutely. Mm hm.
I'm in conflict at the
minute because I should concentrate on the dress.
But I just worry about the fact it doesn't really look like her.
I'm really exhausted, actually.
I haven't concentrated this long in quite a long time.
David... No, no, no, no.
You've got to be very, very careful with dark shadow on a woman's face
because it looks like stubble.
Suman, that's looking so good.
The more time you spend on it, the better it's looking,
so use every single minute.
OK. Trying to get just a little bit of a smile, but it's very difficult.
Just a hint.
I can't seem to get it.
Painters, please stop.
Put down the brushes.
Your time is up.
I don't know whether I like it. I don't know whether it's good.
I just feel so confused about everything I do now.
I haven't done her justice.
No. I've made her look angry. That's not right.
I'm not scared of criticism at all but I hope they can see that I have
put so much into it, that I am so willing to learn.
May I now prise you from that seat?
All the limbs still functioning?
-Would you like to come and have a look?
Let's see what Jimmy's done.
I love the way you've got the heart shape and I love that look,
that knowing look.
You know? I know something that you don't.
Angela, come and have a look at David's.
That's fascinating because, of course, all I could hear was the
scrape, scrape. You've made me look a bit fierce and cross.
I'm sorry about that. That's probably a reflection of my mood!
Crikey, for the first time you've done that, that's fantastic.
Wow! I love the way you've got my neck.
I love that feeling of determination.
That's really interesting.
Gosh! You've got the hair and the shape of my head right, though,
haven't you? Wow!
It looks like my Auntie Olive.
Oh, no! Looks like someone else.
It's a relation.
I can see somebody who feels very determined and strong
and tries to get her point over.
When I am trying to do that, that's how I look.
That's different. You've done like the whole body.
You've got the shape of my hair.
It's a bold use of colour.
I was listening to Pascal.
He was talking to you about my hands. Yes?
-Yeah. That's right.
Well, I hope they don't look like sausages now.
I felt for Angela.
All the way through, I could see she was tormenting herself because she
was trying to get something and she couldn't quite capture it.
What you've captured here is that wonderful...
"It's all right. It's going to be all right."
And I love it. And I love the simple heart.
That you can get that feeling out of how I felt through it.
-Thank you so much.
-No, no. It's wonderful. Thank you.
'The celebrity sitters will get to
'cast a vote for their favourite painting.'
'Their vote will be added to those from the public viewing panel who,
'this week, are portrait photographers.'
I think it really captures who she is.
If you cropped that at the knees,
then that would be quite delightful because the hands and the jewellery
and that look nice as well.
I don't like the way the lips are done.
It's almost like a moustache there.
There does seem to be some problem with her ear.
Yes, just noticed that.
It's my favourite, composition-wise.
I like... The technique is very unusual as well.
Looking at this painting, compared to the others,
-I probably like this one the most.
-I'd agree with you there.
No matter where you look, your eyes
keep going directly to Angela's face.
This is beautifully executed.
It isn't my favourite but I think this one
is the most likeness that I remember Floella.
The hands are so large that they make her head look small.
If it was cropped to get rid of the hands,
-I think this picture would look beautiful.
'The artist with the most votes will automatically go through to next
'But before they find out who that will be,
'it's time for the judges to give their expert opinion.'
So how did you find that?
It was awful. A struggle.
Biggest challenge yet, I think.
'First up is Diana's team.'
Alan, I think you have got a likeness,
I think it is a good likeness.
Although I think you've made her
look a little older than she does in real life.
Here on the arm I think you've done
some lovely work to get those tones
there and you brought this bracelet out.
I mean, it's dazzling, isn't it?
In terms of you having used the shapes over the whole surface to
make a nice composition, and the fact you've caught her head on one
side, it's quite a nice painting of a lady.
But unfortunately it hasn't caught the likeness and I think
the accuracy is poor. I'm sorry.
Baroness Benjamin is unwell.
I mean, she really looks gaunt,
as if she's got a dose of gastroenteritis or something.
The limp treatment of the paint is letting it down.
Well, Jennifer, you redeemed yourself.
You've demonstrated that you can draw.
There are areas of this that are really drawn rather well,
particularly the bosom.
There is now some structure in the painting
and I think it's pretty good.
It feels quite powerful.
