Thursday, May 09, 2013

Royal Society of Portrait Painters - 2013 Prizewinners

Something has happened to change the look of the 122nd Annual Open Exhibition of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters.
  • First - it has an exhibition within an exhibition - with the exhibition of work selected for the SELF Portrait Prize exhibition (see yesterday's post - Jan Mikulka wins £20,000 SELF Portrait Prize)
  • Next, when I walked into the North Gallery I thought I'd gained an early admission to the BP Portrait Award.  What I saw was an awful lot of very high quality work in a diverse range of styles
  • Finally, two portraits of women with facial disfigurements won major prizes.  The RSPP, along with the charity Changing faces, is to be congratulated for the way in which it celebrates portraits of people with a disfigurement.
Below you can read about the prizewinners in this major open exhibition of portraiture.  I'll be posting more about the selected artists from the open entry and the exhibition on Saturday.

One quick comment before I start.  Four of the prizes this year went to artists who submitted via the open entry. This art society more than any other always manages to persuade me that artwork from the open entry which wins prizes has been executed by painters who are being seriously considered as prospective future members of the RP.  I don't know if it's true - but it's certainly the case that this year all the artists chosen for prizes from the open entry are serious professional artists.

The Ondaatje Prize for the most distinguished portrait of the year (£10,000)

Mark Roscoe won the 2013 Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture with his portrait of Olivia Roberts. This portrait was a commission from the Changing Faces Charity which he got after last year winning the Changing Faces Prize at this exhibition.

Winner of The Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture (2013)
Winner of The Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture (2013)
Olivia Roberts
oil, 120 x76cm (47" x 30") NFS
© Mark Roscoe
This prize is awarded to the most distinguished portrait of the year and this is a prize which comes with a significant cash award as well as a gold medal and the prestige!

Having a T shirt with its message backwards is a neat attention getter - and makes us realise this image is the way Olivia sees herself in a mirror.  Her steady gaze is very engaging.  Plus I loved the fact the portrait is of a girl who obviously loves horses and painting portraits of horses!

Mark Roscoe’s portrait of 18 year old Olivia was commissioned by "Changing Faces" as part of its strategy to ensure that people with facial disfigurements are represented throughout the arts.
When the commission prize was placed kindly in my hands I began thinking of a way to challenge people's ‘first impression’ as it can so often be highly superficial and therefore very wrong. I painted Olivia in the manner of a self-portrait to encourage the viewer to see life through her eyes. The image is a mirror reflection of Olivia in her bedroom wearing her favourite T-Shirt with the slogan "Love is the only solution, Love is the only way."

Our reflection in a mirror is most familiar to us however as everything has been reversed it is the opposite view to a camera and that of everyone we meet including our friends and family. This raises the question, what is more important, how we view our self or how we appear to others?

Mark Roscoe
His prize was presented to him by BBC News art Editor Will Gompertz who opened the exhibition and Alastair Adams, the President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters

Visit Mark Roscoe's website to see more of his portraits.  I also have a feeling it can't be long before Mark is invited to join the RP and have a page on its website.

Mark Roscoe - Winner of the Ondaatje Prize
with (left) Will Gompertz and (right) Alastair Adams PRSPP

The De Lazlo Foundation Award (Silver Medal + £3,000)

This prize is for the artist, aged 35 or under, who is judged to have submitted the best portrait.
This award went to Kelvin Okafor for his drawing of Melvin in graphite, charcoal and black coloured pencil of Melvin.

Winner de Lazlo Foundation Award

Graphite pencils/Charcoal/black coloured pencil/on sketching paper; 17 x 24 inches; (£10,000)
© Kelvin Okafor

Kelvin's post on his blog Kelvin Okafor Art creates a step by step of how he drew his portrait of Melvin - see Melvin - Evolution and Melvin

Kelvin has garnered some amazing publicity in the last year - here's some of it:

The Changing Faces Prize (£2,000)

The Changing Faces Prize was established in 2002 and is awarded to the artist whose portrait best conveys the energy of their subject, the directness of their gaze and an attitude that exudes openness and confidence. The Prize is a £2,000 commission to paint a portrait of a person with a facial disfigurement for the Changing Faces Collection. The Collection aims to ensure that people with unusual faces are fairly represented in modern-day portraiture.
This portrait by Andrew James VPRP is of his father and comes within the category of someone with an "unusual looking face".

Winner of The Changing Faces Prize
My father
Oil, 122 x 91cm (48" x 36") NFS
© Andrew James VPRP
It's an extremely colourful painting of an elderly man and the focus of most of the colour is in the face.  I thought it worked extremely well.

See more of Andrew's paintings  and portraits on these websites

The Prince of Wales's Award for Portrait Drawing (£2,000)

I'm a huge fan of Toby Wiggins RP's drawings and was very pleased to see he had won this prize for his pencil drawing of Mary Spencer-Watson.  He has an ability to create an incredibly 3D drawing using only pencil.  It's precise without being prissy.

Winner of the Prince of Wale's Award for Portrait Drawing
Mary Spencer-Watson, Sculptor

Pencil, 83cm x 46cm (33" x 18") £1,800
© Tony Wiggins

You can read other posts on this blog and more about Toby Wiggins below

The Arts Club Charitable Trust in association with The Arts Club (£1,000)

Winner of the Arts Club Charitable Trust Award in association with The Arts Club

Oil, 61 x 59cm (24" x 23") NFS
©  Tim Benson ROI

Tim Benson ROI won with his painting of Alison.  The portrait was initially prompted by the Changing Faces prize and the notion that portraiture can make a difference to those whose faces are disfigured in some way.  He contacted the charity and his sitter Alison Rich works for Changing Faces challenging the prejudices surrounding facial disfigurement.

You can see more of Tim's paintings in

SELF Portrait Prize

See my post yesterday - Jan Mikulka wins £20,000 SELF Portrait Prize - for a commentary on this brand new prize which has an exhibition within the exhibition -

Royal Society of Portrait Painters - previous posts

Resources for Artists

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting all those pictures and links - very helpful for those of us unable to come down and see the exhibition


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