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An 18-Year-Old Mayo Student Is Getting Serious Attention For Her Art On Sky TV

By Shirleydonlon

January 19, 2018 at 12:13pm


A Leaving Certificate student from Mayo has reached the semi-final of the Sky Arts Portrait of the Year competition. 

The competition aims to find the best portrait artist in the U.K. and Ireland.

Hetty Lawlor, from Westport in Mayo, was among 1000 artists selected to take part in the prestigious competition.


Image: Cass Art

Speaking to Cass Art, Hetty said that her experience in the competition so far has been both exciting and over-whelming at the same time. 

She said: "I’m always drawing and making artwork from a variety of subjects. My focus lately has been portraits. My dad, Jimmy Lawlor is also an artist and is my main inspiration."

Hetty was among eight other artists competing on the first of the televised heats on Tuesday, and she was tasked with creating a portrait of actor David Tennant.

And although filming took place last spring, Hetty had to keep it under wraps until recent days.

"I was amazed when I found out I was painting such a famous actor as David Tennant. I’m glad I knew who the sitter was and I didn’t have to act like I knew him!"

She added: "Maybe I painted David Tennant younger than he was, and maybe that was the nostalgic aspect. I usually try to capture the moment and character in my artworks. It’s up to interpretation."


Image: Cass Art

Hetty's painting of Tennant came in first place, and the judges were absolutely blown away by her talent. 

During the judging process, one of the judges Tai-Shan, said: "We were blown away by her submission because it has an emotional content as well as being technically inventive and she did that again today. And that is really rare." 

"When these two things come together it's just unbeatable."

In order to make it this far in the competition, Hetty had to submit a self-portrait, and it was absolutely incredible. 


Those who made it to the semi-final will compete for the winning title in the coming weeks, and the winner will receive a £10,000 commission to paint actor Kim Cattral.

The finished piece will then hang in The Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. 

Hetty said that her one piece of advice to any artist thinking of entering the competition is to avoid entering if you have important exams coming up.

"Don’t enter when you’re studying for your leaving certificate! Multi-tasking is not on my skill-set!"

She added: "But in all seriousness, it is an eye-opening experience that I would recommend to any aspiring artists, and you meet the most wonderful people, both artists and camera crew."

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