Art is my passion and I am a member of the Ealing Art Group (EAG) in west London.  It is via an EAG mailing that I stumbled across the advertisement for the Big Painting Challenge, an art competition for amateur painters hosted by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

I was feeling brave and carefree around the time I read the mail from the EAG, so I entered the competition not really expecting anything to come of it, other than the accomplishment that I was happy to share my enjoyment of art.  So after submitting my application, I was a little bit astounded with the news but overjoyed that I had been asked by the BBC to attend an audition for the competition.

The audition

During the audition I was put through my paces in demonstrating my drawing and painting skills, however I did not get overawed by the occasion, I just relaxed and enjoyed it.  I mean what could go wrong…. I left the audition that day not really thinking about the next stage of the competition, other than reflecting on some of the interesting people who also had a passion for art that I had met during the day of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities.

A few weeks after the audition one evening when I was driving home, I was contacted by Auntie Beeb (BBC) to inform me that I was one of the ten potential finalists out of all the thousands of people that had auditioned. As I was already sitting down, I could not fall off my chair, hastening to add the next few days were a bit of a blur with all the excitement, I just remember saying ‘yes’ I would love to participate in the show.

The show

As day drew closer to the first day of filming, I was becoming really nervous about meeting the other finalists who had made it through the audition.  But my fears all but dissipated as it seems that they were all as nervous as me.

The tasks set for each stage of the competition were quite challenging, so much so, that after a while you forgot that there were cameras recording every stroke of a brush and bead of sweat that rolled from your brow as your beavered away trying to create a work of art. 

For me the most testing time during the show was working outdoors in the varying weather conditions, I normally worked indoors at my own pace in a sterile ’dry’ environment, so I was definitely out of my comfort zone working in the rain, fog, burning sunshine… Did I mention hail?   Maybe I should have participated in the ‘ice bucket challenge’to prepare me for the wet weather conditions (not to deflect the serious side of that challenge in raising awareness to motor neurone disease).