PAOTW – Nicola Coughlan – 21/2/2021

The third series of PAOTW started with actor Nicola Coughlan sitting patiently and happily chatting away for hours. She is an actor best known for Derry Girls and more recently the Netflix hit Bridgerton, where she took the part of Penelope Featherington. The characters she has played are usually teenagers but incredibly Nicola is 34 but as she has unlined, glowing skin she looks so much younger than her age.

The artist was Alastair Faulkner who appeared as a contestant in PAOTY and a wildcard in LAOTY, both in 2018. Art is his hobby as well as playing the piano and in real life he is an NHS Trauma and Orthopaedic surgeon. He took part in the NHS Portraits for Heroes event and created a massive painting of the team of NHS professionals he works with every day.

For Nicola’s portrait Alastair used a limited palette of Titanium White, Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Red, Cobalt Blue, Ivory Black and Raw Sienna. He usually starts portraits with a Raw Umber wash on the canvas as it’s a mid tone and and takes away the original white. He didn’t bother with a drawing of Nicola but got on straight away using paint to outline her head and features. They talked about many things and we found out that Alastair’s favourite operation is piecing together a fractured elbow! It was another good session and the time zoomed past.

Dot sketched Nicola as she does all the sitters but then decided to use watercolour pencils to add colour to her sketch. Watercolour pencils can be tricky to use but Dot used them skilfully, achieving a good likeness of Nicola with beautiful skin tones.

Cynthia made a rough outline of Nicola on Sunday then continued on Tuesday with acrylics on her favourite canvas size of 8″ x 10″. She achieved soft skin tones, beautifully painted Nicola’s bright blue eyes and the capture of the highlight on the nacre on the pearl earring is sublime.

Steve used oil pastels on Canson Mi-Teintes pastel paper. Oil pastels can be quite messy but Steve has used them very well, giving Nicola a glowing skin and colourful tones on her highlighted hair.

Juliet sketched Nicola using her favourite sketching medium of pencils. She has captured Nicola’s slightly ethereal quality perfectly by giving her eyes slightly darker emphasis than the rest of het face. Good earrings too, they were a quite complicated curved shape.

Tracy drew Nicola for 30 minutes then spent about 2 hours painting her in watercolours. As Nicola was pale and wore a white blouse she disappeared into the background so Tracy added burnt umber to make her come forward in the painting.

Here is Alastair’s finished portrait of Nicola followed by the judges top three paintings by the public, their favourite three paintings by young artists and images from the wall shown at the beginning of the programme. There was no favourite painting by Nicola, but if she chooses one in a following programme it will be added later.

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