When I got the call in March last year, telling me I was being invited to take part in a heat of Sky Portrait Artist of the year 2019, I was stunned and my confidence grew a thousand fold. I will admit to being very nervous but it was excited nerves. I booked my flights and accommodation and began to get competition ready by practicing every day. Trying to get a passable portrait done in 4 hours took a bit of practice. I figured out where I could save time with backgrounds etc but I was concentrating more about not making a total mess of the whole thing.
I arrived in London the evening before and checked into my hotel which was walking distance to The Wallace Collection. I met up with my brother and his girlfriend Shannon and we had a wander down to the Wallace Collection which, to my surprise, was open and we went in to have a snoop about. They were setting up and I was delighted to be able to have a wander around prior to arriving in the next day. I felt a bit calmer heading back to my hotel.
On the day I arrived along with Joan Bakewell and the other contestants and my excitement began to build. Everyone was so calm and lovely. The crew make you feel very relaxed and there is no rushing around as everything is so well planned out. The only pressure I felt in the day was the time ticking away as I did my painting. Other that that, the day was so fun and uplifting. I was rather relieved when time was called because I knew at that time that there was nothing more I could do and so I relaxed and really enjoyed the final part of day.
It has been the most wonderful experience and it has raised my self belief in my artistic abilities. It was challenging and it took a leap of faith and courage but it I went for it and I can be proud that I give it a go. I have improved with every new piece I have undertaken since and I am now building up to becoming full time artist in the next three years.
I would urge everyone interested to apply and if called to give it their all. I never thought I’d be getting a call from the production team at Sky Arts but I did. It has been a huge boost to my confidence and given me the momentum to embark on a career as an Artist.