Thursday, July 15, 2010

BP Travel Award - 2009 and 2010

Paul Beel is the winner of the BP Travel Award for 2010.  Those attending the awards ceremony last month were amused to hear that his winning proposal is to paint a large-scale, plein-air group portrait of figures on the secluded Corfu nudist beach which he first visited twelve years ago with his wife on their honeymoon.

The BP Travel Award is an annual award of £5,000, to allow artists to experience working in a different environment on a project related to portraiture. It is open to applications from any of the BP Portrait Award-exhibited artists.

BP Travel Award 2010

Paul intends to use the bursary to fund travelling to Corfu and staying there for a month while he paints the proposed 2 x 4 metre canvas (or a canvas triptych of panels 2m x 1.33m) portrait for display in the BP Portrait Award 2011 exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery next year.

Paul Beel is an American artist who has lived and worked in Italy since 1997.  He now lives in Florence.  When I talked to him he told me that he intends to compose his group portrait from whoever is visiting the beach.  He's not exactly sure how it will work out.  Current ideas are that maybe he'll start with the centre panel and make that midday and then make the left panel morning and the right hand panel dusk.  He recognises that he'll also have to work round however long people are prepared to sit for him - which should be interesting given none of them are professional models or paying him to paint their portraits!

You can see Paul's painting Free David here and on my video of the exhibition

BP Travel Award 2009

Portraits by Isobel Peachey - winner of the BP Travel Award 2009

Isobel Peachey won the 2009 BP Travel Award for her proposal to travel to Belgium and Switzerland to sketch and paint portraits of those taking part in historical re-enactments.

She visited The Company of Saynt George, a Swiss group re-enacting the history of a small artillery company from the 15th Century at the Castle of Lenzburg, near Zurich, and The Napoleonic Association who portray the life of a military encampment near Antwerp in Belgium.

 Portrait Drawings by Isobel Peachey - winner of the BP Travel Award 2009

A selection of Isobel's portraits and preparatory studies from this journey are being shown in this year's exhibition.  You can see my video of the exhibition of Isobel Peachey's work on YouTube.

See the exhibition:  The BP Travel Award will is on display with the BP Portrait Award exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London until 19 September 2010 after which it goes on tour to:

You can also see a video of the entire exhibition

Previous winners of the BP Travel Award

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