Sky Portrait Artist Of The Year

I’m so happy to finally be able to share my participation in the SkyTV painting competition ‘Portrait Artist of the Year’!
I had a wonderful time during the filming, back in May -keeping it a secret until it got aired last February was the real challenge~

If you’ve watched it already, I’m sure you’ve somehow picked up on my enthusiasm. Genuinely, I was SO happy (+10% due to some adrenaline rush)!

I was incredibly lucky to get to paint the gorgeous Geraldine James, who sat with a beautiful presence. It meant a lot that she chose my portrait.
Even if I didn’t go through the next stage of the competition, to me it already sounded like a win. I realised through this experience how much I felt ‘at the right place’ when painting. Because if I think for a second, I would have had all the reasons to get unbearably nervous. But I didn’t, and the opposite.
Just filled with joy, in my element.


I applied encouraged by a friend, convinced it wouldn’t pass but that applying to competition could be a good habit to start.

I submitted this painting, that had been produced on a self-portrait course I attended on the second term of my Portraiture Diploma. On this afternoon, we were basically looking at opportunities to play with our face. I realised that my hands had the great particularity of not being explicitly a left/right hand, and that I could paint the same twice without it being too odd (well, beyond the fact they’re quite unusual to start with).

I reckon the palette and serious stare of self-scrutiny translates in a quite moody portrait, but for me it was nothing but a playful experiment, and I particularly enjoyed letting it evolved without a plan, adding and deleting hands as I painted. This self-portrait wasn’t about my hands when I did it, but I guess it meant something that they made it to the small screen.

As the day of the Heat was approaching, I was getting a bit anxious. I wasn’t sure nor aware of my way to paint and I thought I had to have a plan, a methodology.
On the weekend before, I set myself to do self-portraits in the four hour time frame. I got a sore neck, some fun, but not a strategy.
My friends were enthusiastic and so supportive, and it mattered a lot.
On the morning of the filming, as we were waiting to start, I started to sketch people. This warm up turned out to be a really efficient way to prevent my mind from getting nervous.


The apprehension left and only the excitement remained: I was given the chance to paint from life for four hours, how could I not be happy?

Everyone was also incredibly welcoming. And we were in the same boat, participants and production team, all about to work hard and do our best.

Sure conditions are not the easiest; the light changes a lot and camera often get in your way (if you’re not already being interviewed). But it all added to make me feel more relaxed: it was an exciting challenge and l’d try my best. The 'time pressure’ gave me extra energy and it felt like dancing. Or fencing? With a rag and a brush, in a tender way.


Everyone was so lovely. It was a beautiful way to get to meet talented peers and some have become friends naturally.

I was also the luckiest to receive this beautifully observed drawing from Nua, an incredible little girl who spent the whole afternoon drawing from life. This drawing is now encouraging from my studio.


I truly had a wonderful time, and it was a real joy to receive such positive feedback after the broadcast.
Thank you so much for every kind words. Again, all of this encourages me to keep doing what I love so much.
I’m happy and grateful ♥