This is my first blog to accompany my first official residency. Over the course of a week (18th Feb – 22nd Feb) I will be in residence at the Victoria Quarter in Leeds City centre, daily from about 11am – 3pm. During this time I will develop a portrait painting from start to finish, working from direct observation, with a voluntary model.


Well, it's all over and I'm shattered but happy!

I had worried that the residency would just fizzle out at the end of today, but it was a frenzy of excitement! Giuseppe came to do another shoot and people got really interested in what was going on. A little crowd gathered, I finished the painting and everything came together. My friends even turned up to help me pack up.

Elaine said she felt quite strange leaving… she was used to coming in and spending the day with me. I can't believe how generous she's been, and such a good laugh!

I'm pleased with the painting and I'm going to enter it into the Royal Society of Portrait Painters open exhibition next week.

First official residency, first official blog, all done!


Today I worked on the painting on my own. The day seemed longer without Elaine to chat to, but I managed to get all the background painted in and I'm ready to finish it tomorrow.

I've noticed from today and yesterday afternoon that lots more people speak to me when I'm on my own. Today I spoke to an artist who is entering the BP Portrait Award. He said he was inspired by seeing me paint in public and we had a good chat about it all.

The weather finally improved today, phew! Bring on tomorrow!


I've got that mid-week feeling – I'm absolutely knackered!

Today was great though. I've finally got into a good routine and I was set up and ready to go by 11:10am. The weather was a slight improvement on yesterday, but still fairly cold. There seemed to be more people coming through the centre and I managed to have some long conversations with passers-by. I might have scored myself a commission too, which would be fantastic.

Elaine modelled for me for two hours today and I managed to paint in all of her clothes, so I've just got her hair to paint in on Friday.

The employees at the centre have all been really supportive, helping me set up in the morning and sorting out the electrics, which seem to break on a daily basis. Today the extension cord nearly meted! Must unwind it tomorrow!


Well, so much for warmer weather…it was even colder today and I woke up to snow!

I had to move my set-up to a warmer part of the centre, which gave me slightly less exposure, but I think my model would have frozen solid if we'd stayed in the centre circle! One bonus to that is having a more interesting background to paint, which will help me get on on Thursday, when my model can't make it.

I was ready by about 11:15am and I set up my board to do some sketching. Giuseppe soon arrived to do a photo shoot, which was GREAT! It was really fun being part of his work and he showed me some of the pictures digitally – they look fantastic! Elaine had two artists to respond to at once and she managed really well.

Re-sketching Elaine's face made such a difference and I felt really inspired to paint her. On top of that, we treated ourselves to truffles and a cappuccino, which inspired me no end!!

A generally successful day today :)


It's the end of the first day and I have already learnt so many lessons!

The day started at 9 am. Everything was laid out in my room ready to pack in the car… I probably should have packed the car up the night before as I got a bit panicked trying to put the seats down and get everything in !

I arrived at the Victoria Quarter at 10:15 with boyfriend in tow for heavy lifting! The place looked great and I quickly set up my display and got ready to work. Elaine arrived on time and we soon got started.

I had an idea for the composition which I'm now slightly regretting as it's hard for her to get the same body position each time, but we'll see how that works out.

Having found it quite hard to sketch her face, I've decided to start tomorrow with some initial sketches, which hopefully will be good enough to display and perhaps to give to Elaine at the end. Then it's back to the painting…

People walking through the centre that have taken interest in the project have made some really nice comments. Some of the kids have really cracked me up with their enthusiasm, however they seem to be equally excited by the fountains!

Feeling optimistic about tomorrow, but absolutely nackered from today!

Fingers crossed for warmer weather tomorrow – my hands nearly froze off today!