Local artist aims to paint entire St Davids population
1:47pm Friday 6th September 2013 in News
AN ambitious Pembrokeshire artist is dedicating his life’s work to painting a portrait of every person living in the city he calls home.
Grahame Hurd-Wood, 55, trained as an artist at Camberwell and The Royal Academy in the late 1970s and early 1980s and has been depicting the county's coastal scenery in oil and watercolour since settling in St Davids in 1985.
The City of Portraits project was inspired some 14 years ago when he began painting residents in St Davids, the first of which was fellow artist Meredith Barker. The original concept was to paint a few people from all walks of life and then put the portraits together to create one large image.
Grahame said: “I got to 100 portraits without really concentrating. After that I thought I could paint 1,000, and after that why not the entire population of St Davids?”
He added: “It’s a very diverse community, which together with the beautiful landscape has a mixture of people that really works, from the young surfing brigade to the local Welsh speakers.”
Grahame has completed 112 oil portraits to date, including councillors, bishops, students and housewives, and he believes he can do the remainder over the next few years by doing one sitting a day.
The individual oil portraits take him anything from 30 minutes to five hours to complete, depending on the subject.
He said: "It's a privilege for me to be able to do this and I'm genuinely overwhelmed by all the attention the project has attracted. The response has been great, and the people I've painted have been intrigued, nervous and generally very happy with the end products."
The completed paintings are currently on display at Oriel y Parc Gallery and Visitor Centre in St Davids, where Grahame is the artist in residence until the end of September.
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