Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Portrait of the Queen by Miriam Escofet

Miriam Escofet with her portrait of the Queen
Miriam Escofet with her portrait of the Queen

Last month, award winning portrait painter Miriam Escofet was at the Foreign Office for a very special event.  Her portrait of the Queen, commissioned by the Foreign Office for its own offices, was unveiled to the Queen via a video link with Windsor Castle. 

The Queen seeing her portrait for the first time
- after the unveiling at the Foreign Office

The bonus of writing about an artist's achievement a little while after it got a lot of publicity is that you can see what a major impact it had!

Just count the number of likes this Instagram Post by the Royal Family Instagram post has had - and some very complimentary comments about the portrait.  You can also see the unveiling for yourself on this video link 

As a painter of Spanish heritage, Miriam was naturally pleased to see that the Spanish News also covered it on their main news broadcast!

The process of painting the Queen

Painting the Queen is in an interesting process as she is a busy lady with a lot of commitments and all artists get a limited number of strictly allocated time slots in which to paint the Queen from life. As one artist put it to me once "You're not going to get any more so best not to waste any of the time"

Miriam's portrait of The Queen for the Foreign Office was a project that was a year in the making.

HM The Queen by Miriam Escofet
HM The Queen by Miriam Escofet

Miriam's first sitting with The Queen was in July 2019.
  • The painting process from beginning to end took seven months, with an additional sitting in February 2020 - fortunately just before the lockdown came into play. 
  • Miriam then moved on to her last two months of work - during the lockdown phase - which was when the portrait entered into the most focused and concentrated phase of work.  It's a slow process for Miriam - but one which produces some impressive results.

Miriam Escofet in her studio working on her portrait of The Queen
Miriam Escofet in her studio working on her portrait of The Queen

I evolve my paintings slowly through many layers and glazes, paying particular attention to the light values as they evolve. It is a slow and painstaking technique, but I find the qualities of depth and light that can be achieved really rewarding and visually rich. 
What I particularly love about painting is the sense of time not mattering, everything is surrendered to the process. I think the time spent on a painting can be sensed when looking at it, like a 4th dimension. Miriam Escofet 

About Miriam Escofet

I've been following Miriam for a while - and wrote about her extensively in 2018 when she won the BP Portrait Award.  This was my post Miriam Escofet wins BP Portrait Award 2018 - which highlighted her splendid portrait of her elderly white-haired mother. 

I rather think it was that portrait which helped a lot in the process of being awarded this commission. (I wonder how many portrait artists think about how a portrait might help future commissions when they enter them in competitions and open exhibitions)

She also gave me an interview - in The Portrait Restaurant on the top floor of the Gallery building when she told me about how her career developed and how she approached the painting) - see 
VIDEO Interview with Miriam Escofet, BP Portrait Award Winner 2018

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