Did you happen to notice that the stripped background of Ryan's Abdi portrait was lifted from the studio walls? One does note how the space around the sitter is defined. But fidelity is not requisite. I would have liked to see a bit of embellishment - Ryan highlighting and a bit more of Abdi's playful persona.
When initially viewing Erik's clown painting on the easel in the galleries, I asked Michael, our uber cool hat-wearing on-site Producer, if I could take it off and hang it on the wall. Art needs a lot of help. A white wall is ideal for looking at a painting, even an amateur one. Michael responded that the artist had made this choice of presentation, so the easel must stay. Upon asking Erik what he was thinking with this easel, he said that it was Trong's idea to keep the painting on the pedestal. After a few harsh words, Erik's first lesson was learned - do not allow a fellow contestant to make such crucial decisions.
Erik spent a lot of time saying he was untrained, otherwise known as an "outsider artist." But in today's world, where images are so accessible on the web and Museums are found in most cities (or within driving distance), this excuse will not fly with any of us.
Abdi's painting of Ryan certainly lit up the TV screen, but it was Miles macabre portrait of Nao that was the most beautiful in person. The work gave off the aura of stopped time. It is not easy to capture this slippage from life to death, from natural to synthetic with such grace.
Lastly, I was really sorry to see Amanda be the first to go. I was excited to see her work after I heard her sing on her audition tape (she was complaining that music was not allowed in the studios - and I quite agree). There are challenges in the future where she would have certainly excelled. But if the portraiture's main goal is to represent a recognizable person, then her decorative portrait of Jaime Lynn was hopeless.