Jonathan Hopson, formerly of everyone's favourite Camp Hopson Department Store in Newbury, had never ‘sat’ before so had no idea what to expect. We had never run a two-day portrait painting course before, so we had no idea what to expect either…
Simon Sonsino, Director of Ardington School, met Jonathan through the local table tennis league. Both now play for the Woolton Hill Wolverines, and it was during one of these sessions that Simon popped the question, "Jonathan - how do you feel about a room full of people painting your portrait?" A few more questions later, and you can see the results. Here's how it went.
What do I wear?
Having put Jonathan and George Popesco, the tutor for this two day course, in touch prior to the event, they had decided on a clothing plan of action. On the morning of day one, Jonathan dutifully turned up with an armful of clothes and after a brief chat with George, it was decided that a suit was the order of the day.
Where do you start?
After being introduced to the students over freshly brewed coffee and homemade cookies, Jonathan was seated and then the day could begin. The sessions for both days were five hours long, but Jonathan took a short break every 25 minutes or so. George explained the starting techniques to the class and so it began, brushes on canvases started to sketch in Jonathan's Mona Lisa type smile.
What do you think about when being painted?
During one of his breaks, toward the end of day two, I asked Jonathan ‘How was the sitting?’ “Quite hard…it’s actually quite hard to sit still for 20 to 25 minutes. Of course, you can move a little or scratch if you have an itch but it’s harder than I thought it was going to be.” I was curious as to what he thought about during the sitting and asked “What goes through your mind?” “Not a lot but you try not to switch off because you find yourself falling asleep! You can’t afford to just zone-out as you need to concentrate on being still and relax. It’s quite tiring having to concentrate on doing nothing, which is not the same thing as switching off. It’s also very easy to get distracted, especially if someone says something funny. You do get involved a little bit with some of the banter so you’re not like a rock for the whole time, but you must be conscious that if you keep moving, people are going to get brassed-off pretty quickly. So yes I was surprised that it needs more concentration and effort than I thought it was going to”
Will you do it again?
When the sessions were over and Jonathan was saying his goodbyes, the class gave him a lovely card that they had all signed which was a nice touch I thought. Just before he left I asked him if he’d ever do it again and I was a little surprised to hear him say yes, he’d love