You’ll remember a News article called Yorkshire Artists at York Open Studios that I posted on here back in April, and under the subtitle: Talented Young Artist, I described how I had met an exceptionally talented young lady, but I couldn’t remember her name, she hadn’t got in touch, etc, etc, you get the picture…

WELL, Anna, contacted me not long after, thanking me sincerely and wholeheartedly for taking the time to talk to her Halcyon #3during my York Open Studios Exhibition weekend.  There was just something about, Anna, that left a huge impression on me – the combination of her Tobyoutstanding skills set and what she had been through.  I just couldn’t shake her from my thoughts.  I decided to help her – as much as I could.

Anna had sent me some examples of her work (see images to your right and left) and asked me to critique them.. HA.. what can I say! They are faultless!

I invited Anna to my studio for an oil painting lesson and told her to bring the original photos she worked from and a list of any questions she had…

Anna is only 16 years of age and yet her draughtsmanship and pastel technique is extraordinary.  When I compared the original photograph with the pastel portrait, there was a difference…Anna had brought the subjects to life! Dramatically improved them both! Specifically, the eyes of each character were so much more life like – giving the Kingfisher a cheekiness to his expression and Toby (the Labrador) a serious, but very friendly look – he really looks like a dog that stays by your side.

Oil Painting Lesson

Anna only had time to devote one day (this year) to learning how to oil paint so I to show Anna everything I had learnt over a 20150709_122330whole year in just 5 hours.  I knew Anna just needed introducing to the main techniques and could then experiment further on her own at home.  During the oil painting lesson I taught Anna how to create a solid foundation upon which to paint a great portrait: Sienna coloured ground and wipe away the highlights.  I showed her how to build up the highlights using an impasto oil medium mixed with white oil paint, and how to use glazes.  Anna handled all this information excellently – there was a lot to take it – and produced some fantastic results.
I look forward to viewing Anna’s future endeavours into the world of oil painting.

Last but note least, in August I received a beautiful hand written thank you letter from Anna.  Such a touchin20150820_181426g and thoughtful surprise.

In response, apart from thanking Anna dearly, I posted one of the most open and honest Facebook posts I have ever written:

“THIS IS WHY I DO WHAT I DO…
This is a thank you from a 16 year old girl called Anna
…not to get the thank you’s but to see, or be told of, the difference an afternoon: chatting, drawing, painting, with me has made to a person’s life.
Along the path I have travelled in the art world so far; I have found very few helping hands so I set off to make a change and to be different.
I give up a day or afternoon of my time, for free, to anyone who is feeling a little lost with their art or life (related to art) in general, or to those who just need a bit of help with painting/drawing techniques.
I have seen rock bottom, there’s nobody there to help pick you up, so I thought if I could stop as many people as possible from feeling like that I would, I am and I will.”

Anna really is a wonderful human being, and I really do feel so lucky to be the one she reached out to.  I wish you all the best, Anna, in everything you do, I am pretty certain you will succeed in anything you turn your hand to because you have the drive, enthusiasm, and intelligence to make it so.

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