Miriam Escofet’s painting ‘Gillian’ has been selected for this year’s Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition.
She says of the work ‘Gillian is a very good friend who I have known for years now. I always felt she had an interesting face for a portrait so she was on my ‘to do’ list for some time. She is a T.V. producer with a manic schedule so pinning her down for an initial sitting was quite a feat! The first sitting took place in her home where I sketched and took many photographs from which I then worked out the composition of the portrait, selecting some elements and discarding others.
I wanted to include some of Gillian’s family heirlooms, as she has a rich collection of artefacts and vintage clothes which are very much part of her personal style and her environment. She also has a passion for Egyptology, which is the main focus of her work, hence the inclusion of the small Egyptian sculpture. In fact I had to slightly hold back on the artefacts as I did not want them to dominate the tone of the piece.
Even though it is an elegant and very styled portrait what particularly engaged me about it was trying to convey Gillian’s interesting and complex character.
I have arrived at portraiture after many years of painting varied subject matter; working mainly from life, but also from photographs and from imagination. I approach it in very much the same way I would approach any other subject matter in the sense that the composition of the piece has to be cohesive and interesting. But the added bonus from the painter’s point of view is discovering the character of the sitter through their features. There is an added psychological depth to portraiture that is magnetic.’