Today Oxfordshire Artweeks moves its focus onto the artists who capture a likeness of people and pets, pinning their personalities into portraits. Wolvercote’s classically-trained Tom Croft https://www.artweeks.org/galleries/2020/tom-croft-oas is a distinguished portrait artist who generally uses oils rendered with strong brushstrokes. He has previously painted David Beckham and Wayne Rooney for Manchester United, The Duke of Cambridge for the pub on Oxford’s Little Clarendon Street and Libby Lane, the Bishop of Derby, and the first woman to become a Church of England bishop in the UK. She was painted to hangs as the only woman among dons and judges and other clerics on the wall in St Peter’s College. More recently from his Wolvercote studio he initiated the #portraitsfornhsheroes project in which artists offer to undertake a free portraits for some of our hardworking NHS heroes, recording their invaluable efforts in these unusual times.
Also taking part in both the #portraitsforNHSheroes and Oxfordshire Artweeks, Becky Paton https://www.artweeks.org/galleries/2020/becky-paton, is a mosaic artist from Beckley who creates a very different type of portrait. ‘My passion for mosaics stems from my love of ‘sticking things down’. I used to do a lot of collage which morphed beautifully into mosaic during my degree course in Public art and design at Chelsea school of art. The collage element definitely features in all my work as I tend to embellish most of my mosaics after I’ve grouted them. This is often in the form of Swarovski crystals but might also include fossils, plumbers’ washers and recycled materials. My favourite is broken car window. It’s not sharp, it breaks into interesting shapes, it’s reflective and it’s free. I’ve also used pebbles, shells, glitter, broken jewellery – anything that looks interesting and will enhance the mosaic. I particularly love to include fossils in my work and have included real ammonites into the hair of Queen Elizabeth I’s hair. She’s actually based partly on Tilda Swinton.’ Like the Mona Lisa, these mosaic portraits gaze back at the viewer and, with a dynamism as you shift your view or the light alters. Cumnor’s Sue Side https://www.artweeks.org/galleries/2020/sue-side-oas-woa is a third talented portrait artist taking part in the Artweeks festival. She captures her subjects in graphite with acute attention to detail, showing them at their relaxed best, often laughing. With insight and clarity she translates a person’s temperament to the nib of her pencil creating portraits that capture fleeting moments and are full of life and emotion. “When I’m involved in portraiture,’ she enthuses, ‘inspiration is there in front of me, as people are endlessly fascinating! I absorb their story, facial expressions and reactions for when I’m drawing. I try not to be photographic and hope instead to draw attention to elements of character a camera may not always see. It’s the subtle ways in which we look, speak and gesture, individual mannerisms and the way someone sits or interacts with their environment that tell a person’s story.” This year however it is endangered animals she is showcasing for Artweeks this year alongside luminous woodland paintings.
For more, visit: https://www.artweeks.org/festival/theme/portraiture-pets-and-people