First Honor Award
Sponsored by: Portrait Society of America and Sourcetek
Simon Watkins London, England, UK Stephan, oil, 31½ x 39" (80 x 99 cm)
Inspiration: Stephan, the subject of Simon’s portrait, is a young actor he met through a friend. Simon finds that actors have a great understanding of what they bring to the process; how they sit, how they hold themselves and their facial expressions all have a great effect on the painting because actors understand that sitting for a portrait is a kind of performance. As a portrait painter, Simon is conscious that portraiture can be a record of this performance, but it can also capture a glimpse of more unguarded moments when the performance is forgotten, and other parts of the subject’s character are seen. Simon always hopes to show something of the complexity of each individual life.
Artistic Path: Simon studied art history at the University of York, focusing particularly on the portraiture of 18th-century Britain. His artistic training was in Florence, Italy, at Charles H. Cecil Studios where he studied for three years, ending in 2012. Since then, he has been working from his studio in London, primarily painting portrait commissions, but also teaching and exhibiting his other non-portrait work.