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Christine Ohuruogo MBE and George Groves
Christine Ohuruogo MBE and George Groves

Last year on a sunny day in June of 2021, one of Britain's most accomplished athletes, Christine Ohuruogo, visited my studio here in Buckinghamshire for a Portrait Sitting. I was surprised to hear I was the first artist to capture Christine's portrait, as I would've expected such a figure to already have had multiple portraits of them commissioned.

The sitting went better than I could have asked for, we conversed about a vast range of topics, including a discussion of some more intimate experiences, on and off the track. The initial portrait sketch, which I undertake during every sitting, focused on Christine with a closed smile, but I soon realised when I went to take some reference photos after the sitting, that Christine's smile was something that must be captured. The difficulty of painting teeth is often a topic for discussion Portrait Artists, and a simple search of "Oil Portrait" in Google Images illustrates just how few opt to take on that challenge.

During a sitting, I will take an Alla Prima Oil Sketch, which can take anywhere between 2-5 hours. During this process, I will be painting the sitter in a certain pose. The fluidity of my work with oils allows for the sitter to move when, and if needed, which also ensures that the sitter is at ease. I personally believe that a sitting should be an interactive experience for the artist, and the respective sitter, and in order to capture a likeness, there must be a deeper connection between the two.

Over the next year, I worked on a larger scale portrait of Christine, and knew that I was taking on quite the challenge. Capturing someone who has achieved such feats, that most can only dream of, meant that I felt what I call a 'positive pressure'; which for me, is an understanding of the great magnitude of the Portrait, which then allows me to create my best possible work. Upon completion, I began to organise an unveiling, which is where the commissioned Portrait is revealed for the first time in its entirety. Alongside family and friends, I pulled back the large black cloth, to reveal months of hard work, all to Christine's visual delight.

Christine Ohuruogu Oil Portrait by Portrait Artist George Groves
Christine next to her painting

It has been a great pleasure working with Christine, and it's just another reminder as to why I do what I do; documenting stories of interesting individuals, and providing an insight into those have that gone further to achieve the unbelievable. I now have the great joy of calling Chrissy a friend, and an experience that I will treasure for years to come. The portrait now hangs proudly in Christine's home, along with a smaller portrait of Mr. Lloyd Cowan MBE.

To learn more about Christine, visit:

To learn more about George, visit:

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