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
The cast of Puss In Boots, the 2016 panto production by Walsworth's St Faith's Church

St Valentine’s Day may be just around the corner but panto productions are still taking to the stage, with this keen crew still putting the finishing touches to their seasonal show.

48 minutes ago
A 22-year-old man has been arrested and charged with attempted murder after the incident on Saturday

A 22-year-old from London has been charged with attempted murder after an alleged hit-and-run incident in Letchworth left a man with serious leg injuries.

A demonstration by people in Stevenage town centre who have organised a petition to campaign against TTIP contracts for the NHS

Concern about what might happen if more of the NHS is allowed to be run by private companies was the subject of a protest in Stevenage town centre on Saturday.

10:16
Richard Smith, Photograph by Rosie Hallam, Co…owers Gallery

It’s not long now until the official opening of Letchworth’s new dedicated art gallery.

”North

Most read stories

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Most commented stories

Digital Edition

Image
Read the The Comet e-edition E-edition