I mean, the idea of this person
sitting her elbow on the bottom of
the canvas and, sort of, pouring out at us is original, it's different.
I mean, I'm so surprised that you have been able to, you know,
master concepts of proportion and line that you've shown absolutely no
evidence for up to now, so this is great!
I tried to get several heart shapes including the heart-shaped necklace
into the bodice area here and the back of the chair.
I've read it as Angel wings.
Angel wings are fine. I'm happy with that, too.
You've been original,
you brought another element to portraiture which is often there,
-I enjoy looking at this painting so much.
You're using your colours to get
skin tone and brightness and the highlights
and you've really enjoyed painting and bringing to the fore
the presence of this figure.
'It's now time for Pascal's team.'
I think you have got a likeness of Angela Rippon.
It's not quite right in several ways, and particularly the near eye.
It's too small to be the nearest eye.
And it's too smudgy given that the other eye is so distinct.
I'm afraid I wouldn't know that this was Angela Rippon unless I had been
-I couldn't identify her.
I mean, this is a bruiser.
You know, there's none of that kind
of sharp delineation of the cheekbones
and this just, it won't cut it.
You know, this is a frantic...
You know, it's like the crazy artist in the loft.
You're chucking paint at this,
you're slapping the palette knife on.
Would you say that the best way to approach drawing a face would be to
get that triangle of eyes and nose point first and then work the face
-First off get the overall outline.
-What is this...?
-That... That would be my tip.
There is no one way of doing a portrait.
If it's the colour that grabs you or the texture of something,
you want to go for the thing that moves you and tells us something
that's very particular about them.
For me, this is Angela Rippon.
I think it is a successful painting.
Leaps and bounds from the work that you did in the first challenge here.
You've used colour sensitively and you've really brought some lyricism
to your approach.
As a portrait of Angela Rippon, there's kind of a hint of other
people here, a bit of Anthea Turner or someone else,
but I do think that in the mouth we've got a really nice balance.
This is someone who could speak. And I think that's a real
achievement for you to have caught that.
Ruaridh, well, at least you've caught something of the glow that
Angela Rippon's skin had.
But it's not Angela Rippon, is it?
If I came to do this without any prior knowledge I would have thought
middle-aged lady, slightly dumpy, a bit thick in the neck.
Being rather harsh with it, because unfortunately, you know,
it's a human being we're talking about and it is the most difficult
subject, to paint another human being.
This person has girth and weight and those hands, I mean,
they're Farmer McGregor's hands.
You'd crush a watermelon with those hands, they're so vast.
I applaud you for choosing to include the half-length or almost
three quarters length of the body and the hands,
but it's almost as if, had you just stuck to the head,
it would have been a more successful painting.
Well, that was the judges' view,
but I'm sure you're dying to know what the public thought too,
and remember we've added to that public panel your sitters.
I can tell you first that Angela's favourite painting was...
Are you pleased to hear that, Suman?
Yeah, I am, yes. The most
important opinion is the sitter's, I think, so...
Don't say that in front of the judges.
And I can tell you that Floella's favourite painting was by...
Did you see that coming, Alan?
Not really, no. I'm made up, it's brilliant.
Congratulations. You pleased your sitter.
Alan captures something that I saw in the mirror.
My jawline gets very determined and he captured that.
I felt I was looking at something that was painted by
someone of real potential.
I felt like Suman had tried very hard to capture me.
Their votes have been tallied with the public vote and I now have the
result of that combined vote,
and that is of course for the artist who will automatically go through.
Their favourite painter this week is...
Now, you looked absolutely petrified as I was getting prepared to read
that out. Why? Were you expecting it at all?
I wasn't expecting it, but I love doing portraits,
so I'm really pleased and I really appreciate it.
So we know that Suman's definitely going through to next week,
but who will be joining her?
Judges, if you would please make your way to the chamber of decision.
I wish we had a trumpet, don't you? Can you play the trumpet?
I can, as a matter of fact.
I'm in a happy place.
I want to be really good at portraiture,
so it's really nice to have won the public vote.
They did pick me up on the points
that I knew I was going to get picked up on.
Ouch. That was harsh.
I wasn't expecting it to be as harsh.
I just hope and hope I've done enough to stay in.
Portraiture, it's a real challenge for our artists.
It is one of the most difficult genres, isn't it?
