Thursday, April 07, 2016

BP Portrait Award 2016: Selected Artists

53 artists out of 2,557 entries from 80 countries have had their portraits selected for the 2016 Annual Exhibition of the BP Portrait Award.
  • 439 (17%) of the original entries made it through to the final judging session at Trinity Buoy Wharf. 
  • The judges then reduced this number to 209 paintings (8%) and 
  • the final step was the selection of the final 53 for the exhibition (representing 2% of the total entry).
You can see their names - plus links to their websites and a short summary of their CV below - organised by the country where they live at present (when available). If anybody spots a mistake with a website please let me know via comment or contact me.

My congratulations to all those who have been selected.

SELECTED ARTISTS ARE INVITED to send me a copy of the image of their selected work - to feature in this blog post - along with a copy of their confirmation email. See the side column for how to contact me.

Commiserations to all those that made it through the first stage but were not selected - especially those that made it to the final 209. The BP "Best of the Rest" will be published on Sunday. (See my blog post BP Portrait Award: The Best of the Rest for my invite to those who failed to get selected)

....but first the story of one selected portrait by an artist I've been following for a while. I'm delighted to see Jane Gardiner has a portrait in the BP - especially given the challenge of recent surgery!

To sense what is coming by Jane Gardiner- a portrait of landscape painter Julie Arbuckle
"Last May I knew I wouldn’t be able to paint for extensive periods after carpal tunnel surgery, so asked for people to come and sit in the weeks after to get reference material to work with once the hand was fully recovered. I was looking to explore how people use props to tell stories about themselves and provided a range of crowns/ears/masks and so on that I’d made for them to choose between at each session. Julie is a landscape artist (which might partially explain the landscape format) based near Glasgow whom I had met several times through mutual friends/ at openings and had long wanted to paint, so I was delighted when she volunteered. She was a terrific model and we had a lot of fun playing dress up. She commented that everyone should wear ears more often and I think would like to have taken them home.
During the session I did some sketching and a little oil colour study, as well as taking over a thousand photographs. Once my hand had started recovering enough I did drawings based on this reference material, from which it was clear this pose had potential. However, when it came to making the painting I reversed the tonal graduation as having Julie face into the dark felt more appropriate. The paint was kept loose, neutral and thin except in the lit portion of the face to similarly suggest a process of becoming and change, with the uncertainty that brings. My hand was recovering much slower than expected and later Julie told me it had been a very intense, challenging and cathartic time in her life. I feel that these factors have very much feed into the final painting. It was finished on Christmas Eve, after having delegated the Christmas preparations.

Selected Artists - 2016 BP Portrait Award Exhibition

There were 1,241 entries from the UK (48.5%)  and International Entries 1,316 (51.5%). I do wish the NPG would also provide gender data re the entries.

I THINK I'm detecting more BP Portrait Award novices than usual. Maybe a fresh pair of eyes looking at the entries has influenced this?


  • Bo Wang - one of the three shortlisted artists and guaranteed a prize. He's also only the second Chinese artist to be selected and the first to be shortlisted. See yesterday's blog post £30,000 BP Portrait Award 2016 - The Shortlist


  • Jorge Federico Fernandez Gartner - no information online
oil on canvas, 1200mm x 860mm
(Sitter: Stewart MacPherson)

Initially my wife spotted Stewart walking along the street and thought he would make a good subject for one of my portraits. I see many interesting faces every day but approaching someone is far from easy. Stewart was very gracious and agreed to sit for me, he was naturally a good subject.
The sitting took place in the one dry corner of my dilapidated barn studio which happens to have the most beautiful natural light. I wanted to make a large work, the figure filling the canvas. I worked the drawing in charcoal directly from the sitter and became particularly interested in the subtle tonal shifts from the face to the background to the coat, the hands locking in a strong triangular composition. Stewart has a tremendous physical presence and I wanted to give a feeling of imminent movement from the paint suggesting a suppressed energy in the sitter.
The title ‘Unfolding’ describes the development of the painting and the ambiguous narrative contained within the pose.


