Friday, February 9, 2018

BP Bound…at least for the second round!

Carol raises chicks…and spirits
Judy Takács, oil on linen
Those of you who know me, follow me or listen to me, may have heard me talk about the BP Portrait Show as my holy grail of art goals.

Every year the National Gallery in London juries thousands of international entries and puts together a stellar collection of some of the finest portraiture being painted today. It is presented with (what I imagine to be) all kinds of British pomp and circumstance with shortlists, awards, publicity and (what I imagine to be) a meteoric rise to fame for the artists included…especially the award winners. My facebook friend list includes quite a few BP Portrait Show Artists…David Eichenberg, Wim Heldens, Aleah Chapin, Sophie Ploeg, Natalie Holland, Janne Kearny, Paul Emsley, Mary Jane Ansel, Philip Harris, Daphne Todd, Ilaria Del Turco, Felicia Forte, Frank Oriti, Mark Giangaspero and David Kassan.

I’ve been entering the BP since I first heard of the show in 2010 and have been rejected each year. But, because it’s at the top of my holy grail art goals, I remember Winston Churchill’s words (British theme and all) “Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm” and keep fighting the good fight and entering my best.

So, it is with great enthusiasm I proudly announce to you that Carol Raises Chicks and Spirits was invited to London for the second round of judging for the BP Portrait Award!

Just letting that sink in a minute…

And, I will apologise (British spelling) in advance for making such a big deal about it, but this may be as far as she gets…in past years approximately 500 pieces are invited for round two judging, but only 50 are accepted into the actual show.  But, it’s my first time…and I haven’t seen the shipping bill yet…so my celebration is one of unbridled hedonistic joy. 

Add to that a 3.5 hour breakfast with my oldest son for his birthday and I’m going to call February 8, 2018 the Best. Day. Ever.


Coincidentally, this is the card I gave my oldest son for his birthday yesterday.
Not to worry, I got one each for all three of my sons for THEIR birthdays too! Shhhh
As for the actual portrait, it is fitting that my portrait of artist, Carol Berning brings me so much joy. Carol basically passes out sunshine and fun wherever she goes.  And her portrait, which is part of my Chicks with Balls series was a total joy to paint. Oh those downy feathers!


Carol, a painter, is currently creating a wonderful world of love, quilting, cooking and social activities for her aged mother, for whom she cares. Carol’s love and admiration for her mom is unmistakable whenever I see her “in the moment” portraits of her beautiful mother and the cherished experiences she’s making with her. Would that we should all have a daughter as loving as Carol. 


As a painter, Carol’s portrait series, “Where are they now?…Vietnamese Children from 1968” is a heart stopper. It is a collection of sensitive paintings of war-weary, orphaned, curious, uncertain but surviving children her husband encountered when he served as an Infantry Officer during the Vietnam War.

And, in her back yard, Carol also raises chickens.

Picking balls for her Chicks with Balls painting was quickly sidelined, when Carol brought up posing with actual baby chicks…I was onboard immediately…a chick with chicks! So, not one to shy away from adventure, Carol packed up three baby chicks in an insulated grocery store tote bag rigged up with a heating pad which could be warmed up through a USB port to her laptop. She drove them from Tennessee to DC for the Portrait Society conference where we were to have our posing session to begin her epic portrait! 

In addition to the actual chicks, Carol brought her two beautiful artist friends, Martha and Pam…with whom she travels each year to the Portrait Society meeting. Eager for adventure, they also posed for Chicks with Balls. The posing session in my hotel room with live chickens was awesome, fun, hysterical and an experience I will not soon forget…and, as the saying goes, “What happens at the DC Portrait Society Conference, stays at the DC Portrait Society Conference.” 

But the paintings live on!

And now, Carol raises Chicks and Spirits is heading to London for Round Two of the BP Portrait Award and I’m thrilled to pieces that my beautiful chick with her lovely chicks will soon be hopping across the pond…hopefully for a good long visit!




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