Sunday 23 November 2014

Stunning Sharon presents unique challenge for artists – she may be too beautiful

Claire McCormack

Published 16/06/2014 | 02:30

Neil Hannon, Sharon Corr and Colm Meaney, who sat as models for the Irish heats of Sky Arts 'Portrait Artist of the Year 2014', at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Kilmainham, Dublin. Photo: John Dardis
Neil Hannon, Sharon Corr and Colm Meaney, who sat as models for the Irish heats of Sky Arts 'Portrait Artist of the Year 2014', at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Kilmainham, Dublin. Photo: John Dardis

SHE is known for her stunning good looks which helped propel The Corrs to global fame.

But musician Sharon Corr may be too beautiful to capture for portrait painters who are more used to craggy, lined faces, according to the producer of a major TV arts show.

Sky Arts series 'Portrait for the Year 2014' arrived at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) in Kilmainham, Dublin, to film a heat with Corr, actor Colm Meaney and singer Neil Hannon all sitting for portraits. The trio were carefully selected to challenge 12 professional and unknown artists from Ireland who are competing in this year's show.

Danielle Graham, the show's executive producer, said: "A lot of artists comment that if you've got somebody craggy and lined it can be easier to paint. Sharon Corr may be a little bit too beautiful – but I'm excited to see the finished pieces."

Nuala Herron, an award-winning artist from Derry, confirmed such a theory.

"Painting Sharon is really hard . . . she doesn't have any real lines or angles. Her face is just like a sculpture."

The Sky Arts 1HD series, now in its second year, allows amateur and professional artists to compete to make the final where they will be up against the winners from the English, Scottish and Welsh heats in a bid to become Sky Arts portrait artist of the year.

"Colm has a really interesting face to paint, he's a real challenge for an artist and Neil Hannon is really getting into it, he's sitting in a very awkward position," said Ms Graham.

One of the shows judges, portrait artist Tai Shan Schierenberg, whose famous subjects include Seamus Heaney and Queen Elizabeth II, said the Irish artists have a distinctively traditional approach to portraiture.

"The standard is very high and I see a lot of artists drawing from life and painting from life and using a lot less technology here," said Ms Schierenberg.

The competition, presented by Frank Skinner and Joan Bakewell, will be filmed over the summer and broadcast on Sky Arts in October. The finalists will see their work exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in London for a month and the winner will be awarded €12,000 commission for the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

Irish Independent

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