Caversham art trail and latest portraits…

News from the studio in May
Sarah Seymour demonstrating portrait painting at the Caversham Arts Trail
Sarah Seymour starting of Liz Hodgkin’s portrait as part of her painting demonstration for the Caversham Arts Trail (photo credit Anna Lambert – thanks Anna!)

 

Well the Caversham art trail is now over and the studio is just about back to normal after a hectic couple of weeks.  I must say it was enjoyable meeting visitors and talking about my work and that of the other artists taking part.

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Ra ra for QE2

Queen Elizabeth

Several people last week suggested our Queen would be a good person to include in my 50 faces series for 2016.  So if you were one of those people, here is your answer!  I hope you like it. I opted for a look without crown and blue sash just to check you could recognise her without the trappings, but did choose a characteristically bright and cheerful colour as I know she likes to sport outfits that make it easier for people to spot her from a distance.  And let’s face it we all like to spot a celebrity, don’t we?

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50 faces in 52 weeks

Portrait of Malala by Caversham Commissioning Artist Sarah Seymour

oamlyya

Well done to anyone on the blogging challenge who found this week’s blog!  Last week was my first attempt – a short story, which a few people read and commented on (thank you!) It was deliberately different to my usual posts because it was for 29th February, the ‘extra’ day and a chance to experiment with being someone different.

 

The next day was March 1st and my 50th birthday.  The official launch date of my fifty faces challenge. Of course, I had not been able to contain my excitement about this so I have already started painting them but this is my chance to be ‘Queen’ and have an official and unofficial birthday (or several).

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Malala

Malala
Malala

 

The most recent in my bid to paint 50 faces this year.  My running coach suggested Malala as a subject and initially I had reservations.  I want to have a 50/50 balance of male and female faces but I was not keen to portray women who are famous for being victims or the wife of someone famous!  However, when I researched Malala I realised she was far from being a victim.  This was someone who was already publicly condemning the efforts of the Taliban to prevent girls from getting a proper education.  Her writings contributed to schools in her valley being re-opened to girls.  That was when the Taliban tracked her down and shot her through the head.  Her response? When she had recovered she completed her education in the UK, wrote a book about her story and amplified her shout against the oppressors more than a hundredfold.  Coming from any culture this would have been astonishingly brave, but from a country where women are routinely underrated she is absolutely astonishing.

Pippa

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Pippa’s Story

It was a pleasure meeting soft-hearted, gentle cocker spaniel Pippa for a June photoshoot in 2015. Afterwards, her owners also sent pictures of how she looked as a puppy, and the result was two portraits of her, one as a youngster, and one as an old lady.

Six months later, I received a call from her hum an family, explaining that Pippa had recently developed terminal bone cancer behind one eye, which, tragically, will have to be removed. I was touched when a family member kindly phoned me and said they were glad they had got her portrait done before her diagnosis, and commented that they remembered I had gone to a lot of trouble to get her eyes right.

In these paintings, Pippa is remembered as the family knew and loved her for so many years.