Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Gareth Reid is Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2017

Last night, it was revealed that Gareth Reid was the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2017 - and had won a career-changing £10,000 commission to paint Graham Norton (who for the uninitiated is a television and radio 'national treasure' in the UK).

Sky broadcast two programmes back to back last night.
  • The first related to the Final held at the National Portrait Gallery last year.
  • The second related to the story of the winner and the painting of the commission.
Below you can find out more about
  • The Commission
  • The Final
  • Gareth Reid
  • How to see the exhibition about the Portrait Artist of the Year 2017
  • How to watch the Heats for the Portrait Artist of the Year 2018 - NEXT MONTH!

The Commission

The prize portrait commission for the winning artist was revealed on New Year’s Eve as television presenter and comedian Graham Norton.

Graham Reid with his portrait of Graham Norton

Graham Norton and Gareth Reid
Graham commented afterwards on a really curious coincidence - both sitter and artist turn out to be related via family in Ballymena. It turns out that Mr Reid’s great-grandmother is the sister of Mr Norton’s great-grandfather. They only found out when they met to start the portrait.
"Out of all the people who entered, getting the opportunity to paint Graham, out of all the people they could have chosen, and it turning out we're third cousins"
The portrait will hang in The National Gallery of Ireland and goes on public display in the Millennium Wing of the Dublin gallery TODAY.
"The most important thing for me was the privilege of having a painting in a national public collection, but the thing you just can't buy is the exposure on this scale. For years you do the work and it's a very slow and often frustrating process getting it out there. But a big prize, especially a televised one, will definitely help the cause. We'll wait and see how it goes." Gareth Reid
I think it's a great portrait being both a really good likeness and having a nice painterly quality to it.

Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2017 - The Final

Let's not forget where it all started - and I'll have a reminder at the end about how you can watch the 2018 competition

The finalists were had beaten 51 other artists to get to the Final. They were:
You can read interviews with them in this blog post by Cass Arts

Frank Skinner and Joan Bakewell presented the show. The sitter for the final was veteran actor Tom Courtenay.

Progress during the final was scrutinised by judges Tai Shan Schierenberg, Kathleen Soriano and Kate Bryan, prior to deciding on who should be the winner.

About Gareth Reid

Gareth Reid was born in 1974 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He now lives and works in Glasgow in Scotland.
In terms of exhibitions, he's had a number of solo exhibitions in Belfast, Dublin, Glasgow and Clandeboye.  He's also been selected for a number of prestigious art competitions and group exhibitions

I knew I knew the name! I think I spoke to him back in 2007 at the BP Portrait Award evening when he won the BP Travel Award. This was my blog post about the excellent exhibition he had at the National Portrait Gallery in London in 2008 - BP Travel Award: Gareth Reid and the Finnish winter bathers

His artwork is in the permanent collections of National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin; the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast; The Old Bailey, London and Ralph Lauren, New York.

He got to the Final by winning Heat Six with his portrait of TV presenter Adrian Chiles. He then went on to impress the judges in the semi-final with his portrayal of award-winning actress Imelda Staunton.

In the final, Gareth produced two pieces:
  • a commissioned portrait of The Hon. Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb, a judge of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice of England and Wales, and the first Asian woman to serve as a High Court judge in the UK; and
  • a detailed portrait of actor Tom Courtenay completed in charcoal, watercolour, pencil and pastels.
He uses sharpened charcoal for his drawings and sometimes adds Unison Pastels for a bit of colour.
I use Nitram Charcoal, a hangover from my days in Florence. Unusually it comes in grades of hardness and I mostly use the H for the finer parts of the drawings on canvas. The advantage is that is can be sharpened to a very fine point and anything else is too soft to deal with the sandpaper-like roughness of the canvas. Cass Arts Interview
You can follow Gareth Reid as follows:

About The Portrait Artist of the Year 2017 Winners Exhibition

Right now you can catch the exhibition of winning portraits from the Portrait Artist of the Year 2017 at the Wallace Collection in Manchester Square in London. The exhibition closes on Friday 31st March 2017.

There's also an exhibition of drawings by Gareth Reid at Cass Arts in Glasgow between 16-26 March. There's a Private View tomorrow night for those who can get along (just click the link to see how).

Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2018

The new series of Portrait Artist of the Year begins filming next month at the Wallace Collection, London.

This was my blog post back in January about the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2018 - Call for Entries. In it you can read about the arrangements for viewing the heats of the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2018 - again being held at the Wallace Collection.
All the heats are open to the public - filming takes place on these dates:
5, 6 and 7th April
10, 11, and 12th April.
The semi-final will be filmed at a London location on Monday 24th April 2017
You can still watch this series of Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year on Sky's on demand catch-up service.

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