Monday, 10 September 2012

Paintings by Nathan Ford, who I first came across at the BP Portrait Award in 2010. I absolutely love his style, painterly and slightly 'unfinished' looking in a non-perfect perfect way. Though I'm in no way a similar league to Ford, I can vouch that it's very hard to describe when as an artist you just know something is finished. Even though it might not be classically 'finished' looking, sometimes the aesthetic of a style like this works best that way - I was always careful of 'over-doing' things when painting because it's so easy to ruin it by going too far. I was never a natural painter for this reason. I have a horrendously strong streak of perfectionism in me, which tends to continually berate myself for something looking 'wrong', and my desperation to make something perfect and 'fix' the problem always overrode my tutors' advice to leave it alone. This is why most of my own work ends up being meticulous and fairly obsessive looking, almost mathematical. (I spent three months taking things apart and re ordering their individual parts, and it was the most fun I'd had in my A level!) 

Ford's style is aesthetically much more pleasing to me often than the things I create myself. I love the fact that his style is often realistic underneath obscuring brush strokes, and that there is so much character in his portraits. The girl in the first image is so striking, the bright blue eye looking out of the canvas and straight into you. The second is delightfully sinister, again, just the one eye looking out from under heavy brushstrokes, more obscuring the mouth. The third, an older man, the focus still on the eyes. His work reminds me of a less surreal Francis Bacon somehow. Ford is also exhibiting in the BP Portrait Award this year again with the beautiful 'Joachim', though unfortunately he wasn't placed - the exhibition runs until the 23rd of September, so I'm hopefully going to have time to go and see the rest of the pieces before starting classes again.


  1. These are so striking & I agree, they remind me a lot of Francis Bacon too. I've always loved this kind of raw, unfinished style, it seems to convey much more emotion than a perfectly finished piece I think. The first image of the girl is definitely my favourite, those eyes!

  2. his work is very intense, and yes, I had to think of Francis Bacon, too. I must have seen him at the BP awards in 2010, but his name doesn't ring a bell any more. thanks for the re-introduction.

  3. great posting and interesting
    I discovered this via Petra

  4. hello, what's the name of the second painting you posted by Nathan Ford? Been searching everywhere online for the name, thanks! ^_^

    1. I'm not 100% sure as it's not on his website that I can see - but I've seen it listed as 'Harvest I'! Hope this helps.