Thursday, April 30, 2015

Selected Artists - BP Portrait Award 2015

I think most portrait painters want to be able to list "selected for the BP Portrait Award" on their CV as it is the most prestigious portrait exhibition in the world!

In this post I list the 55 artists who had their portrait paintings selected for the BP Portrait Award 2015 - Exhibition. Their paintings will be seen by more than 250,000 people this summer at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Plus images of some of the selected portraits!

Ordeal by Murat Tezcan Demirbas
Oil on Canvas - 150 x 150 cm
copyright Murat Tezcan Demirbas
Below you can find the names of the Selected Artists - please note:
  • They're listed alphabetically by country. The country is the country of residence rather than the country of origin.
  • There are links in the names to the artist's websites (where websites could be found easily).
  • Some also have links to the portrait on their website. 
I RECOMMEND that any aspiring portrait artists should:
  • check out the website portfolios of selected artists and
  • note the standard of the websites - and note how many artists now have one!

Selected artists

So here they are, some names I recognise, some I know well but there's lots of new names! The BP Portrait Award website will, in due course have a page for each of them as they've done in previous years. In the meantime enjoy finding out about who got selected this year.

My thanks to all the artists who sent me images to use with this blog post.



The Convalescent by Helen Tyrrell
oil on canvas, 40x50cm
copyright Helen Tyrrell


  • Leslie Watts - b. 1961. Leslie spent nearly two decades as a a children’s book illustrator and author but now describes herself as a contemporary realist painter. Also selected for the exhibition in 2013 and 2014. Her portrait also has an interesting treatment to the reverse and the NPG is in talks with Leslie about how they can show the reverse of the work.  Leslie is coming over from Canada for the previews.
Charlotte and Emily by Leslie Watts
Charlotte and Emily by Leslie Watts
egg tempera on two panels, each one measuring 20" x 16"
copyright Leslie Watts


Sebastian by Jan Mikulka
oil on canvas, 70 x 100cm
copyright Jan Mikulka


a crop of the portrait of Bob Geldof by Nathalie Beauvillain Scott
copyright Nathalie Beauvillain Scott

Simon by Steve Caldwell
acrylic on panel, 50 x 40 cm
copyright Steve Caldwell

  • Robert Fawcett - born 1966 in Cambridge. Attended Cambridge College of Art, Byam Shaw School of Art and the Royal College of Art (1990 – 1992). Works as an Associate Professor and has taught figure drawing and painting for 20+ years at the Royal College, St. Martins and the Prince’s Drawing School et al. Regularly exhibits with Jill George Gallery and at major art fairs in UK, US and Canada. He paints in oil on copper but his portfolio of skills makes for fascinating reading 
  • Nancy Fletcher -  b.1976 in Lincolnshire. Studied photography at Edinburgh Colge of art and was an independent freelance photographer for many years. Became a painter in 2002 after studied internationally at various art schools and she prefers to work entirely from life. Exhibited in BP Portrait in 2012.  Nice website!
  • Raoof Haghighi - an Iranian-British artist currently living in Essex. He's entirely self-taught. Previously exhibited in BP Portrait in 2011.  He's notched up an impressive track record in terms of selection for competitions and open entry exhibitions. He also won the London heat of the Sky ArtsPortrait Artist of the Year 2014. 
The Reader by Raoof Haghighi
oil on board, 50 x 70cm
Copyright Raoof Haghighi

