‘Michael Simpson' by Paul Emsley won top honors. The painting is indeed excellent, a nice mix of light and dark with a brooding countenance of the old artist. He almost looks like he wants to leap out and grab you from the shadows…
Paul Emsley (b.1947) lives and works in Bradford on Avon, near Bath. Paul has exhibited widely and won several prizes. His portrait is a large close-up of the head of 67-year-old artist Michael Simpson, whom Emsley often meets bychance in Bradford on Avon, each time struck by his appearance. “I find his face and head visually interesting and with a strong presence,” he says. “I feel it is essentially European, particularly carrying something of the history of Eastern Europe.” Simpson, who is portrayed with his white hair contrasting strongly with a dark background, has Russian ancestry and studied at the Royal College of Art in the 1960s. Michael Simpson is painted in oil on board and measures 137 x 112 cm.
I was a bit surprised this time to see that the four finalists chosen were all ‘realist’ type painters in this age of abstraction. You can see the complete list of painting that was short listed here.
I liked the winning entry immensly, but my favorite in the lot was the one below… A self portrait by the Canadian artist Jaemi Hardy.
Note: Images ripped from the National Portrait Gallery website.