Edinburgh artist Michael Youds wins top prize at Scottish Portrait Awards


An Edinburgh-based artist, who works as an art gallery attendant, has won one of Scotland's premier art prizes.

image source, George McBean
image captionMichael Youds, left, with his twin brother David in front of the portrait that won him the £5,000 SPA in Fine Art.

Judges awarded Michael Youds the Scottish Portrait Award in Fine Art for his painting of himself and his twin brother.

The Scottish National Gallery worker also received a prize of £5,000.

Fellow Edinburgh artist Robin Gage won the SPA Young Fine Artist Award, for entrants aged 16 to 25.

The two artists were shortlisted for the Fine Art prize along with four others, including Saul Robertson and Li Huang.

image source, SPA
image captionThe winner of the Scottish Portrait Award in Fine Art 2019, entitled "I was Blue, He was Red"

The winning portrait of Mr Youds and his twin brother David, entitled I was Blue, He was Red, was inspired by a photograph taken when they were babies.

The artist explained that his parents used to dress them in red or blue so they could tell them apart.

He said: "It was an idea I had been thinking about for a while after seeing an old photo of me and my brother in one of my parents' old photo albums.

"When I go back home to visit, my mum often likes looking at old photos together.

"I had initially planned for us to wear red and blue socks but by a strange coincidence we were both wearing the right colours for the painting."

image source, George McBean
image captionThe painted version of Michael holding the baby photograph that inspired the work

The twins are both big fans of David Hockney, and Michael in particular drew inspiration from the double portraits Hockney painted early on in his career.

He said: "My brother holding the Hockney book happened by chance as he picked it up when the photos were being taken.

"So that stayed in. In the painting, Michael holds the photo that inspired the whole work."

Originally from Blackburn, Lancashire, Mr Youds gained a first-class degree in Fine Art from Lancaster University before moving to Edinburgh in 2007.

His work has previously been selected for the Royal Scottish Academy and Visual Arts Scotland exhibitions.

image source, George McBean
image captionRobin Gage, winner of the SPA Young Fine Artist Award, with her portrait Land of White Mist

Edinburgh Art College student Robin Gage won the £500 SPA Young Fine Artist Award for her painting, Land of White Mist.

Now aged 21, Robin created her winning entry when she was 18.

She said: "I was trying to capture the strange beauty of my then partner's life, and the particular atmosphere and mood of his room."

As well as looking at sketches from life, she used photographs she had taken of each piece of furniture and other personal items.

image source, George McBean
image captionGrace Payne-Kumar with her Portrait of Niccolo, which won a Young Fine Artist commendation

The judges also decided to award an additional commendation to Grace Payne-Kumar in the Young Fine Artist Award category for her work, Portrait of Niccolo.

image source, George McBean
image captionSaul Robertson's portrait, Us into others, Others into Us, won second prize in the SPA in Fine Art 2019

Saul Robertson was awarded the second prize of £1,000 in the Scottish Portrait Award in Fine Art category for his portrait, Us into others, Others into Us, of his two daughters.

image source, George McBean
image captionLi Huang, a fine art student in Dundee, with his portrait Kinship

Third prize was awarded to Li Huang, whose painting, Kinship, depicts his mother.

He travelled back to China and stayed with his mother for almost the entire summer, before beginning the painting in Dundee.

image source, George McBean
image captionMark Roscoe with Self-Portrait, which was awarded a commendation

Mark Roscoe was given a commendation for his entry to Scottish Portrait Award in Fine Art.

The 2019 Scottish Portrait Awards exhibition is showing at the Scottish Arts Club, Edinburgh, until 30 November; Glasgow Art Club from 16 January to 15 February 2020; and the Kirkcudbright Galleries from 14 March to 24 May 2020.

All pictures copyrighted.

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