  • Michael Gaskell - SHORTLISTED for BP Portrait Award 2015 - see Shortlist for £30,000 BP Portrait Award 2015 announced
  • Milan Ivanic  - from former Czechoslovakia. He studied in Prague before coming to the UK in 1970. Settled in Lancashire in 1986. His main interest is landscape painting.
  • Lyndsey Jameson - b. 1982 in County Durham. Both Lindsay and her brother have exhibited in the BP Portrait Exhibition before. Lindsay's first appearance in a BP exhibition was as her brother's model in the painting which won 3rd prize in 2009 (see Peter Monkman wins first prize in BP Portrait Award 2009)! The following year both of them were selected and Lindsey's painting was a portrait of her younger brother! (see Video - BP Portrait Exhibition 2010 opens today). 2010 was also the year that Lindsey's portrait - which I voted for - came second in the Visitor's Choice award (see The BP Visitors Choice Winner is...).  The lovely thing about the BP is that there is a huge history to some of the competitors which I've recorded on this blog - and it gives me great pleasure to recount the stories!  This year's selected portrait looks like another stunner to me. She's also sent me the notes she provided to the NPG as information about the portrait.
"Under the Clootie Tree"
oil on linen, 710mm x 560mm
Copyright Lindsey Jameson
'Sittings for the painting took place over a series of sunny days over the summer of 2014. Sketches in both pencil and watercolours were made to help inform the final piece.
The painting was inspired by a quote from Arthur Schopenhauer, ‘in our early youth we sit before the life that lies ahead of us like children sitting before the curtain in a theatre, in happy and tense anticipation of whatever is going to appear. Luckily we do not know what will really appear. For to him who does know, children can sometimes seem like innocent delinquents, sentenced not to death but to life, who have not yet discovered what their punishment will consist of.’
The subject, my niece, is seated in the shade of a clootie tree. Clootie wells and their associated wishing trees are places of pilgrimage pre-dating Christianity. People travel to these sites to leave offerings in the hopes of overcoming ailments or granting wishes.
Each of the brightly coloured ribbons adorning the tree denotes a particular wish. However, with the passing of time, the clootie rags will inevitably lose their lustre and ultimately disappear altogether. Her mourning dress and her general demeanour allude to the ultimate disappointments which await her'.
'The View in Winter' by David Lawton
oil on poplar panel, 10 x 8 inches (25 x 20 cm) 
  • David Lawton  - David Lawton on Facebook. Based in Chester. Won 2nd prize in BP Portrait 2007 and exhibited in 2000. Specialises in miniature portraits.
  • Shawn McGovern - Graduated from Wimbledon College of Art with First Class Honours in painting.  Completed The Drawing Year Postgraduate Programme , The Prince's Drawing School in 2014. 
  • Nashunmenghe - b. 1972 in China. Based in the UK and China. Graduated with an M.A. in oil painting from the Fine Arts Department of the Normal University of Inner Mongolia in 2006Member of the Fine Arts Society of Inner Mongolia and a teacher at the College of Arts in Inner Mongolia. Nashunmenghe specialises in historical paintings with a Mongolian theme.
  • Grace O'Connor - Studied at the Royal Academy Schools 1996-99. BP Portrait Exhibitor 2006. Record of selection of other prizes.
  • Tristan Pigott - Graduated with a degree in painting from Camberwell in 2012.  I like his paintings.
  • Ivan Rerat 
  • Lee Simmonds 
  • Paul Smith - Lives and works in East Anglia.  Paul has one of the images being featured on the exhibition website
  • Benjamin Sullivan - born in Grimsby in 1977. Studied painting and drawing at Edinburgh College of Art, graduating in 2000. Elected a member of the New English Art Club (2001) and the Royal Society of Portrait Painters (2003), becoming the youngest person to be elected to those institutions. Lives and works in Suffolk.
  • Dani Trew 
  • Antony Williams - Member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, the Pastel Society and the New English Art Club. Won Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2012 (runner up in 2007). Won Ondaatje Prize, 1995, 2012.
  • Sophie Williams 


  • Magali Cazot 
  • Anne-Christine Roda - b.  in Paris in 1974. Lives and works in the Haute Savoie. Teacher at the School of Fine Arts of Geneva since 2000. 


