I was personally invited by Lady Ashcombe to become the artist-in-residence at Sudeley Castle for the 2017 season. Setting up a studio and working within this ancient building was an amazing experience. The place has such an incredible story and the architecture is awe-inspiring. This, coupled with the fact that it is surrounded with beautiful gardens makes it an artist's dream location.
I completed many works during my time there including architectural studies, commissions for the residing family. and even the animals I saw around in the fields. It was also a very interesting experience to have a constant stream of visitors watching me work.
Working for the family
Lady Ashcombe had previously commissioned me to paint her grand-daughter's horse, Salty, as a Christmas present for her. It was quite a challenge to get the horse to co-operate during the photo shoot, but in the end we managed to capture a good 'pose' and they were both very pleased with the resulting painting.
Later she commissioned another pet portrait of her dog, Tulah. Lady Ashcombe asked for this to be done in a looser style then I usually do, but once again, everyone was very happy with how it turned out.
A surprise visitor I had during my time there was the Culture Minister, Lord Ashton of Hyde, (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport). It was fantastic being able to meet him and he informed me of of many new and upcoming government initiatives to try and help young artists succeed in the modern world.
One of the first things I did when I started working at Sudeley was to paint the castle's contribution to the Cotswold Hare Trail. This is a charity event where model hares are decorated and then displayed at different locations around the Cotswolds. Later, they are auctioned off to raise money for the charity. The theme Lady Ashcombe chose was Katheryn Parr, but left the design of it up to me. Having never painted a sculpture before it was quite a challenge as the painting had to be done on a three dimensional surface. Using a contemporary painting for reference for its clothing I also added themes from her life at Sudeley, by adding a view of the castle and three Tudor roses on its back. I also added her signature and titles of the books she published. After four intense weeks of work it was finished and now resides permanently in the Sudeley grounds.