Alnwick man bids for glory in pencil art competition

Alnwick artist Jason Smith
Alnwick artist Jason Smith

An Alnwick artist is set to measure his talents against the rest of the world in an international contest aimed at celebrating pencil art.

Jason Smith is entering a pencil portrait for the inaugural Derwent Art Prize, run by the Cumberland Pencil Company. The aim of the prize is to reward excellence through showcasing the very best international works created in pencil.

It is an open submission opportunity for British and international artists, offering prizes of up to £8,750.

Explaining his choice of subject, Jason said: “I was looking for a challenge, I knew that the judging panel would be harsh and ultimately, with the toughest international competition, I needed something that was going to not just be technically impressive, but a piece of art that would draw attention, turn heads, and at a 10th glance, still be interesting to look at. With a background of portraiture, previously studying mainly female, youthful-looking subjects, I figured that would not be enough. Smooth skin is easy to produce, and lacking in depth, or personality.

“After a few months toying with ideas, I decided to approach this competition by studying what I thought would be a difficult task, Jackie Charleton.

“I chose Jack after browsing through some of local photographer Kevin Temple’s photos. I spotted Jack, and he jumped out a mile.”

John ‘Jackie’ Charleton was born in a hamlet outside Rothbury, the youngest of seven children, and his family have been in touch with Jason offering support since he posted images of the work on Facebook.

The dramatic A1-sized portrait took Jason around 25 hours to build up the layers for age and character.