I love this competitive exhibition held every year at The National Portrait gallery.

Over the last forty years when emphasis in art schools has been on experimentation in many forms, but not so much on representational drawing and painting, I wonder where all these portrait artists come from. The work and style is extremely varied and the standard throughout is very high. So how do they choose a winner? For a start you choose very good judges, who this year included artist Jenny Saville and writer Alan Hollinghurst.

The winner of the £30,000 prize was a portrait called Girl in a Liberty Dress  by Clara Drummond  a 38 year old Cambridge based artist.

The judges were impressed by the artist’s skillful execution and the painting’s subtle and enigmatic qualities.

by Clara Drummond

Girl in a Liberty Dress

Each year as well as the first, second and third prizes there is also a BP Young Artist Award. This year the winner is Jamie Coreth,26. He wins for a portrait of his sculpture father, Mark Coreth.

Coreth says :’My father has influenced me greatly in my work and given that it is a relatively strange thing for a sculptor to raise a painter, I thought it could be an interesting father -son project to make portraits of one another at the same time.

The judges comments- Dad Sculpting Me.

‘ We were drawn to the timeless quality of the painting and its treatment of a father and son relationship through art. It is a generational painting of the artist’s father sculpting a portrait of the artist.’

Dad Sculpting me by Jamie Coreth

There is a Travel Award given, the sketchbooks and images of the artists concerned are often the most exciting in the show. The winner of the 2015 award is Magali Cazo who proposed to travel to a community of bronze-smelters in Bobo-Dioulasso in West Africa . There she lived with artists, apprentices and labourer’s whose lives revolve around the foundry.


Sketch book 9f

Having just finished reading James Rhodes harrowing autobiography Instrumental  a memoir of madness medication and Music, it was interesting to see his portrait in this show. If you get a chance this show is well worth a visit.

James Rhodes


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London is currently full of very interesting exhibitions. I have always been a fan of Calder’s work and so was delighted to catch this exhibition before it closed, at  Tate Modern .  We are so used to seeing mobiles in the twenty first century,but how amazing it must have been to see the first ones designed by American sculptor Alexander Calder.Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 21.47.23

He travelled to Paris in the 1920s, having originally trained as an engineer, and by 1931 he had invented the mobile, a term coined by Duchamp to describe Calder’s sculptures which moved of their own accord. Much of the beauty of the work is to do with the careful and delicate balance of the shapes and the spaces between and the shadows  they make on the surrounding walls.

Performing Sculpture

Hercules and the lion 1928

Deal has become very trendy recently with plenty of bijou shops, restaurants and galleries. I visited last weekend and was taken to Deal museum which is full of navel and some quirky items. There is a ban on taking photo’s inside the museum so I took some in the yard between the front and the back .

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I was recently invited to visit Brighton art fair. A fantastic experience and a very high standard of work.

ARTHOUSE Meath were  exhibiting work created by adults living with severe epilepsy. The work is often childlike spontaneous and very covetable. There are paintings, ceramics, graphics, cards and even a range of chocolate all for sale.arthouse meath

large picture makes three dimensional art works, many  are made from old books with a cut out taking place on each page. book art

finished book

Jane Walker produces lovely prints such as the two below. www.janewalkerprintmaker.comblack tulips by Jane Walker

striped jug

Another print maker  whose work I like is Jennie Ing

jennie ing prints

Manny Woodard creates exquisite small sculptures in limited editions. lazy days

learning to fly

Politics is at the core of of Jana Nicole’s work. As well as being thought provoking it is also often very funny. Particularly fine is the piece called the A-Z of swearing. A- Z of swearing

In complete contrast is the work of Rhoda K Baker who makes 3D paper constructed from paper

For those who missed this show most of the artists have web sites. So if you are stuck for a present for yourself, or a loved one, look no further than these artists.