Catherine was commissioned to paint TV Journalist Jon Snow by Sky Arts as part of Artist of the Year spin off lockdown show, ‘Portrait Artist of the Week’.
Scarborough Art Gallery: Sept 2020 – Jan 2021
Tullie House Gallery and Museum, Carlisle: Jan – May 2021
Biscuit Factory, Newcastle: May – Aug 2021
Bankside Gallery, London: Nov 2021
I have this painting, ‘Behind the Corpse Bride Paint’, in the Castlegate Prize which is now open and runs until 3 Oct 2020.
Each week of lockdown I have been joining in with the live spin off Sky Arts Artist of the Year program on Facebook – Portrait Artist of the Week. One past winner/finalist paints a celebrity encouraging watchers to join in, paint along, then submit the results on Instagram tagging #mypaotw.
The three judges choose their favourite from the previous week, and I am really thrilled that they chose my portrait of Judge Rinder to win in week 5. Also see my portraits of Will Young, Bernardino Evaristo and Noel Fielding. It’s well worth a go if you fancy painting a celebrity sitter.
Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year finalists and semifinalists Exhibition continues to tour around England at Whitewall Galleries.
Behind the White Witch Paint made an appearance at the Hampstead Affordable Art Fair amongst 15 others selected from the Jacksons Open Painting Prize shortlist.
The Art Fair is on from 8th – 12th May 2019.
Find out more . . .
Finally, my upcoming exhibition at the Brewery Arts Centre, Personal, made an appearance in the Brewery Summer guide. The preview evening is 10th August, so keep this date free in your diary as I would love you to come along. The exhibition runs until 28th September.
Peoples Choice Award
I am thrilled to have ‘Behind the White Witch Paint’ shortlisted for the Jacksons Open Painting Competition. 45 paintings were chosen from over 5000 entries. It will now go down to London to be considered for their stand in the Hampstead Affordable Art Fair.
You can still vote for the People’s Choice Award from the longlist of over 400 paintings, 4 of which are mine. Just follow the links below.
I am thrilled to share the news that I have 4 paintings included in the prestigious longlist for the Peoples Choice Award.
Click on Vote now where you will be directed to the Jacksons page where you can also browse the longlist. I would be so grateful for a vote for any of my paintings.
Behind the white witch paint
Behind the doll face
Behind the tiger paint
Watch the timelapse video clip of my portrait painting in Sky Portrait Artist of the Year 2019 (broadcast 12 March 2019 on Sky Arts)
I entered again because it had been such a wonderful experience the last two times and I felt I had more to give. I am quite competitive naturally and, although I know the other artists are exceptional, I knew I was more capable of the challenge of painting a portrait in 4 hours than before. Besides wanting to prove myself it is such a fun and exillarating experience I thought that I had nothing to lose. As an artist it is so difficult to put yourself out there as self doubt can be overwhelming. I have grown in confidence from the experiences, especially in painting quicker, and from life. I am not saying that it got any easier, because it didn’t. In fact it could have gone the other way, but It definitely grew in enjoyment each time.
THE SELF PORTRAIT
To enter this competition you need to produce a self portrait. This can not be one that you have entered before.
I wanted to do something different with this self portrait, rather than a straight on view. Although I prefer to work from life with my self portraits I knew that I wanted to avoid a confrontational stare. I worked from a photo for my face. I took a photo early one morning from a reflection in a mirror, with the light behind. I loved the back light, just a thin line surrounding the head. I particularly enjoy the art of Brendan Kelly whose use of light from windows and lamps is very atmospheric.
I painted the head first then used a mirror in my studio to place my body. The composition grew rather than was planned. I made decisions on the spot working with both reflections in mirrors strategically placed in my studio, and photos. The choice of background was the final decision, and as it developed I realised there was a narrative appearing, a sense of reaching either inward or out.
PAINTING WITH AN AUDIENCE
I was in a lucky position compared to the other contestants because I had been on the program before. I knew what the structure of the day was. The day started at 7am and ended at 8pm. I am quite in awe of actually how many hours the film crew put into their jobs. They probably did 14hour days during the two weeks of filming. You only get to paint for 4 hours, but in reality it is not this long. It is good to be aware of your own process of building a portrait as they want to record significant stages. So if you start fast, slapping the paint on, they want to film you first. Any big pictorial decision, they want to know. It is best if you are open to scrutiny, which is not easy for artists, who are use to creating in isolation. You get an interview with every judge, and presenter, and it’s usually during precious painting time. When other contestants are being interviewed your view of the sitter maybe obscured, so if you are going to work solely from life you have to consider this. I didn’t. I took a photo to use as back up. I hadn’t in 2014 and wished I had.
One of my worst fears was getting a sitter who couldn’t sit still. A bit of movement is fine as long as they get back into the same spot.
Georgina Campbell sat fairly well, so I couldn’t complain. She was listening to a pod cast, so was relatively concentrated most of the time. There is so much going on around, such a buzz of people, that it must be hard for them not to lose concentration.
I wasn’t as excited as in the previous year when Ross Kemp walked out. Georgina is flawless, which isn’t always what an artist wants. Hair can add personality, so having a sitter with hair tied back added to the challenge, and she wore black. So my initial reaction was that there was very little to grab hold of to give interest. I hope the disappointment didn’t show in my face. I became a little worried that I wouldn’t do her justice. The lighting in the Wallace Collection doesn’t help either. There is a glass ceiling and lighting changes quite significantly throughout the day. I took the shadow cast from a stage light as a feature in the painting. I also chose to paint in the background to give a bit more stucture to the composition.
WINNING THE HEAT
My preparation for the heat had been more intense this year. I produced five practice paintings of from life sticking religiously to the 4 hour timeframe. My priority on any portrait is likeness, as without that it is not a portrait of that person. Preparation was key for me. I knew what to expect and I didn’t let it get on top of me. I went in to produce a ‘completed’ picture, where the background had been considered. I would encourage anyone who gets into this competition to prepare as much as you can. Then just enjoy it. It is an experience unlike any other.
I was absolutely elated that I won the heat. My preparation for the semi final will be painting double portraits, in 4 hours, and I already have some willing volunteers. Here is a preparation painting of my two eldest children.