It's the one that tests everybody's ability to draw and their ability to
respond to another human being in great detail.
The public vote for Suman was there.
Well, Suman's painting had zest, it had a little spark of life in there.
What about Jennifer?
She astounds me actually,
because some of her
first challenges have been so bad and yet she can then
pull something out of the hat when it comes to the second challenge.
I think Jimmy, I thought it was a very enticing piece of work.
Great colourists can be
quite convincing and get away with certain things.
Well, for Jimmy that actually was a good strategy, wasn't it,
because he'd made such a mess of getting a likeness of himself.
Baroness Benjamin did like Alan's work.
And I understand why, because I
think that his portrait was the most accurate.
So there are three people who have really struggled.
Ruaridh, Angela, David. Are we agreed on that?
-I think so.
-David didn't really feel like he knew quite what he was
doing here, did he?
Those awful mistakes with the eye.
David I think, in his defence,
is an artist who has shown an ability to test himself.
Angela, on the other hand, lacks confidence in the portrait of
Floella Benjamin. She quite clearly had a crisis.
I have a lot of sympathy with Angela.
I probably like her paintings better overall.
Ruaridh was not up to the technical challenge, I don't think.
I did like his self-portrait.
I think it had a bit of character.
It's a difficult decision.
In future challenges, they're going to be tested even more with their
ability in terms of figures and proportions.
We've got to think about who can move forward.
The judges have made the decision
about who will be leaving the competition.
So, Lachlan, will you please reveal who's going home?
Well, artists, you have battled your way through four phenomenally
difficult weeks, but I think that this was the toughest challenge,
which is why, this week, two of you are going to be going home.
The first artist has brought great courage and energy to their work.
they haven't been able to surmount
the particular challenges posed by portraiture.
So, the first artist to go this week is...
-Bad luck, Ruaridh.
-You have developed your colour sense,
you have moved away from that dark palette and branched out,
and I think your colour is actually joyous.
Ruaridh, we're so sorry to see you go.
I'll never forget this experience and I would also like to thank the
interpreters and also Pascal for his great advice.
Well, Daphne, will you please put us
out of our misery and tell us who the second artist
to be leaving us this week will be?
The second artist that will be leaving us has made some wonderful
work in some of the other challenges.
They've got a lyrical quality,
but I'm sorry on this occasion that the artist leaving us today is...
Don't lose that lyrical approach,
and I know that you're going to grow and grow as an artist.
-It's been a delight to have you with us.
-We're sorry to see you go.
Give him a big hug, give him a big hug.
So keep going with the determination and motivation,
because you're unpredictable, you're surprising, you've such lovely work.
The most important thing for me is what I did in the space of four
weeks. I've learned so much. I've learnt my own character as well.
It's something that I will never forget for the rest of my life.
I am so proud of myself.
I really am. I just feel so grateful to have been given the chance
to do it. It's been great, yeah, really good.
'Next week on The Big Painting Challenge...'
I'll have to ask my daughter how to do that.
That was intense!
Finding it very hard.
It's maybe just too much.
We all know you can do this.
Absolutely failed under pressure.
Go down in style. Or go down in flames.
With the competition hotting up, our seven remaining amateur artists head to the world-famous National Portrait Gallery in London and face two portraiture challenges as they fight for their place in next week's semi-final. Portraits are notoriously difficult as everyone can tell if the human face looks right or wrong, so there is nowhere to hide if they want to secure their place in the competition.
They first have to produce a self-portrait that is not only a realistic representation but also conveys some of their character and emotions. For some, unsurprisingly, their main emotion appears to be fear, particularly as judge Daphne Todd OBE is a world-renowned portrait artist herself. The mentors, Pascal and Diana, are on hand to guide their teams and help keep the nerves under control.
The pressure is then ramped up another few notches as they are presented with undoubtedly their hardest challenge so far. The artists are given just five hours to produce a portrait of a celebrity sitter, something that an established artist would take weeks, if not months, over. Pascal's team must paint the inimitable Angela Rippon OBE, and Diana's artists have to capture the indomitable Baroness Floella Benjamin. The tension in both rooms is palpable as the artists struggle to translate such familiar faces, and many very nearly crumble.
Who will be saved by the public panel, and who will the judges take through to next week's semi-final?
With Mariella Frostrup and Rev Richard Coles.