PAOTW – Sunday 8/11/2020

Samira Ahmed, writer, journalist and broadcaster for Channel 4 and now the BBC, was painted by PAOTY 2019 semi-finalist Geoffrey Harrison. The two built up a great rapport and it was another fascinating portrait session. Samira sat very still and even though she talked a lot about her life and career, it wasn’t a distraction.

Geoffrey had got used to Samira’s face as he’d sketched her several times during the previous week. On the day he used oil paints in Raw Umber, Burnt Sienna (for the ground), Titanium White, Naples Yellow, Winsor Red and Paynes Grey, for a slightly muted palette. For brighter tones he would have also used Prussian Blue and Venetian Red. Geoffrey’s big tip was to not use a paint thinner with the oils but to use Damar Varnish to thin the paints instead. This makes the oil paint dry quicker so you can paint over the top much sooner.

Over 1700 people followed the live session on Sunday morning and people put in the Facebook comments which country they were painting in. There were hundreds in the UK and Eire and also artists in…Australia, Puerto Rico, Portugal, New Zealand (where the session was from 11pm to 3am), Sweden, Argentina, the Philippines, Canada, Monaco, Abu Dhabi, Switzerland, Brazil, Turkey and Germany. It’s amazing to think that artists are joining in all over the world and Tai-Shan, one of the judges, said he feels very humbled that the programme reaches to the artistic community worldwide. Hear hear, it’s brilliant to be part of that community!

Samira was lit from windows on both sides in her study which was a challenge for us, but as usual M&C members produced some cracking portraits.

Juliet used her favourite sketching medium of pencils, with Samira’s hair very full and beautifully caught with busy pencil lines.

Cynthia used a restricted palette but can mix so many colours. She originally painted the background blue but felt it was too much, so changed it to purple, which seems to give the whole portrait an overall harmonious feel with the colours of her blouse. The colour and softness of Samira’s skin is spot on, well done. After lots of looking Cynthia tweaked the portrait a little, the whole portrait taking 4 hours.

Steve painted Samira in acrylics on hardboard in 4 1/2 hours over 3 sessions. The golden background works really well with Samira’s colouring and her facial features appear 3D with good use light and shadow. He enjoyed the session, saying it was a really interesting exchange between the artist and sitter.

Dot did two pictures, only taking an hour each, quite an accomplished feat in such a short time. One is in pencil in her sketchbook, the other in watercolour on Bockingford paper. Samira’s curly, ringletty hair is beautifully drawn and painted, framing her face well.

Tracy used different media this week as a challenge. Samira was drawn in HB & 4B pencils and coloured pencils in a sketchbook that has brown paper, not white, giving texture to the portrait. It took about 3 hours because she kept fiddling :o)

Here is Geoffrey’s finished portrait, Samira’s favourite portrait which is digital art, followed by the judges top three, the youngsters’ portraits and a selection from the wall by the public.

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