The Big Painting Challenge winner – Paul Bell

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The Big Painting Challenge winner - Paul Bell

BBC One’s The Big Painting Challenge has uncovered Britain’s best amateur artist, named this evening as Paul Bell.
  • The final episode, airing on Sunday 29 March at 6pm, names Glaswegian Paul Bell as The Big Painting Challenge champion
  • Across six episodes judges Daphne Todd, OBE, and Lachlan Goudie critiqued 10 artists’ work from portraits, landscapes and still life
  • Paul Bell’s best work will be on display at one of the most prestigious art galleries in the country, Tate Britain
The Big Painting Challenge winner – Paul Bell
Daphne Todd
The Big Painting Challenge winner – Paul Bell
Lachlan Goudie


BBC One’s The Big Painting Challenge has uncovered Britain’s best amateur artist, named this evening as Paul Bell.

In the series finale, presenters Una Stubbs and Richard Bacon encourage the final four artists Claire Parker, Amy Goldring, Paul Bell and Richard Salter, as they battle to capture a sense of Britain’s seafaring heritage at Dartmouth Royal Naval College and Dartmouth Harbour.

Judged by two of Britain’s most respected painters, award-winning portrait artist Daphne Todd OBE commented on Paul’s contribution to the programme: “Paul had to be our winner because he did three outstanding pieces of work and the final piece, everyone would want to hang that painting on their wall.”

Internationally renowned figurative painter Lachlan Goudie said of the high standards of Bell’s work: “He understands colour, composition, depth – he gets it, he really is a very, very strong artist.”

Paul Bell, the first-ever winner of The Big Painting Challenge, added: “It’s difficult to put into words about how I feel other than being absolutely delighted to win. It’s the biggest achievement of my career and one that I worked tirelessly to achieve. To have two pieces of my work going to Tate Britain is beyond my wildest dreams.”

Paul Bell - The Big Painting Challenge
Landscape by Paul Bell

From Monday 30 March after Sunday’s grand finale episode, Paul’s finest work selected by the BBC will be on display for the public to view at Tate Britain. The exhibition, open for a fortnight, will be complemented by a display of works from all 10 artists in a digital showreel.

Notes to Editors

The Big Painting Challenge (6×60 minute) was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Controller of BBC One and Mark Bell, Head of Arts Commissioning. It is a BBC Arts Production and Tom McDonald is the Commissioning Editor; Claire Nosworthy is the Executive Producer; Rob Clifford the Series Producer and Evih Efue the Production Manager.

All publicity pictures are available at

Paul Bell - The Big Painting Challenge
Portrait by Paul Bell

Glaswegian Paul has worked in interior design and as an architectural illustrator, and is currently a stay at home dad, painting as often as he can in between looking after his youngest daughter, three-year-old Frances. Paul loves oils though admits he can find them messy and slow, and is very happy working with acrylic. The weekly time challenges could work to Paul’s advantage as he embraces time constraints, saying “you can lose spontaneity if spend too long on something!” Married young, and with a young family, Paul couldn’t afford to go to Glasgow School of Art full time when he was younger, but attended classes part time to study life drawing. Paul mostly dreams of having his own studio space to paint – and having more time to paint.

For more information on Paul Bell, go to

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