Pastel Pick of the Week | A Brush With Royalty

Artist David Wells, of MacCleay Island, Australia, who made news in pastel circles earlier this spring as the Grand Prize Award winner in the Pastel Journal’s 15th Annual Pastel 100 Competition for his pastel, Cassandra, is making news again for his portraiture. The subject of his latest portrait—Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge—is perhaps the very embodiment of a news-maker. Wells’ larger-than-life portrait of Kate, painted in oils, has been accepted by the Duchess and Prince William as a gift from the island, following their royal tour of Australia, which wrapped up today. Wells is both pleased and surprised by the turn of events: “Apparently I will have an oil in the Royal Collection…Crazy huh?” he says.

kate middleton portrait in oils

Artist David Wells poses with his portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge, which is to become part of the art collection at Kensington Palace.

Wells estimates that the portrait took about 300 hours to paint, in addition to the months of work selecting the right photo and then finding the photographer to get permission to use it. Wells gives credit for the initial idea—which started long before the royal tour was announced—to fellow islander, Gerard Thompson. Thompson, who has made a documentary about the painting as it progressed, called the portrait “a wonderful compliment” to the duchess.

portrait of kate middleton

HRH Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (oil on linen; 35.5×51 inches) by David Wells



For more information about Wells:

And click below to watch a time-lapse video of the artist at work on a painting:


And to start making your own news, enter your latest, greatest pastel painting in the 16th Annual Pastel 100 Competition! Entry guidelines can be found here.


The special Pastel 100 Competition edition of Pastel Journal is on sale now. Get your copy today to see this year’s 100 top pastels!

New Pastel E-Mag! Discover a master pastelist’s tips for painting the landscape in our special e-mag collection, “Albert Handell: Essential Lessons in Pastel Painting,” available to download for only $2.99!

New on DVD! Painting snow in pastel with Liz Haywood Sullivan!

New on DVD! Painting surface color and texture with Liz Haywood Sullivan!

New on DVD! Plein air painting in pastel with Liz Haywood Sullivan!


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