scene in the NMS Grand Gallery

This week the Scottish regional heat of Sky Arts HD Portrait Artist of the Year competition took place at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.   The event was staged in the centre of the spectacular Grand Gallery, giving museum visitors a surprise treat and an opportunity to spot the stars – sitters included Ronni Ancona, Helena Kennedy QC, Gary Kemp, Daniela Nardini, Ashley Jensen and Julian Fellowes, and the heat was presented by Joan Bakewell and Frank Skinner.

artist at work

Each competitor had already submitted  a self-portrait, and these were on display as the artists worked away at their new paintings.  The winner of the heat will go forward to the semi-final, and the semi-finalists will compete for one of three places in the final, which will be held at the National Portrait Gallery in London in September.  The overall winner will receive £10,000 and a commission to paint a prominent Scot for the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.  The series will be shown later this year on Sky Arts HD – so for now, the identity of this week’s winner is a closely guarded secret.

artist at work 2