Sarah Bell




I have spent rather too much of my life being told not to stare at people!  But, perhaps as a legacy from my father, a GP, I have always been fascinated by the differences and attractions of people and of course their faces.  We are all attracted to faces;  it begins as a survival technique to imprint our mother's faces, and it is the eyes that compel us most.  Alberto Giacometti once said that "the only thing that remained alive was the gaze".

Having taken an O'Level in art, a necessitated change of school meant that I didn't continue to pursue my art until family and work life allowed time to take up a class at the local college in watercolour.   I quickly became disheartened by this most difficult of mediums and was persuaded   to try out a portrait and life class instead - and have never looked back.  Eventually finding my way to Annie Phelps' classes in Cheltenham among a group of working artists and then gaining a place at Heatherleys School of Fine Art Portraiture Diploma course, in Chelsea.  The course was that rarity: a formal training in figurative art.

My paintings begin with a live model, and if at all possible I prefer to work completely from life; but I understand that with the busy lives we all live,  this isn't always practical, so I also then work from dozens and dozens of photographs which helps to prevent a static, wooden portrait.  I tend to concentrate on mainly the face hoping to create an increased sense of intimacy and portrayal of that individual's particular personality and emotions at that time.


Exhibited with:


Summer Exhibition, Heatherley School of Fine Art, July 2016
Royal Society of Portrait Painters, Mall Galleries, London May 2016
Royal West of England, Bristol, September 2015
Summer Exhibition, Heatherley School of Fine Art, July 2015
Fosseway Artists, Cotswolds



Lee & Thompson LLP Prize for Portraiture, Heatherley School of Fine Art, July 2016
Commendation by Andrew James, Heatherley School of Fine Art, July 2016