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Out of the Dark

'A Snapshot into the Life of a Post Pandemic Gen Z'

Every year Heatherley's School of Fine Art hold a small exhibition for the Second Years on the Portrait Diploma called the Mr Heatherley's Summer Composition. The painting has to feature three or more portraits in a composition and can be of any scene. A crit in October is then held at the school and a judicator, who is usually a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters - this year the work is being judged by Antony Connolly, the President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters.

So now it's our turn, and the above piece is my final creation which has taken most of my summer break to create, (it's HUGE - 4ft x 5ft), it's the reason I've been quiet for a little while.

Originally I was keeping the composition to 3 actual people, but felt the 'reason' for this painting needed to have some depth in terms of the subject, so kept it as raw and open as possible and added the extra portraits into the reflection and the mobile phone. It made more sense within the composition rather than trying to squeeze other people and missing some interesting painting. Plus I've drawn my own daughter a few times now, and wanted to get on with the painting


'A Snapshot of the Life of a Post Pandemic Gen Z'

Isabella in bed with her boyfriend, a distant peripheral eye on my child, allowing an open conversation without fear of hiding any truth from her family.

Childhood symbols featuring 'Monkey', a newborn cot toy, 'Zoot' the panda, won by her boyfriend at a fair and her phone flashing at 13.00pm featuring Issy and her best friend Eva at their post GCSE Prom.

The earrings next to the phone are an important symbol within the composition, designed by 'Earsass' and called the 'Issy Star'. Created to support a charity called 'Brave Mind' promoting positive mental health and driving conversation around teens suffering with mental illness. Sadly this is an all too common issue in this age and very close to our hearts.

My hope for the painting is that if other parents who view it have had a similar experience as we have as a family, are able to express their concerns and ask for the right support for their children without fear of stigma, talking openly about teen mental health without feeling alone.

The above painting along with all the Summer Compositions are on display until Saturday 28th October - if you would like to visit, please do pop into reception and sign in at Heatherley's School of Fine Art, 75 Lots Rd, London, SW10 0RN - (let me know if you're going, I'm there Mondays to Wednesdays)

Oil on Canvas

48" x 60" (4 feet x 5 feet)

Brave Mind can be found at and @_bravemind on Instagram

The beautiful Earsass earrings are called the 'Issy Star' - visit - £5 from each sale goes towards the Brave Mind charity

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