Press and Journal “Scottish Artist Unveils Artwork At Her Wedding” by Jessica Murphy

An Aberdeen artist has revealed her most personal and secretive artwork – at her own wedding.

And her new husband Gareth Williams saw the finished portrait, of himself and his wife Nicole Porter, for the first time yesterday.

The couple were married in an intimate outdoor ceremony at the Falls of Feugh restaurant in Banchory.

Nicole, artist and owner of the Nicole Porter Gallery on King Street in Aberdeen, began working on the wedding portrait shortly after becoming engaged.

The 28-year-old hid the painting from Gareth, 29, originally from Walsall, who posed for the painting but had no idea what it would look like.

Yesterday he was left speechless as it was finally revealed to him after the moving afternoon ceremony.

He said: “It was so emotional to see it. I know how much effort and love she has put into it. For me to just have that 30 seconds of seeing it for the first time for all those months she has been working on it was incredible.

“It is such a treasure and a memory that I will take forever. It will be with us for generations and generations and it is just brilliant.”

Nicole said the portrait will never be complete as she will add details of their life together in the coming years.

“The concept is that it will never be finished. That is our life together and we will add to it. Our love is forever and the painting is a symbol of that. As our life changes I will add things to it and keep it developing as our lives go on,” she said.

“To do it for Gareth, and to unveil it on our wedding day, it just symbolises what this marriage is about for me.”

The portrait is called A Hand to Hold, named after a poem written by Gareth, an electrical superintendent, which he read out during the ceremony.

The couple are depicted in the clothes they wore on their first date in January last year, along with the ringbearer at their wedding, their dog Kaja.

The portrait also includes details of Gareth’s time in the RAF and personal mementoes such as a Valentine’s card he made for Nicole.

She said: “I was so excited to see his reaction to it. Although he has been posing for it he has never seen it, and it has been this big mystery. I have been working so hard on it and it really has been the best day. It has all gone so well.”

Daily Mail “How My Royal Portrait Won Queen’s Seal Of Approval” by Alexander Lerche

It is a royal accolade usually awarded to the art world’s very biggest names.

But young Scots painter Nicole Porter has joined their ranks after her portrait of The Queen was snapped up for the Monarch’s personal collection.

Miss Porter, 27, from Aberdeen, has told how a mystery collector wandered into her gallery, looked at the painting and said, “They Queen should see that.”

Accepting this advice, the young artist sent him a photograph of the portrait.

She was stunned when she received a letter a few weeks later accepting it into the Royal Collection, meaning that her painting will hang alongside masterpieces by the likes of Rembrandt, Rubens and Leonardo da Vinci.

Miss Porter, who spent seven months working on the piece before displaying it in her gallery, was ‘thrilled’ by the honour.

She said: “It’s quite overwhelming.  When I got that letter, I just couldn’t believe it.

“It’s an honour to have the Queen say that she likes it and wants it in the collection – a real honour.

“I don’t think I’ll actually get to meet the Queen herself but the experience will be amazing.  I’ve always wanted to do a painting of The Queen, as she is the highest figurehead of society.

“Her Majesty, to me, is the ultimate subject matter, so I just felt that I really wanted to paint her.

“I felt there was a side of her that hadn’t been captured and I wanted to do that.  It’s the first painting I’ve done of her and it’s a great honour to have it accepted into the Royal Collection.”

The collection, one of the world’s biggest, hosts more than a million objects from all aspects of fine and decorative arts.

Miss Porter, who earned a first class honours degree from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee, has worked and studied in Norway, Paris and New York.

She said: “I took a photo of The Queen at Braemar Gathering in September last year and I worked on the painting from that image.  I wanted to portray her in a softer way, as a grandmother rather than the usual austere exterior.

“It seems appropriate because she seems happy when she is up here in Scotland.”

The portrait shows the Queen, who turned 88 on Monday, wearing a pink dress, coat and hat, and a pearl necklace.

Miss Porter declined to comment on whether the Royal Collection paid for the portrait.

Paintings commissioned from the artist cost a minimum of £1,000.

Press and Journal “Scots Artist Joins Royal Collection” by Nicky MacBeath

Culture: North-east woman to deliver Queen’s portrait to Buckingham Palace herself.

A north-east artist showed off her crowning glory yesterday after her portrait of The Queen was officially accepted into the royal collection.

Nicole Porter will personally delivery the painting to Buckingham Palace next month.

Miss Porter, who completed the work at her gallery in Aberdeen’s King Street, said she was thrilled by the honour.

“The Queen, to me, is the ultimate subject matter, so I just felt that I really wanted to paint her.  I felt there was a side of her that hadn’t been captured and I wanted to do that.”

The royal collection comprises more than a million objects covering all areas of fine and decorative arts, and is one of the largest collections in the world.

Miss Porter’s painting will join works from artists including Reubens, Rembrandt and Leonardo da Vinci.

Her portrait features the monarch who celebrated her 88th birthday on Monday, in a pink dress, coat and hat, wearing a pearl necklace.

It was based on a photograph taken by Miss Porter at last year’s Braemar Gathering.

The artist, who is originally from Ellon, said: “That’s what she was wearing last year at the games when I was there.

“I’ve gone in previous years when I was younger an always liked the atmosphere and thought it was a really great event.

“I wanted to portray her in a softer way, as a grandmother, rather than the usual austere exterior.  It seems appropriate because she seems happy when she’s up here.”

The portrait was spotted in Miss Porter’s studio by a collector, who thought the Queen should see it.

She sent a photograph of the work, and shortly after she received a letter from Buckingham Palace accepting the piece into the royal collection.

Miss Porter said: “It’s quite overwhelming.

“When I got that letter, I just couldn’t believe it.

“It’s an honour to have her say she likes it and wants it in the collection, a real honour.”

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