  • Frances Borden - previously won 2nd prize in this competition in 1998 and also selected for the BP Portrait in 2000. Regularly selected for exhibitions by other art competitions
  • Martin Brooks RCA - trained at the Royal College of Art where he was awarded the Royal College Drawing Prize and Madame Tussauds Prize for Figurative Art (1985); Bulldog Portrait Bursary Finalist at Royal Society of Portrait Painters (2014) 
  • Richard Burger - born in Italy and lives in London. Studied at Chelsea College of Art and the Art Students League of New York. Got a commission from BP to mark a shipping centenary. 
  • Lewis Chamberlain - born East Yorkshire; studied at the Slade and now lives in East Sussex. Won First Prize Discerning Eye 2001. Selected for Lynn Painter-Stainers 2016. Best known for his hyper-realistic pencil drawings and paintings of toys
  • Alexander Chamberlin - a figurative oil painter with diverse interests
  • Sopio Chkhikvadze - born in Tbilisi, Georgia; studied at Tbilisi State Academy Of Arts. Very little information about her on the web. RBA Annual Exhibition 2016: She won the Michael Harding Award.  I saw one of her paintings at this show and found it interesting. 
  • Jamie Coreth - Graduated from Oxford (Arch. & Anth) in 2010. Trained with at various schools: the Florence Academy of Art, the London Atelier of Representational Art and Charles Cecil studios. He also has a blog - with some interesting posts - but nothing in the last year.
  • Saied Dai - a figurative Artist living and working in Bath who exhibits widely and regularly wins prizes for his distinctive style
  • Clara Drummond - one of the shortlisted artists (see yesterday's post)
  • Samantha Fellows - a scenic artist who has worked as head artist for many UK leading set designers, painting scenery for numerous theatre and television productions. Paints portraits, mostly of children, in oil on birch plywood panels
Pearl in the morning, ready for school by Samantha Fellows
oil on panel, 50 x 40cm
  • Fiona Graham-McKay - her website declares that she is a painter much in demand and that she has travelled thousands of miles in the last five years fulfilling commissions. This is her blog.
  • Eileen Hogan - Professor in Fine Art in the Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Graduate School, University of the Arts London. Currently Artist-in-Residence at at the Garden Museum, London until October 2016. I LOVE her paintings!
  • Charles Moxon - Graduated from Camberwell in 2013. 
  • Eilis Otway  - nothing online
  • Keith Robinson - Paints portraits and office blocks. Has had work selected for a various major art competitions and has exhibited work with the RSPP.
  • Stephen Earl Rogers - No CV on his website. Previously selected for BP Portrait Award 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009
  • Brian Sayers - No CV or portraits online / gallery websites only
  • Teri Anne Scoble - Website down. Facebook. Selected for BPPA in 2013. Sky Arts 'Portrait Artist of the Year' - Edinburgh Heat Finalist 2014
  • Daisy Sims-Hilditch - based in Florence and training at the Charles H Cecil atelier. [Note: Daisy Sim Hilditch got a special mention from me on Facebook because she already has a nice clear signal on her her home page that she is a BP Portrait Award 2016 finalist - and also has a nice piece about her portrait.]
  • Benjamin Sullivan - one of the shortlisted artists (see yesterday's post)
  • Jean-Paul Tibbles - no biographical details on website
  • Joshua Waterhouse - a hyperrealist artist from Newcastle living and working in London. Studied at Edinburgh College of Art; Graduated with a First Class degree in Art from Aberystwyth in 2014 and studied Art History for a year at the Sorbonne in Paris.  I like what I'm looking at with some of the more innovative work in his portfolio.
  • Val Wolstenholme Clay - an artist and designer based in London; exhibits at group shows
  • Martin Yeoman - Winner of the Odaatje Prize for Portrature in 2002. I very much like his drawings


  • Thomas Ehretsmann - A professional illustrator whose work has been seen in The New Yorker, Rolling Stone and Elle Magazine. You can see his selected painting on this page of his blog
  • Christophe Therrien - a second scenic/decorative artist
Vacuum by Thomas Ehretsmann
acrylic paint on gessoed mdf panel. It is 30x40cm
I try to balance my commercial work with personal pieces in which I can immerse myself for much longer periods of time. This painting, for instance, I began in 2009. Its meaning has felt both strong and obscure enough to keep me motivated throughout the whole and scattered process. I started working on it when I was staying at the Norwegian painter Odd Nerdrum’s in Paris. After I had accidentally erased half the picture, I put it aside until the end of 2014 when the feeling of guilt for not finishing it became too strong to bear anymore.
There had been several sittings with the model at his home. I made some drawings from life and took some photos – the actual painting was created afterwards in my studio. The background in the painting is where he lives. A beautiful place in the Vosges mountains which is also where I come from. The painting is a combination of his mixed feelings for the place – he loves it but also feels a bit trapped there – and mine.


