Portrait Artist of the Year 2020 is now closed for entries.
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Christian Hook: Advice for Artists
What are the judges looking for?
I am always excited to see a great painting first and a portrait second. It’s really essential to feel there is a narrative beneath the surface: Who is this person? How does the artist convey a sense of their character and personality? In the case of self-portraits, it can be electrifying when the artist is really honest and brave with their own face.
Portraits are about the specifics of a person at the same time as being about the shared human experience and I like that to come across in the paintings being made during the competition. Portraiture has a long tradition, of course, but I always hope to see artists who have found a way to reinvigorate it or reinvent it with their unique artistic language.
Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year is an exciting experience. I had a wonderful time during the competition and got to meet lots of wonderful artists! I didn’t how I was going to be – painting amongst the artists and cameras, and against time – but this experience brought out a new quality in my work compared to painting on my own in the studio.
The competition has changed me as an artist, my focus has shifted from 'trying hard' and putting in the hours, to aiming to do less and make the marks I do make count. My confidence in my work and teaching has grown enormously.
It was amazing to be able to share the experience of painting and to see other professional artists working. I felt that I learnt a lot from other artists and it was fascinating to observe different techniques and different approaches to the portrait. Doing a painting under a time constraint is oddly refreshing – you are forced to work from response, not research. I enjoyed it hugely and cannot recommend it highly enough.