Lancaster artist beats hundreds to place in Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year heats

Lucy Pass in action.
Lucy Pass in action.

A professional painter living in Lancaster has been chosen from hundreds to compete against eight other artists in the penultimate heat of this year’s Portrait Artist of the Year series.

Sky Arts’ Portrait Artist of the Year (PAOTY) returns to TV screens this month (at 8pm on Tuesdays), with this episode showing on March 26 on Sky Arts and On Demand/NOW TV.

The show is presented by actor and art-lover Stephen Mangan, alongside Joan Bakewell.

Lucy Pass, 32, has lived in Lancaster since moving to the city to study fine art at Lancaster University.

During the series, viewers meet 24 celebrity sitters over eight weeks of heats from the world of film, television, music and sport, with this seventh episode featuring Angela Griffin, Gina McKee, Jamael Westman.

The winner from this heat will join the seven other heat winners to paint British Jazz legend Courtney Pine MBE in the semi-final.

The remaining three artists through to the final will then paint Hollywood actress and singer Laura Linney at the National Portrait Gallery.

Those three finalists are also given their own special commissions to be judged alongside their final work featuring musicians Claire Rutter, Jazzie B and Dame Cleo Lane.

The returning judges are award winning artist Tai Shan Schierenberg, independent curator Kathleen Soriano and art historian Kate Bryan. The overall winner will be commissioned to paint the portrait of Sir Tom Jones, which will hang in the permanent collection at The National Museum of Wales.

Each celebrity sitter was allowed to keep one of their finished portraits – regardless of whether that artist went through to the next stage.

This is the fifth series of the show, which is produced by London and Glasgow-based independent production company Storyvault Films.

Sky’s Portrait Artist of the Year (PAOTY) has captured public imagination since its launch in 2013 and boasts the titles of “best-performing, non-scripted series of all time” and is the biggest series ever for Sky Arts, with viewing figures growing over the course of the series.

All eight heats were filmed in the courtyard of The Wallace Collection in London’s Manchester Square, home to one of Europe’s finest art collections.