I find it endlessly fascinating to see the way one art form overlaps with another, and once you look past the dazzling watercolours and oil paints, Sky Arts Portrait Painter of the Year is really a master class in writing techniques.
Portraiture is, of course, all about conveying character in brush or pencil strokes. Writers do this with words, actors do it with voice and gesture. On the surface, the end results all look quite different. And yet, we are all doing exactly the same thing. Using character to make a connection with the viewer/reader.
One of the old chestnuts you hear in writing groups is that you have to ‘Kill your darlings.’ It’s brilliant advice. Of course it is. But last night I heard a painter talking about potential problems in her craft, and she said it so much better. ‘Sometimes you can look at a painting and think, that’s a lovely eye. It’s just in the wrong place.’
How fab is that?