Hitchin artist who started painting at 41 exhibits in national gallery

15:09 25 June 2013

The portrait of Alastair Campbell painted by Paul

The portrait of Alastair Campbell painted by Paul

Archant

A SELF-TAUGHT artist who only started painting in his 40s has seen his work exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery.

Paul (right) with Alastair CampbellPaul (right) with Alastair Campbell

Paul Anthony Barker’s oil painting of former government spin doctor Alastair Campbell was featured at the gallery, after making it through to the prestigious BP Portrait Awards.

The Hitchin resident, who taught himself to paint, started up the art in 2007 at the age of 41 after falling in love with the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh during a visit there with wife Brenda.

In preparation for his latest piece Mr Barker, 47, spent time with Mr Campbell in Watford, making sketches and taking notes and photographs while the communications expert worked.

It took him about three months to paint the picture itself, which he squeezed in alongside his full-time job, after contacting Mr Campbell in November.

“I thought about entering the awards but wasn’t sure who to paint,” said the Bedford Road resident, who has named his work Alastair Campbell: All In The Mind.

“I was driving home from work and heard him (Alastair Campbell) on the radio talking about charity work. He does a lot of work for Mind and I thought it would be nice to paint someone like that.

“He’s got a reputation for being quite tough, but I knew there was a deeper side and I wanted to bring that out.”

Mr Barker, who says he would most like to paint President Barack Obama or Sir Alex Ferguson, aspires to paint full-time.

But prior to 2007 he had no idea about the talent he was hiding.

“I didn’t know I could paint like that,” he said.

“I love portraits more than anything else. I love when a painting comes alive and looks back at you.”

Mr Barker’s work went on display at the London gallery last week. The exhibition continues until September.

0 comments

More news stories

4 minutes ago
Dorothy Kaciniel with Mark Burgess, Hitchin Watch Commander

Herts fire officers and meals on wheels providers have been collaborating on Operation Sponge Pudding, a project to help the elderly follow a night-time checklist to stay safe from fire.

Yesterday, 16:48
Letchworth murder victim Nicola Collingbourne

Police investigating the murder of 26-year-old Nicola Collingbourne in Letchworth on Tuesday night have now confirmed that another woman has been charged with the crime.

6 minutes ago
Sue Ryder St John's Hospice head of clinical services Dominic Carter.

This week we spoke to St John’s Hospice head of clinical services Dominic Carter.

Yesterday, 12:00
Zach Vernon with his new gloves

Stevenage charity Kadoma Kidz has chosen a safe pair of hands to publicise its change of name.

Eight-year-old goalkeeper Zach Vernon, who plays for Stevenage FC, is friends with Stacy and Phil Gibb who run the charity, and came up with the idea to have its new ‘kidz 2911’ name emblazoned on his goalie gloves.

”North
The Peugeot 308 Allure with optional 18inch Saphir wheels.

Peugeot Dealership, Norton Way, benefits from the increased car selection available on Peugeot’s Just Add Fuel®’ offer, making it easier for the residents of Letchworth to drive away with a brand new vehicle, including four of the 308’s six trim levels – Access, Active, Allure and GT Line (excluding GT or GTi).

Most read stories

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Most commented stories

Digital Edition

Image
Read the The Comet e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up