Now entering my second year of the two year Diploma in portraiture at The Heatherley School of Fine Art, I’m still being asked why I gave up being a broadcast news pr after nearly 20 years…and how did I do it!
Truth to tell I was conflicted at 16, part of me wanted to be a journalist and part a portrait artist. My mum persuaded me to concentrate on a job where I knew I could make money, and keep art as a hobby.
So after becoming a print journalist, and then reinventing myself as a BBC and then Sky News PR, I decided I might give portraiture a shot, having studied it part time for five years. Life is short!
Through one of the projects we undertook at Heatherleys, where we had to paint a portrait inspired by the work of a famous artist, I found myself drawn to portraits that captured dramatic, historical moments. I particularly liked the graphic storytelling of Manet’s Execution of Maximillian and the drama of Goya’s Third of May 1808.
So I chose to capture, from Sky News footage I’d been given permission to work from, Sky News presenter Jeremy Thompson, broadcasting live from a broadcast platform during the 2010 election, which, after completion, I gifted to him.
Sky News' Jeremy Thompson student oil portrait by Stella Tooth.
Jeremy Thompson with his student oil portrait by Stella Tooth in the Sky newsroom.