Joining Sky TV’s First Portrait Artist of the Week challenge

Joining hundreds of artists in a portrait painting challenge.

Portrait of Akram Khan by Clara Niniewski, oil on stretched linen
Portrait of Akram Khan (Detail), 36.5 x 30.5 cm, oil on stretched linen

Last Sunday Sky TV launched the first-ever ‘Portrait Artist Of The Week‘ challenge on Facebook Live. 

The organisers of the yearly contest Artist of the Year had the idea to unite painters from all over the world in a new weekly portrait painting challenge. Every week they invite a British celebrity to sit for a portrait in front of their webcam live for 4 hours, to mimic the Portrait Artist of the Year’s format (whereby shortlisted artists are invited to paint a celebrity during 4 hours and the contest is retransmitted on Sky TV).

See below my portrait of the first week’s guest sitter, dancer and choreographer Akram Khan.

Process shots of the Portrait of Akram Khan by Clara Niniewski, oil on stretched linen
Process shots of the Portrait of Akram Khan, 36.5 x 30.5 cm, oil on stretched linen

While painting this portrait I was inspired by the sitter’s calm and serenity and I wished to portray the concentrated and visionary gaze of an artist.

I painted this portrait using a limited palette of just four colours: cadmium red, yellow ochre, ivory black and white.
This limited palette is called the Zorn palette, after Swedish painter Anders Zorn, one of the most acclaimed portrait painters of his era, who painted numerous beautiful and luminous portraits using just those four colours.

Portrait of Akram Khan by Clara Niniewski, oil on stretched linen
Portrait of Akram Khan, 36.5 x 30.5 cm, oil on stretched linen

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