Since childhood, I have enjoyed drawing and painting just like many creative individuals. For many years now, my parents have suggested that I enter a piece of artwork into the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition as it is open to anyone and everyone.

So for some time I had wanted to try my hand at being an artist but never made the time to enter this competition. However, back in December last year, I quit my full time job as a garment technologist at Sweaty Betty in the hope of building my own business.

So, strangely, I suddenly had a bit more time on my hands and found myself filling out an application form to enter one piece of art to the exhibition. Excited to send off the form but with no real idea what I would create, I began dreaming up ideas. One that no-one else seemed to grasp but that amused me much was the idea of painting people in the Royal Academy peering at a painting on a wall in the gallery. So that’s what I did.

I set about finding a varied group of people, from different cultures and backgrounds to feature as my gallery visitors and the best place to find such a varied group of people was undoubtedly my home church. After snapping photos of my friends posing, I then used Photoshop to drop in the Royal Academy Weldon Gallery background, adjusted the colours and off I went to paint my picture and here’s what came out, many hours later. Having never painted a picture quite so big or detailed as this, it took a lot longer than I thought, not to mention the fact I was painting with water colours on to canvas and then embroidering on top, which was a painstaking process, but enjoyable none the less!

My entry was considered but, unfortunately, turned down by the RA, but picked up by the Llewelyn Gallery, Waterloo, which has for many years held a counter exhibition called “Not the Royal Academy”, following in the tradition of the Paris Salon des Refusés. It was the witty team members there who grasped the humour of the painting and said that they are delighted to be showing it alongside many other artists’ work between 13th June and 19th August.

Article supplied by Sarah Barber