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Hats off to hetty

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TALENTED A self-portrait by Hetty Lawlor, Kilmeena, Westport, who will appear on appear Sky Arts’  ‘Portrait Artist of the Year’ tonight. 

Young Westport artist to compete for Sky Portrait Artist of the Year 2017

Hetty Lawlor, daughter of Mayo-based artist Jimmy Lawlor and his wife Phyl, will feature in the first heat of ‘Portrait Artist of the Year’ on Sky Arts (channel 122), tonight (Tuesday), January 16, at 8pm. At 17 years of age, the Kilmeena girl is one of the youngest ever to be selected from thousands of entries, both professional and amateur, from Ireland and Great Britain.
Filming took place earlier this year in London, and involved famous and talented performers sitting for their portraits. “I look quite tough… a little bit James Dean!” said Scottish actor David Tennant. “I’m going to need to visit a plastic surgeon!” said actor and adventurer Ross Kemp. “I look just like my uncle!” said the latest member of the Fox acting dynasty Freddie Fox. “Wow, wow, wow!” said comedy writer, producer and actress Michaela Coel.
All were reacting to the moment of high-drama when the portrait artists reveal their completed canvases. Despite her tender years, Hetty Lawlor held her own, sitting comfortably among professional artists and astonishing everyone with her art skills
The show, the fourth in the ongoing series, is hosted once again by comedian Frank Skinner and Dame Joan Bakewell, who bring their familiar mix of wit and wisdom. Art historian Kate Bryan, independent curator Kathleen Soriano and artist Tai-Shan Schierenberg return as judges.
“Portrait Artist of the Year continues to surprise and delight us in proving that there is still a genuinely rich seam of undiscovered talent out there,” said Soriano. Being able to celebrate the long tradition of portrait painting, still alive and developing in the 21st century, is one of the joys of working on this programme.”
Kate Bryan said: “This series really took things to another level. Not just with the exceptionally exciting sitters, but with the amazing array of talent we witnessed at work. There are some real art-world stars at work here and I am so excited to see what’s next for them.”
Commenting on the show’s decision to use celebrities as sitters, Schierenberg said: “It is a pleasure and a privilege to watch incredibly skilful contestants endeavouring to make meaningful portraits of people that are so familiar to a lot of us, and in so doing tackling a whole manner of questions to do with celebrity, objectification and likeness. Every competition day throws up new ways of seeing and it is wonderful to know that portraiture is alive and kicking”.
Belfast-born artist Gareth Reid was named Sky Portrait Artist of the Year 2017. As part of his prize, he won a £10,000 commission to paint broadcaster and writer Graham Norton for the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin. Another £10,000 commission is up for grabs this year. Whether the hugely talented Hetty brings it home or not, her future as an artist looks deftly etched out and brightly painted.

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