Students had a master-class in portrait painting from a practising artist at the University of Derby.

Sixth Form Art and Textiles students visited the university for a half-day drawing and portrait painting workshop with the artist Edward Sutcliffe, who is London based and is a teacher specialising in portrait painting.

Mr Sutcliffe has exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery on eight separate occasions and in 2015 he held his first solo show at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Hannah Seddon, a Year 13 student, had already viewed one of his exhibitions previously in London and was very interested in his work so the chance of a half-day workshop with the artist was an opportunity not to be missed.

Mr Sutcliffe explained to the Sixth Form how he ‘builds up’ his portraits by firstly drawing large areas of the face which he then goes onto paint, rather than concentrating on the finer detail which he then adds later.

Students had a practical explanation of how to use his technique for painting the tints and tones using photographs supplied and then they went on to put the theory into practice and experimented very successfully with this technique.

Mr Sutcliffe also discussed his career path and explained how he studied Art at university and found that the time at university enabled him to experiment and explore more with new techniques and materials, which helped him find his area of interest.

The university organised the trip in collaboration with NEMCON, the North East Midlands Collaborative Outreach Network, which in turn enabled our Sixth Form to benefit from working with a practicing artist, experience which was very valuable and will help with portfolio studies.

Annija Znote, a Year 12 student, was particularly interested in the techniques learned today and said : “Using this technique has given me the confidence to go on and experiment more when painting portraits – the way that the technique was explained was easy for me to follow.”

Hannah Seddon, a Year 13 student, wants to pursue her Art studies further so chatted to Mr Sutcliffe afterwards and he gave her tips as to what colleges and universities would be useful for her to visit.

Helen Sharpe, subject leader for Visual Arts at Saint Benedict CVA, said: “An inspiring morning was had at the university and some amazing artwork was produced.”

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