"Self Portrait" by Comhghall Casey
Oil on Aluminium, 35x28 cms


  • Matan Ben Cnaan - SHORTLISTED for BP Portrait Award 2015 - see Shortlist for £30,000 BP Portrait Award 2015 announced
  • Irina Karkabi  - born in 1960 in Ukraine. Graduated in 1982 from the Academy of Fine Arts in Saint Petersburg-Russia. Moved soon after to Haifa in the north of Israel with her husband and newborn son. Exhibits internationally


  • Marco Ventura - born in Milan, Italy in 1963. Studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti of Brera in Milan and the School of Visual Arts in New York. Has worked as freelance illustrator since 1988. Lives in Milan, Italy


  • Raymond Huisman - b. 1967. Graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam 


  • Ian Cumberland - This is the fifth time Ian has been selected. He won third prize in 2011 and was also exhibited in 2009, 2012 and 2013. Frankly if it had been down to me I'd have shortlisted him for a prize in 2012 (see Review: BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2012 (Part 2). Ian was born in 1983 in Banbridge, Co. Down in Northern Ireland. He studied fine art at University of Ulster, won an award for being the most outstanding student in their field and  graduated in 2006 with First Class Honours. I think he's a strong contender for another prize at this exhibition at some point.


  • Dragos Badita - b. 1987 in Romania. BA in Painting and MA in Visual Art,  University of Art and Design Cluj. Participated in group exhibitions across Europe and solo exhibitions in Romania


  • Alan McGowan - his entry is  one of the two images chosen to promote the exhibition. Born in 1964 in Glasgow; studied at Edinburgh College of Art. Currently a practicing figurative painter and teacher based in Edinburgh. Has some significant achievements in selections for major prizes.


  • Murat Tezcan Demirbaş (Murat Tezcan Demirbaş on Facebook) - see his painting at the top of this blog post - Murat is a a visual arts teacher in a primary school and is obviously very committed to his painting as his website reveals. He's previously only exhibited in Turkey. I had a really lovely email from Murat - and I have to tell you it's emails like this which keep me doing the level of coverage I do for the BP Portrait Award! 
Dear Mrs Tyrrell,
I'm very happy to inform you about selection of my work to the BP Portrait Award 2015 exhibition. I would like to thank you for your blog that it helped me a lot during the process. Please find as attached the work I applied with.
Best Regards
Murat Tezcan Demirbas


USA (9)

  • Eleana Antonaki   b. 1989 Volos, Greece, lives and works in New York. MFA in Fine Art from Parsons. Her first exhibition in the UK. 
  • Maud Bryt -  b. 1965 and grew up in New York and Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is painter and sculptor - in 2014, Maud graduated with an MFA Sculpture. This is her first exhibition in the UK.
Nana by Maud Bryt
oil paint on canvas, 60 inches x 46 inches (152 cm x 117 cm)
Father and Son by Kelly Carmody
Oil on Linen, 52" x 70"
Copyright Kelly Carmody
  • Kelly Carmody - Studied at Massachusetts College of Art and Art Students League; paints and teaches in her Waltham, MA studio. In 2014 she won 3rd place in the Portrait Society’s International Portrait Competition. Semi Finalist for the Outwin Boouchever 2016. First time in the BP Portrait. I like this portrait.
  • Felicia Forte - b. 1979 in California. S tudied at The California Art Institute and The Art Students League of New York. Currently teaches at Sadie Valeri Atelier. First UK exhibition. Read Ilaria Rosselli del Turco's interview with her in Mi Blog Es Tu Blog - Felicia Forte
  • David Kassan - second prizewinner in 2014; currently teaching workshops internationally. Everybody should go and take a look at David's website - on a desktop, tablet and a smartphone.
  • Jerome Lagarrigue - b. 1973 raised in Paris and then moved to USA in 1992. Currently lives and works in Brooklyn. Graduated from  Rhode Island School of Design. Taught a drawing and painting class at the Parsons School of Design in New York from 1997 to 2005. Has had some very interesting commissions.
  • Rebecca Orcutt - particularly interested in the figure and learning techniques to portray it
  • Frank Oriti - b. 1983, raised in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio. Graduated from Ohio University with an M.F.A. in Painting in 2011. Currently lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio. 
  • Jordan Sokol - b. Queens, NY 1979. Studied Florence Academy of Art. Currently Principal Instructor at  Florence Academy of Art.

More information about the BP Portrait Award

BP Portrait Award 2015


Paul Smith said...

Hi Katherine, I'm rooting for Michael Gaskell, here's a link to myself,

Paul Smith said...

Hi Katherine, I'm rooting for Michael Gaskell, here's a link to myself,

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