Duncan Shoosmith, who lives near Marlborough, has reached the semi-final of the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year. The semi-final will be screened on Sky Arts, tomorrow evening, Tuesday, April 9 at 8pm. All nine winners from the heats will be painting British Jazz legend Courtney Pine MBE.
Nearly two thousand artists from the UK entered the competition and seventy two were chosen to compete in this year’s show.
Duncan told marlborough.news: “I grew up in the area, and went to school at Marlborough College where I learnt to draw. Art was about the only subject I did ok at.”
“I’m now a full time artist, mainly painting portraits. My family and I moved back into the area a few years ago. My godson, Herb Berridge, a St John’s pupil, nagged me to enter Sky Arts Portrait Artist Of The Year. So I entered and was accepted out of thousands of entrants.”
Duncan won Heat 9 by painting a portrait of the actress Jodie Comer in four hours.
“Painting on the programme was a whole new experience for me. You are repeatedly interrupted and interviewed all under the gaze of the public. It’s a long way from the quiet solitude of my studio. It was hot and stressful but I managed to produce an ok painting although it wasn’t a great likeness of Jodie!”
The judges,award winning artist Tai Shan Schierenberg, independent curator Kathleen Soriano and art historian Kate Bryan,will be choosing three artists from the semi-final to go through to the final. In the final contestants will paint Hollywood actress and singer Laura Linney at the National Portrait Gallery on April 16.
Finalists are also given their own special commission to be judged in addition to their final work, featuring musicians Claire Rutter, Jazzie B and Dame Cleo Lane. The overall winner will be commissioned to paint a portrait of Sir Tom Jones to hang in the permanent collection of the National Museum of Wales.
Stephen Mangan is co-presenter of the show: “I was delighted to join Joan Bakewell for the return of Sky arts’ Portrait Artist of the Year. Together we have seen some incredible artists come through the ranks and it has been fascinating to see their portraits of our celebrity sitters come to life.”
Each celebrity was allowed to keep one of their finished portraits regardless of whether the artist went through to the next stage. According to previous artists that’s the beauty of the show. They also found that taking part in the show was life changing, both for their business and artist profile.
Duncan Shoosmith also enters the Whitehorse Bookshop Open Art Exhibition every year. To find out more about his work go to: www.dshoosmith.co.uk