The subject is Kitty Tait, a teenage baker who set up the Orange Bakery in Watlington High Street aged 14. She makes all her bread and buns by hand and I think they are all sour dough but don’t quote me on that. I had painted a small portrait of her brother Albert previously, which appeared in the most recent OAS open exhibition, so knew the family reasonably well. Timing was a bit limited with Kitty as I had to get all my photos etc taken in the half hour before they opened the shop, but luckily I’m used to working under pressure. The painting itself measuring 60 x 90 cm took around 3 months to complete, with the blouse alone keeping me busy for a week. I probably found the bread the hardest to get right as there is no rhythm or reason to the surface texture and so proved a challenge to first understand and then paint accurately.
The BP Award exhibition has obviously been cancelled at the National Portrait Gallery but will shortly be viewable online at the gallery’s web site.