Artist, Duncan Shoosmith, who lives near Marlborough has been crowned Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2019 in the final of the competition which was screened on Tuesday April 16.
Duncan’s prize is £10,000 together with a commission to paint a portrait of Sir Tom Jones to hang in the permanent collection of the National Museum of Wales.
Duncan, who first discovered his love of art whilst a student at Marlborough College, told marlborough.news: “I was shocked that I won! I thought either of the other finalists Sara and Tom could easily have won – they are both great artists.”
In the final, which was held in the National Gallery, the contestants painted Hollywood actress and singer Laura Linney. The three finalists were also given their own special commission to be judged alongside the final work. Duncan painted Dame Cleo Lane.
The judges,award winning artist Tai Shan Schierenberg, independent curator Kathleen Soriano and art historian Kate Bryan, praised Duncan’s own bold and structural way of painting based on intense observation from life.
Speaking about his experience of the final, Duncan said, “It was incredibly stressful, not only because it was staged at The National Portrait Gallery, surrounded by wonderful portraits of the rich and famous but also because it was the final of a competition that thousands had entered, and so there was increased pressure to produce a portrait that showed you deserved to be in the final, that you merited that position. The fear of failure was definitely stronger than the desire to win!”
He has now completed Sir Tom Jones’s portrait. Sir Tom comments on the ‘striking resemblance’ of his portrait and offers Duncan ‘huge congratulations’ on his Facebook page.
“Painting Sir Tom Jones was fun if a little stressful. He’s a warm and very funny man but he rarely shuts up so sketching him was hard work! He’s 78 now but while painting him I’d look into his extraordinary blue eyes and suddenly I’d see the attraction of the man and see why he stole so many hearts!”
The final of the competition was actually filmed in June 2018 so Duncan has had a long time to keep his success secret. “I’ve been keeping it secret for nearly a year. It’s bizarre, life has returned to normal since it was filmed, but now it’s been aired work has gone crazy!”
To find out more about Duncan’s work go to: www.dshoosmith.co.uk