Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Artist brushes off defeat in TV painting competition

Artist brushes off defeat in TV painting competition

A WOMAN from Peppard will appear on television next week as part of a national art competition.

Elizabeth Bland, who only took up painting three years ago, was one of 50 wildcard entries chosen for the fifth series of Landscape Artist of the Year on Sky Arts.

The show, which is hosted by Stephen Mangan and Joan Bakewell, gives amateur artists the chance to win a £10,000 commission to create a landscape piece on Venice for the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Mrs Bland, 44, who is a technical news editor for Elsevier, says she began painting after finding her old school art supplies at her parents’ house. She improved her technique by watching YouTube videos and practising.

She applied to be a contestant on the show on the spur of the moment and was accepted and told she would have to travel to the North-East for filming in July.

She and the other competitors had to paint Gateshead Millennium Bridge. Mrs Bland said: “I applied as a last-minute thing. I had not seen the show but I regularly look out for competitions because they are a good way of getting into things. At the time, I was not doing lots of landscapes but I thought it would be an opportunity to get outside my comfort zone and see how it went. I was feeling nervous and thought I might forget something very important. As it turned out, I actually took far too much of everything, which made it very heavy to carry.”

The contestants gathered at Baltic Square in Gateshead and were given six hours to produce their best interpretation of the bridge, or the surrounding scenery.

Mrs Bland decided not to focus on the bridge in her acrylic painting.

She said: “Most of the people did the bridge but there were a couple of others like me who didn’t. I was very nervous. When you have people walking by and looking at you it can feel a bit embarrassing but you have to get used to it.”

Although she did not make it through to the next round, she says the experience has given her more confidence and she intends to apply for the next series of the channel’s sister show Portrait Artist of the Year.

“It was a really good experience and I have learned a lot about myself,” she said.

Mrs Bland, who lives in Shiplake Bottom with her husband Ian, 49, and children, Katherine, 11, and Bobby, eight, also plans to start her own business called Liz Bland Art.

She has joined an art club in Emmer Green and paints with her daughter, who enjoys art lessons at school.

One of her most cherished pieces of art is a portrait of her father, Barrie Nickels, which she painted just before he died with vascular dementia.

“It was actually one of the first pieces I did,” she said. “I wanted to have a picture of him and the photos made him look a little bit pale and ill, so I wanted one that was nicer to look at.

“There was also a portrait of him from when he was eight or nine years old at my parents’ house, which was painted by my great aunt.”

Landscape Artist of the Year will be shown Sky Arts on Tuesday.

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