This portrait was awarded a Certificate of Excellence from the Portrait Society of America in the "International portrait Competition 2022". It was also exhibited at The Royal Society of Portrait Painters Exhibition 2022.
Gerald Hellman is a story of optimism. Gerald, an immigrant of Jewish descent, came to the United Kingdom as a child with his family fleeing Nazi persecution. Now 95 years old, his son wanted to capture his father’s love, strength, and positivity through this commissioned portrait. Despite his past, he emanates a jovial spirit inspiring all those he encounters, including me. Forming these personal relationships is essential to my practice. While we met prior to the pandemic, we were forced to undertake safety protocols during our sessions. An unusual situation for both artist and sitter, we managed to forge a connection. It was his personality and emotional empathy that resonated with me, especially as I recollected the experiences my own family must have endured as Huguenots. To realise my vision, I centered the piece around his face, omitting a background and taking from the techniques of the old masters, and a timeless image emerged. With each day and month spent with the work, I realized how much of himself he had passed to his son. The portrait transformed, showcasing the eternal hope one can impart. Today, I am delighted to see the portrait inspire others, being awarded a Certificate of Excellence by the Portrait Society of America and an upcoming display as part of the Royal Portrait Society Annual Exhibition in London.