Thursday, 27 June 2013

The Act of the Portrait

To sit is to Act
Dress in the 16th and 17th century was loaded with meaning. We all have heard of, or seen, the images of Elizabeth I which functioned as one of the most important means of propaganda for her reign as well as a treasure chest of symbolic imagery. Portraits, then, were vehicles to convey meaning first and foremost. Not only the (royal) status of the sitter, but also her or his heritage, property, material wealth, knowledge or wisdom, geography, and future aspirations were all contained in embroidery, accessories, and fashion. The sitters face, however, was less important and once a general likeness was created, the drawing of it was often use as a template for many more portraits in the future.
Elizabeth I, Armada Portrait at Woburn Abbey
The tailoring of the late Elizabethan and Jacobean dresses was nothing spectacular. Skirts, sleeves and other parts were usually pinned or tied together on the body.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Travel Award Plans

I will set out my plans for the travel award in more detail soon, but for now here's the text of the the National Portrait Gallery's press release which gives it you in summary:

This year the BP Travel Award has been awarded to Bristol-based Dutch Artist Sophie Ploeg. Having studied Art & Architectural History at universities in The Netherlands  Ploeg, 39, won for her proposal to explore how fashion and lace was represented in 17th century art, as well as in modern applications. She will visit famous lace-making centres such as Bruges in Belgium and Honiton in Devon, modern lace makers and artists, antique lace collections and 17th century art collections, as well as undertake  literary research. Sophie's final work will be inspired by her findings and will be displayed in the BP Portrait Award 2014 exhibition.

Of course I have already been working within my theme of lace and textiles extensively, but this award will give me the opportunity to move things into the fast lane and dig deeper.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Photos of the BP Portrait Award Exhibition

Some more pictures of the BP Portrait Award Exhibition

My little painting on the left, next to Paul Oxborough's Ved Mehta, and Daan van Doorn's huge Philip Glass portrait

Thursday, 20 June 2013

BP Portrait Exhibition & Travel Award

Hello everyone, I just got back from 2 hectic and amazing days in London. I attended the opening of the BP Portrait Award Exhibition and, as you all now know, was awarded the BP Travel Award. This award is annual award "to allow artists to experience working in a different environment on a project related to portraiture. It is open to applications from any of the BP Portrait Award-exhibited artists".

I won the award for my proposal (not my painting). My proposal is to explore how fashion and lace was represented in 17th century portraiture and I will visit art collections, lace collections in the UK, The Netherlands and Belgium. I will then create works inspired by all this and these works will be displayed in the BP Portrait Award 2014 exhibition.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

RBSA Portrait Prize Exhibition

I am really happy to share that one of my self portraits has been selected for exhibition at the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists (RBSA), one of the oldest art societies in the UK (since 1807), presided over in the 19th century by famous artists such as Sir John Everett Millais, Sir Edward Burne-Jones and Lord Leighton to name just a few. Their annual Portrait Prize exhibition always attracts big names and great works. This year the selection was chosen by senior members of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters who will also exhibit there and the exhibition will be opened by Alastair Adams, president of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. I have already heard on the grapevine that some great artists will be exhibiting with me so I feel honoured to have been included.

For more info:

RBSA Portrait Prize Exhibition
17 July - 24 August
RBSA Gallery, 4 Brook Street, Birmingham, B3 1SA

Monday to Friday 10:30am – 5:30pm
Saturdays 10:30am – 5:00pm
Sundays 1pm – 5:00pm
Admission – Free
Self Portrait with Blue Background, oil, 40x30cm

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Saturday, 8 June 2013


this should keep me busy for a while....

 visiting and studying....

at Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire
sketching after Holbein 


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