Well, that's the 2nd episode of the Big Painting Challenge done and dusted! I definitely felt nervous before the programme aired. There's so much edited out you just don't know what's going to end up on screen. I'm getting used to seeing my face on telly and I'm amazed at how calm I look, bearing in mind that I was feeling as sick as anything that day. Is that the magic of tv?
Painting a selfie is hard. Looking at yourself in a mirror for 3 hours is not the most comfortable experience. I'd rather study someone elses face than my own. I've sat for many portrait classes and people always make my features huge, quite often they take over my face. I found myself doing the same thing. I guess it's because I've got strong features but the trick I think is to minimise them a bit. Anyway, keeping your head in the same position's not easy either. When you have to look at the canvas to paint you need to remember to have your head back in the exact same position when you turn back to the mirror or your finished piece will be all over the place.
I wasn't at all pleased with my self portrait, though people tell me they like it. It was rather flat, missing shadow down the right side of the face. Daphne liked it (I'm loving Daphne at this point) although she did comment on the lack of shadow, Lachlan picked fault with my high forehead. I hoped the next 2 challenges would be much better.
It's a bit weird being cooped up in a London warehouse all day, which is where we were for the entire duration of filming. Bare creaky floorboards, raining outside at times, lunch warming in hot plates at the side of the room and tons of sugary snacks and coffee. We were all getting a bit skittish, mucking about with plastic cups, playing games, taking the mickey out of the film crew, singing Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, linking arms and doing funny walks. You bond really quickly when you're in that kind of situation and we had fast become a group of friends as opposed to competitors. You stop wanting anyone to be eliminated. You all want to be in, but you know in reality someone has to go and you just don't want it to be you. We missed Melvyn. At that point we had no idea that Jan would be the next to go. He's a big guy with huge hands and a warm heart. I told him he would be good at massage because he has really fat fingers. What I really meant was strong fingers, but it came out wrong and I've not been allowed to forget it since! Amy stood on the table and recited a poem, The Man in the Arena, by Theodore Roosevelt............."there is no effort without error or shortcoming......and if he fails, he at least fails while daring greatly......" A fantastic speech. If you don't know it I encourage you to look it up.
I loved the quick draw challenge. Life drawing is totally my thing. I was completely in my comfort zone and finished in half the time.
The last portrait of the day - the celebrity portrait. We had no idea who it was going to be and then there she was, Pam St Clement, aka Pat Butcher from Eastenders. We weren't allowed to talk to her until after the sitting was over. She's very nice, very well spoken and attractive. However that's not the Pam that came out in my painting. The Pam in my painting was much more the scary Pat Butcher. There was a real ferociousness about her.
It was a really challenging session. She sat much further away than you would normally sit a person whose portrait you're painting. I'm at a bit of a loss, painting skin when I can't see the tones properly and, although in reality I'm sure her skin is beautiful it was hidden under layers of foundation and I struggled with it really. I can paint an enhanced version of what I see, but I can't just make it up, and this was a time when I really needed to 'make it up'. My finished portrait was very different from what I would normally paint and Pam commented that she didn't like the way I had painted her eyes. She said they were too narrow. Lachlan made the same comment. Actually the eyes were accurate. I measured them very carefully. Daphne said she really quite liked the painting (good old Daphne!) That's good praise coming from her. Shame that bit didn't make it onto tv.........