Upper Dicker pupil’s work on show at gallery

Elly Stephenson and artist  Alan Coulson
Elly Stephenson and artist Alan Coulson
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Elly Stephenson, an Upper Sixth boarder in Crossways House at Bede’s in Upper Dicker, had one of her paintings exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery after spending a week there.

During her time at the National Portrait Gallery, alongside 17 other artists aged between 14 to 19, Elly enjoyed three days of tutorials and guided tours with artists including BP Award-winners Alan Coulson and Andrew Tift as part of the highly competitive BP Next Generation Award.

Elly said: “It was absolutely amazing. We talked through techniques used in a range of portraits with some of the people who had actually painted them.”

Elly was invited onto the BP Next Generation Award scheme having been one of several hundred young people to apply. Elly is now waiting to find out whether the gallery will display her portrait of artist Alan Coulson for a full year.

She said: “I have my fingers crossed obviously, but just the experience I had was incredible.

“The National Portrait Gallery has a huge number of resources for young artists and I will definitely be joining their Youth Forum.”

In the weeks preceding her week at the gallery, she had been at a two week Fine Art course in Florence as a Leonardo Da Vinci Scholar, making for a busy summer of art for the 17 year old.

She said: “In Florence, I was the youngest person on the course by 10 years.

“We spent days learning how to mix our own paints using pigments and eggs and preparing the wood to paint on with gesso. Between sketching an image, tracing it and everything else, the process of just preparing the canvas took almost three days.”

Meanwhile, having recently returned to Bede’s with excellent AS results, Elly is also thinking about University applications to study Fine Art. And as if this was not enough, she is also preparing for London Fashion Week on September 20, during which she will be volunteering, and is looking ahead to an internship at Sotheby’s next summer.

“It’s been pretty intense,” Elly says in conclusion, “but one of the best things about it was that my Dad came along to the exhibition. It was so great to have a supportive parent there with me.”