Director and Company Secretary
Sara first visited Picton in 1989 and has had the privilege of enjoying the gardens several times a year since. Picton is an inspirational place and so when David Senn, Marketing Consultant at Picton, suggested an art group, she jumped at the chance of being involved.
Sara has owned and managed Fine Art Commissions in London since 1997. The surrounding landscape where Graham Sutherland gained so much inspiration as well as the ever changing landscape within the gardens has convinced her that there are many artists who would benefit from joining Art Classes Wales at Picton Castle Studios.
Course Development and Administration
We are delighted to welcome Elaine Mead to Picton Castle Studios. She brings a wealth of creative experience to the team and aside from working with Chris developing the courses, will be the principle point of contact for our students and visiting tutors.
Elaine gained her HND in Graphic Design with a particular interest in surface pattern in 1987. She joined P R Elletson, the prestigious suppliers of traditional hand finished frames in 1990 and was promoted to workshop manager in 1996. P R Elletson has supplied frames to Mayfair and St. James’s galleries for nearly thirty years and can count framing the latest portrait of H M The Queen amongst the company’s many prestigious commissions.
In 2007 Elaine moved to Pembrokeshire and has worked as a specialist paint finisher for John Mead Country Kitchens. Her many skills include: wood finishing, gilding, paint finishing and fibre glass laminating. Elaine has been a great friend to the Philipps family and to Picton for many years; we are particularly grateful that she has agreed to share her time and experience to help build an art centre for all ages at Picton.
Growing up within an artistic family and with the influence of the Graham Sutherland Gallery, then located at her family home in Pembrokeshire, it was perhaps inevitable that Nicky would enjoy a successful career as an artist.
Having trained at the City & Guilds and the Cecil-Graves Atelier in Florence, she returned to London in the late 80s, where she built a successful career as a portrait and still life painter. Her varied commissions have included a conversation piece depicting the novelist Ken Follett surrounded by characters from his novels; two ex-Governors of the Bank of England; and in 2010 her double portrait of TRHs Princes William and Harry was unveiled to great acclaim at the National Portrait Gallery, London.
In 2013 Nicky was approached by Royal Mail to paint a portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II for the first class stamp series celebrating the 60th anniversary of her Coronation, the first time Royal Mail had commissioned a painting. The full length portrait depicts HM The Queen in her robes of the Order of the Garter, surrounded by her four dogs. It was at Buckingham Palace during one of her sittings that the idea of including the corgis was born. The painting, gifted by Royal Mail, has been accepted by The Queen and now hangs as part of the Royal Collection in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace.
In March 2014 Nicky’s portrait of Falklands hero Simon Weston OBE was unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery, London. The portrait was commissioned by the NPG and the BBC for their joint project the ‘People’s Project’, which gave the public the chance to vote for the person they believed most deserving of a portrait hanging in the NPG. The BBC documented the portrait from the initial meeting of Nicky and Simon, through each ‘sitting’, to the unveiling of the portrait at the NPG by presenters Fiona Bruce and Dan Snow. The one hour programme was featured on BBC 1 on Sunday 13th April.
In between portrait commissions, she has had six extremely successful Still Life and Landscape exhibitions. The entire collection (seventy paintings) from her solo exhibition in Cork Street in 2007 was sold in the first week, as did her most recent exhibition held at our Duke Street gallery.
Susie trained at Chelsea School of Art before putting her painting career on hold to bring up her children. After a twenty-five year break she began painting again and her first solo exhibition in Wiltshire was a virtual sell-out. Encouraged by this, she built a studio and has been working towards exhibitions, in-between a constant stream of commissions of flower paintings ever since. In 1995 she exhibited at The Malcolm Innes Gallery in St. James’s, London with her daughter, Nicky. The show was the most successful contemporary exhibition ever staged at the gallery.
Susie’s paintings show a true appreciation of form, colour and light, which make her pictures totally accurate without appearing too laboured. She enjoys an enviable following and her pictures can be found in collections across the country. Her most recent exhibition was held at Fine Art Commissions, Duke Street in December 2013. The exhibition was a huge success with two thirds selling within the first twenty four hours.
‘Susie’s flowers wave, dance and gesture and talk to each other. Her still lives of meringues and bread and butter are anything but still. She is the family late developer, the one, in my view, with the biggest potential to surprise. But all three Philipps are artists to watch’
Godfrey Barker (September 2003)
Art Correspondent for The Times, The BBC, The Sunday Times, The Economist, Art Review, Die Welt, The Wall Street Journal