  • Boris Dobre - awarded a BA degree, followed by an MA, at the Bucharest National University of Arts, specialising in easel painting. Previously selected for the BP Portrait award in 2014
  • Wolfgang Kessler - Lives and works in Detmold. I suspect his daughter does a lot of modelling for him.
  • David von Bassewitz - a freelance artist and painter based in Hamburg and Berlin. Has won a lot of awards for commercial art.


Interestingly both Irish artists are people who moved there from other countries.
  • Miseon Lee - born in Korea and moved to Limerick in 2005. She has been living and working in Dublin since 2011. Selected for BPA 2013 and the Hennessy Portrait Award 2015.  She has painted a series of eight self-portraits that make up Lee’s project My Diary that tells different stories of a few weeks of her life in 2010.
  • Gentian Lulanaj Gentian studied art in Shkoder (in Albania), Rome and Florence and moved to Ireland in 2000 where he opened a gallery on the grounds of Ballymaloe House.



  • Laura Guoke - a graphic artist who is now a lecturer at Siauliai University Art Faculty in Lithuania.


  • Simon Richardson - a full time artist since graduating from the Otago School of Art with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1996. He's fascinated by detail. This is an article about him.


  • Mark Shields - steady track record of exhibiting and awards



Once upon a time there was a little girl who grew up to be a painter and lived happily ever after.
  • Helen Wilson - Born in Pailsey and graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1976. Her gallery states that she is an award-winning, highly respected painter who has earned a solid reputation for her portraiture and figurative work


  • Diego Aznar Remon - no internet presence
  • Ivan Franco Fraga - Graduated in 2003 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, University of Vigo, specialising in Painting. Participated in a number of exhibitions in Spain and also internationally.


  • Shany van den Berg - lives in Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa. Has worked as a full-time professional artist since 1992.

USA (9)

  • Brett Amory - lives in California and exhibits on a regular basis. Paints urban scenes with anonymous figures. I'll be interested to see what his portrait looks like as his website suggests he is a figurative painter working from photos rather than a portrait painter working from observation.
  • Elena Vladimir Baranoff - Master of Fine Arts in miniature painting from the Palekh Art College. Paints using egg tempera. Selected for the 2009 BP Portrait Award exhibition.
  • John Borowicz - Lives and Works in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts. This is his blog. He has a diverse way of approaching his art. I'm not sure I'd characterise him as a portrait artist.
  • Noah Buchanan - studied the academic approach to painting the figure in Pennsylvania, California and New York. Received a number of grants and awards. Has exhibited internationally.
  • Benjamin Fenske - a native of Minnesota who has been working and living in Sag Harbor, New York and Florence, Italy for the last 7 years. His artist page on his gallery's website
  • Jacob Hayes - His work has the look of a classic BP Portrait Award painter to me. Produces very large paintings often of family members. This is his blog and this is his Instagram account
  • Joshua LaRock - Graduated in music and then embarked on art studies. Represented by galleries in Cape Cod, New York, Santa Fe, Palm Desert, and Beijing. Below you can see a video of him painting. He's also promising a video of him painting his portrait in the exhibition - which you can see on his Facebook account.
  • Charlie Masson - born in New York. Studied at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Camberwell School of Art and the Prince's Drawing School. His website suggests that he not a conventional portrait artist.
  • William Neukomm - Spent more than 10 years as an award-winning designer.  Studied in St Louis, Kansas, Art Students League of New York and Florence Academy of Art.
I am a contemporary realist; a representational painter; an impressionist with a small "i."William Neuckomn - opening sentence of his artist statement

Joshua LaRock Fine Artist from Michael Klein Paintings on Vimeo.

BP Portrait Award 2016

For more about BP Portrait Award between 2007 and 2015 see yesterday's post about the shortlist.

1 comment:

  1. So nice to have a nice list for me to nosey everyone else - thank you very much Katherine (and for the top billing!) Really hope every one else sends some pictures in.


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