I honestly think Monday was a complete disaster for me. I was extremely archetypal that day. I thought I was expected to sort of draw a simple life-study of a model when that simply wasn’t the case. Funnily enough, I think I even messed up what I set out to draw in my own head. My nerves just got the better of me that day.

When everyone turned their canvases around, their paintings were teeming with colour while mine was just flat. It severely lacked dimension and that just isn’t my style, so that was disheartening. My saving grace on the show I think was the fact that I had to model the next day. So I had the next day and then some part of the day after to just introspect. I had this opportunity to observe the other artists from a different perspective where I wasn’t a fellow competitor for once. I also had a good session where I could just listen in on what was being said by the tutors, Jenny and Diana.

The thing about the session that resonated with me the most was the fact that you just had to capture the essence of the sitter/model. You didn’t even need to draw the whole body or make it anatomically accurate in any way. I think that epiphany helped me get back on track again. It gave me the push I needed to make something of a ‘Stiffy’ stylised art on the show henceforth. Something that is just inherently me. The third day, how the model posed really didn’t matter because I already had her essence down in my head. I knew exactly what it was going to be and I did it completely passionately. The quality of the paints that they provided was second to none.

The one thing that did catch me off-guard was how the acrylics interacted with the paper. I was working on a paper that lends itself to water colours and stuff, you know? Just paints of that viscosity. My acrylics started to make a paper-mache paste and there was honestly no way I could’ve recovered from that. Diana did a very brave thing next when she came to me and she said I needed to start over and mind you, I was already 30 minutes into the hour.

But then, I just had to do exactly what I was told because it was right. So I took a breather, had an on-floor look at the subject and felt something about her resonated with the Spice Girls. Moreover, I knew Steph had been a Spice Girl on one of those ships so it was a great idea and I just went at it. I just drew half a face, jotted down the essence of her hair, the essence of who she was, dare I say, and the eyelashes. By the end, I had finished it in about 15 minutes and thankfully, she absolutely adored it. It was a massive turnaround for me. It was a train crash that had been turned to an enjoyable piece. Whether it was the best piece that night, I don’t know. But I know Steph enjoyed it and I immensely enjoyed it too.

Here is the link the first episode where Jon’s is featuring.  Aired on Channel 4 on the 10th March 2021