"the quality of the work is high (and)... indeed compares favourably with the much larger BP Portrait Awards"
Duncan Macmillan, The Scotsman, 2 December 2017
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Scottish Portrait Award winners stand out in talented field
Edinburgh Thursday 3 November The winners of the Scottish Portrait Awards (SPAs) 2017 were announced last night at the opening event of the Scottish Portrait Awards exhibition at the Scottish Arts Club in Edinburgh. Glasgow artist, Helen Wilson took the £5,000 SPA in Fine Art while Robin Gillanders of Edinburgh received the £2,000 Richard Coward SPA in Photography. Commendations were awarded to Ewan McClure and Virginia Colley for fine art and Robert Andrew Mercer and Oscar Pereira Beiroa for photography.
Helen Wilson, known for her paintings of ballerinas, musicians and other performers won with her painting of Jonah of Kittyfield Farm. Commenting on the work, the Glasgow based artist said, ‘I am fascinated by people in their natural working environment, especially if they are passionate about what they do, be they dancers, chefs, singers, fishmongers… or indeed farmers. Jonah's family, who run Kittyfield Farm, are just such people, and while the farm occupies an idyllic setting, with views over the River Tweed to the Eildon Hills, their everyday reality is… muddy!’
Well-known Edinburgh photographer Robin Gillanders says he had not entered a photographic competition since he was 18 years old, but the Scottish Portrait Awards ‘seemed made for me.’ He took his rich-toned photograph of Shetlandic poet and author, Robert Alan Jamieson, especially for the competition. Inviting Jamieson to his home-studio, he asked the writer to bring something of symbolic value to him. Jamieson came with the eagle’s feather that appears in the photograph. Gillanders used a traditional large format 8x10 camera complete with dark cloth draped over his head and took only five shots to find his winning masterpiece.
The judges praised Wilson’s uncompromising honesty and direct engagement through the work, while Gillander’s portrait won because of it strong composition, tonal range and sense of narrative for the character. Both the fine art and photographic winners were praised for their story-telling quality and for capturing the subject very well. In both cases the judges’ decision was unanimous.
Press coverage 2017 SPAS
The Scotsman Review, by Duncan Macmillan https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/art/art-reviews-hidden-gems-at-edinburgh-city-art-centre-the-scottish-portrait-awards-2017-1-4627243
Winners go head to head in Scottish Portrait Awards – Mike Wade, The Times www.thetimes.co.uk/article/artists-go-head-to-head-in-scottish-portrait-awards-lsjjp0wl9
Art judged head and shoulders above rest – Mike Wade, The Times www.thetimes.co.uk/article/scottish-portrait-awards-art-judged-head-and-shoulders-above-rest-03bxdz9nl
Scottish Portrait Awards in Fine Art and Photography, BBC News Online, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-41830674
Winners announced at the first Scottish Portrait Awards, BBC News Online: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-41818551
Established photographer wins first Scottish Portrait Award, Amateur Photography http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/latest/photo-news/scottish-portrait-awards-112509
Numerous other stories in local newspapers and online sites including a full page in Edinburgh Life and major feature in Scottish Art Scene scottish-art-scene.com/Scottish.Portrait.Awards.pdf
A motivational poem and comic strip by George McBean to inspire fine artists and photographers across Scotland to enter the Scottish Portrait Awards
Cover photo credit: Carolyn Scott, Richard (detail)