Vicky Saumarez Artist  
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CLASSES PORTRAITS STILL LIFE NUDES ABOUT ME

WORK & PROJECTS

ABOUT ME

I am a London based artist. I grew up in southern England and had an interest in drawing the human form and portrait from an early age.

I trained in the early 90’s at the Florentine realist drawing and painting academy of Studio Cecil Graves,  learning ancient drawing skills and being introduced to the visual language and techniques of painters from earlier centuries.  The school later split to become Charles H Cecil Studios and The Florence Academy of Art.

Back in the UK, I branched out to experiment in different areas of the arts such as picture restoration, digital media, sculpture and pottery, while always continuing to paint and draw.

In 2014, I started teaching academic drawing and painting skills in West and Central London, keen to share the invaluable techniques acquired in Florence. This expanded to include drop-in ‘Drink & Draw’ (pub based life drawing) and later to run courses in life drawing and portrait for City Academy, both live and online.

In 2019 I was approached to run a life drawing course at the Royal Academy, delivered in the RA Schools’ historic life drawing room, where generations of Royal Academy students had sat, including such notable Alumni as John Constable RA, William Blake, JMW Turner RA, Edwin Landseer RA, George Stubbs RA and Sir John Everett Millais PRA. The pandemic postponed plans for further courses in 2020 but I hope to return soon.

Me at easel Portrait of Marie

Painting Style

Always working in traditional oil paint, my painting style is romantic, narrative and mostly classical in style, though often with an injection of humour. From my Florence training, I tend to limit my colours rarely exceeding five or six at any one time, a tendency also associated with tonalist painters like Sargent, Sorolla and Zorn.

My inspiration behind many of my works are found in daily life such as bringing modern toys into still life and domestic interior scenes.

While a lot of my work involves long study and layering, I get huge enjoyment from working the wet-on-wet technique, working in one sitting for a more immediate impression of the subject.

Academic nude study quasi

SKY Portrait Artist Of The Year 2020

Series 7 Episode 5

I entered the portrait competition on a whim, as I had seen a call for entries having just completed a quick experimental self-portrait. I was surprised to have been invited to participate though, partly because it was scheduled for filming in the summer of the 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic, but I was thrilled to be asked and it was a welcome distraction at a worrying time.

Our ‘celeb’’ was Judge Robert Rinder who was totally charming as were all the staff and presenters. When I saw the painting of Don Letts by Kofi Ferris though, I knew I had lost and I wasn’t surprised when he made it all the way to the final. My consolation prize was that Robert chose my painting to take home and I like to imagine it hanging in his rococo decorated lavatory for years to come ;-)

It was an odd day with no audience and strict distancing in place but hugely enjoyable and one I might try for again one day.

PAOTY My self portrait
   
Winner Judge Rinder

Portraits for NHS Heroes

I became involved in the fabulous national art initiative thought up by artist Tom Croft #portraitsfornhsheroes back in the April deadly 'first wave' in the UK and TV and social media was full of heartbreaking stories of personal loss. Emotional nurses and health workers were posting videos of themselves after backbreaking shifts, wrapped up in stifling layers of plastic but still with the unknown risk of infection making them afraid for themselves and their families. To cope, having had to cancel all my classes as I approached what would have been my busiest term teaching art, I threw myself into painting still lifes and portraits of my family at home and found the process a calming and rewarding distraction. I did, however, feel a bit like a lady of leisure when the soldiers were on the front line so I leapt at the opportunity to 'give something back' in all but a small way.

My first subject was Elliot, a young hospital pharmacist, fresh out of university and thrown in the deep end, redeployed to an East London hospital Covid ICU ward, caring for the sickest patients with the lowest rate of survival. I picked two photographs from the images he sent me. The close-up portrait was strong and proud and I wanted to get that strength across. The second, standing centrally in the ward dressed in full PPE I found quite spooky but I liked that eerie feel. My son thought he looked like a Doctor Who character!

A couple of weeks after completing Elliot's paintings I was messaged by a lovely local Hanwell lady who asked if I might paint a portrait for one of her neighbours, Nicola, a Clinical Nurse Specialist who had been redeployed to the Covid ICU at a central London hospital. It was very difficult to say no and when I received the photos, I immediately saw her fun character shining through, even in full PPE. I hope people can see some of that quirkiness in the pose I chose.

My third portrait was of an imam. I was emailed by a woman called Amina who is of Bangladeshi heritage. She had lost friends and family to the virus and was very moved by the dedication and selflessness of this hospital chaplain. "He was there at the bedside of so many covid patients putting himself at risk. I hope you can include him in one of your portraits". I chose the image that I thought he would like best, holding the Quran with the London skyline behind him and a kindly expression on his face.

"The portrait is brilliant. All my family loved it especially my daughters"

There are now hundreds of portraits out there now in all different styles and mediums. A few of them can be found here https://artsandculture.google.com/project/healthcare-heroes

I'm very proud to have been involved.

Elliot Imam
   
Elliot nurse
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