Entries for the RP

Father and fur hat

Each year the Royal Society of Portrait Painters has a highly competitive open exhibition of portraits.  Among the entries from ordinary mortals who are not members of The RP, the acceptance level is about 1%.  Nevertheless, it is important to try, to get started, to get ones work out there.  So this year I put two pieces of work in, knowing that they would not be accepted.


The first is a picture that I did of my father half looking over and half looking through his glasses.  This is one of the last pictures that I did using an earth palette.  The colours remain vibrant and strong despite coming from this palette and every time I look at it I wonder about going back to the earth palette.  For me it captures something particular about him, that he probably would not easily admit to;  a certain sense of vulnerability and compassion.  Many people would say that these are two of his most endearing qualities.  The picture itself is strong and monumental, asking if strength in the world is a necessary precondition for accepting vulnerability and compassion.


The second was a picture I painted in Atul’s class entirely from life and in a bit of a hurry.  However, somehow the paint handling really clicked for me in those sessions and while the picture is not that exciting, the likeness and paint handling were good for me.  In the image I like the balance of the sharp blue with the warmth of the flesh tones and darkness of the fur hat.  The model exuded a sense of exclusivity, like a Tzarist princess.

HeatherlyPatrick Earle