PAOTW – Oti Mabuse – 14/3/2021

This week’s sitter was dancer and choreographer Oti Mabuse. Born in Pretoria, South Africa, Oti started dancing lessons when she was just 4 years old. Her mum worked three jobs to pay for Oti’s and her two sisters’ dancing lessons. At 11 Oti went to Germany to live with one of her sisters and to train in dance more. After finishing school Oti’s mum insisted she also learnt ‘a proper job’ so at university she studied engineering. After university Oti realised she loved dancing so much that she wanted it to be her career. Oti trained and danced in competitions for years, moving upwards in the world of Latin and Ballroom dancing. Oti won Strictly Come Dancing in 2019 with Klevin Fletcher and won again in 2020 with Bill Bailey. She is the only professional to have won two years in a row. The tattoos on Oti’s forearms are very true…’Strength through perseverance’ and ‘Believe in yourself’.

Oti was asked to stay in several poses for a little while at the beginning of the session, looking up, down and to the left and right, with her glasses on and then off. This was really useful as we were able to take many screenshots and then choose to draw or paint our favourite pose. Oti’s glasses were a strong prescription so this meant that her facial features were distorted when she wore them. To Oti’s left was a ring light and to her right a window so that is why her face is lit from both sides.

The artist was Curtis Holder, winner of PAOTY 2020. We learnt that since winning PAOTY Curtis has cut back on his teaching hours and now takes commissions for portraits, thus becoming a full time artist, his dream job. He has a very distinct style of creating portraits by using coloured pencils but in a loose, very scribbled style. Curtis did several sketches throughout the session, some with only a few graphite pencil lines and others with many coloured pencil lines. Curtis and Oti talked about their lives and careers so far and it was another interesting session.

Sadly it was the last PAOTW in this third series :o( Every M&C member who took part said how much they will miss the programme. It was brilliant to be part of a global art event, drawing well-known sitters and gleaning tips from fantastic artists, all from the comfort of our own homes. We all hope that as the idea was so successful that Sky TV may consider doing PAOTW again. It was the highlight of lockdown for many of us.

Juliet drew Oti in pencils and by gentle shading has made her face look 3D. By emphasising Oti’s eye by using darker pencil marks Juliet makes sure that we are drawn to her gaze.

Dot painted two portraits of Oti. The first is in watercolour pencils and Dot has bravely tackled Oti’s glasses, with the second portrait in acrylics on paper. Dot saw several different colours in Oti’s skin which she has successfully painted.

Cynthia used Daler Rowney acrylics on a 8″ x 10″ canvas, the background perfectly offsetting Oti’s glowing skin. Cynthia took a screenshot and then put a grid over the top. Instead of drawing a grid on to the actual canvas she used a grid system she made from mountboard and thread that fits perfectly over the canvas. It’s a brilliant idea as it saves trying to rub out the superfluous lines. Thank you for the tip!

Steve enjoyed the great combination of sitter and artist and liked having the choice of poses at the beginning. He also created two portraits of Oti, one with her wearing glasses. The first is in oil pastels on pastel paper, the second coloured pencils on cartridge paper. Steve has caught Oti’s skin tones perfectly, making her portraits very life-like.

Tracy had a disrupted session as it was Mother’s Day so had breakfast cooked for her of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on toast, followed by a facial, manicure, gel nails and eating a couple of cakes :o) She caught up with the session during the week on Sky TV’s recorded video page, taking about 30 minutes to draw Oti and then about 90 minutes to paint her in profile.

Angela D watched some of PAOTW on catchup and got a good screenshot of one of the judges, Tai Shan Shierenberg, so decided to paint him instead. She used acrylics on acrylic paper taking about 4 hours. Angela has painted Tai’s face so well, we will all know him instantly, well done.

Here is Curtis’s finished portrait, followed by Oti’s favourite portrait and the top three chosen by the judges. There are no portraits by youngsters or a wall of Oti as there was no programme after this session.

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