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This weeks Featured Artist... NIGEL PROUD


I am a self-taught, semi-retired UK based portrait artist using charcoal and black/white pastel to enable me to capture a range of emotions, posing questions about what the subject may be thinking. Does it resonate with a current or previous experience? How does it make you feel?

Describe yourself in 5 sentences... " 1. I am 60 years young and looking forward to new challenges.

2. I really enjoy drawing portraits of people and get a great sense of achievement when I get a good likeness.

3. I like to share my working practice and tips with other artists because I have learned a lot from others.

4. I am a passionate supporter of `Project Youth Cancer’ who are based in Huddersfield.

5. I cannot get through the day without drinking copious amounts of tea."

What gets your creative juices flowing? / How does inspiration come to you? "Inspiration comes to me when I am sat down and relaxed with a cup of tea. I start to look for portraits that I think that I can work with, and then all of a sudden one will jump out at me, and I think `Yes that’s the one’. Something in my stomach just feels right about it."

Why do you create art? "I create art because it is a way of putting down my true feelings. We are often asked or told to think in a certain way, but my art comes from inside me, I choose what marks I make. It is also a way of relaxing although it can be infuriating at times when I want to create and it doesn’t work out. That’s when I consign it to the bin and start again, art is meant to be fun, enjoyable and not stressful."

What has been the highlight of your career so far? "The highlight of my career so far has been to hold a solo exhibition at Holmfirth Technical College. This showcased my current moody portraits, `#PortraitsforNHSheroes’, `Heroes of Shepley’ collections, and pet portraits." What does your dream studio look like? "My dream studio is big enough for me to stand back from my easel and look at my artwork from ten feet. It has 2 comfy chairs where I can sit and talk with someone, tea and coffee making facilities, a plate full of biscuits and music playing quietly in the background There is artwork on the walls and storage for finished portraits. I have a desk with a laptop on it and an office chair."

Where would you like your art to take you? "I would like my art to continue to take me on a journey to meet interesting people and have amazing experiences along the way."

How does your artwork relate to current issues in the world? "Following the issues with the pandemic and the cost of living, my art may be seen to reflect the emotions that people are going through." Does art always have to have a deeper meaning?

 "Art doesn’t always have to have a deeper meaning. It is a way of having fun, relaxing, easing any stress and just learning and expressing yourself."

Who/what inspires you? Why?

 "I am inspired by 16th/17th century portrait painters, I just love how the dark backgrounds make the subject jump out of the painting."

What brings you joy? "Spending time with my family and friends is very precious to me. We have two grandchildren and I am so proud of all my family. Being with them means everything to me."

How would you like to be remembered? "I would like to be remembered as a caring person who helped others."

What would you say to your younger self? "Take every opportunity that comes your way – nothing can go wrong as you will learn from the experience."


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