The Friends of Armagh County Museum recently commissioned Lisburn artist Carol Graham to create a portrait of Roger Weatherup, who had been Curator the museum for many years.
Carol, who has her studio at the Island Arts Centre in Lisburn, has painted portraits for some high profile people over the years, including Gloria Hunniford, Sir James Galway, Sir Reg Empey, President Mary Robinson and President Mary McAleese.
From a young age Carol had a passion for art and was determined to turn this passion into a career. “It was the main thing I was good at and got encouragement about when I was very young,” she explained.
She started working with oils as a teenager and that has been her main medium ever since. “I started working with oils when I was 13 or 14 and I realised what they can do,” she continued.
However, unlike her choice of medium, Carol’s inspiration for her work is much more varied. Whilst she has become well known for her portraiture work, her art is very diverse.
“I do all sorts of things,” continued Carol, who said she still loved painting now as much as she did when she was younger. “As well as commissioned portraits I paint landscapes, sea scenes, even metaphysical pieces. I don’t really have a favourite.”
The Lisburn artist was approached by the Friends of Armagh County Museum following a recommendation by two members of the Lisburn Arts Advisory Committee, Stanley and Winifred Bell, who are well known stalwarts of the artistic community in the city. It took Carol some three months to create the portrait of Roger Weatherup, which included several sittings with the man himself. “I took a lot of photographs, which are good for catching a passing expression but we did sittings as well,” Carol explained.
“We agreed to have the sittings at the museum, although he is still very sprightly. We did three sittings but a lot of work was done in between. In total it took around three months.
“He was an easy subject to work with and he was good craic. He was very easy to get along with.”
The final piece was presented to the museum at a special event on April 9. “The unveiling went very well,” added Carol, who admitted she was slightly nervous on the day as she had been asked to give a talk on her work. “I was pleased with the end result and I hope the Friends of Armagh Museum were as well.”