BP Portrait Award from an Artist’s Point of View by Natalie Holland (Poets/Artists)

Images: top right Transformation by Michael Bergt; centre Miranda by Meghan Cox; bottom Portrait of Gifty from Shitima by Huey Glynn-Jones

"2018 marks the BP Portrait Award’s 39th year at the National Portrait Gallery. The popular annual award aims at encouraging artists to focus upon, and develop, the theme of portraiture.

As someone who earned my bragging rights for life by taking part in the most prestigious portrait competition in the world, I always pay tribute to the annual celebration of contemporary portraiture.

It might be a celebration for the exhibiting artists, but every year the art critics either groaned it at or shrugged it off. The selections are described as uninspiring, although there are always a few pieces that make it all worth it." -Natalie Holland - PoetsArtists/Medium…com


This was my contribution to the BP Award 2017. I believed in it but only made it till the second round.


I think it is a stellar work Mark! Personal preferences of the jurors aside, this piece demonstrates a good deal of undeniable virtuosity. Bravo my friend!

1 Like

Very interesting piece that shows technical mastery as well!

1 Like

Good article! Thanks for sharing.

I don’t share the aesthetic I frequently see demonstrated in the BP selections (some of the pieces that make it or receive awards are baffling to me as to why they made it), so it was good to see a different perspective on things (or at least how the process works).


Very cool Mark! May I ask why you chose black and white and then put color in her clothing? I have a feeling I know the answer, but just wanted your note on that:)


I read Natalie’s article. Brilliant as the brits would say:) Interesting POV on how the judges pick the paintings and how quickly artist’s are eliminated. It seems it is in the glance of an eye in terms of time spent. In the end, it is all objective to that person’s response to the work. I am submitting this year.