A Madras College pupil has seen off competition from more than 500 other artists to be long-listed for a prestigious national award.
Amy McLean, who is in her final year at the St Andrews school, has been long-listed for the Scottish Portrait Awards (SPAs) 2020 and is one of only 15 people under the age of 25 to make the cut in the fine art category.
The selected piece, named Jack after her older brother, is a pencil drawn portrait which the 16-year-old originally created for her Higher art exam earlier this year.
Speaking about the inspiration behind the piece, Amy said: “You had to come up with your own idea for the exam.
“I wanted to represent the fine line between something normal and eccentric, and my brother is quite eccentric so I wanted to show that.
“There was a lot of research done as well to come up with different compositions and looking at different artists and materials.”
I didn’t realise how impressive it was because I didn’t know how many people had entered and I didn’t expect to get anything, just that it would be cool to contribute!”
The portrait was created using Prismacolor pencils, with the white highlights being made with a gel pen and was a culmination of months of hard work.
Amy explained: “The process took around three to four months, there was a lot of development of ideas and compositions and the actual piece probably took well over 15 hours.
“I’ve always enjoyed coloured pencil and I really wanted this piece to be realistic and for people to feel connected to it, so that’s why I chose that material.
“It was done mostly at home. I used some of the materials in the school but when I’m home I use my pencils and paints.”
It was a family member that encouraged the Madras student to submit the piece to the SPAs and the portrait was one of around 580 entries entered into to the fine art category.
This was eventually narrowed down to long-list of 90 submissions, all of which will be displayed at an online exhibition on the SPAs website from December 15 to January 15.
Despite her obvious talent, Amy admitted she was surprised to see her name on the list of successful entries.
She said: “I originally just saw the shortlist and thought I hadn’t made it but then I saw the longlist.
“I didn’t realise how impressive it was because I didn’t know how many people had entered and I didn’t expect to get anything, just that it would be cool to contribute!”
The sixth year is now turning her attention to life after Madras and is hoping to use her artistic career to forge out a successful career in the industry.
She said: “It sounds cliche but it’s always been part of my identity and it’s how I introduce myself. I remember being in nursery and I would always go to the art station and want to draw.
“I’ve looked into animation for a long time and really enjoy the technicality of that and I’ve spoken to some people who have worked with Disney and Pixar and it was really fascinating.”