The lockdown Lowry: Schoolgirl, 14, who took up painting during pandemic is to have her stunning portrait of a neighbour displayed at Royal Academy
- Makenzy Beard, 14, worked on canvasses inside her garden shed in Gower, Wales
- She submitted portrait of her neighbour and beat 33k other entrants to gain slot
- Her painting, called John Tucker, is based on photo of farmer who lives next door
- It will be displayed at Young Artists’ Summer Show between July 13 to August 8
A 14-year-old schoolgirl who took up painting during the first Covid-19 lockdown will have her portrait of a neighbour displayed at the Royal Academy.
Makenzy Beard borrowed paints and brushes from her mother and began working on canvasses inside her garden shed in Gower, southwest Wales, to pass the time.
She later submitted a portrait of her neighbour for a place in a prestigious exhibition – and beat 33,000 other entrants to gain a slot.
Her painting, called John Tucker, is based on a photograph of a farmer who lives next door and took around 20 hours to complete over a three-week period.
Ms Beard, of Oxwich, said: ‘I started painting in lockdown a year ago. It started as a little lockdown hobby and escalated from there really.
Makenzy Beard (pictured alongside the painting), 14, borrowed paints and brushes from her mother and began working on canvasses inside her garden shed in Gower, southwest Wales
Her painting (above), called John Tucker, is based on a photograph of a farmer who lives next door and took around 20 hours to complete over a three-week period
‘I had some free time on my hands and my mum used to love to paint so we had paints and canvasses and brushes. I thought “why not give it a try?”
‘I’ve always loved creative things but up until that point that was my first time painting portraits.’
Ms Beard said she chose her neighbour John because of his expressive face and friendly demeanour.
She said: ‘I love painting portraits and John is someone everyone knows. I wanted to capture him going about his day. I was able to get a grasp of his big personality from just saying hello to him.
‘John is a wonderful person and has a really lovely, kind and friendly demeanour. He said he looked scruffy which I found quite funny but he did love the painting.’
Ms Beard, who attends Bishopston Comprehensive in Swansea, added: ‘I was very busy at the time I decided to do this one, so I was taking five minutes before school, an hour after school before sport.
Ms Beard submitted a portrait of her neighbour (pictured during the painting process) for a place in a prestigious exhibition – and beat 33,000 other entrants to gain a slot
‘It was all broken down, I never spent one long extended period of time on it.’
Mr Tucker said: ‘I didn’t expect to see what I did see in the end. It’s absolutely brilliant. It’s like a photograph.
‘I was standing on the yard at the time bringing some hay nets down and she just stopped me and asked me if she could take a photograph and that was it. My family say it’s exactly like me.
‘For her age she’s a very talented young lady.’
The Young Artists’ Summer Show is a free exhibition for students aged five to 19 studying in the UK and British schools overseas.
Mr Tucker said the painting is ‘like a photograph’, while Charlotte Lewis, head of art at Ms Beard’s school, said she has ‘never seen such a convincing painting of a high vis jacket’
It will be displayed between July 13 to August 8.
Charlotte Lewis, head of art at Bishopstown Comprehensive, said: ‘Something about Makenzy’s portrait stood out as soon as we saw it.
‘It is not just her ability to capture light, texture, colour and form, it’s her ability to capture an atmosphere, a moment and the character of her subject.
‘I have never seen such a convincing painting of a high vis jacket! An incredible achievement for an artist of 14. We are very proud of her.’
School headteacher Jeff Beard added: ‘Makenzy is extremely talented. She isn’t just good at art, on Friday she is off to play hockey internationally.’