Art: Nicola's royal job
FRADDON artist Nicola Shilson has received a right royal commission.
A face-painter at the Eden Project, she was asked by a national newspaper to paint the face of the Duchess of Cambridge on to a baby bump.
Her model was Kate Lutey, 26, from Summercourt, who is seven months pregnant.
Mum of two Miss Shilson, 34, of Manor Drive, is also a body-painter, and said this was the first request she had received for a royal portrait.
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It took more than three hours to complete the masterpiece, which was based on a photograph of Kate Middleton at Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall's wedding.
Miss Shilson, who kept mum until the article was published, admitted it was not in her usual style.
"I'm more lines and block colour. It was a real challenge for me," she said. "For the first hour of painting I thought, 'It's going to be really bad; something's going to go wrong', but in the end, after three hours, it came together and I was quite happy."
Despite the challenge the pair "laughed all the way through" what was "a really nice experience", she said.
"It's not every day you get asked to paint the portrait of the Royal Family. I'd love to know what she thinks of it."
Public opinion was split over painting baby bumps, she said: "People love it or they find it absolutely horrible. I just hope I did her justice."
And if Kate did decide to have her own baby bump painted?
"If I got the call, of course I'd say yes – but I'm not sure I'll get that request."
Miss Shilson was one of eight artists commissioned by the Daily Mail to create their own quirky images of Kate Middleton to mark the first official painting of the Duchess, which is due to hang in the National Portrait Gallery.
The artist, Paul Emsley, has also divided critics with his previous work, finely detailed drawings in chalk.
The paper's alternatives included Kate's portrait in 5,000 jelly beans, toast and Marmite and a graffiti depiction.